The other day I was asked what I wanted to be when I was little. Without a second thought, I responded with my obvious, go-to response of “a fashion designer.” And it’s true. As far back as I can remember, I desperately wanted to be a fashion designer. My parents bought me that silly little play set that every little girl in my neighborhood had- the one with the little plates featuring pleated skirts, shoulder pad-heavy blazers, and ridiculous hats to rival the Queen of England herself. You would arrange these plates to create new outfits, place a piece of paper over the plates, then use a crayon to color over them to create new, “unique” designs.
How far back did this photo take you, ladies? This is an older version of the one that I had (I was born in the early 80’s), but it serves the purpose of showing you what I am trying to describe. I could spend an entire afternoon creating and not get bored. I told everyone who would listen (any many people who wouldn’t) that I was going to design clothes when I got older. Most people could care less, and to those people I would tell them even louder. I would shove these hilariously awful “designs” in their faces to prove to them that I had the skills. Yep, I was that annoying kid. I can even vividly remember making this crude little doll out of a paper plate (that was her head) and some paper towels (those were her dress), and showing her to my parents. I cried when they rolled their eyes and told me to go play. It was an ugly, heartbreaking moment and to this day whenever my children show me something that they made with their own little hands and imagination I go over the top with praise. My kids feel that love and admiration, and I hope that they always will.
Fast forward 12 years or so, and there I was facing down my school guidance counselor who really wanted to see me succeed. Her and her office full of college pennants and the community college certificate bearing her name and discipline. I’m betting those pennants were gifts. She encouraged me to apply to universities that I had no chance of getting into- believe it or not guys, Yale didn’t want me. I was shocked. I did end up getting into a school, but by the end of my first year the financial aid people had realized that I was an upper-middle class white girl who’s parents both worked and therefore I did not qualify for any more aid. Good bye, future plans, hello back up plan. Sadly, my back up plan didn’t work out either and is, in my home, a very taboo topic. It was a very “nobel” and “honorable” career choice, but it was also ended in my defeat and memories that I try like hell to suppress daily. Hello, barista apron.
So years went by, life happened, and like loads of other pregnant ladies, I fell into knitting. I sucked at it, and made an awful lot of long rectangles, but I kept at it. Eventually I got tired of knitting other peoples designs and decided to try designing one myself. It was crude and it was ugly, but I kept at it. As the years have gone by, my designs have improved, my knitting has improved, and my ideas have only gotten bigger. I’m not making near enough money to actually live on, but that I make any money at all selling my designs still blows my mind. I see photos of people wearing something that I designed and I can’t even describe the pride and the exhilaration that I feel. They’ve chosen MY design to wear to a wedding, or to give as a gift to someone special, or for just everyday wear. It’s incredible. And I can’t thank you all enough for helping me get to the point of being able to live my dream.