It is very rare that I don't have a crochet hook, knitting needles or sewing needle in my hands. I hear what sounds to me like horror stories of people losing their crafting mojo and I always wonder what the causes are.
Some of you may know that I also have a monthly crochet podcast called the Crochet Circle Podcast (video and audio). We have an excellent community of crocheters called the Crochet Clan and when I ask them questions about crafting, they always deliver the goods.
So, to gather helpful info on the topic of losing and regaining your crojo, I took to Instagram and asked the Crochet Clan for their experiences.
There are some very common reasons why people fall out of love with crochet and crafting in general:
- Current skill levels don’t match what they want the finished object to look like or stops them from tackling next level patterns.
- Deadline crocheting – particularly for Christmas or teacher presents.
- Output crocheting because you are a crochet teacher, designer or podcaster.
- Summer months – either too hot or you are off doing other things because of the daylight.
- Too many WIPs on the go and it's all just bogging you down.
- Big life changes such as births, deaths, weddings, house moves, relationship issues, country moves. Crochet just falls into the background.
- Projects that are in the naughty corner because something needs to be fixed, there are long, boring sections or the project just overall feels like a chore!
- Being new to the craft and not yet knowing what you like to make.
- Frustrated with the simplicity of many of the patterns available.
- Feeling like your makes aren't as good as other people's.
- The pressure of Instagram - fancy patterns, fancy photos, fancy yarns etc.
- Disasters with gauge, yarn shortages, moths eating your project...
- Giving your makes as gifts and not receiving the response you expected.
What is interesting to me is that many of the reasons we love to crochet and craft can also be responsible for falling out of love with it.
Here are the excellent suggestions that folk gave me for getting your crojo back:
- Go to yarn shows to meet fellow crocheters, get caught up in the love of yarn and generally just be enthused by crafting again.
- Pick well-written patterns that give you a higher chance of success.
- If you are on Instagram, look up crochet related hashtags to get inspiration and see what others are up making. Try searching for crochet in different languages such as 'haken' so that you see what is popular in different parts of the world.
- Hide your current WIPs and start the thing that excites you most!
- Choose a really quick project that you can finish in one sitting. The dopamine hit that you get from finishing a project shouldn't be underestimated.
- Join a CAL/KAL/MAL so that you are engaging with fellow crafters towards a common goal and remember that it doesn't really matter if you don't finish by the deadline.
- Look back at your Ravelry project pages or go through your handmade wardrobe. Remind your self of all the beautiful things you have made and how far you have developed your skills.
- Take time out to enjoy other crafts. Crochet, or whatever your dominant craft is, isn't going anywhere. You can just pick it back up when you are ready to.
- Have a selection of WIPs. One for quiet times that needs a bit of concentration, one for watching the TV or reading that requires very little concentration and one the will fly off your hook so that your brain gets that dopamine hit.
- Do just a couple of rows. Even one stitch is one stitch further...
Here is what I do to try to ensure that I am always enjoying crochet:
- Work from other designer's patterns rather than only crocheting for my own design work.
- After so many "hmm, thanks" responses, I now only ever make things for people that are worthy and understand the hours I have diverted from other tasks to make them something! *See top tip below on how to deflect requests.
- If I feel like my current WIP has no end in sight, I will start a really quick project that I can finish in a day/weekend. That dopamine hit really gets me going!
- I add my crafting projects into a list. I also love the satisfaction of ticking off FOs.
- I push myself to learn new techniques so that I know whet I do and do not enjoy making. For instance, I pushed myself to learn tapestry crochet and cables. I LOVE doing tapestry crochet and utterly detest crocheting cables. I now know that I don't want to spend my time on crocheted cable patterns. I feel similarly about amigurumi (though I do the occasional thing) and knitted brioche!
- For big projects with repetitive elements, I use a progress keeper. Seeing even a little bit of progress is enough to keep me going.
- I do lots of other crafts (pottery, knitting, spinning, natural dyeing, sewing, cross-stitch, machine sewing...). I love multi-media projects and seeing how a project in one discipline influences my designs in another craft. For instance, I have just finished off a knitted sock design with the moon on it and now I am making moon-based yarn bowls in my pottery class.
*My Worthy Decision Ladder
If somebody asks me to make them something then unless I already know that they are worthy recipients, I adopt the following system:
1 - I tell them to go away and come back with a pattern/designer suggestion based on what it is they want. Most people won't do this and you left the ball in their court. Job done.
2 - Some people will come back with a pattern/designer suggestion. They just moved up a rung on the Worthy Ladder. My next move here is to tell them the types of wool/yarn that I like to work with. This also gives them an idea of costings. I'm am totally unwilling to work with yarn that I won't enjoy. When people realise the cost involved, that cuts through the next layer of unworthy recipients.
3 - You have a total keen bean that is worthy and that leaves three options:
- You don't mind making the chosen project and have the time to make it. Person moves onto the Worthy Ladder and you make the thing for them.
- You don't mind making the chosen project and don't have the time to make it at the moment and add it to your list of future makes instead. Person moves onto the Worthy Ladder and you make the thing for them.
- You don't like the chosen project and don't want to do it. Instead, you offer to teach them how to crochet. Then you teach them about the Worthy Decision Ladder so that they don't spend their precious crafting time making things in horrid yarn for total ingrates!
The health benefits of crafts like crochet are well proven. I'm hoping that by highlighting why people lose their crochet mojo, we can support each other to keep crafting.
Equally, if you do lose your crojo, hopefully, the experiences of the Crochet Clan will give you some suggestions for working on getting it back.
Hooks up and happy crocheting!