Over the weekend, I made a decision. Maybe it’s not so big, but it felt kind of big to me. I decided to close my Etsy shop and shut down my Facebook business page. Four years ago, when I was newly obsessed with knitting and staying home with the kids, I was knitting ALL the things, more things than my family could possibly need or want. Sometimes I made things just for fun, even though I didn’t know anyone who’d want it. At that time, selling handknits seemed like a great plan. I’d get to knit, do something I love, and make a bit of money. I set up the Etsy page and started doing craft shows. Well, if any of you have done something similar, maybe you discovered what I did: it’s hard to sell handknits. I did well at craft shows, but Etsy never took off for me. There’s a lot of competition and it’s hard to get noticed, and I made what I wanted instead of mass producing what I thought customers would want. I needed people who could see and touch each piece, and fall in love with them. And I’m sure I could have taken some courses on SEO and photography and online business, but for a number of reasons, I didn’t. So I’m not blaming Etsy; it’s great for a lot of makers. It just never did much for me. The customers I did have were delighted with what they bought, and all my reviews were 5 stars. I had fun, but never came close to profiting.
I started the Facebook page when I felt like I was overloading my personal page with knitting stuff, and I didn’t want to annoy my friends by trying to sell things that way. A business page seemed like a good solution, and I really enjoyed that. I shared new pieces, blog posts, fun photos, all kinds of fun yarny things. I sold very little through the page, and most was to friends, but again, I didn’t put as much effort into it as I could have.
Then a year ago, I went back to work. My knitting time dwindled, and my other creative time disappeared. I focused on selfish knitting and only renewed the existing Etsy listings when they expired. My Facebook posts leaned toward funny shared posts with the occasional blog post. I definitely didn’t have the time or energy for craft shows. I didn’t worry about it, thinking I’d settle into the job and figure things out as I went along.
Now, I’ve been back at work a year. I have no more time than I did six months ago. What I do have is a renewed desire to be creative for myself. I love the more thoughtful knitting I’m doing now. I’m not churning out a bunch of hats, as much I love hats. I’m choosing projects carefully, selecting wonderful yarn that’s worth my time, and making things that bring me joy to wear or gift. That’s one of the beauties of knitting: it can be whatever you need it be, and that can morph and change depending on your needs.
I want to get back to blogging more regularly, and there’s a novel kicking around in my brain, and I want the mental space for those things. Something had to give, and Etsy and Facebook were the prime candidates. They had become dead weight, offering nothing of value.
Once the decision was made, it felt right. I let the girl go through my inventory and pull out what she wanted. I reduced the prices on my listings to do a closeout sale in hopes of recouping some costs. (You can check them out here if you’d like.) What’s left after a month or so will be donated to a worthy cause. Then I went through my craft room and pulled out all the stuff I’d bought for craft shows, stands and racks for displays, and put them in a box to donate. None of it is fancy, and all came from a thrift store to begin with, so that’s not a loss. With all of that done, my craft room was a tiny bit tidier. And my brain felt tidier too, like I’d deleted a few files.
So that’s where my head is right now, and it feels good. I feel renewed, and I promise my next post will have some actual knitting in it!
What about you? Has your knitting changed over time too?