I am so proud to report I finally finished this LONG, overdue WIP! Yay! I believe I mentioned in my last post I had started it in 2020. I had become so discouraged with the problems I was experiencing in following the pattern, I had given up. (See my last post for more information.) I’m so glad I drudged through and completed it, especially when I see how happy she is.
Our furry companions give so much to us and really are family members. They deserve to be treated well.
I am more aware than ever of the emotional ties we have to our four-legged friends since sadly, our other kitty, Pumpkin, passed on the 20th of May.
She had been a part of our family for 15 years and as you can imagine, we loved her very much. But, unfortunately, she was diagnosed last summer with thyroid and kidney problems. We pursued all the dietary and prescription resources suggested but there is no cure for kidney disease. Eventually, she became too weak to continue on and wasn’t eating.
Towards the end, she mostly stayed on my lap and it was very rough seeing her so depleted and frail. I am very thankful to have a hobbie like crochet. It soothed my frazzled nerves and breaking heart. I could focus on just the next stitch and the next stitch….
But eventually it became obvious she was suffering. I contacted a mobile veterinarian and Pumpkin was able to pass in my lap at home. My children, who had grown up with her, were there. We buried her in a beautiful little spot, under a small tree in our yard. I plan to get a little cat statue to place over her grave. (My son’s very good idea!)
I still experience some amount of sadness every day, but mostly I can think about her now and not bawl my eyes out. Time does eventually take the deep sting away.
If you are experiencing pet bereavment, the following website is wonderful: The Pet Loss Support Page. It answers questions about grief, when is the right time to euthanize, and other subjects related to pet loss. Well, I think that is all for now as writing all this is making me a bit sad and tired.
If you would like to share craft projects you have made for your furry friend, I would love to see them. Or if you have stories of your own, please feel free to share those too!
This is the most adorable pattern and I was so excited to try it. Especially since one of our cats had been diagnosed with Diabetes and I wanted to do something nice for her. But unfortunately, until last weekend, I had abandoned the project and it sat in my yarn room since 2020. I had gotten so frustrated and intimidated due to the instructions, I couldn’t marshal the energy or confidence to go back to it. But lately, I’ve gotten some motivation from somewhere to tackle roadblocks. (Also, my cat went in my yarn room, sniffed the project, meowed, and looked at me in what seemed to be an accusing manner.) Hopefully, someone else will benefit from my newfound resolve as I’ve decided to provide some tips so maybe, others who have bought the pattern will have a better experience.
Tip #1—Check your gauge. If you don’t know how to do this, there’s a great tutorial here: Bella Coco (Her YouTube channel is great!) I know this is an extra step that is hard to do when you’re excited to start a pattern. But I have avoided a lot of heartache and extra work by doing this. For me, if I put in all the effort, I want to be reasonably happy with the finished product. Process is great, but it’s certainly not all for me. I always make a gauge swatch. However, for some reason, that didn’t work this time. I adjusted my hook size to make gauge, but the finished pieces didn’t fit the foam size listed in the pattern. This is where the process broke down for me. I tried twice to assemble it and it looked awful. I couldn’t bear to take it apart a 3rd time.
Tip #2—After you finish crocheting the couch pieces, wet block them. This is left out of the pattern instructions. If you want the pieces to come out in neat rectangles that will hug the foam pieces in a tailored rather than tortured way, this is an important and so worthwhile step. Here is a good tutorial on blocking: Sewrella. (You don’t need to use the products she is recommending. Find ones that work for you. I use old yoga mats and non-rust T pins.)
Tip #3—Once blocked and dry, you know what size to cut the foam and can purchase accordingly. (I couldn’t follow the size recommendations in the directions, even though I technically made gauge. Foam can be expensive and I wound up spending more than I should have because I can’t use some of the pieces I cut.) You will need foam for the base/seat, the backrest and the arms.
For the couch base/seat, the instructions advise to purchase 1” tall pieces of foam and stack 4 of them on top of one another. This was unwieldy and hard to work with for me. I recommend purchasing foam that has a depth of 4”, (not the length or width) for the base/seat. The length and width will need to be sufficient to accommodate the blocked size of your finished pieces.
For the backrest and arms, you will need foam that has a depth of 1”. The foam’s width measurement will be the same as your finished crocheted piece, but the height should be double as the directions advise to fold in the piece in half lengthwise.For example, if my crocheted backrest is 21” wide and 14” tall, I would cut my foam piece 21” wide and 28” tall.
