This month marks 6 years since I started this blog, and in that time so much has happened. I got married, moved to Chicago, learned a ton of new skills, made new friends both online and off, got published in my first magazines, booked my first video contract, and more. For awhile I thought I’d done as much as I could ever want to in the creative world, but in the last few months, I realized I was wrong.
For those not in the know, I am a Librarian who specializes in Teen Services when I’m not a craft blogger. However, after much deliberation, I recently decided that I’m ready to move on from Librarianship. It’s officially official – Friday was my last day of working as a Librarian. As I said in a status update to my friends:
I have lots of complex feelings about moving on from Librarianship, but in the end, pursuing my design career full time is the right move right now. Being a Librarian, particularly one who works with youth, has been profound. So much of life has been illuminated for me among the lifelong friends I’ve made, the personal growth I’ve experienced, and the impact I’ve been lucky enough to have on some incredible teens’ lives. […] I can say for certain that I am walking away proud of my library career thus far.
Even though I’ll no longer be actively working in the field, I’ve realized (thanks to the advice of some very wise women) that one does not simply stop being a librarian. I’ll always have the degree, and as I mentioned in my update above, the profession has left an indelible mark on me in the almost-decade I’ve spent on the job.
What this means for Hands Occupied!
You may have noticed I’ve taken it easy on Hands Occupied this summer. The nice thing about being primarily a knit designer is that summer can be used to focus on designing new patterns and reflect on how you run your business. And that’s exactly what I did.
On your end, you saw fewer posts, tutorials, patterns and newsletters. On my end, I was busy making the decision to focus more on Hands Occupied and figure out how to share more crafty content with you all. Moving forward, I’m going to be sharing more free patterns and tutorials more often, and I want to expand into sharing all things string. More than just knitting, crochet and yarn crafts, I’d like to add thread into the mix! I’ve tried a lot of hats on this blog over the years. When I made the gradual shift to focus on yarn crafts almost exclusively, it was in an effort to tighten up the brand and become a specialist in yarn, my favorite crafting medium. Now, I think it’s time to loosen the reigns a wee bit and explore sharing new ideas using all sorts of needles and thread!
For those who want more details, read on
What’s written above pretty much covers everything relevant to Hands Occupied specifically, but in case you’re really interested in the (k)nitty gritty of what brought about this major life change, here you go!
I’m still young.
This decision was not all about age (which would be weird), but part of why I decided to pursue a full time design career in the crafts world is because I’m still young. For the past 18 months, I’ve been working to figure out how to make a full time creative career financially viable for my husband and I. My husband works full time, so pesky considerations like insurance are taken care of without my having to mortgage my left boob to pay out of pocket for it. It took me SO LONG to figure out how in the heck people afford to be creative professionals. I wish more people would have been more transparent about their stories as I made this painstaking decision, so I’m sharing a wee bit of mine here.
On painstaking decisions and feminism.
It took me years to be okay with the fact that I would need my partner’s emotional and financial support to do this. It’s 2016- isn’t it my sworn duty as a millennial feminist to be one of those girls who run the [working] world? To own her tattoos and bad language? To live for her hard-earned and hardcore librarian job working on a gang boundary on Chicago’s South Side? (And yes, I mean gang boundary literally.)
My husband works in a STEM field. He is a charming, articulate, tall man with multiple college degrees and Southern charm. He loves his job, and he loves me. This decision was never about gender or about caring for imaginary future children. Without going into the painstaking details of this painstaking decision, suffice it to say that I knew I needed to give being a full time creative a shot before I got promoted or transferred into a position that meant I’d have so much union seniority (yup, some librarian gigs are unionized) or so much pay I couldn’t justify walking away. This was the right decision at the right time.
And it’s okay if people judge me for this decision. Worrying about what other people think is the biggest factor – I’m ashamed to admit – that held me back from doing this a long time ago. As RuPaul says, what other people think of me is none of my damn business. With that in mind, I’m ready to work! Stay tuned!
Congratulations on making this momentous decision! Although I am a bit older than you, eight years ago I faced a similar decision/crossroads. At that point I had worked in the Technical Services Dept. of the University of Oregon Library for 17 years and just felt that I wanted to have the time to explore my creative side more, though not as a new career. Luckily my husband, like yours, had a job he loved, also at the UO, with all the benefits, so after much deliberation I took the plunge and resigned from my position. I don’t regret it for a moment and I’m guessing you won’t either! I am looking forward to hearing and seeing where this new road takes you. Happy Trails!!
Thank you, Lettie! I really appreciate the solidarity! <3
Congrats on making the leap, Heidi! I’m sure there are big things in store for you and Hands Occupied. Good luck!
Congrats!!! You have nothing to worry about with starting your own journey. Sometimes you need the help of loved ones to get to where you are going. I started by graphic/web design business 9 years ago (after a layoff from the corporTe world) with the help and encouragement from my then boyfriend (who is now my husband). It has helped to have his steady income and benefits to get my business off the ground and 9 years later it’s still a solid business. Never would have got there without his support, both financially and emotionally.
Looking forward to following your journey and checking out the new patterns and tutorials :)
Thanks so much, Kim! It is really a boost to know I’m not alone. :)
Congratulations! I support Steve in our household via my business, which I’m sure gets judgements too . . . along with the judgements of being almost 40, not being married, and not having children :0 But it’s okay. I personally think of marriage/a long term relationship as something where both individuals will bring different levels to the table at different times . . . including money and emotional support, etc. As long as you are willing to kick in your end of the bargain when the time comes, you’re being a good partner and feminist :D That’s my thought, anyway!
You’re going to do great!
You’re the best, Amy! I consider you to be a woman on my #goals list for sure.
Congratulations on going full time!
I just wanted to pop in and remind you that there’s no one way to be a feminist. As long as you are choosing to do what you want to do fully cognizant of your choices and their repercussions, you are making a feminist choice. Our mothers scorned hand work because it symbolized subjugation to them, we choose to do hand work because once it had been divorced from a woman’s place it was no longer demeaning. (Once we were no longer forced into it as a matter of course, we were free to find the fun in it.) It’s not like you’re quitting work to go be the next Phyllis Schlaffly, you’re choosing to change fields.
I literal-lolled at your Phyllis Schlaffly comment, my friend! Beyond the laughs, this is 100% what I needed to hear. Thank you :D
Congratulations! You will never go wrong when you follow your heart . Good luck . I look forward to watching Hands Occupied future.
Girl you just hang in and do it….You’ll be surprised how it will all pull together and you’ll wonder at some point…why didn’t I do this before. I am monsoons your elder, always wanted to do what you have done, but worked out of necessity, when I finally got to where I could do”my great desire”, did it, never have regretted or looked back.
Congrats on making the move. Your decisions are yours and your husband and it is no one else’s. I am happy for you.
Thank you! I appreciate the kind words.
Heidi, I am a retired high school Reading Specialist. wish I had know about you a few years back, since you were a teen librarian.
You go girl, congrats!
Oh I am sooo happy for you.! Best wishes to you!