Saturday, March 27, 2010


So I'm starting to think about my little side businesses again...wouldn't it be fun, and certainly different, to just try and get a little Etsy shop going this summer? To get a permit for our little Thursday farmers' market and set up a little booth of naturally dyed stuff, and from the stuff a friend dyes? I want to dip my toes into something that isn't teaching. I want to do some writing (other than my splendid blog and highly unreadable journals). I want something published. And I admit it...I want to be a small part of that ineffable "club" within the fiber world. The one where normal, regular, everyday people have come to have a name within our community by the power of their own hands.

I don't begrudge the folks who have "made it" for a moment. These things don't happen by accident. A good musician knows that while a certain amount of inherent talent sure helps, the willingness to sit one's ass in the chair with instrument in hand, and PLAY IT (and not just the flashy solos) is what makes or breaks a performer, in the end. I believe that's applicable to any situation. I'm ready to work, if I can just figure out where to start. And I will.

Here's the unreasonable part begins, and as I write this post, I think I know what it's all about. (More on that in a minute.) Before the whole Knitting Revolution took place, let's see...way back in the mid- to late '90s, I'd say...there were Names in knitting. And they showed up in all of the very few publications available, which isn't surprising, seeing as there were very few outlets. I'm talking the pre-internet Dark Ages. Then, kerplooey! Knitting got BIG. Self-pubishing! Downloadable PDFs! Shopping cart software! Blogs! Those few publications became many more, and while the original Names haven't faded away, soon there were many more ways to get your face and your product out there than to be published in IK or Knitters or Vogue. I think this is a wonderful thing.

So the list of Names grew. The newer Names have been heralded as shaking up the industry and rightly so. Fresh faces, fresh ideas, working outside the traditional system. Good stuff. But...and I really hesitate to say this, because it sounds so whiny...and it is...but...stay with me...

I feel like we're back where we started, only with different Names. Maybe I just need to get out more often, but I feel like where I used to see an original bunch of Names everywhere, now I see what used to be the newhipandwow indie Names...well, everywhere. What used to be the vanguard has become the old guard, and here we go again. The more things change, the more things stay the same. "They" (who? I don't know) have found a new group of cool kids to chase, and as we all learned in junior high, the cool kids get everything.

Now: I think what's really happening is that in my pointy little head, the voice of fear is saying, "Don't bother. There's no room for you. It's all been done before and no one really cares what you have to say. You lost your chance; actually, you never had one. Stick with what you know. It's good enough." Listening to that voice makes it easy not to take the risk. It certainly is the safer path.

But it's in direct conflict with what I stated I want. I can't be published if I don't ever send Spin-Off or knitty an article. I won't sell any handspun on Etsy if I never put it UP on Etsy. The fiber world can't knock on my door if they don't have my address. It would appear I want the end results, and even though I'm not afraid to do the work it would take...I want it to be done already. I guess. My rational side knows that nothing the new Names did happened by magic. It's a result of sitting one's ass in the metaphorical chair and doing what needs to be done. My unreasonable side sits in the corner and pouts and wonders why some people have all the luck.

My final question (for this post, at least) is, why do I insist on istening so keenly to the unreasonable voice?


Marcy said...

I often feel the same frustration, if it's any help. There are some designers and writers who are darn good and deserve it, but there are others who are plainly crap. I have no idea why they became a "name". I remind myself, it is because they sent something to the publisher. That's how it starts. Just because they are "names" doesn't mean they are "good". You have to take the first step. I'm working towards it too.

Fujiyamamama said...

Do it Barb! Perhaps it could be a summer goal?

Batty said...

Do it. Even if you don't become one of the big names, you can still have fun along the way. And that's what it's all about, right?

Anonymous said...

Oh, Barb, I know exactly what you mean! In fact, I think it's been a recurring theme of my life. For a long time, I wanted to be a potter, but I had a less-than-ideal wheel and refused to invest the time and patience necessary to work towards that vision I had.

On the other hand, I did submit an article to Spin Off, which was published, but to be perfectly honest, I haven't touched my wheel since we lived in Germany and have only very recently taken any interest in knitting again.

My point, I guess, is that these new names we see (even if you don't think their designs are awesome) seem to have either invested a ton of energy over a long period of time (something I have a difficult time sustaining, but I'm working on that) or have had a bit of luck and fortune on their sides...

All that to say - you can do it!