The same is true for the arms as the foam will be folded in half, lengthwise. For example, if the crocheted arm is 8” wide and 4.5” tall, I would cut the foam piece 8” wide and 9” tall.
I hope this is clear. But if not, pop a question in the comments section below or you are welcome to email me at email@example.com . Which brings me to my last tip.
Tip #4—Consider buying a pattern that has support. This pattern says it does, but not really. On the last page of the pattern in a font size that’s about 3, you are directed to visit AnniesCustomerService.com to look for a pattern update if you need help. I went to the page, and received the message that there were no updates to the pattern.
This isn’t the first time this has happened to me when I’ve purchased a pattern from Annie’s. Although they have some very cute ones, it’s just not worth the frustration to me to buy something and get horribly stuck or waste money on supplies because the instructions weren’t clear or accurate. So, unfortunately, I won’t be buying any more from them, especially since there are so many great indie designers out there that do respond when you need to ask a question.
I don’t have a picture of the finished piece yet, but I plan to add it when I do. Stay tuned!
I’ve been absent for a few weeks due to the demands of my private practice as a mental health therapist and an unseasonable snow storm last week. We got 6-8 inches of snow which knocked our power out for hours. It unfortunately also claimed our beautiful lilac tree. Here is a pic of some of the blooms I snipped off the downed beauty. 😦
A snowstorm can feel so isolating. But thankfully, the weather cleared in a couple of days. I was able to get together with a good friend for some talk and crafting time.
Although I appreciate my solitary crafting time, it is so rewarding to share it with another creative person who shares a passion for making. Crafting and art activities have been shown to reduce cortisol (stress hormones), improve self-esteem, reduce anxiety and depression, lower blood pressure and generally improve mood.
Once a month, I get together with my friend, Starla Butler. I met Starla in about 2017 when we worked in community mental health as assessment specialists. Since then, we have both gone on to create our private practices as Licensed Mental Health Therapists. But we have stayed in touch and schedule regular time to catch up or consult on challenging cases.
Starla suggested we enrich our time together with working on our craft projects. Although she doesn’t crochet or work with fiber arts, she creates amazing miniatures. I was fortunate to receive the following from her for Christmas last year.
She had looked through all my crochet posts on Facebook and had made tiny replicas of my projects along with a replica of my favorite crochet space, my couch. I was so blown away when she gave it to me. I couldn’t stop talking about it! The lamp even lights!
I wanted to reciprocate so I found a cute crochet pattern for wicker type patio furniture which I am working on for one of her miniature houses. She thinks she can create a resin top for it. Our first collaboration!
With the times being what they are and our practices bursting due to the increased demands for mental health providers, I am thankful for my get togethers with Starla. Our mental loads are lightened when we visit.
Do you get together with family or friends to crochet or craft? If you know of any groups in SW Washington, I would love to know as I have been looking for a crochet group for awhile.
Until next time, I hope you are well and enjoying many moments of creating and friendship!
I haven’t posted for a bit because I experienced a repetitive injury from crocheting. This was tough for me because I had to rest my wrist and forearm and stop crocheting! It was like torture because I crochet every day. But the pain was so bad I couldn’t even hold a pen to write. I knew if I didn’t take it seriously, it would get worse. Thankfully, last week, I was able to get back to it.
In continuing with my submissions to #TheGreatYarnChallenge contest by The Craft Yarn Council, I thought I would write about my project for the theme, Yarn in the Wild. As with my other projects, I wanted to honor my Dakhota lineage. I chose to crochet a child-size tipi. What says in the wild better? I am so proud of it. It is the largest crochet project I have made, and it was the cause of my injury! But it was so worth it.
This was a project that showed me I am capable of more than I give myself credit for. I didn’t think I could make such a large item. It was good to be proven wrong and receive a nice boost to my creative confidence. Spiritually this was so healing and nurturing for me too.
The tipi is how my ancestors historically lived in community with our family, extended family, and clan. It was our way to move with the buffalo and the seasons. Once the buffalo was nearly exterminated due to over-hunting and slaughter by European settlers, we were confined to reservations and became dependent on rations. We were impressed upon to try the European style homes. No longer in close community with our relatives, and due to isolation, we became focused on things that were not good for us. Our lungs suffered because we did not have the ventilation afforded by the tipi. But because my tribe was a peaceful, flexible people, and we wanted to survive, over time, we adopted the Euro-style homes.
