Updated: Sep 8, 2019
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I first learned how to crochet when I was six years old. I loved to spend time with our neighbor who is an amazing artist. Among the many other wonderful things, she taught me how to crochet. I can remember learning how to crochet a flat circle which I turned into a rug for my dollhouse. Of course, as a child I did not always have the most success with my projects. Sometimes I actually learned techniques from the mistakes that I made!
When I was ten I learned how to knit. My wonderful (and PATIENT) grandma taught me to cast on, knit and purl. I quickly learned how much more disastrous those mistakes can be when you are knitting... Luckily, I am very determined when I put my mind to learning a new craft! Learning how to knit helped grow my skills with crochet. I would experiment with incorporating hand sewing and embroidery - believe it or not, my grandma taught me the basics of sewing by hand at the ripe age of three. It was amazing what I could create! Again, not all of my creations were successful. In fact, I am famous for abandoning projects that have gone awry, but the most important thing was learning from those "failed" attempts.
In High School and College, I really grew as an artist. I have always loved to draw, paint, craft, and just create anything I could. Along with focusing on many other mediums, I always came back to learning new crochet techniques. I learned that crocheting and knitting was very meditative for me. I have been known to keep knitting needles, crochet hooks, yarn and whatnot in my purse; I can crochet just about anywhere! Not only does crocheting help pass time when I'm waiting for a car wash or an appointment, but it is also my go-to stress reliever. My mom and I would be watching a movie in the living room with all the lights out and she would yell, "Are you knitting over there?!" Yes. Of course I was knitting...I can't just sit still! (I love metal needles so she would hear the needles click together.) Knitting is great for low/no lighting because I can feel exactly where my stitches are. Crochet is more challenging when you can't see where the hook needs to go... I don't think my mom was nearly as excited when I found the
so that I could also crochet during our movie nights!
I have knit A LOT of scarves. Pretty much every one of my family members has received at least one scarf as a gift. Luckily, my family loves a handmade gift but there are only so many times you can make the same person a scarf. I had to dig into my creativity...what else could I make? I also had to keep in mind that I wanted to make variations of the same gift for everyone. My next endeavor was hats. A great choice for my Illinois-dwelling relatives to go along with their scarves. I was so excited to learn how to knit socks, what a perfect gift! Right? Well...there was definitely a Christmas that my family members received one sock along with a promise for the pair to be completed in the near-ish future. Knitting is great, but I didn't really have the patience to learn how to work it the way I could with crocheting. Crochet is also much more forgiving when it comes to mistakes. And I am really great at fixing mistakes. Why? Because I'm even better at making mistakes! So the easier to fix those mistakes, the better.
The more gifts I made, the more I realized that my family members weren't just loving the gifts out of obligation. They really loved them! They started making suggestions for things I could try. Sometimes it felt intimidating. I didn't even know how to read a pattern! Patterns looked like gibberish to me, it was easier to just crochet until it looked like what I wanted. If you love to crochet you are probably cringing right now (don't worry, I'm also cringing at my younger self!). It didn't take too long for me to realize I needed to learn how to read a pattern whether I wanted to or not. How are you supposed to replicate something if you have no idea how you did it the first time? It's possible, but way more work than it needs to be.
Patterns are intimidating. If you have no idea what a sc2tog is, that pattern will automatically look scary! I think the real starting point for learning patterns was when I just started looking up videos. I would take a pattern and see if I knew how to work at least most of the stitches. Before even attempting the pattern, I would look for a tutorial of any stitches I didn't know how to do. Once I was confident in this new stitch, I would work my way through the pattern. I don't actually know how long it took for me to actually learn to read patterns. It really was just something that I realized I wasn't relying on the "how-to" videos anymore. Of course, that is still my go to for learning a new technique, but the frequency has decreased immensely.
Learning to not only read, but also to alter and eventually write my own patterns has opened up so many more possibilities! My always supportive family started pushing me to sell my work. This seemed impossible at first. Like any artist, I am absolutely my own worst critic. Hurdle number one was convincing myself that I could create anything that anyone other than my family could appreciate. Even if they somehow found my creation valuable, how do I put a price on my work? (That came easier with a lot of research, but it is also a mental hurdle...) Can I really ask someone to pay that much? Or, the worst, how can they expect me to sell something at such a low price after the hours upon hours I put into it? I did spend a lot of time making items with the intention to sell them and ended up giving them as gifts. When I first started, it was just so weird to ask someone to pay money for something I made. It was such a strange concept.
So how do you get past the mental blocks and start selling? For me, it kind of happened by accident. I made things for myself and people would ask where I got them. If I had a catch phrase it would be something like, "I made it myself!" Once people started asking if I would make one for them, followed by, "I'll pay you for it, how much do you charge?" I realized how much I enjoyed the connections I was making because of something I created. I started getting requests for custom items. People would ask if I could make something similar, but with modifications. I started getting so many ideas. I started altering patterns to match the vision I had for their requests. I was having fun AND making money! Not to mention, it was a huge confidence boost to successfully capture what the customers were looking for. The reaction of someone seeing an amigurumi that was tailored to their specifications is just the best feeling.
I love art, I love to craft, so why crochet? The reason I've gravitated to crochet time and time again is because of the ENDLESS possibilities! It didn't take long for me to discover all the ways to manipulate the yarn into the most amazing things. I am almost entirely self-taught and I continue to learn constantly. Part of the reason I have started this blog is to help others learn just like I have! I have spent so much time learning from others that I would love to share my own tips, tricks and techniques. And for those who aren't fond of the DIY, I would love to share my finished products.
The realization that I have been crocheting for more than 20 years was a little terrifying. But I quickly realized that I may actually have enough experience to kind of know what I'm talking about! I will never claim to know everything about anything because that is just not possible. There will ALWAYS be more to learn. There will always be someone that does something a little different. Maybe their way is easier. So my goal is to share the fun things I've learned and continue to learn from others.