Trying to make a business out of handwork is sort of an oxymoron. Handwork is meant to be slow, meditative. It takes time, as we knitters and sewists know well. When you make work out of it, turn it into a business, there is suddenly a heavy pressure to speed it up and knit/sew/design/write patterns oh so quickly. I've had designs accepted before by yarn companies or magazines only to have a completed sample (or two!) and pattern due six weeks later. Crazy.
I've been striking a balance and trying to find the slow in this work. It's been lovely, so, so lovely. But I also realize that finding a balance in fact hasn't meant finding something that was already there, so much as letting go of some projects and saying no to others. In other words, I haven't found a balance so much as I've been doing less. And I've been falling back in love with my craft.
This year I've knit twice from other people's patterns. I knit Leila Raabe's Deschain and Stephen West's Smooth Move. I was reminded of how fun knitting can be! So fun! I've been missing that joy as my hobby has turned into my work. I've been turning over and over in my mind how best to maintain that while making this sustainable for me in terms of time, life/work balance, parenting, and still finding joy in what I do.
At the moment I'm working on an independent collection, one which I'm very excited about. Part of making it sustainable and joyful for me is knitting the samples in my own size. Generally I like to be taking the pictures, so this is a leap for me, but one that I think will help me find more joy in my work. Instead of finding garments in someone else's size to style my knitwear with, I'm making the garments I'd already want to wear. I'm using the collection as a way to build a small capsule wardrobe of things I want to wear over and over again. Which means there has been a lot of sewing of late! Which is just one more way I've been finding joy and balance in my work.
This is a funny old industry I'm working in, and I'm still trying to figure out what makes the most sense personally, business wise and creatively. I know there is an answer in there somewhere, but giving myself the mental time and space to find it is important. I hope you carve some of that out for yourself, whatever your personal needs are!