Thank You, Young Self

Discovering that I did, sort of, make my hobby a job.

As I write this, my husband is doing that virtual-reality workout I mentioned a couple weeks ago. It’s awesome and super weird. Yesterday, he walked in on me doing it (and cursing, and sweating buckets), and we’ve been laughing about it but also, I mean, I feel muscles I didn’t even know I had, so it’s pretty awesome, but also virtual reality is just super weird.

I swear I’m not fixated on this. I’ll change the subject.

Yesterday I spent a fair chunk of my workday in the back-end of the magazine website, doing things in there I’ve wanted to do for a long time, like move the log-in functionality out of the main content menu so it’s more like most websites. Putting in some conditional menu items. Things like that. And it got me thinking.

Back in 1998 I was a grad student in a new place and I didn’t know many people or have much to do in my spare time. I can’t remember exactly why, but I picked up a book called Sam’s Teach Yourself HTML in 5 Hours, or something like that, (the book I linked to includes some topics that even didn’t exist back in '98 [hello, CSS3].)

Armed with that book, server space from the university, and the off-brand desktop computer I’d purchased with cash from selling a rare, pristine Beanie Baby (I can’t make this shit up, folks), I started learning how to make websites.

It’s because of that hobby that I was able to start my first online magazine, Crochet Me, only five years later. Indeed, it’s not only because I knew how to make a website, it’s because I was so unimpressed with what little there was out there about crochet at the time that I decided I could make a better website, even though I knew very little about crochet. So determined was I to make a website that didn’t have blinking text on it that I plowed forward even though I didn’t know how to make a magazine. Knowing HTML led me to learn – sometimes with grace, sometimes like a bumbling fool – all of the professional skills I use daily today.

Making that website changed everything for me, from my profession to relationships I formed with people all over the world to my ability just a few months ago to have my work disrupted as a result of a global pandemic when I knew one thing for sure: that I could rely once again on the skills I started building as a hobby back in 1998.

Many people who work in the crafts industry do so because for one reason or another they decided to turn their hobby into a job. I have done the same, over and over, it’s just not a crafty hobby I turned into job, it’s a tech hobby.

You know, I never actually put that together before. I’ve made sure over the duration of my career that I would not make crafts for a living. Crafting is my hobby and I’ve never ever felt compelled to make it my job, but learning and writing about crafts, and creating publications about crafts, that is my profession. And that profession has been impacted in a big way by the fact that I deeply enjoy messing around with the guts of websites.

I didn’t know where this email was going when I started writing it, which is part of why I love writing it. Thanks for sticking with me as I write my way into understanding the world (and myself).


We’ve got two discussion threads going for deluxe subscribers:

One about books, and one about crafts.

Come hang out and chat!

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Items of Note

  • We have moved our community over to Discord. Huzzah! I’ll be closing the forums down by the end of the month. Please join in there! Here’s how:

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    • Our weekly video hang-outs are now held on Discord (instead of Zoom), on Thursdays at 1:30pm Pacific / 4:30pm Eastern Time. Simply enter the Community Hangout voice channel, and there we’ll be.

  • Fantasizing a tiny bit about sewing a nine-patch quilt from scraps.

  • 🦙❤️🦙 (this is a link, even if it doesn’t look like one!)

  • Hat tip to my husband for this video 💾.

  • Loooove this.

  • This finished crocheted llama pillow is death-defyingly adorable, but if I’d had something in my mouth when I scrolled through the photos of it in-progress I’d have spit things across the room. I mean, I think it’s obvious why…

What I’m making: A tiny collage every day(ish) for The 100 Day Project. I seem to be locked out of my Instagram account, though, which is a superduper pain in the ass and I’m not terribly confident I’ll be able to get back in there, because why on earth would Instagram make it at all possible to reset one’s password like any other site? I can’t sort it out, and I doubt I’ll hear back from a human, so this may end up becoming an exercise in just letting social media go. I like this one though, so. Sad.

What I’m watching: Yellowstone but we hate all the characters, so probably moving on to Derry Girls

What I’m reading: OH MY GODS I can’t read anything. Sigh. Whatever. This too shall pass. The kid and I are onto the third Anne book: Anne of the Island. It’s just lovely and comforting. ❤️

Head over to the book discussion thread!

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