Sadly, our efforts and enforced assimilation through boarding schools did not promote good mental health for us. We were masking who we are fundamentally and how we had lived for thousands of years. Many of us became convinced our ways were wrong and even became ashamed of them. This is the effect of settler colonialism and genocide—loss of culture, language loss, loss of spiritual practices and ultimately identity. These effects extended through the generations to my family and caused addiction and chronic health problems.
I did not grow up learning the ways from my kin. We moved far from home to live the better life that was promised if we forsook and forgot what made us who we are. Most of my life, I struggled with depression, anxiety, feeling out of place or like I was on the outside looking in. I didn’t know why.
It wasn’t until I went to graduate school to study Psychology, that I was strongly encouraged to recover and reconnect with my heritage. It is something I have done slowly and sometimes painfully over the last several years. I wish I could say this is something unusual for Native people, but it’s not.
Well, there is so much more I could write about all of that, but that would be a different blog. If you’ve read this far, thank you for your kind attention.
If you are interested in giving this project a go, I will share how I made mine. I respectfully ask though that if you are not of Native American lineage, that you not sell it or use it to promote your business or website. This is cultural appropriation and follows in the footsteps of the exploitation and stolen resources Native people have been subjected to through Colonialism. Again, this would be a subject for another blog post so if you have questions or want to know more, here is a great podcast, All My Relations, to reference. One of the presenters, Adrienne Keene, has 300+ posts on her own blog, Native Appropriations. But, please do make and use it for you and your little relatives’ personal enjoyment!
Okay! Here are the long-awaited directions.
3 balls Bernat Blanket Big in Vintage
5 balls Bernat Blanket Extra in Vintage White (I ran out of Vintage) and Mushroom (Used at the base of the tipi.)
15 mm crochet hook
(7) 3” wide and approximately 1.5” tall pieces of scrap fabric. I used a muslin fabric. These will be pockets to slip the lodge poles in. My husband cut them down to 5 feet.
(5) tree stakes. I got mine at Lowes. These were a bit too wide though. To incorporate the recommended 5 stakes, I would look for stakes that are no bigger than 1.5” in diameter.
Sisal or natural fiber rope
The tipi is basically just a big crocheted semi-circle. I used this tutorial from Happily Hooked Magazine to make mine. I just kept increasing until it was long enough and wide enough for the size of the lodge poles.
Once the tipi half circle is the size you would like, you can hand sew or hot glue 5 pieces of the scrap fabric evenly around the bottom of the tipi. The other 2 pieces are attached to the mid-front of the tipi to hold the opening. Make sure you are attaching these to the side you designate as the “wrong side” or inside. Then you slip the poles through these holders with the pointed side down, not through the top. You will want to insert the pointed side in the earth.
Once the poles are inserted in the earth, tie the tops of the poles together with the sisal rope. Man-made fibers can be too slippery.
Optional—create a mandala for the entrance of the tipi, or any decorations you would like. I made the Tapestry Star from the book Modern Crochet Mandalas by Interweave.
If you do make it, I would love to see it! You can tag me on Instagram @holly_marie0407.
I’m writing this on a Monday and considering how Mondays can sometimes be, I thought I would gather some of the most comforting patterns I’ve completed and pass them along. These are for the most part simple and can be worked on while watching a movie or show. (The Puffs and Picots Mandala might be a bit challenging to a new crocheter, but if you’re experienced it shouldn’t be a problem.)
The Chrissy Baby Blanket (upper left photo) is something I completed last year when I was in a crochet funk. I was going through a period where every crochet project didn’t work out for one reason or another. (Kind of like what I’m going through now!) I decided to set all my WIPs (Works in Progress) aside and find something repetitive and not challenging. You can find the pattern in a booklet published by Annie’s Crochet titled Super Easy Baby Blankets by Bendy Carter. The only caveat to this pattern is you need to be willing to complete your HDC (half double crochet stitches) a bit differently and insert your hook at the “front bar” of the stitch, rather than the front and back loops where you normally would. There are detailed photos though. Once you get the hang of it, there aren’t any other pattern changes and you repeat row number 2 until the blanket is the desired size.
