It’s been awhile, friends, and I have missed you! For those who may not remember, I’m Heidi Gustad, and I am an artist working in yarn crafts (knitting, crochet, latch hook, macrame, punch needle, etc.). I got my start when I launched this blog in 2010, not intending to become a full time creative, but here we are. 😊 I draft this post from my makeshift home studio space in Chicago during my state’s extended shelter-in-place order, so it feels like a great time to share where I’ve been and why. Don’t worry – this is a story with a happy ending!
My life went on pause a couple months before coronavirus, along with this here Blog. On January 6, I shared my annual blog post reflecting on the past year, saying I was taking a break. Since then, I’ve been fairly quiet, posting here and there on social media, and even taking a break from my podcast, The Very Serious Crafts Podcast. Why?
I wrote a book, folks! 😱 A new guide to latch hook for modern makers, set to publish this fall!
I was only recently able to announce the book, and I’m so excited to be able to share this teaser image with you here now too. My book is a contemporary take on latch hooking, and it’s being published by Leisure Arts this fall (2020). Ta DAAAA! That’s all I can say for now, but I hope it’s exciting news. Check out the Book highlight in my Instagram profile to view the very earnest video I made to announce the project, enjoy!
What to expect in 2020!
Ok, in addition to writing a book and designing a shawl (and y’know, living my life) these past few months, I’ve been taking the time to zoom out and think of what I want to do in the coming months with Hands Occupied:
*email newsletters every other week
*picks of the week every other week, opposite weeks from emails
*fewer blog posts, but more than when we were on hiatus
*more YouTube by very popular demand!
*more Instagram, showing you more of my process
*The Very Serious Crafts Podcast episode every other week with Patreon-only bonus episodes on off weeks
*fewer independently released knit & crochet designs
It’s really important to me to keep evolving as a designer and artist, and to do that, I need to make room for it. I have begun to develop a new artistic project that I realized I want to pursue after going through the process of designing my book. My entire background is in crafting, but after executing an entire collection for the book, I realized that I have a lot of ideas to explore through slower making. I’ll share more on this developing idea when the time comes.
On What I’m Doing Less…
I’ve been wanting to commit to blogging less for awhile. After almost ten years running this very blog, I’m really burned out on putting together long-form tutorials. After writing my book these recent months, I’ve realized that I’ve evolved a bit creatively and a lot as a person, and I need to be careful about spending my time on things that energize rather than drain me. Blogging will still happen with Picks of the Week returning every other week, inspiration round-ups, and yes, the occasional free yarn craft pattern & project tutorials.
As I get older, embarking on a new decade with so many things up in the air, particularly as a now-seasoned, self-employed creative, I just want to be more gentle with myself emotionally and physically. Maybe getting more in touch with my feelings during my hiatus has made me a little more woo woo, but I think it’s made be a better artist and happier person. So I’m going to try transferring my energy to a space with more growth potential and more challenge for me -what can I say? I’m a glutton for punishment, but also, I keep getting video requests from readers here and new folks on YouTube itself. It seems like that’s the direction the wind is taking me.
Arthritis & Knit Design
A big part of what threw me into a serious bout of depression last year was figuring out how to move forward in my creative career with an arthritis diagnosis. I am not a doctor, but am lucky enough to have access to one. She had to give me a talking to regarding taking care of my body and understanding that with the joint deterioration I’ve already experienced at just age 32, I simply have to do less if I want to ensure long term quality of life. This was also a wake up call about my addition to work and that there are real consequences to pursuing too much at once. Simply put, my arthritis escalates too rapidly if I’m designing knit and crochet patterns all the time. (Please don’t email me solutions to or recommendations for my arthritis. I have had major repetitive stress issues since the age of 14 and prefer to discuss my personal situation with my doctors exclusively.)
I’ve had a channel since almost day 1 of Hands Occupied back in 2010, but I always found the platform intimidating. Turns out, though, that all the video work I’ve done for clients’ social media pages over the past 5 years has resulted in some fans of my video teaching style I didn’t realize I had! (A very humbling surprise for which I am grateful.)
On YouTube, there will be knit & crochet tutorials despite my arthritis issues because they often only require a swatch, not huge finished projects. Also, I am aware I’ve got a lot of knitting and crochet knowledge to share, and my background in public librarianship has armed me with the ability to explain things in accessible ways.
I plan on expanding the Hands Occupied YouTube channel to include all yarn crafts, i.e. latch hook, macrame, punch needle, etc. I’ll keep in touch with the YouTube community as I go to see what people are interested in. I’d love to experiment with making videos like the one embedded below featuring a Colorado yak ranch. There are so many interesting corners fo the yarn craft world to visit, and I’d love an excuse to share them with you if you’re interested! As a content creator, half the time the hard part is guessing what viewers and readers want to see, so I’m excited to put together a video/tutorial request form on my site as YouTube grows and expands.
That’s all for now!
And with those calming yaks, I have to say that’s a LOT, so thank you so much for reading this far! The last thing I have for you all is a little treat – there’s a giveaway this weekend on my Instagram for a 4-skein knitting kit from Zen Yarn Garden, featuring a knit design I completed during my hiatus, the Chrysler Arch Shawl. Thanks again for being an internet friend and have a beautiful week!