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!