In 2021, I wrote a total of ten blog posts. Back in the day, I’d churn out a couple of posts a week, no problem. Hundreds a year. Running the Hands Occupied blog was my part time, then full time job. As mentioned in the past, things have changed in the blogging world in the last 11 years, but more importantly, what I want to be doing creatively has evolved, especially since writing a book. I started Hands Occupied as a way to make crafting friends online after college. I didn’t realize that a lot of folks at the time came to blogging with the intent of it being a side hustle, a full time hustle, or even a path to a career. I thought I just wanted to make friends and develop my skills as a maker, but looking back now, there was a tiny voice inside, however cliche that may be, that really wanted to become a designer, maybe even in knitting and other yarn crafts. Like many, I didn’t think I was good enough. I was 23, I didn’t know what I wanted to do in general. I just knew I needed to use my considerable anxious energy on something for me outside of my traditional job.
The last few years, amirite? 😅
Most of last year was about figuring out what direction I want to take professionally, especially digging into where my mental health and work overlap and how to balance it. Burnout needed to be dealt with, and I needed to decide what was next. Getting to write a book in late 2019/early 2020 was great! It marked off a bucket list item I didn’t believe was in reach, however, confronting the post-big-scary-project blahs (on top of Ye Olde Panini 🦠 ), took a lot more energy and time than I expected. To be fair to myself as well, there was a lot going on in my personal life. Notably, we lost both of our dogs in a 4 month window, starting the week my book came out, and ending the week of our tenth wedding anniversary. (Sorry I hadn’t written about it on the blog before this. It was hard to talk about for a long time, but as Storm & Woodrow made appearances here over the years, I would be remiss not to mention it.)
Those following along on social media know that I’ve been busy moving into a new studio space that’s slightly smaller and better suits my current needs. If you missed it, you can read about the studio move and my bittersweet farewell to the old space on Instagram.
Since the book came out, I feel like I’ve been pretty quiet, including on social media, and there are folks here who have followed for years to whom I felt I owed a small explanation beyond “sorry to ghost! the last 2 years have been challenging for everyone, amirite?!” So that’s why my annual new year post is coming out now, and why I’ve been kinda quietly crafting on my own for the last year+ without sharing as much of the process as I might have before. It’s been a good break that has allowed me to physically heal some of my hand pain & find enough space to sort out what I want to be doing professionally as a maker.
This year, you can expect an evolved Hands Occupied. I’ve got my eye on releasing a small collection of knitting patterns, and the aforementioned crafting of the past 12-18 months has laid the foundation for what it’s going to be. Soon I’ll be sharing a mood board for the collection to give you a sense of where I’m going with that. Think accessible (!) intarsia with a vintage-meets-modern twist. (No one is surprised. 😆)
I also have a larger-scale latch hook art piece set to tackle next summer, so that will be a fun way to keep active with that work in a low-impact way. Maybe I’ll even start to sell finished tapestries in the Shop if there’s interest. The world is my oyster (which, it turns out, can be scary).
That’s far and away plenty from me. It’s a new year! Are there any tutorials you’re desperate to see from Hands Occupied in some way? (If there’s enough interest, you have my word I will try!) Would you like there to be ongoing YouTube content again? Are you into Instagram only these days? Don’t care about Pinterest anymore? Feel free to holler in the comments or email me at heidi-at-handsoccupied-dot-com.
Yours in yarn,
P.S. I also need to start sending my email newsletter again, but it’ll be monthly instead of biweekly because I think that’s easier for me and what most email people want – less email. 🤓 The first newsletter in awhile will be coming out soon, so if you’re not already signed up, don’t forget to do so.
Great post! It’s good to hear what you’ve been up to and where you’re going. Congrats on your new craft/work space. I always look forward to your posts on IG (It’s the only social media I’m on) but take care of yourself and don’t feel pressured to live up to anyone’s standards except your own. And always be kind to yourself.