When my friend Lilith wrote her blog post about taking a much-needed break, I knew how hard it had been to write that blog post. I have known Lilith for many years - she is a goofy and smart person with so much talent and a big heart - and I know there are parts of her life she doesn't mention much. I am so proud of her for writing with candour and honesty. It is surprisingly hard to follow in her footsteps and write about my own life with equal candour and honesty. I don't like writing about my personal life and I often feel that writing about my working life also transgresses some boundaries. As a result, blogging can be really hard. Some time ago I asked: what would happen if you had to be yourself? I think I am about to find out now.
Many bloggers like to present their lives in a great light. I get fed up with so-called lifestyle bloggers really quickly because life is messy and dirty. I am surprised to find that I had fallen into the same trap. My life is messy and dirty at the moment. October was spectacularly awful (and September hadn't been great either). I was pulled in all directions at once (family, friends and work) and I finally unravelled last week. I am used to working a lot, but I am also used to being able to juggle various commitments and managing my time myself.
Some six years ago I was diagnosed with a chronic illness. At the time it felt like the end of the world, but I clawed my way back and carved myself a new space. I run my own business now because it allows me some flexibility in how I work. When that flexibility is removed from me, life becomes just that bit harder for me. October swallowed me up completely - one tiny aspect of my working life blew up and flat-lined me. Feeling helpless is not one of my favourite emotions, I can tell you that, and I am not just physically exhausted but also emotionally. It's not pleasant.
I have had a couple of lovely queries:
"I am knitting this shawl pattern, but I'd love if you designed matching mitts!" I'd love nothing better than design, design, design. But I also teach, tech-edit, copy-edit, translate, and do consultancy work in the yarn business. I'm trying to fit in as much designing as I can but it can be difficult to find time. I plan my design work carefully ahead of time - the last two months (especially October) have seen all my plans fly out the window. If you are waiting for me to design a pair of mitts to match a shawl, you may have to wait .. no, it is not going to happen. Sorry. Design-wise, I'm now looking at 2015 options and I have specific ideas already.
"Won't you come teach in my hometown? I love teaching and I love travelling. I am fully booked until mid-April now and I do have to plan carefully for reasons I hope are apparent.
Now the query that's closest to my heart.
"When's the next Doggerland pattern? It's been ages!" Doggerland is all me - and that is both good and bad. It's good because it is so authentically me and what I do. It's bad because I am doing every single aspect of it myself - and that means if I am pulled in another direction, Doggerland just waits. And waits.
My original time line was this: the Vedbaek shawl was due out end of September, the next pattern out mid-October, and the last(!) pattern should have been out today. Vedbaek is still unreleased and I am so incredibly stressed out about it. It is sitting at roughly 85% - I still need to chart some things, do a photo shoot, and write an essay. The other two patterns are fully designed as well but need some love and attention. I would love nothing better than share them with you. Hang in there with me.
Right now? Life is messy and dirty. My partner & some close friends forced me to book proper time off (not just one day or a working holiday) at the end of this month. I am trying to make some changes to aspects of my work/life balance.
This is me: I am tired, sad, and a bit scared. I hope that isn't entirely off-putting. It's still all wrapped up in wool.