“Let’s talk about you and me” now that I’ve gotten that song stuck in your head, let’s dive in.
This is not my first blog post on this topic, but I feel it needs re-iterating.
For a bit of background, I grew up in a house that is very fatphobic. To the point where when I was pregnant with my daughter Violet one of my concerns was gaining a lot of weight. It’s been ingrained into my psyche and it’s going to talk a lot of work to retrain my brain. I gained 40 pounds whilst pregnant and seemed to think I’d “bounce back” afterwards. That did not happen and I’m finally starting to love my changed body. You can talk all day about how our bodies create life etc but looking at a body that is now MUCH saggier than it used to be and comparing it other people who’ve also had kids who did bounce back is something I catch myself doing almost daily.
When I started designing garments I didn’t know what I know now. From the need to create as many sizes as possible to how few are actually out there to fit everyone. I also for some reason though it would be difficult to size the full range of Craft Yarn Councils Standards.
In my experience, it’s not.
If you’ve been following me for a while you know I’m adding sizes to all my garment patterns and my new ones this year are fully graded. However! My newest pattern I’ll be releasing in the next…few weeks(?) isn’t graded at all. WHAT?! HOW?! WHY?!
Because *drumroll please* ANYONE CAN MAKE IT TO FIT THEM!!
I’ve written it so that with gauge and formulas you can make my garment to fit you how you want it to fit you. And to me the best part is you don’t have to take my math and try and manipulate it to your body. Which I know is something a lot of people have to do but hopefully writing my pattern this way helps curb that.
I will be basing yardage off CYC until people make it and I have a better idea of actual yardage because there’s no real other way for me to figure it out.
Finally, designers seem to think there isn’t a market for sizes above 4X based on my ravelry searching. That’s obviously not true and so to quote Field of Dreams “If you build it, they will come.”
I don’t like working for other people. I realized this at some point in my adult life and it really shouldn’t have come as that much of a shock considering by that point both my parents had either worked or were working for themselves.
I hated the idea that all my hard work was going to make someone else rich. Why should they get to profit off my labour? (Insert line about how capitalism sucks).
I knew I wanted to ultimately work for myself and I figured I would open some kind of graphic design business once I was a stay at home mom. Which I did, you can find that website here. But in 2016 I started White Willow. What started out as Harry Potter inspired ready to wear pieces has evolved into a knitwear pattern design business that still has a toe (or leg) in the nerdy culture for pattern inspiration.
I’m not raking in the dough by any means at this point (Fall 2019) but I sell the occasional pattern and I know it will just keep growing because I keep designing.
Now, to the point of this post. Sometimes the people closest to you won’t believe in you. I’m fortunate enough that my husband and close friends understand my need to be doing something creative that’s not necessarily designing some logo for a brand I don’t believe in with a font I can’t stand.
However I can’t say the same of my parents or other family members. They have never said anything in the way of “you should be doing something besides knitting” and my mom did pay me to make her a sweater (the Amethyst Grace Cardigan). However my aunt did balk at the price of my headbands because, and I quote, “I can get one at the dollar store.” Well, my yarn probably costs more than she anticipated paying but that’s okay!
She’s not my target demographic.
It’s okay that my family doesn’t think that what I do is work, because I know it is. It’s work that I love, but at the end of the day it’s my chosen profession and considering a few years ago I didn’t even knit, yet now I’m designing knitwear… I’m pretty damn proud of that.
So this is to all the people who look down on anyone for doing something “non-traditional” as their means of surviving in the capitalistic society we are dealing with. Just because you hate your job, doesn’t mean we have to.
We believe in our own damn selves.
What are your goals/dreams/aspirations?
My big/extremely lofty one is to….be bringing in “enough” income with my patterns etc that I can donate all of the profits of certain collections to organizations related to the collection.
For example: the profits from my Drag Race Collection which currently only has the Visage Tee in it – and I’m working on the second piece – would go to a LGBTQ+ organization. The profits from the beanies I’m creating with yarn that’s not my jam would go to an organization that helps the homeless in my community. You get the idea.
Now currently, I sell a couple patterns a month on average. My best month this year was June and that was due to my moving sale. So obviously I’m nowhere near that point yet. And I’m not talking like oodles of cash here, I mean I’m out of debt and can pay my bills and put a small amount into savings kind of profits.
Nevertheless, I will keep putting out patterns for pieces I want in my own closet. And maybe one day, I’ll take a look at my spreadsheet and say “damn, I’m there.”
What are some small steps you can take to make your dreams happen?