Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Alchemy in the New Year

Natural dyeing. (l-r) Fustic heartwood gave the pale golds, Madder root gave the spice colors in the center, and the purples are Logwood heartwood. Fustic and Madder are 50/50 Merino Silk, and the Logwood are superwash merino sport.

 From Corporate America to Working From Home: Part I, by Michelle Wang

 From Corporate America to Working From Home: Part II, by Michelle Wang

 From Corporate America to Working From Home, Part III, by Michelle Wang

Through the miracle of the internet, I found these fantastic blog posts from designer Michelle Wang on what it was like for her to quit her corporate job and work from home designing (extraordinary) knitwear. It's a very honest, personal look at what it took to make the transitions and the lessons she learned en route.

Fortuitous. Earlier this week I was at a doctor's appointment when the nurse taking my blood pressure asked if I worked...
"...I work from home" I said without thinking. It was the first time that the thought had actually materialized in my head, much less articulated itself to a stranger, even though now that I think about it, I have been 'working from home' non-stop since early September.

Being a military spouse, there are often times just after a move or when living abroad that employment is just not possible.  One of the reasons I became a librarian was that there are libraries everywhere- but unfortunately there are not always job openings for my experience level at the right time. I have managed to cobble together some truly exceptional library experiences- notably at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, and the Providence Athenaeum in Rhode Island- but these experiences are always limited. I enjoy a few months, maybe a year or so at a library then we move. It's what we do in the military. We are lucky that it has suited us well thus far. We enjoy moving to new places and meeting new people. Every move is like an adventure.
But it does make it difficult on one's career.

Now I find myself in the beautiful Hudson Valley, NY.
Seemingly from the moment I got here doors have been opening for me and opportunities have been landing in my lap. It's actually kinda ridiculous. Thanks in most part to Kristy of Clay Wood & Cotton in Beacon, NY, who has introduced me to most of the town and made me see the numerous entrepreneurial opportunities out there in the knitting and fiber world.

Over the past five months I have published a few patterns including a sweater pattern that has made me VERY keen to continue with that line of work, been commissioned to design a sweater for Stitch Seekers out of New Zealand, learned to dye yarn and started selling my yarn at a local yarn shop, started a blog, and etsy shop, ravelry group, and helped out at the LYS over the holidays- which has seriously strengthened my knowledge of fiber and how to select appropriate fiber for your project...  knitted and sold hats, cowls, and infinity scarves, worked my first craft fair, and developed quite the inspiring network of of techniques, blogs, designers, dyers, and farms that inspire me daily. I even have even been able to carve out a studio space in our sunroom. My desk is there, a few overflowing tubs of yarn, and a bathroom with a bathtub- which has been extremely useful in keeping the bulk of the dyeing process out of the kitchen.

So now what? I admit it, I work from home, and I'm pretty happy about it. But I'm still quite new at it. In the army they have this notion of 'the idea fairy'. The idea fairy is when someone in your unit, who typically out ranks you, who comes up with a REALLY GOOD IDEA! and everyone MUST START DOING IT RIGHT NOW! It's only after everyone has gotten up to their eyeballs in it that they realise this was actually a stupid idea and wasn't well thought out and now it has wasted everyone's time. This is the idea fairy. It gives you bad good ideas.
I am trying to avoid the idea fairy. But man... it's tempting to get drawn into different directions. I have so many ideas that they wake me up at night and I have to write them down in a notebook. I still don't know how to process all that creativity when there are so few hours in the day!
Something I will have to work on.

Anyway, if you are interested in my work, and read this blog, there are going to be some changes as I figure out what direction I want to take and what, in reality, my work load will be like. I am usually not this verbose, and would much rather express what I'm doing visually. So I imagine that future updates will be more images and less words. Hope that's alright with everyone.

If you have made it this far, and are still reading... I am very interested in what you are doing and what inspires you. Add me as a friend of ravelry so I can keep up with what you are working on. You are a constant source of inspiration and I would love to keep in touch :)

Happy New Year, everyone... may it be an adventure for all of us!

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