I thought today I would share a little about myself, and my journey to where I’m at now: a 37-year-old knitting pattern designer, partner, learner, and mum of two. You have all long had a glimpse of Alexa’s and my life through this blog, our books, and our social media (we aren’t very private people). Here are a few things you may not know.
After studying architecture, and working the field for a few years, I decided to step sideways into a design niche oh-so-much less serious. As many frustrated emails as a pattern error may generate, as much angst as knitters feel about an ill-fitting jumper, it is still knitting. In my mind it doesn’t compare with the levity of tonnes of building materials, the coordination of a wide array of stakeholder all balanced against uncertain construction costs in a volatile economy.
stepping into knitting pattern design
So I took the plunge, taking as much as I could glean from my design and technical training along with me for the ride. Alexa and I developed designs, planned our first book, worked part-time jobs to pay the bills, and as our business formed, Alexa began having babies.
I should take an aside here to tell you all that I feel strongly that parenting is NOT the be-all-and-end-all of a person’s life. Until I turned 30, my plan was to skip the massive time-energy-creativity-attention sinkhole of children and instead pursue other intriguing adventures in life. To this day I am inspired and intrigued by people who do not become parents and spend their energies on projects other than their own children. I also understand that although I felt I had the power to choose (a gigantic privilege), for many, parenthood is not really a choice, and I see immense amount of unjust stigma around that as well.
While not having kids was the plan in my 20’s, sometimes things change! After making a major career shift and a transatlantic move, along came my 30th birthday, a lovely man who wanted to have kids, and FOMO (that’s Fear Of Missing Out) and that plan flew right out the window. I went from all-round “meh” with respect to children to “oh my goodness how long is it going to TAKE to get pregnant”. Then “oh my goodness it sure takes a long time for a baby to cook”. Post-birth my optimistic / unrealistic inner script went: “I’m sure I can still do all the things I used to do…” (and yes, sigh, reality eventually hit!).
John and I became parents, and then took a good long time to be molded into the role. Five years and a second kid later, I think I’ve accepted the label they give me, ‘Mum’. In my better moments I embrace parenthood as an awesome additional role, an extra skill-set. And looking back, I smile over these last years filled with love and frustration and joy that I’m pleased to add to my story.
my knit photos record my story
Photography is a big part of my work. One side effect of always having the camera out, creating these images of knit designs, is that the story of my family is captured, crystallized.
Looking through photos takes me to those specific moments in time, how it felt to be in that place, the air on my skin, the smell, the emotions I was feeling. I am reminded of what my little ones were LIKE at that moment, and of who I myself was then. To you, these photos may just be ‘a kid in a cute sweater’. For me, they are pages in the story of my life.
So here, with no further ado, are a few of my very favourite things…
Well I could go on, and on, sharing the stories behind the pictures. But you get the idea, right?
It makes me very happy that my job, making patterns which bring joy to knitters, has the side-effect of capturing many of my joyful moments, and telling at least a part of the story of my life.
Hi! I’m Emily Wessel, I design fun-to-knit patterns and helpful technique tutorials. I live in Edinburgh, Scotland with my husband and two kids, where I like to run, knit, learn languages, and hang out with friends. I am co-founder and designer at Tin Can Knits - www.tincanknits.com