More Than Just Knitting Class: The Harveyville Project

The last thing you may be thinking of on these hot summer days is school, and maybe you thought your classroom days were long gone. But what if you could go back to school and study only your favorite subject—fiber? The Harveyville Project has a fresh lineup of classes this fall, and they’re more than just another knitting class.

Located in rural Kansas and founded in 2005, the Harveyville Project has evolved from an artist retreat to a school. The school hosts classes on topics from yarn, felting, weaving on a rigid-heddle loom, and knitting mittens to cheese and, coming soon, beer. Harveyville Project founder Nikol Lohr filled us in on some of the challenges involved in running a small creative-based business.

knitting class

Fiber School students spinning in the gymnasium. Photos courtesy of Nikol Lohr.

Balancing work and family presents many challenges. Nikol says, “We’ve grown slowly and organically. One lesson that was counterintuitive was learning when to deliberately limit growth. I hadn’t anticipated making choices on when not to grow—realizing that I like having my business small and manageable, and that I measure success more in the quality of experience we provide than on increasing growth.” Limiting the size has kept the atmosphere casual and intimate for the immersive classes.

Nikol has also learned to overcome another typical challenge faced by creative-based businesses: pricing the work. She explains, “The key is to know your real costs, which can be shocking, but which make you much more confident about your pricing and much more ruthless about culling the aspects of your business that put you under water.” She reasons that it is worth putting in the time to calculate your true costs and not operate off a vague estimate. “Whether you’re selling yarn or teaching a class, it’s important to know your cost of goods and how you’re pricing your time.”

To learn more, visit www.harveyvilleproject.com. Sign up for Yarn School, Felt School, and for extra credit add the additional Dye Lab option. The fall session runs October 11–16, 2018.

—Elizabeth

Featured Image: Fiber dyed by Fiber School students drying on the gym balcony.


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