For the next couple of days I’ll be participating in the 6th Annual Knitting and Crochet blog week hosted by eskmimimakes. Check out this post to get a preview of what I’m going to write about during the week!
Today I’ll be talking about finding my crafting “identity”, and how I feel I fit in the “crochet world”.
I started to crochet when I was 12, where my mom taught me how to chain. I couldn’t figure out how to double crochet and gave up. Fast forward six years where as a bored college freshman I managed to pick it up again during winter break, and I was completely hooked! While I quickly picked up on techniques (even learned how to knit!), my appreciation for the needle arts grew. How cool it was, I thought, that I can make a ton of unique and useful items with a hook and some yarn? With this enthusiasm, I decided to try on a couple different hats in order to spread awareness and enthusiasm for knitting and crochet.
Big Box Teacher
I was hired as a crochet instructor for a large craft store chain for a couple months. At first I was excited to be spreading my love of crochet to others, and was very optimistic about teaching classes. In my 6 months of employment, I only taught a single class, and with the time allotted the student wasn’t even able to finish. Maybe it was because of the area I was situated in, but no one in the area seemed interested in taking class. Along with that, I personally believed that the classes seemed to tell customers that they could finish a full project as a complete beginner in under three hours. There was also the fact that making my hobby a job wasn’t as fun as I expected, and I quickly left my position.
Indie Biz Owner
During the holidays I made a hat for my cousin that he received a ton of compliments on, and he asked if I had some sort of online store that he could tell people to look up. As I had a Storenvy account for some time and had been considering on and off selling items, this was the push to make an official store. Again, I jumped into it with a decent amount of enthusiasm, and thought that this would be a great way to generate a small amount of income besides the occasional ultrasound modeling gig. I quickly learned that even though it’s an online store, I still had to put in a significant amount of time into it daily with marketing and social media in order to draw attention to potential customers. That’s time that a university pre-med student doesn’t really have.
I quickly found out that not only was being a pattern designer was a better niche for me, but also that I needed to take my time in writing as well. It’s slightly embarrassing, but I’m on my 3rd revision of my only paid pattern after people have noticed tiny typos I’ve overlooked while proofreading! Although it would be cool to churn out patterns on a regular basis, I had to tell myself that I had other, much higher priorities (accelerated biochemistry class, studying for the MCAT) and that I should consider maybe putting designing on the back burner.
Charity Group COORDINATOR
In the middle of Sophomore year, I founded my university’s charity knit and crochet club. It’s been a rather interesting ride, but it’s also been brimming with opportunities. I jumped into forming a charity club with just as much enthusiasm as my other endeavours as I believed that I could help promote the needle arts to the college crowd. Was I successful? I suppose. Over the past two years my group has managed to only have a handful of members, and I’ve had to tell the local children’s’ hospital that my club will send them blankets next semester. Twice.
On the other hand, if I haven’t founded the club I would have never found out about the university english department’s Knit Lit group, work with a student organization that focuses on art therapy, be invited to run a lab during the university’s first Tedx event, or be able to help Warm Up America clear out their warehouse!
Through all of these experiences, I’d like to think that I’m now primarily a charity/humanitarian crafter that occasionally gets the entrepreneurial itch. Throughout all of these experiences, my appreciation for the fiber arts and my enthusiasm to share these joys has never waned, and I figured out that teaching for charity or for non-profit organizations is my main ‘thing’.
So I ask you, how do you identify yourself as a crafter?