A Strange Path to a Career in the Arts
I founded my knitting design company, Pick Up Sticks, in 2003. At the time I was 33 and had been a journalist for 10 years. I had always knit to relax and I rarely followed a pattern, preferring to dream up my own creations. I took a group of original kids' hats to a local knit store and the owner told me that if I could write a knitting pattern, she would buy them all. I took her up on it (and learned real-quick how to write a pattern). That was the start of what has turned out to be a long and unexpected career in the arts.
My mom signed on as my business partner, and we ended up selling patterns and knitting kits all over the country, including big stores like Michaels and Joann's. My husband likes to joke that during the Pick Up Sticks years, I earned my MBA on the job. I like to say I double-majored and earned an art degree, too. I could rarely afford to hire a graphic designer, so I learned the Adobe design programs and created our logo, pattern layouts, product packages, marketing materials, website design and more. Examples of some of this work is on my retired blog, here.
After a while, companies in the craft space that liked the Pick Up Sticks' brand asked me to art- direct or design products, brands, and websites for them. Slowly my focus shifted from knitting original creations for Pick Up Sticks to designing for clients. And that's where I am today. After developing knitting patterns for years, all I do now is sit at the computer and work up product and branding concepts for other companies. Funnily, today almost everything I design has nothing to do with knitting. I mostly work in the food space now.
Pick Up Sticks' Knitting Patterns
Now the only place to purchase my original patterns are through Ravelry and Etsy. You can find my knitting classes at www.creativebug.com, and you can catch me in reruns on PBS's Knit and Crochet Now. You can also purchase my books Felt It! and Felt Forward on Amazon.com.
I document all the niche-y and varied work I do on my blog. On any given day, I could be working on an illustration for my own line of cards, a specialty food label for a client, or sourcing materials for a local restaurant's menu board. I never really know exactly what I will be up to. Importantly, I haven't quit knitting -- I always have something blooming on my needles, and I talk about those projects on my blog, too.