Ah yes, it’s that time of year again! Time to reflect on the past year of my creative career and look ahead to what I hope to do to grow and evolve Hands Occupied in the future. Listeners of my podcast, Very Serious Crafts, will have heard the announcement (in Episode 19, this week’s new episode) that I was diagnosed with arthritis earlier this fall. Inevitably, this will impact the trajectory of Hands Occupied, but that’s okay. At the moment, I feel it’s important to approach the situation with positivity, not over-commit myself, and take the opportunity to explore. I want to try some new projects to see what techniques to see what allows me to make things without tons of pain. Who knows? I might become a master latch hook artist in addition to my knit and crochet design. Don’t worry, though – I plan on still doing knit and crochet design, just not quite so much!
Don’t forget! Part of reflecting on the past includes getting your input. If you haven’t yet had a chance to fill out the Hands Occupied Reader Survey, please do so here. Respondents can enter to win a $75 KnitPicks gift certificate! <3
A little bit about my arthritis
While this diagnosis has been on my plate for a couple months, I’ll admit I’ve definitely been ignoring it for a variety of reasons. Obviously, this news was a hard pill to swallow as someone who does what I do for a living. Now that I’ve had a couple months to accept it, one of my big goals for the new year is to learn more about my specific arthritis type and how it will impact me day to day as a professional crafter. I don’t know yet how much my day to day work will be affected by this, but I’ll keep you guys updated on social media (and maybe do a blog post in 6 months if there’s interest).
Hear me talk about the arthritis situation on Very Serious Crafts:
Visions for 2019
Before we dive fully into what was published on the blog & other work I did as a Designer in 2018, I just wanted to take a hot second to talk about 2019. Given the decrease of traffic to blogs overall during past several years (which is fine – internet behaviors change all the time!), I’m finding myself drawn to investing time in other online spaces. I want to do a better job of fostering the Hands Occupied community on Ravelry & Instagram, and other social media. I will still be spending just as much time putting great ideas & craft designs out into the world, but the blog won’t be my primary focus as it’s been in the past. You’ll still get a few free patterns & tutorials on the blog, just not quite so often. I’m hoping to do a better job of chronicling my creative process on Instagram in particular, hopefully giving you more of a glimpse into the creative process.
This desire for change goes beyond the blog. I want to recalibrate how I spend my creative work time vs. marketing (photography, freelance projects, social media, networking, etc.) time to feel more balanced and productive on both ends of this creative freelancer spectrum. I want to give myself the time to enjoy the fun part of crafting, which includes trying new techniques and mediums as much as possible. In the end, I’m striving to be creative every day, and to work smarter, not harder.
P.S. I’m changing where I work too!
Lest I forget, I’ve been touring potential studio spaces near where I live in Chicago, and I’ve just about pulled the trigger on the one I like the most. Cross your fingers for me! If the space I’m hoping for works out, I’ll have a whole studio tour for you to check out soon!
A look back at what went down on the blog in 2018
Let’s close with a little run-down of ALL the ground we covered on the Hands Occupied Blog this year. Tutorials, Read Alongs, pattern releases, giveaways, pattern updates, reviews, workshops, and (of course) GOBS of inspiration.
(I skipped our Picks of the Week and monthly yarn reviews & giveaways for the sake of space.) For anyone who might like to count, the are 60 posts linked below, plus 12 yarn review/giveaway posts, plus Picks of the Week each week. That’s over 120 posts last year!
All of the content, month by month
- Warm up with in-person events this winter!
- The Ruby Stole knitting pattern, originally released in I Like Knitting magazine, was re-released in the Hands Occupied Shop.
- Master the Knitted and Cable Cast Ons
- Knitflix for Hiberknitting
- Learn 2 Long Tail Cast Ons
- Tackle 3 Advanced Knitting Cast Ons
- Things to Knit
- Moss Stitch Cowl – crochet pattern
- The Hands Occupied Story
- Things to Crochet
- Big Old Bias Knit Scarf – knit pattern
- Vogue Knitting Live is back in Chicago
- Love & Lopapeysas (personal post about making for loved ones)
- Coming this Spring: The First Read Along Crochet Along!
- Things to Knit
- Fisherman’s Rib Baby Blanket – knit pattern
- How to Knit & How to Fix Fisherman’s Rib – tutorial with video
- Mini Fandom Sweaters at Comic Con
- The Read Along Crochet Along is Here!
- How to Crochet an Oval – tutorial with video
- How to Crochet Bobbles – tutorial with video
- Your Stories: Tian Connaughton – get to know one of my pattern Technical Editors!
- Weaving in the ends on our first RALCAL
- Things to Latch Hook
- Announcing the Very Serious Crafts Podcast
- Knitflix for Spring
- Market Cowl – crochet pattern
- Things to Crochet
- Latch Hook Basics – photo tutorial
- Basic Latch Hook Finishing – photo tutorial
- Tiered Colorblock Wall Hanging – latch hook pattern
- Knitflix for Summer
- Wherever Wrap – knit pattern
- Things to Crochet
- Latch (Hook) The Rainbow: Tips & Tricks for Intuitive Latch Hooking
- Intarsia 101 – video tutorial
- Read Along Knit Along Sponsor Spotlight
- How to Estimate & Manage Yarn Tails in Intarsia Knitting – video tutorial
- Ripple Wrap – crochet pattern
- How to Knit Intarsia without Bobbins or Butterflies – video tutorial
- Solid Oak Macrame Kit review
- Advanced Intarsia Knitting Tips – video tutorial
- Weaving in Intarsia Ends & Tips for Finishing – video tutorial
- A Peek Inside Improper Cross-Stitch by Haley Pierson-Cox – book review
- Easy Ms. Frizzle Halloween Costume (with yarn wig!) – photo tutorial
- More Intarsia Mountain Color Palettes – inspiration post
- Things to Crochet
- A Look at the Intarsia Mountain Design Process – inspiration post
- Weaving Within Reach – book review
- Scandinavian Advent Calendar – crochet pattern (designed to match the Ornaments of Christmas!)
- Checked Snood – knitting pattern
- Poinsettia Ornament – knitting pattern / Ornaments of Christmas
- Knitter’s Pride Ginger Interchangeable Knitting Needles – review
- Candle Ornament – knitting pattern / Ornaments of Christmas
- Orange Ornament – crochet pattern / Ornaments of Christmas
- Stocking Ornament – knitting pattern / Ornaments of Christmas
- A look at ALL of the Ornaments of Christmas – photo post
- Reader Survey: What do you want to see in the new year?
Last but not least, The Very Serious Crafts Podcast
On top of all this, I started a podcast with two of my very best crafty friends from the internet, Haley of Red-Handled Scissors and Mollie of Wild Olive. Every other week, we release a podcast (average run time 45-55 minutes) where we talk about crafting, crafty mishaps, creative fails, and share truly bizarre stories of things like our childhood Pilgrim costumes for Thanksgiving (yes, we ALL did this as kids). Give Very Serious Crafts a listen and expect to see lots more from us VSC gals in the new year, including a live show!