Monday, May 16, 2016

Slowing Down, Recalculating Route

I've had this draft, empty-but-titled, open in my browser for six months at this point, and of course the moment I feel like working on it is "ten minutes before I have to go into work."

A few weeks ago, I hit 30. I was dreading it, and spent a lot of 29 feeling old and washed-up and horrid.... but weirdly I feel like it came with a bit of peace and clarity. I'm actually feeling better about myself and my path in life than I have in quite some time. I feel like I've got a grip on my goals, my relationships- even my damn wardrobe seems to be coming into its own.

The last two years of my life have been all kinds of weird and transitional. As you might've noticed, I haven't been publishing many patterns lately. To be quite frank... I'm moving away from knitting design. As mentioned above, I now have a work that I "go into" - a part time job at a new yarn store in Ann Arbor.  Those of you who follow me on Instagram are likely aware of my new business venture. And most recently, I've started training to become a UI Designer... something I hope to mix with a healthy dose of illustration and surface design to make myself a nice little portable career that'll both allow me to be creative and, one hopes, financially solvent.

The reasons for this are two-fold. First, as you may have heard other designers complain, the pattern sales climate just ain't what it used to be. I'm not sure why this is - it seems, at least from working in the shop, that people are knitting just as much as ever. Maybe we've reached a critical mass of designers, or of patterns? Perhaps free patterns have finally outpaced the paid ones? Can't tell ya - all I know is that almost every designer I've talked to has reported pretty much the same thing - decreased overall sales, bigger seasonal slumps, less of a sales bump with new releases. Some of the biggest names I know are groping around for other income streams at this point, and well, frankly, it seems smart to start planning an escape.

The second reason? Honestly, I'm just a bit burnt out. When you make something you love into your job, it can eventually start seeping some of the joy from it. I've been writing patterns for almost ten years at this point, and while I still love knitting, it's been nice to take the pressure off and actually knit *for fun* a little, lately. Thanks to working at Spun, I've been knitting shop samples both from my own existing patterns and from other people's, and it's been soooo nice. I don't see myself quitting knitting anytime soon, and I'll probably still knock off a pattern here and there, but allowing it to be a hobby instead of my primary income has been such a relief.

Anyway, add to that a series of ongoing transitions in my personal life that I'm not going to get into, and it's been a pretty crazy and stressful few years. (No, I'm not pregnant. That's always what people jump to if I allude to anything going on in my life... or if I say I'm queasy... or tired... or hungry. To be a woman of childbearing age is to be constantly accused of incubating. One nice thing about turning 30: the "you'll want kids when your older" natter has finally stopped.)

I know there are people in my life (mostly those who I'm not very close to and who have no idea what it is I even *did* in the first place) who see my going back to a day job as an admission of defeat or failure. "Aw, poor girl, her cute little craft business didn't work out." I'll admit that rankles me a little - truth is, the knitting community has been very good to me and with my childless, low-cost-of-living life, I was just fine for quite awhile. But I've never felt comfortable unless I'm building towards something new and exciting..... recently I've turned down a smattering of perfectly good and potentially lucrative opportunities in order to make space for the things that excite me *now*.  Saying "no" to things is nerve-wracking, and change is slightly terrifying in general... but I find if you stick with it long enough, you get used to the discomfort.

In any case- I'll keep this blog on life support as a depository for my musings and fibery projects. I'm excited to have some freedom to work more on weaving and other fiber arts, as well as non-pattern knits. More frequently, these days, you can keep up with me on Instagram (and sometimes still Twitter too.) Which I very much hope you will - I love the community I've met through knitting, and I owe you all a huge amount of gratitude for your support and camaraderie- thank you, thank you. Keep in touch, eh?


  1. Biggest high five—up top and down low—for learning the art of saying NO. I feel like the lack of that particular skill functions a bit like an addiction—you're never recovered from it, always in recovery, so reiterating NO as much as possible is essential to staying 'on the wagon,' as it were.

  2. Good luck with your new projects! Don't let the sidebar commentators rankle you. It's a good thing to do what you love just for fun sometimes, and anything you've created and done is never a failure just because you stop doing it in the same way.

  3. UI designers are in demand, so it's a good career choice.

    I suspect you're right about free patterns maybe lowering pattern sales, too.

  4. Aw, sad. Puddles and I wish you best wishes in your future businesses and we look forward to seeing your occasional releases (especially those great rescue books!). XOXOXOXO

  5. No one has the perspective or the right to judge you for your work and life decisions – ignore them! (I can really relate to what you’ve shared of your situation, beyond having recently turned 30... I am a musician with an administrative day job that, aside from providing steady income and health benefits, is also helping me develop new skills. I find that rewarding, but I am also beginning to find ways to apply those skills to my life and work as a musician). Best of luck to you!

  6. Do what you love. And knitting for fun? That sounds amazing! I'll keep up with you on IG.

  7. I feel you so much on all of this. Way to take care of yourself and your needs! I hope you have lots of success in your new pathways.
    Also, as I am going through some personal life upheaval, can I just say how much it sucks? Everything is more difficult when the ground below you is shaking. Metaphorically speaking, hopefully.

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  9. I have always liked what you do! Keep on being awesome and good luck with your new jobs and changes.

  10. I wish you the best of luck on your new endeavors! Knitting for fun sounds pretty awesome too.

  11. I'm so behind on reading all of my blogs. I feel you. I just turned 31 and the pregnancy conversations are finally slowing down. Being child-free for any reason is hard to defend and hard to stand behind. Good for you on all fronts for doing what is best for you. I love your patterns and I've loved working on them over the years. I hope we keep seeing you pop around from time to time :)


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