The next pattern, (middle top), the Picnic Basket Dish Cloth is a free pattern I downloaded from Knit Picks. If working in the front and back posts doesn’t bother you, the pattern is basically a two row repeat. And it is a quick, satisfying make. Probably the best thing about this project was the yarn, Dishie.
It is so soft and a pleasure to work with. I plan to buy this exclusively from now on for these type of projects. It’s cotton, but not like some of the rustic, hard on your hands, cottons that are sold for household projects. I’ve used and washed the dishcloths many times now and they are just as sturdy, squishy and pretty as the first time I made them.
Last Christmas, my husband bought me the Modern Crochet Mandalas Book by Interweave. I wasn’t overly excited at first as I’ve never felt pulled to crochet a mandala. But, during the few lazy days after Christmas, I thought I would give it a go. Now, I see what everyone’s saying when they talk about how addictive crocheting mandalas is! The third picture on right end of the gallery is The Tapestry Star and Puffs and Picots by Sandra Eng. I loved them so much, I made two more of the Tapestry Star and will be posting all three on my Instagram once I connect them to hoops. Again, the yarn used in this project was part of what made it so pleasurable.
For the Tapestry Star, I used Bernat Softee Baby Cotton. It provides wonderful stitch definition and is soft and smooth. Very easy on the hands and the eyes. Equally wonderful were the Bonbons by Lion Brand Yarn, which I used for the Puffs and Picots mandala. They are tiny, adorable, 2.8 oz skeins. I used the Nature packet.
The last project pictured is the Casper Shawl, a free pattern from Lion Brand yarn. This is made with the V Stitch, which is essentially two double crochets in the middle of the V stitch below. The second row is repeated until you reach the desired length. So easy and relaxing! Again, I loved the yarn for this project. If you’re a follower of my Instagram account, you know I LOVE vibrant colors with purple being a lifelong favorite. I used Lion Brand Cupcake yarn in the color, Tutu Much. Sadly, this yarn has been discontinued. I see there are some still being sold through Etsy and Ebay though.
Well, that rounds out my list for right now and my Monday is almost done. Whew! Do you have some simple, soothing crochet patterns you could share? I would love to see what others have.
At the beginning of the year, with that new-year-new-beginning feeling, I felt inspired to tackle some long-standing crochet WIPs (works in progress). I began by thinking about a trouble spot in my yarn room.
This is a picture of some solid and traditional granny squares I crocheted from scrap yarn. I made them without any plan thinking I would just throw together something scrappy. Once I saw them together though, I didn’t like them. I know people make things with any scraps they have, but my perfectionistic side kicked in and there was no way I could conceive of going forward. I wound up doing nothing for months and the squares continued to clutter up the bed in my yarn room and make me crazy every time I saw them. My yarn room is supposed to be my happy place.
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you insane your whole life.”
So, I was determined to do something, even if it was a mistake. I took a good chunk of the squares and made them into a nice pillow top. I am very happy with it.
I decided for the back I wanted to use up some fabric stash. I was excited about this because I have wanted to learn to meld crochet and fabric together. I did some research and discovered I needed to order a special type of crochet hook. Well…okay I can wait. And besides, I will have a new skill and a new crochet hook!
With the way shipping has been lately, I had to wait longer than I thought I would. It didn’t help I kept receiving inaccurate, cheery emails from the seller, “Your package will arrive tomorrow!” But I was determined to remain positive. After all, I was making progress on my WIPs and I was proud of my stick-to-itiveness. Finally, the day came when I got the package.
Okay! Now, I will pick a fabric from my stash—or so I thought. The pieces I wanted to use weren’t the right size. Ugh…. I really had my heart set on a particular fabric. Once again, I consoled myself—“Well, I can make a trip to the fabric store and that will be fun.” At least it did go off without a hitch and that was encouraging. Once home, I consulted the crochet hook instruction booklet and found I would need to do some simple zig zag stitching around the edge of the fabric to prevent fraying when crocheted to the pillow top.
I got my machine set up and began to stitch. But for some reason, my machine didn’t want to zig zag. I tried different settings and all it would do was a straight stitch. At this point, I started to sink and felt like there’s something working against me.
