A Day in the Life of a Sock Knitting Pattern Designer

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When I was a gangly-legged kid, I lived in a teeny little town in Northeastern Oklahoma. Johhny Cash held a benefit concert to raise funds for our civic center, the Brangus Cow was invented at a nearby ranch, and country singer Roy Clark owned a farm on the outskirts of town – those were about the only three things that put Welch, Oklahoma ( a town of just 400 people!) on the map.

Most of my childhood was spent wandering around town with my little gang of friends, playing on railroad tracks (parents were exceptionally careless with their offspring compared to today’s standards), and writing furiously in my black and white composition notebook. I wanted to be a Serious Writer when I grew up, and no other profession would do.

While in college, I watched Legally Blonde and decided that I needed to go to law school, in case being a published novelist was as difficult as other people made it seem. Then I actually worked for a law firm one summer and quickly changed my mind (there was a daily dose of harassment from a cruel cabal of secretaries that brought me to tears on more than one occasion. I don’t blame them for their nasty behavior, however – working for corporate lawyers can turn anyone mean).

Then I got married and worked a variety of jobs – I was a reporter covering the state capitol, a researcher for our public television station, a photographer at the corporate headquarters of a craft store chain famous for smuggling the cultural heritage out of Middle Eastern countries (and paying eye-popping amounts of money for counterfeit pieces of papyrus).

I worked in the state capitol as a reporter. It was my job to cover the state Senate, a rowdy bunch of lawyers, farmers, ranchers, criminals, dummies, frauds, and a few pure hearts who meant well.

Never, in all of my meandering journeys down various career paths did I imagine that the thing I would end up doing with unmitigated glee would be designing sock knitting patterns. And yet I’ve happily been doing it every day for an entire year and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

In case you were wondering what actual sock knitting pattern designers do all day, I thought I’d share what a typical day is like for me! You’ll be disappointed to find out it’s mostly NOT knitting (I certainly was). I spend 90% of my time freaking out that I’m failing. 8% of my time is spent on the computer, writing patterns, trying to figure out how to work Pinterest, editing YouTube videos, filming YouTube videos and then dying inside every time I watch them (WHY do I make those faces?! Why does my voice do that funny thing?!). 1.5% of my time is spent on Instagram, and then the remaining .5% is spent knitting. I work 12-hour days most days, seven days a week, and I still feel like I never have enough time to do all the things I genuinely want to do!

After eating breakfast, I get organized for the day. I write lists in that little notebook, check email, answer questions, and waste a fair amount of time scrolling IG while I drink hot coffee or tea.

Then I tackle administrative stuff, like recording expenses, ordering stuff I need (and a buttload of stuff I don’t really need. I’m seriously SET for yarn for life, yet I keep buying the stuff like I’m going to run out tomorrow).

I get my kids situated with homeschool stuff (they’re 12 and 13, so mainly I just wander into the kitchen and say, “You guys doing okay? Great, great! Looks like you’ve got it!” and then I quietly exit while we all silently agree I have no idea what I’m doing re: being a teacher).

The two offspring hard at work over math. Well, at least one of them is. The guy at the back there is probably doing some sort of computer animation thing. Or looking at donkey videos on YouTube.

Once the administrative stuff is out of the way, it’s time to worry about social media! Let me just tell you, I have nightmares about Instagram. Half the time I don’t know what to post, and I have this thing where I don’t want to post just to post, you know? I don’t want to crowd spaces with stuff – I’d much prefer to share things that might be helpful or inspirational or whatever. But a lot of days, the well is just DRY. I got nothing. And I sweat about it, because to be realllllllyyyyy successful, you’re supposed to post Interesting, Funny, Amazing things every day. And I just don’t have it in me.

But on days where I actually have an idea of what to say, I’ve also got to have a picture. And that leads to me balancing precariously on the arm of a chair so I can photograph my stupid feet.

This photo was taken .03 seconds before I fell backwards off this chair. I had a bruise the size of a lemon on my spine. And it made me think of those people who fall off cliffs and die, all for a good IG pic.

Once the picture is taken and edited and posted, and I’ve written something I’m reasonably happy with, I breathe a HUGE sigh of relief because I DID IT! I IG’d for the day!

But of course, IG is just one piece of the puzzle. I’ve also got to create and schedule pins for Pinterest. Now here’s an interesting tidbit about this particular knitting pattern designer – I vaguely get why I should be investing time in Pinterest (It will drive traffic to your blog and your patterns!), but like, it’s BORING. I like to lazily pin pixie haircuts, cottage kitchens, and gluten free recipes while I’m watching TV in the evenings. I don’t like trying to strategize how to create engaging pins, or how to write the perfect titles loaded with keywords. But marketing is a huge part of being a professional knitting pattern designer person, so I’m doing my best to spend every day figuring this stuff out.

Once I deal with Pinterest, I turn to YouTube. I don’t film nearly as often as I should (my poor podcast has been languishing in the dirt for months), but I do enjoy creating tutorials! YouTube days are pretty long. I’ll typically film all morning, edit all afternoon, and finally get a video uploaded and ready to go by evening. Sometimes it’s hard to make time to do it when all I wanna do is sit and knit!

I eat lunch every day at 12p with my husband. He also works from home, so it’s nice having someone to complain to about being tired (“This morning has been rough. I’m exhausted!” “You think you’re exhausted? I just took 3,000 pictures for Instagram so I could end up with 1 good one.” “You think taking pictures is exhausting? I just had a conference call that last two hours. I can’t even talk anymore.”).

Once lunch is done, it’s time to write patterns, photograph socks for patterns, answer emails again, spend time on IG, write blogs, etc.,

After lunch, it’s nap time for puppies.

In the evenings, after dinner, I finally get to actually do some knitting (if I’m not editing YouTube videos, or doing a marathon session of pattern layout in Photoshop).

I usually put my work away and just sit around 11p.

And that’s it! All day, everyday, that’s what I do. I love it so much, and live in constant fear that I’ll muck it up somehow.

A pile of patterns, waiting for their release date
The sock blocking spot is on the kitchen banquette. Once a kid tried to move it and I cried out, “DON’T YOU TOUCH THAT OR YOU’LL LOSE A HAND!” We all agreed that was too far. 😂
Home school looks like this a lot – finding a nice sun patch to read.
What it’s all about – all the computer time, and awkward poses for IG photos, and filming and editing, and Pinterest – getting to experience the thrill of starting a brand new sock!!!
And the biggest thrill of all – seeing my finished design come to life!

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