Big news here for Robin Hunter Designs. I handed in my resignation late Friday afternoon and will be a full time knitting professional after my last day here which will be March 5th.
This is scary stuff. I'm very lucky in that I retired at 48 from a corporate job at Bell and was given an enhanced pension to "encourage" me to leave. It was a massive downsizing and provided the best financial compensation package that Bell ever gave. Unfortunately a pension is a pension and is not quite the same as a salary.
I will be working hard on publishing patterns and hope to pick up more teaching opportunities to make some extra cash. I have been booked to speak in May at the DKC http://downtownknitcollective.ca/dkc_upmeetings.html so I'm looking forward to that and to two other potential knitting related gigs. If you book classes in Toronto or the surrounding area please think of me. I have a list of classes from short ones like my No Turns Allowed that teaches how to knit bobbles without turning the work, to Knitters Rehab which is an eight week design class that reduces pattern dependency in Knitters.
The job I'm leaving like all others was a bit of a mixed blessing. It allowed me to get more money in my retirement fund. It was much simpler than the work I did at Bell, in a very small office with an interesting cast of characters. Ultimately I came to the conclusion that taking an easy, low stress job wasn't what I expected it to be. The first thing I noticed was that my personal reading habits changed after I was there about six months I realized I was no longer reading so much lightweight quick reads. I started reading a lot more non fiction as well as a significant amount of fiction that a friend called "the kind of stuff she would only read for credit in a literature class." Clearly I was searching for intellectual stimulation. I started writing patterns part time and while I had been designing for myself for a long time I found that the challenge and the learning curve of my newly acquired software thrilling and at the same time calming as I move into the flow experience easily while pattern writing.
I've been doing the interview series for a while now but very few professionals seem to make anything more than a modest living at this. That scares me because right now I'm in the red versus black. Every pattern I produce is costing me money as I'm still buying basic infrastructure items. The last two things were a photographic stand and a backdrop. So I want everyone to remember when they are paying for their patterns and looking at the cost of an individual pattern as being too much that it took a lot more than just what they see on the piece of paper to create that pattern, for me it's giving up the security of the salary of a full time job so I can pursue my passion. Unfortunately there has to be a lot of amazing designers out there who will never have the luxury of being able to do the same.