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I Knit Around

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Metamorphosis

I'm passing through a significant transitional stage in my crafting life. It's marked by bouts of start-itis, ill-conceived purchases of supplies that I don't have immediate plans for, and episodes of aversion to doing any crafting.

The culprit is my knitting. I am not only deriving great pleasure from that right now, but I seem to have potential there for working at a professional level. I have several designs for knitting patterns that I am massaging into presentable form, one of which would be worth selling rather than merely offering for free.

I've got people locally who want to learn more about my process for dyeing yarn with Kool-Aid and food colors - a process, mind you, that I am far from perfecting. They want me to teach classes, though I feel a small book or pamphlet that I can sell may be the more practical approach there.

My beaded stitch markers are developing a small following through the one LYS that I'm selling them to. I've clearly done a good job of differentiating my selection from the hundreds of other people out there who are making similar products, and if I choose to pursue this, I may be able to market my markers to other shops.

Most of the internal turmoil is coming from the change in how I think about what I do. No matter what, I would be crafting during every waking moment that I had the option to. But now, I find myself thinking about the potential in the projects I select, and sometimes making different choices so that I can further the career goals.

I said career. I am now thinking about what I do not as a job, with its implications of 9-5 drudgery. Nor as a pastime or hobby, meant merely to keep my mind and hands occupied for a portion of the day. No, I now think of what I do as a career.

Part of the shift must come from no longer working on my projects willy-nilly. For the stitch markers, I need to think about how to present myself to potential new customers (other LYS), or how to market them online (eBay? Etsy?).

The patterns require me to change from the "I'll get around to it one day" attitude to "I should work on this a little bit every day". I need to write up the instructions, and plan for models of the pieces to photograph. I need to arrange for test knitters to make sure that the instructions are comprehensible, even if it's going to be a free pattern download.

I need to create a graphic style for patterns and other documentation that is easy to work to, shows a cohesive identity from piece to piece, and presents my work in a professional manner.

Overnight change? Heck, no. I know this is going to take time, and plenty of it. There's a lot of work to be done just to get me to a point where I can feel the first returns from the effort.

I've got no delusions that I'm going to be the next Elizabeth Zimmerman, Alice Starmore, or Lucy Neatby. But it does feel like my modest efforts so far in the knitting world have been well received, and it may be that I can find a little niche to carve out for my very own.

What does this mean for my beading? Well, you'll notice that beaded stitch markers are part of the plan, so my beadcraft will not be abandoned. And if I can develop this little Folkcat Art thing into a viable business, who's to say that I won't ever offer beadwork patterns or kits? Bringing the knitting portion of my career up to those levels will lay the ground work to expand into other crafts, if I desire.

It's going to be an interesting ride. I hope you'll follow along!

Edited to add: Mind you, I intend to keep it fun, too. What good is it all if I can't keep myself flexible enough to make sure I'm enjoying it? So if any portion of it ever starts to feel like too much, I hope I'll notice and know to back off for a bit, and switch to something else.

And I do plan to work on projects that don't strictly have profit potential, but are just things I want. Like Clapotis, or my lace shawl.

Cross-posted to both I Knit Around and Confessions of a Chantraphile.

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