Being a mental health counselor, I am very good at seeing possibility though. So, once again I come up with a positive re-frame, “My little sewing machine needs servicing anyway. I haven’t done a thing to it in 30 years.” I looked up a local shop and faithfully lugged the little one in.
To my delight, they took only a few minutes to look it over, oiled it, and it began zig zagging! I wasn’t charged a penny! Hallelujah! I triumphantly brought my faithful craft companion home.
The next day, I decided to work on another long-term frustrating sewing project that a relative asked me to do. That’s a story for another time. The zig zag worked beautifully, and I made good progress on that project. But when I went back to the fabric for my pillow, depressingly, the zig zag function wasn’t working again.
And so, that’s where I’m at. I will need to make another trip to the repair shop if I want to continue. Meanwhile, the squares, albeit joined, are still just sitting there, making me crazy. I’ve run out of re-focusing and re-frames to say to myself. I could crochet a pillow back, but that really isn’t what I want.
I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if this were the only project I experienced such bad luck, but I’ve experienced long setbacks with almost everything I’m working on lately. Truthfully, it makes it very hard for me to feel motivated or confident I can finish anything. Sometimes, it’s just hard to power through.
Interestingly, I remember feeling this way at about the same time last year. I don’t know if it has to do with the lower energy I experience during wintertime or not. The way I dealt with it then, was to pick up something simple and repetitive. It helped, but I am loathe to add more projects to the WIP pile at this point.
As I am writing this, this is the phase of the 3rd quarter moon. I’ve become more interested in pairing my energy and focus based on the cycles of the moon. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time and so, I bought the book Moonology by Yasmin Boland. This is what she has to say about the influence of the 3rd quarter moon, “Although we might feel tired during this part of the cycle, this is no time to stop or rest on our laurels. There’s tension at this time: a result of the hard angle between the egotistical Sun and the emotional Moon. … This is also a very good time to break bad habits.” The message here for me is to find the courage to try again and get the machine fixed. I need to let go of the expectation (ego) that a project will be done by a certain time. In the past, I would have just started something else (emotion). But I want to break the bad habit of creating more and more projects for myself when I have so many in progress. In the short term, I feel some relief trying something new, but in the long run, that’s just one more thing on the WIP pile.
That reminds me, I think I wrote about something similar in my last blog post—Anything worth doing won’t be simple. Sometimes, it’s annoying as you know what, but in the end, the finished piece is more precious to us. And so, I keep on.
Have any crafting war stories you would like to vent about?
I am not the best at reflecting on the projects I’ve completed to discover what I liked/disliked or what worked and what didn’t. As a fan of astrology, I tend to think it has something to do with being an Aries. Aries are great at starting and moving forward. I just want to get going and keep going! Rams see their objective and keep hammering away–sometimes fruitlessly……But this year, the images from my Instagram account have helped. The pictures are such a good memory jog. Here are the takeaways grouped by surprises and not-so-surprising.
Frustrating projects can be a good thing. Or anything worth doing is hard. (Paraphrased from Theodore Roosevelt.) In my group of favorites, there are two projects I started and had to frog or rip out multiple times–the Ivy Cowl and the Zipper pouch.
The Ivy Cowl is the hardest crochet pattern I have ever completed. It is not a pattern you could casually follow while watching television. Each row is filled with a variety of stitches and it’s very easy to lose your way. At one point I did almost give up. But I have been striving to be better at finishing what I start. Plus, I was obsessed with the look of this pattern. I am so proud about how mine looks.
The Zipper pouch took almost a year. I would get really discouraged and have to set it aside. I think I ripped it apart at least 3 times because I’m rubbish at zippers. There was some extra lining I had to do too, because the flannel wasn’t substantial enough. I had to have things my way and not use the suggested fabric. This caused more frustration and steps. But I so admire the project bags people show off on Instagram and I wanted to make at least one for myself. Also, the project was important to me because I wanted to upcycle from my stash of worn out or little used clothing and household items. I am a big believer in using what you have and reducing waste. For the pouch, I used my husband’s old work pants to line it and his old jeans on the bottom half. I also used some light curtain material to plump up the flannel panel (remnant I bought at Joann’s) on the top of the bag. I use this pouch for my crochet hooks and it is one of my most beloved accessories for crochet.
I actually like my own designs or experiments and sometimes others do too: The Pumpkin Bookmark and the Granny Stripe Throw.
