I have, to a certain extent, turned my hobby into a job. It's certainly not my full-time job, but it does have responsibilities and deadlines, etc. that knitting for oneself just doesn't has.
The danger of turning one's hobby into a job is losing the joy you had in that activity in the first place. Burn out for artists is nothing new, and it's nothing new to me. I watched myself go through it with theatre and it wasn't something I wanted to go through again with knitting.
In the past six months, I have been working more intensely on my knit design work than I have since I started doing it back in 2010. It's been exciting and challenging, and at times frustrating. But the thing that has kept me grounded is selfish-stitching. Doing something just because I want to, with no deadline at the end of it, no need to sell anything, has been imperative. It doesn't even have to be something for me (for example, I knit Mr. Cleaver a pair of socks), it just has to be something I want (not need) to do.
When I started selfish-stitching, I had thought to limit it to Sundays, but my methodology has shifted somewhat. It's now more about when I need it, or there's a found moment, rather than anything scheduled. Little moments of joy sprinkled throughout my week.
You can see the joyful fruit of my labors above. A beautiful embroidery of encouraging words stitched, in part, with my daughter; simple socks for a grateful recipient; less simple socks for me; a project bag in a fabric that always makes me smile; and a teeny tiny skein of yarn, spun just to feel fiber between my fingers. Things both useful and purely decorative.
I'm proud of all the other things I'm working on, the things I can't show you yet. They've expanded my skills as a knitter and a designer. They are beautiful and I can't wait to share them. Each one of my designs holds a special place in my heart, but each one of these little "just because" projects does too.