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?
Last week I gave you ideas on how to use up your least favourite skeins. Today I’m talking about my first project that I did with mine.
Like I mentioned last week, I’m designing beanies with the yarn I have from various sources. Some of it is KnitPicks that I’d purchased with the intent to sell the finished products at markets. That obviously didn’t happen. Now, with this being my last market season and already having stock from the last 2 years, I knew I didn’t need to bring in new pieces. Other yarn is from Knitcrate that just isn’t my style or preferred colour scheme.
For the this particular design I knew I wanted to keep it simple. But also have something to keep it interesting beyond “just another ribbed beanie”. So I added a double brim and did different ribbing ratios on the body of the hat compared to the brim.
It’s customizable to head size, you just need to measure your head and do more or less repeats. I also include a link on how to do a provisional cast on because that’s my preferred method of double brims.
I need to finish a few other wips before I start my next one although it was my intention to have 2 per month and I’m kinda running out of time for September. Maybe there will be 3 in October!
You can get the pattern here. And the yarn I used here.