You would think that as a Mental Health Therapist, I would have self-esteem problems whipped. Sadly, no. My self-doubt holds me back from more projects and ideas than I care to admit. A few times this year, I gave that critical narrative a push back.
For instance, the Granny Stripe Throw, was a yarn stash busting project. When I lined up all the colors I wanted to use up, I thought, “This will look awful.” But, I really wanted to give it a go because of my admiration for others’ scrappy blankets on social media. Once I saw the finished piece, I was still dubious. However, I went ahead and posted it to Instagram because if nothing else, I wanted to honor the hours I put into it. I was so shocked when Yarnspirations messaged me and asked if they could use it for their social media post! I realized how overly critical I had been. Someone else found worth where I didn’t.
The same stinky self doubt was keeping me company when I put together my little Pumpkin bookmark. I was experiencing a good impulse to play with yarn, but it was nearly drowned out by the domineering thought that if I don’t use a pattern, I will make some awful mistake. (Really? I mean so what?!) Once I finished, I was truly surprised to be happy with it and posted it to social media. It received a good number of likes, which dispelled the ridiculous “No one will like it.”
I love things that are soft and warm–My Granny Square Scarf. This project incorporated one of the softest yarns I have ever used, Big Twist by Joann’s Fabrics. I used Blush and Light Grey. However, because of their inability to break down, I am severely limiting my use of synthetic fibers. It is very sad for me to let this yarn go as I absolutely loved it. I also lined the scarf with a grey fleece remnant from Joann’s. It is a nice substantial fabric that blocks out the holes created by the granny squares.
Send a donation rather than start a project you don’t love. When I start a project because I’m trying to support a designer or small business, and not because I’m in love with the project, I can know it will hang around, unfinished, for awhile. I really don’t like a bunch of unfinished projects in my yarn room. It creates a mood of obligation and I sigh every time I see it. This isn’t what I want for my happy place. I think I will send the designer a donation instead.
I completed about 27 projects this year. I say about because I didn’t photo document all of them.
I don’t like custom commissions. I did one and it was a pain. I undercharged for the amount of time it took me to make it. If it’s something I already made or the customer has a straightforward pattern without changes–that could be alright.
I enjoyed this reflection. It was easier and more pleasurable to undertake with the use of photos. I appreciated learning some valuable lessons that will make my crafting more meaningful and waste less materials. I guess I can see why this process is useful. *wink*
How was your year and what are some takeaways for you?
My husband and I recently joined an Artists and Makers non profit group in our town. In a short time, I developed a case of Imposter syndrome, thinking I shouldn’t be in the group. (More on that later.) So, I’ve been thinking a lot about the definitions for artist and maker. Is there any difference?
My first hunch is that a maker is someone who follows another’s pattern or design, whereas an artist creates the design or pattern. (I was going to say from scratch, but that’s not really possible is it? Everyone’s designs are influenced from somewhere, right?) And an artist is a maker too. Maybe the terms’ definitions change with the object created? I’m sure there are plenty of definitions out there in Google land. But not having attended any meetings of the group yet, I don’t know what their definitions are. Maybe they will decide I don’t fit the definition.
The imposter syndrome thing is really starting to ramp up. When I saw some of the members’ work the unhelpful comparisons started flowing. “There’s no one doing fiber arts.” “All their works are original.” “They’ve probably worked such a long time at their craft.” “They will wonder what I’m doing in the group.” On and on it goes.
It doesn’t help that I’m not completely aware of why I joined. I know it was nice to be asked, I know I like to get in on the start of creating something, I know I am needing more socialization due to the restrictions of the pandemic, but I don’t have a crystal clear idea or intention. It would help if I could define that because we’re hosting a meeting in a little over a week. Ugh… I just know I was excited by the idea and would like some face-to-face community to augment the online community. The online peeps are great, but it’s not enough.
What are your thoughts on the definitions of artist and maker? How do you deal with imposter syndrome? Or how do you find others of like mind and talent?
Sometimes, even for the hardcore crochet enthusiast, the motivation slips and one finds it difficult to pick up the hook. This can be baffling and frustrating. Maybe the cause is going through extra stress and feeling low or maybe your current stash of WIPs (works in progress) suddenly seem uninspiring. Whatever the reason, it can be helpful to understand motivation and where it could use some sparking up.
