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As I Mean to Go On

April 11, 2013

I have been listening to a few podcast’s recently. Mainly older episodes of Cast On, with Brenda Dayne (just typing that made me think of the introduction that plays.) I have slowly been making my way through the episodes, and while I enjoy listening to them for a variety of reasons, lately I am finding the topics seem to be addressing issues and areas of my own life.

I am at the point where in the series where she is discussing the idea of; “starting as you mean to go on.” This is not a new concept, I know I have heard of it before in a few different places. Yet, I am finding myself really considering it this time. Maybe it’s because of the changes in my life in the past year, or it has to do with the fact that I really am wondering where I am going.

In the last few days I have had more than a few conversations concerning my goals and desires in life. My goals in life have changed so much in the last year that I can honestly say that I am not sure of my footing, yet in the past week or so my mind has been drifting back to the same areas of interest.

I had my in-laws visit on Monday, and while I entertained them for a few hours before my husband arrived home, I babbled on (and on) about my work in spinning, weaving and knitting. They humored me with questions, and expressed admiration in my ability to spin while carrying on a conversation. As it does in almost any conversation the status of my job search came up and once again I had really no new news to share. It was at this point that the question of doing something in the fiber arts came up, but I found myself coming up with reasons why it wasn’t a feasible option and slowly the conversation turned to something else.

Later after they had left, my husband and I were talking and I made mention of how the blogging was going and how there have been more followers lately (welcome!) and how it seems that on days where I go more in-depth on the knitting/spinning/weaving are days when I seem to gain more views/likes/comments. Again the concept of making a job out of it came up and again I made up some excuse or another and dropped it.

Earlier this week, I attended a meeting for young alumni in the area and while it was fun, I had to be prodded to attend. I knew the inevitable question would arise as to where I was working. I also knew the inevitable looks I would get as I explained the situation. As far as I could tell I was the only one unemployed in a group of about 10-15 people and while I made contacts and generally just got out of the apartment, I had one conversation that stuck with me. It was with someone who graduated the same year as myself. He inquired where I was working and I replied, that currently I was looking for work. He nodded along asking a few more questions before asking the one that sticks in my mind even now. “What do you want to be doing?” I think I managed some random response, but internally I was suddenly fixating on it.

What is it that I want to be doing? I have been applying to job after job, ones that are of interest to be sure, and ones that I honestly hope I get, but with each rejection I find myself getting more discouraged. I apply for jobs that I am qualified for and that I would be good at, but truth be told I haven’t considered what I want to be doing. I mean when I left grad school I thought I would try my hand at fiction writing and while there is some progress there, it isn’t going as well as I hoped.

What is it I want to be doing? That question seems so obvious and yet I can’t seem to answer it completely. As I look at my blog and read through old posts, and glance around my apartment I am starting to realize a better question might be where are my passions?

If I were to be really honest it would be history and fiber arts. I have always been interested in history, in particular the history of ordinary people; the unsung heroes. Men and women, who’s lives may not have been recorded in the books I read in school. And while I am a recent convert to the fiber arts community (relatively speaking) I still soak up info like a sponge. I find the history of it the most exciting. The traditions, growth, and progress. Most of my craft books have at least a little history in them, and I have a few that are straight up about the history, but I find myself still craving more.

Considering how for a long time knitting has been considered “women’s work” (and is still relegated to that realm in the larger culture I think) and how history tends to skim over this I can naturally see how my passions intersect. Now I am not coming out saying I want to write a book on it. (But it would be pretty darn cool, too) I have just realized that in terms of passions and direction (maybe only as topics for this blog) this is what I want to be doing. And so I think I will try implementing this into my posts. I can’t say how this will translate in terms of the blog, I do know it is something I want to pursue.

That being said, I would love to get feedback from you. Are there areas of interest that you would like explored? Do you have suggestions for books, articles, other blogs that cover this? Does this sound like a totally silly idea? If you would be so kind as to share in the comments I would be most appreciative.

As I move forward I think I am going to concentrate on the idea of starting as I mean to go on. Exploring topics of interest, discussing concepts of what it means to be a fiber artist and seeing where this journey of discovering my passions takes me.



From → Fiber Arts, Musings

  1. We have to embrace what we are because it is very hard to change it. Like you I get exhausted by the company of others yet I lived with an extrovert for many years. He liked parties, I didn’t. It was no surprise that I enjoy(ed) the solitary occupations like knitting and reading. Like you I took up spinning in the early Spring of 2012. My husband bought me a spinning wheel and that was it. I haven’t tried weaving yet. I don’t think my cottage is big enough for any more hobbies! Enjoy your life in whichever way you can. It is far too short to do anything else!

  2. How many of us are working for the paycheck (and health insurance) after grad school? I am one of many I’m sure. I hope you find the right path. Go where the fiber leads you 🙂

  3. danadoodle permalink

    I think writing posts/books on the history of the textile/fiber industry would be fascinating, and I think more and more recently there has been a desire for it from the current industry, resulting in, I’m sure, many of the books you have on your shelf. I think looking at knitting as a jumping off point would be a great way to go, using it to tell history, as opposed to narrowly looking at the history of knitting with less context.
    I’m not a huge history person, it’s never been my favorite subject, but recently I’ve loved watching the history (and science) episodes of Crash Course ( and World History specifically, John Green has a great way of explaining things.

    On a separate note, I am finding myself in a similar position, where I am not sure what I want to do with my life. I’m still in grad school, and I’m not enjoying it as much as I want to or expected to, but I need to give it more time to be fair to it and myself. However, I have been putting more and more effort into designing, spending a lot of time and energy learning about pattern writing, photography, graphic designing, etc. and my school life continues to wither, despite it giving me my only income.

    Anyway, to sum up, I think if you find something that you /do/ want to do, then do it! And if you don’t, well, you’re not alone.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I appreciate the links you shared. I agree with you in using knitting and the fiber arts in general as a jumping off point, I am a big history fan, but for me the most interesting parts have to do with the non-big-players, the relative unknowns of history. I love thinking about the lives of people who weren’t at the forefront of a battle, the solider whose name we don’t know, and the life he left behind. To me that is where history comes alive.
      Thank you for the reminder that when it comes to figuring out what I want to do, I am not alone. I appreciate it. Best of luck in your grad school journey, whether that is carried out to the degree or you decide to leave.

  4. It helps to be doing something you enjoy. How about giving spinning lessons?

    • That’s so true. In terms of spinning lessons I was self taught and wouldn’t want to teach someone the wrong technique, if that makes sense, but thanks for thee idea.

  5. »Do what you want to do« is a great question. Although our generation won’t be doing the same job for the next 30, 40 years to come (at least, that’s how it is in my country), I found out pretty quickly that a great paycheck doesn’t motivate me enough. I struggle, too, with what I want to do …

    Read Kate Davies’ blog »Needled«, if you don’t do that already. She was a professor (I think) at a Scottish university and is into textile history and science. She blogs about the history of crafting and knitting, spinning and weaving regularly and also links to interesting articles and books. Plus, her designs are really, really georgous …

    Good luck on that! You’ll find your way. I’m sure.

Care to share? Let me know what you think in the comments section.

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