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2 Years Of Crochet

April 4, 2017

As you may have noticed from the diversity of crafting entries in this blog, it is a fairly rare craft that holds my attention long term. I am very curious and love to try different things, usually to better understand techniques rather than necessarily making things to serve a specific function or to sell. typically once I get the hang of a new skill, I’ll move onto something else, satisfied that I can always come back to it.

That’s just generally been my normal, as long as I can remember.

I have many skills.

Am I a master of many skills? Not so much, however I am fairly competent in many different crafts!

Well, at the time I’m publishing this I have officially been doing crochet for two years, and I can honestly say that I pick up my hook at least once a day, every day. This appears to be my new normal… I still do many other things, but I really love my crochet.  It has become something of an addiction for me, which I find extremely relaxing and therapeutic.

Unfortunately my enthusiasm for crochet has a tendency to initiate some excruciating carpel tunnel flare ups in my hands and wrists if I don’t pace myself, but I have managed to find a balance.

So… what have I made in 2 years? I’ve honestly lost track… Off the top of my head, About 10 throw blankets, some baby blankets, a baby dress, lots of slippers, 2 child capes, 1 adult cape, 1 child mermaid tail, several amigurumi dolls, decorative wreaths, 5 scarfs, many many hats, a poncho and too many granny squares to count…

I freehand a lot of my crochet now that I know what I’m doing, but I also use many free and paid for patterns.

I don’t finish projects every day, or every week even, but doing an hour here and there all adds up!

The worst thing besides my hands not cooperating is probably the fact that it would be impossible for me to make money from this craft as people are willing to pay for materials, but not time. Charging even minimum wage for my time on (for example) a scarf that took 8 hours to make would cost about £60… plus the cost of materials would put that up to about £70 …. then there would be postage on top of that as well… and there aren’t many people in the world who are going to pay upwards of £70 for a scarf, that’s just a sad fact. A fact which I totally understand.

As with any craft, it is also frustrating when people don’t understand how the makers time translates into money. Sometimes I feel guilty when people ask me for a price quote and I give them an honest answer, knowing that it’s not what they want to hear. Having said that, I have gotten to a point in my life where I know that if I don’t value my time, no one else is going to.

People may say… you charge too much, I could get that in a store for X amount of money… and they’re not wrong… however the store bought item in question is likely either made with machines or in a sweatshop … or both… and from personal experience as a buyer and receiver of handmade gifts, I can honestly say that there is no store bought, mass manufactured blanket/item of clothing/stuffed toy, that’s ever going to feel like instant comfort and cuddly love the way a handmade one does. So even though I know that it’s not the most lucrative thing I could be doing with my time, I feel that as a result of empowering myself with this recent crochet skill set I am able to make things for the people I care about, and give them things that they literally cannot get anywhere else…. and if that isn’t a good reason for learning crochet, I don’t know what is!

The best thing for me about crochet isn’t all of the awesome things that I’ve been able to create for myself and others though, it’s actually the fact that despite picking it up quickly and becoming fairly good at it superficially, there is still so much that I can still learn and there are a zillion free resources online for me to learn from.

Crochet has also inspired me to step outside of my comfort zone in an effort to connect with others.

In July 2016 I started  to look for a local crochet group to join. I found a few knitting groups, but nothing crochet-centric. The UK is very knitting oriented and I do not currently know how to knit, so I spoke to my local community centre and asked if I could start my own group. They said yes, (never hurts to ask!) and now I have my very own crochet group. We’re not very big, but I hope that if we stick around for long enough more people will join. I also need to do a better job of advertising!

Off the back of that, and after a lot of talking myself into it, because stress and anxiety would have me believe that none of my ideas are ever good, I offered to start giving free crochet lessons at my local community center in addition to the group, so I now have a handful of students. One of them, an avid knitter, told me that she’s wanted to learn crochet for 50 years but she’s just never been able to teach herself from books. I’m delighted to say that she’s doing extremely well. If there is anything more rewarding than learning crochet myself, it’s got to be watching someone else get it, and make something for the first time. My anxiety, which is never far from breaking the surface catches up with me when I get home, but I’m finding that it’s all worth it.

In early March I went to my first yarn festival in Edinburgh. I couldn’t believe how great it was, even though my personal space was often invaded, there weren’t many stalls featuring crochet or felting and I didn’t stay for very long.

I know that probably sounds pretty negative, but it was sort of a big deal for me given the fact that entering any crowded location is a fairly guaranteed panic attack trigger, but I did actually enjoy the time I was there immensely, and I attribute that to the obvious passion and creativity of everyone else present,(evidenced by all of the gorgeous knitwear they were modelling despite it being a million degrees in there). Both vendors and patrons made it a fantastic experience.

And to top off my second year doing crochet, at the end of March I published my first amigurumi pattern using some amazing yarn that my mother-in-law bought for me at the yarn festival. It’s not a very complicated pattern, but it’s a start, and I doubt it will be my last.

So… yeah… crochet has been a lot of fun and I don’t see it having any less of a presence in my daily life any time soon.

I learned using a combination of youtube and a short class after years of trying and failing to teach myself. Despite looking complicated, crochet really isn’t difficult to pick up and expand on, once you wrap your head around the basics and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

What’s next? Well… I’ve got several crochet projects on the go, but as for new things that I intend to try in the near future for the first time,  I need to get my hands on a drop spindle and I’m also planning to try my hand at Dorset buttons! :D


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