There are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. There is lots of content out there defining what they are and their differences, but simply put, intrinsic motivation is when you would do the work simply because you enjoy it and extrinsic motivation involves something outside of yourself compelling you to do the work or complete the task. There are many types of extrinsic motivation: reward, compensation, threat of punishment or negative consequences, disapproval, etc. For myself, one of the best extrinsinc or external motivators is the response or support I receive from others and being accountable to them.
As I reflect back on my accomplishments, I’ve achieved the most challenging goals when I was experiencing this type of extrinsic motivator. It helps me to keep on keeping on when the emotional thread to my intrinsic motivation has gone missing. So I was quite excited to find a group of Instagram crocheters who are hosting, #OrganisedOctober21 and #WIPalong21 to address those abandoned crochet WIPs.
My WIPS had recently begun to pile up. Usually, I try to stick with no more than 2 or 3 projects in progress, but for some reason this fall, that flew out the window. I got distracted by too many CALs and MALs (crochet along or make a long) or feeling overwhelmed by projects that weren’t going well. Then I started feeling scattery and guilty. (If you saw my blog post Organization, you know I’ve been on a mission to be better organized as feeling unfocused reduces the satisfaction I get from crocheting.) So, finding a group of like minded souls working with the same goal was just the kickstart I needed! Plus, it’s fun cheering others on and seeing their projects take shape.
If you’re on Instagram, you can find directions for the WIP along on the bio page of one of the following host accounts: @andintothetrees (Hannah), @goslingandplumb (Laura), @laboursoflovecrochet (Ruth), @marta.mitchell.designs (Marta Mitchell), or @sewcraftynaz (Nasreen). They’re providing fun weekly prompts, tips and Live IGTV episodes to keep you going. Laura @goslingand plumb even has several free printouts to help you plan your goals for the month. I find the Bingo sheet, pictured above, to be especially motivating as I chose rewards for myself based on how many bingos I complete. You can also add in a few other projects you’re wanting to keep up on, such as exercise, reading, or whatever!
If you’re missing your inspiration to create, it’s not too late to join in. You’ve still got almost 4 solid weeks to participate and I’m finding it to be a lovely, welcoming community.
I love hearing about methods for boosting productivity/creativity. Let me know what you have tried.
I recently decided I didn’t want to keep haphazardly buying yarn without a project in mind…at least for most of the time. (*wink*) I wanted to be more deliberate and focused. So, I thought I would create a spreadsheet of all the patterns, pins, and favorites I had on Ravelry, Pinterest, Instagram and stored in my computer. I listed the oldest first and then created extra pages for seasonal and gift items. I had a hunch it would be a long list. I had no idea!
The project took about two weeks. In the process, I discovered there were some pins’ links that were broken or removed or there were patterns I no longer liked. I deleted a fair amount. But the larger my spreadsheets became, it caused me to look at the patterns much more critically. Did I really want to commit to and could I see myself making the pattern? Quite a few more were deleted. If I absolutely couldn’t bear to part with it, I created a spreadsheet titled, Inspiration, for those I probably wouldn’t make but loved.
During my project, I watched Marie Kondo’s new show on Netflix, Sparking Joy.
You might be familiar with Marie Kondo because of her first show on Netflix, Tidying Up .
But, if not, Marie is an organization guru. She teaches people how to pare down their overwhelming clutter and disorganization so their space is tranformed into a practical and inviting environment. Part of Marie’s method involves holding an item in your hand and noticing if it sparks joy. If not, it should go as it’s probably causing some stress to keep it.
As I worked on my spreadsheet, I found this to be relieving, freeing advice. Although I couldn’t hold the items in my hand, I gauged my emotional response as I looked at the pattern. I have so many things in my life which I keep out of obligation or fearing I will miss it later. This causes me feelings of pressure (not joy!) and I can’t utilize the resources I have to their best use. I feel scattery, unfocused and even confused sometimes. This is definitely not how I want to feel with a hobby that provides me so much pleasure and satisfaction!
Since I have finished my spreadsheets, it has helped me be less impulsive and more selective in favoriting or purchasing patterns and yarns as I have a renewed realizion I have only so much time to complete them all.
I encourage you to try an organization project for your crochet or other craft patterns if you haven’t already. For me it was revealing and renewing.
Do you have favorite methods you use to organize and stay focused with your patterns or craft projects?