Favorite and Not-So-Favorite Projects of 2021

Photo credits (left to right) Holly Trim Table Runner by Michelle Wilcox for Yarnspirations; Pumpkin Bookmark by me; (Photo collage--starting at top left corner and going clockwise) Granny Keep Warm Cowl by Sandra Paul/Cherry Heart Designs Blog; Granny Stripe Blanket by me; Picot Headband by Ali/The Turtle Trunk; Zipper Pouch by Caroline/Kandou Patterns; Granny Scarf by me; and Ivy Cowl by Natalia Kononova/Outstanding Crochet

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.”

Not So Surprising

Other takeaways

  • 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?


Lost Your Crojo?

#OrganisedOctober21 and #WIPalong21 on Instagram

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.