If I had to guess, I’d say there were mixed reviews from our maker community about 2016. Some of us absolutely loved the last 12 months, some of us hated it. Some of us hit our resolutions, some of us didn’t give them a second thought after the first day of January. But of this I’m sure: 2016 was a year of transition. A year that no doubt tested us emotionally, mentally and professionally. I know it did for me. I had the amazing opportunity to meet so many of you at our first event in beautiful New York City in July – it literally felt like the best day of my life. And at times, my team and I felt like we were planning a wedding (well OML dream teamer Alison literally planned her wedding at the same time.) And then less than a month after the event in August — boom. I was laid-off from my job of almost three years and just like that, before I could even chain stitch my thoughts together, I was a full-time maker.
I’ll be honest with you, the next three months were tough and stressful, but they were also eerily peaceful. It felt like I was being pushed along spiritually to just rest, pray and to be thankful not for what I had lost, but for what I stood to gain. To transition and elevate my thoughts about life. To listen more closely to the birds singing outside. To laugh and enjoy more time with my guy. To be there for my family. To support the maker community and its goals. To embrace and pursue what I’ve always envisioned for myself as a maker, but never really acted on. That meant pulling back from chasing money and jobs just a bit, and to simply bask in a cup of coffee and a skein of yarn. Not everyone got it, as I was pressed by some to turn the maker life into a new full-time job where I did craft shows like them or spent all my energy turning my blog and social media presence into an online storefront. But I knew this transitional experience was more than that. It was more than knitting to sell. It was more than getting cozy likes and followers. For me, it was about the sheer beauty of waking up each day, taking a breath, yes applying for work, but more so applying and discovering joy in whatever the day brought me. To truly take it one step at a time. To be simultaneously terrified and optimistic, to be both excited and cluless on where I was really going - but to pick up my yarn, smile, and make something anyways.
In this time, I had lunch with one of my career mentors and he posed life’s question to me best: Jewell, what do you really want to do with your life? Don’t answer now, but just think about it because there is no better time to make it totally awesome.
And so I pose this same question to you: what do you really want to do with your maker life for 2017?:
Will you finally open your Etsy or other online maker shop?
Will you start to save and invest more money for yarn?
Will you practice and test that crochet pattern until it's right?
Will you apply for that big craft show?
Will you go part-time or full-time with your small business?
Will you support other makers in a more positive and less competitive light?
Will you release fear and plunge into your biggest and best maker life dreams?
Will you enjoy all that you stand to gain from knitting and crochet?
Just think about it. Because there really is no better time to create an awesome 2017 maker life. Your awesome 2017 maker life.
Nowadays, in between knitting and crochet, I work full-time for an architectural consulting firm. My colleagues and I have already had some cool conversations about crochet and knitting too. And I know that what I learned from August to November 2016 was a life changing transition. And I am ready for 2017 - determined to make it bigger, better and cozier than ever before. Hope that you are too.
Jewell, OML dream team and founder
Jewell is the graceful gal behind Northknits Handmade Knitwear. After realizing the peaceful beauty in quiet knitting and bible study time, she took a leap of faith and opened her shop and blog to create cozy knit accessories and inspire others through prayer and self-reflection. She enjoys the fast paced lifestyle as marketing director for an architectural consulting firm in Chicago, and as the founder of Our Maker Life has also discovered a calling in creatively connecting with others through knit and crochet.