The idea had been that I’d get these posts up weekly, probably on a Wednesday, to keep myself going and stay up to date. What I hadn’t reckoned on was a) being out of the habit of blogging and b) Winter. My SAD is pretty severe, and my energy levels are low at this time of year. Having overdone it in the garden weekend-before-last, I spent a lot of last week in a brain fog, concentrating on getting the essentials done and resting as much as I could. Apparently that also meant resting from blogging! As I usually have more energy on a Monday, I’m going to try switching to those for posting, and try to stay up to date as much as I can.
I thought it would make sense to start with “why plan this project?” and “why The Crochet Project?”, as much to explain it to myself as anyone else.
2018 and 2019 were slow years for making, thanks to a house move and sundry other things. Part of the house move was creating space for me to store my craft supplies properly and, more importantly, actually make things in.
[Because someone will ask, these are IKEA Billys, 3 of them fitted normally, and the 4th cut down to fill the remaining space. The sides were filled using pieces from a CD unit.]
One thing that having decent storage told me was that I have a lot of yarn I want to use. Not so much that I think my stash is excessive in absolute terms – I’ve seen bigger and smaller, and there’s no stash-shaming in this space – but it exceeds the space I have to store it in, which means I can’t see it all at the same time, and I forget what I have, which makes me sad when I remember.
Lookit! So pretty!
I decided that, while I could just keep staring folornly at the wall of wool, what would actually help was a goal to pull me through, and help me use things up. Looking through my pattern collection, I realised that I have a nearly-complete set of The Crochet Project patterns. Combining that with my overwhelming stash gave me a manageable way through the year. Trying to choose from “all crochet patterns” wasn’t possible. Trying to choose from “this set of crochet patterns” is.
If you’ve been around my Instagram for any length of time, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of Kat and Joanne’s work. I like that they write wearable crochet patterns, and use a lot of fingering weight yarn. My stash is mostly that weight or lighter, and I had an annoying tendency to only buy one skein at a time, so typical crochet projects that use multiple skeins of DK or Worsted can be tricky for me for me, and I sometimes lack the patience for long-term lace projects, however much I love laceweight yarn (Spoiler: I love it a lot).
And sometimes I substitute 4 ply with laceweight, just because I can.
There’s also an elegance in their pattern-writing that I really appreciate. I always feel as though they’ve thought “how will I write this?” as well as “what do I want this to look like?” It means that the prospect of spending most of the year working with their writing is exciting rather than daunting. The fact they’re also super-nice and quick to reply to emails also helps.
And so a spreadsheet was born, because if you don’t have a spreadsheet for it, is it really a project at all? All The Crochet Project patterns, with yarn weights and amounts, and columns for my own yarn suggestions and whether I’d made them or not. All-told, so far, I’ve made 15 of their patterns, which is just over 10% of all their patterns.
Isn’t it pretty? It has lots of tabs and everything.
The process of matching pattern to yarn is more of an art than a science. While the spreadsheet has yarn suggestions on it, I tend to go on a combination of instinct and experience as to what’s actually going to work. I’ll talk more about yarn substitutions in another post, as there’s more to it than just matching yardage. Sometimes, the yarn just doesn’t want to work as the thing you think it should be, and some yarns don’t seem to want to be anything at all. Hopefully as I get through both the list and the stash, more ideas will occur to me, and more yarn will want to come out and play.
So this is where I start. Five works in progress, fifteen finished projects, and plenty more to choose from in the future. Now I just have to get on with the stitching, but that’s the easy part, right?