Hello again! Thanks for all your good wishes after the last podcast and I’m pleased to report that my neck and shoulder are continuing to improve and I’m getting back into doing the things I enjoy. I’m also relishing this autumn and the opportunity that I’ve had over the last few weeks to slow down a bit, even if it was for all the wrong reasons!
Since I developed a trapped nerve in my neck at the beginning of October, I’ve had a lot more time to think and reflect on how I’ve made the transition to working full time as Crafternoon Treats. As I said in the podcast, every cloud can have a silver lining if you look hard enough for it. Sometimes, when your body screams to stop, you have to do just that and it can be quite valuable.
So much of my life has been spent as a science and medical writer its been tricky to adjust to doing something different. When I took those first steps last year to working full time in craft, I must admit to going through a lot of doubt. Could I make it work? Was I just fooling myself that I could be creative? What if people laughed at what I made? Was I kidding myself that I could do something new? I still have those sorts of thoughts on a regular basis but now that I’ve had chance to stop and think, I can appreciate that I’ve achieved quite a bit in the last 12 months..
I certainly love having days filled with crochet and everything connected with yarn but it has taken time to see this as ‘work’. In one way, its so enjoyable it can’t possibly be work… but also because I’ve done these things purely for fun for so long, its hard not to feel guilty and worry that I’m wasting time when I’m doing them during the day! Having worked from home for 30 years you would think I would be used to it but turning your hobby into a way to earn a living does cause some conflicts that you just don’t expect.
In my downtime during October I realised that while I used to use spreadsheets, an online diary and project management/scheduling tools for planning my writing work and managing deadlines and workflow, I’d not done this at all since I set up my Etsy shop last September. As a result, I’ve often felt overwhelmed, zig zagging from one task to another, sometimes not achieving very much at all. But just because crocheting, developing patterns, making stitch markers and dyeing yarn is creative, its still got to be managed effectively and efficiently. So with this new insight, I’ve set myself up with some good project management tools. Hopefully this means I won’t be doing less, it will just all be more efficient and I’ll have some time to make sure I take care of my health.
Enjoying autumn and the first fires
One thing I want to do more of is to practice mindfulness – being in the moment – and not missing the days as they speed by. Autumn is one of my favourite times of the year, even though I’m not overly keen on being cold and dark nights do get a bit dreary by February.
During early November, we’ve had lovely autumn weather here. Crisp, bright and cold. I’ve been feeling inspired to return to organising my Etsy shop. It may be all online, but it still needs tidying and setting out, pretty much like a real shop. Since my neck problem started, I haven’t been up to being creative in the dyepots (my gentle come-back has begun) so I’ve concentrated instead on my yarn jewellery.
The components for this are very portable and while I do have a dedicated ‘jewellery desk’ in my office/craft room, I can make stitch markers almost anywhere. In the summer I spent quite a bit of time in my garden room with my tray of goodies but now that the colder weather is here, the kitchen table by my wood fired stove has become the place to create. I haven’t quite got my scheduling system up to scratch yet, partly because I got behind with a few things due to the pain-in-the-neck trapped nerve. One thing was a blog post for Craftsy and although I had timetabled some stitch marker making in on Friday, I ended up putting the finishing touches to the crochet legwarmers I’ve been making.
The stove does pound out a lot of heat and the cats love it… in the photo above you can see my other cat, Maia, a fluffy old girl who is coming up sweet 16 in February. I love my kitchen and having the large table in there really does make it so useful for crafting! I have my laptop at one end, so I can process photos and add text as I go along, the kettle is always ready to boil and I can have things on the stove so that cooking later is easier and faster.
Do you also notice the square wooden tray? This is my latest bargain from the vintage shop that I like to go to in Selby where we have our Crochet and Chat group. This is such a simple design and its solid mahogany. It was a bit dusty but has polished up beautifully and is really handing for transporting crafty bits plus candle and drinks. Did I mention it was only £3.50? I’ll never be a minimalist… but I thought it might make a good background for photos 🙂 This one looks a bit dark as the candle is dominating everything, but at least its square so good for Instagram!
Making stitch markers… eventually
With all this extra faffing about, is it any wonder that I never got round to the stitch markers on Friday? Over the weekend I packed up the ones I already had in stock for orders and planned to replenish the shop and to work on some new designs on Monday morning. As it was so cold and frosty I decided the stove was the place to be again and my kitchen table once again became my workstation.
I’ll tell you more about some more new designs later on, once they are all ready for the Etsy shop but I did want to show you these:
I’ve had the Right side, Wrong side markers in the shop for a while now – they were originally born from a request that became a custom order. The ones in this picture were also a custom order from someone who wanted a very lightweight set for a very delicate lacy project. The usual gemstone ones weigh less than 2 grams, so aren’t really heavy but I had bought these ultra lightweight polymer beads from a fair earlier in the year and thought they would be perfect.
I don’t have many of the beads and if they prove popular will have to source some more, but I’m really pleased with how they turned out. They are super-light and I hope I will have a happy customer when they get posted off tomorrow.
I’m going to add them to the shop soon, but I think I’ll make a few of the SSK/K2T sets from them too, perhaps even a couple of FT and BK (front and back) sets so that I can see how the limited number of beads that I have pair up. Once they’re ready, I’ll post them up on Instagram.
See you soon 🙂 xxx Kathryn