The first crochet item I sold was a twin size blanket for $90.

I was a senior in high school and crochet was an extra curricular art class.

We made swatches (maybe 20 stitches across), and were graded based on the number of rows we completed each week.

80 rows gave you a grade of 80%, 95 rows gave you a grade of 95%.

It was fun, so I always completed my homework on time and was eager to crochet more.

That’s how I landed my first commissioned piece; it was for my Vice Principal, Dr. Blagg.

I don’t recall exactly how the details were worked out, but I do remember my total excitement for landing such an awesome job, and then… 

I remember my anxiety:

What yarn should I use?

Who will buy the yarn… should I buy the yarn?

What colors should I use?

How big should I make this?

What pattern should I use?

How long should this take me?

How much should I charge?

When should I get paid?

And mostly…

What if he doesn’t like it.

After a lot of back and forth, samples, questions, trial and error, we somehow decided on most of the details: the yarn, colors, pattern, and size.

We did not discuss price.

I remember not really knowing how big a throw size blanket was, so I decided to make something that would fit my body if I were sitting on the couch.

I didn’t take any measurements, but from what I recall it must have been about a twin size.

It was huge.

I started the blanket at school, to show Dr. Blagg my work and get approval, but it quickly got too large to carry around.

After just a few days of work I decided that my couch was a good spot to continue my work.

I’d sit and watch tv every day after school while working on it.

And, I must have even spent an entire weekend or two (Friday, Saturday, Sunday…) just to get it finished, because I worked on it every day until it was complete.

It might have taken me ten days, or two weeks to finish.

When it was finally done, the whole thing fit into a large garbage bag (that’s what I used to take it to school for Dr. Blagg). 

And, I remember having a lot of feelings:

Will he like the blanket?

What if he doesn’t like the blanket?

What if he wants me to remake the blanket differently somehow?

Excitement.

Fear.

Anxiety. 

As I brought the too-large garbage bag to Dr. Blagg, I still remember how sick I felt thinking about what I might earn for all my time and hard work.

He seemed stoic, and not overly-excited (I was hoping for overly-excited).

He offered small gestures of approval, and asked me how much I wanted for the blanket. 

I had not thought about this.

I assumed that an offer would be made, and I would just know if it was right. 

What was this blanket worth?

The blanket had 90 rows, so I said I thought it was worth $90. 

After a brief pause, and what felt like some resistance, Dr. Blagg wrote a check for $90. 

The deal was done.

That happened around 1998, and I still remember so much about that transaction.

I mostly remember how I felt, and not all of those feelings were positive. 

and, I went through many more transactions like this for the next 10 years of my life.

10 full years of all the same questions and emotions I felt during that first transaction:

What yarn should I use?

Who will buy the yarn. Should I buy it?

What colors?

How big should I make this?

What pattern should I use?

How long should this take me?

How much should I charge?

When should I get paid?

And mostly…

What if they don’t like it.

And then, I realized something that completely changed my mindset.

I’m not separating my hobby from my business. 

In fact, I went on to make the same mistakes for nearly 10 years after my first sale, wondering if selling crochet goods was actually worth the emotional and physical drain. 

This may sound like a no-brainer, and something too simple to make a difference, but it can make all the difference.

And back then, I definitely didn’t understand how to separate the two.

I have more to share, so look for My Crochet Career: Part 2

In the mean time…

What do you think about my story so far, can you relate to any of it?

Reply here to share your thoughts, or, start a conversation in the community.

I’d love to hear from you!

Peace + Love + Crochet

Salena

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