Whoa. I have a blog! Who knew? (Not me, apparently.) I’m really glad that I discovered that this week, because it’s a good week for finding such things. At least… it is for me. I needed this outlet.
It’s been almost half a decade since I began my business of making and selling pretty string for people to stab with sticks or jab with hooks until it’s even prettier. That’s shorter than some businesses, and longer than a lot of others. I’ve seen so many of my extremely talented dyer friends hang up their dye pots and reluctantly return to traditional careers. I am saddened for them, and worried for me. I count my blessings every day that I am fortunate enough to still be here, doing that thing.
At the same time, as the days progress, I can readily admit that even the very thought of using yarn after my work day is over can make me vurp a little bit sometimes!
When you immerse yourself into a creative business, you don’t always consider that working with the things you love and turning those things into a job, well, turns it into a JOB. Colonel Sanders probably didn’t go home expecting Kentucky Fried Chicken to grace his table every night. (I mean, maybe he did. But I’m thinking probably not. I’m thinking the very thought of a crispy drumstick likely made him want to hurl!)
Right off the bat, let me tell you: I am not whining! I am so fortunate to do what I love and not have to go to a 9-5 traditional jobby-job to do it! But for some months now, it’s been pretty hard for me to pick up needles or a hook at the end of the day. As I add more LYS trunk shows and fiber festivals to my yearly calendar, I have had to increase the number of shop samples that I have in my booths or on my tables. So for quite some time, I was under the pressure to crank out projects with my own yarn so that people would see it, want it, and I would have to dye more if it. Even my knitting and crocheting after cleaning up dinner and settling into my jammies has become a job! That ain’t cool.
In the last few weeks, I made a conscious choice to stop being ridiculous. It may save me a few cents to make my own samples, but at what price? I have TONS of gorgeous yarn from other makers just sitting here in my stash. For years, I have stowed away the things I’ve purchased from other dyers and spinners, because it made me sad to look at it, and feel guilty if I used it instead of my own products. Even some of my own OOAK stuff makes me feel guilty to use it. Why make a project in a color I love, but one I don’t dye anymore and can’t recreate? When I knit or crochet something that I say will be entirely for myself and it IS yarn of mine that’s repeatable, I feel guilty for doing that, too, and it somehow becomes a shop sample that I can’t wear. And spinning? Oh my gosh. When’s the last time I spun a darned thing? Wislawa (that’s my dark walnut Kromski Minstrel, and she’s a beauty!) just stares at me, unloved.
The only thing I have done entirely for myself in the last two years that hasn’t involved my business is long-distance running.
My hour (or more for long runs!) of running every day is the one time that I don’t owe anyone thoughts about wool. That’s all well and good, but sometimes I want to sit on my arse, not sweat, and also not owe anyone thoughts about wool. Something needs to change so that I can love working with fiber again.
And so, I have decided that I will be outsourcing almost all samples from here on out. The best thing I can do for myself is pay someone else to work with my yarn so I don’t feel like I have to. I can choose to, but I won’t be forced to do it. That’s pretty key and will be worth every last cent.
Yesterday, I went banoodles. It all started with cleaning out my car and finding the tinker-toy grid boxes I used the first year we vended at Hallockville before I figured out the glory of gridwall. My hands are bleeding and sore, but I built those stinkin’ boxes. I took ALL of my beautiful stash of yarn and fiber out of hiding, dusted Wislawa off to give her a spot with the antique chair next to my bed. Everything has a home. I’m going to use it, and not feel guilty. I love to support other dyers by buying their things. What’s the point if I’m not using their stuff?!
My floor needs vacuuming (don’t judge me. It’ll happen someday, but today is not that day), but here are all of the things I can finally display and use! It’s not particularly neat, but I know what every box has, and where it is. The cat thinks it’s all hers, and clearly that’s the only thing that matters.
Annnnnd I got my fiber mojo back! Knitting at Spider Bite with the usual locals is a favorite pastime of mine. This is my yarn, but it’s yarn I want to use, not yarn I have to use. These will be my socks, and will not grace a fake foot at a fiber show. They will grace my feet! And this cowl is one that I want to knit. It’s also my yarn, but it’s my husband Thaddeus‘ new The System Is Down design, and it is super fun to work on. I love short rows, and can’t wait to finish it!
And, Wislawa is happy – I put 2oz on a bobbin this week, and the other 2oz should be done and I can ply them this weekend!
Bottom line? Know when to ask for help. No matter what the situation is, if you find yourself wondering when it’s time to ask for help, it’s totally time to ask for help!
I have some wonderful sample knitters and crocheters lined up for myself, but feel free to drop me a line if you think you can be of service!
Thanks for reading! Until next time 🙂