Why you should care less and make more. Tips for success when knitting. Crochet mistakes

Perfectionism and crafts don't mix. Stop caring and start making.

Perfectionism and crafts don't mix. Stop caring and start making.

Imagine the scenario, you see a pattern that you really, really like the look of but you don't think you can crochet "to that standard". You've made that snap judgement without even buying it, reading it and trying to understand it. You haven't even asked the designer or Youtube for help because you want to make it that much. Instead, you've shelved it for now and told yourself that one day, you'll make it. 

Does this sound like you? 

Why are you waiting until your skills are mastered before you attempt that sweater pattern you like the look of? 

I've got news for you- that day will never come.

Your crochet skills will never get there if this is how you're going about it. 

You're only limiting yourself. 

When I was learning to crochet I picked up the awesome book that is "Stitch and Bitch: The Happy Hooker" and one of the things that struck me instantly was that after all the A-Z of crochet and stitch tutorials, the patterns weren't graded by ability. 

That could send alarm bells ringing for some of us but for others such as myself, it was an opportunity to do whatever the hell I wanted and just have a go. What is there to be afraid of? What reason is there to hold off? Ok, you might get it wrong. We get things wrong. It's ok to get things wrong. It's ok to get tangled up in the yarn, it's ok to miss a stitch or two. It's ok to make it and think "I should have swatched". Just laugh it off and try again. Life is too short for perfectionism. 

How can you learn when you've never made a mistake? 

I feel that we are so obsessed with how things look or how 'picture perfect' everything should be on social media that we are missing out on a lot of what a hobby should bring. Why aren't you making mistakes? I make mistakes in my tutorials from time to time. You know what I do about it? I address them head on, joke about it and fix it. We all move on and the world is a better place. 

It's really ok to make mistakes. It saddens me to see knitters give up on crochet after 5 minutes because in that 5 minutes they couldn't match the skills that they have acquired after 15 years of knitting. That's not a fair comparison! Why are you even making comparisons anyway? Don't be scared of making mistakes. 

Don't worry about "How it looks"

Recently, I started running an Instagram competition, "Maker of the month" and I've asked customers to share any picture they want of their project. I don't care if it's an unblocked WIP on a messy coffee table. Just post it! In September, I got absolutely no entries into the competition. I really hope people didn't hold off because they were worried about a bit of clutter in the background. 

Other silly things that I don't think you should worry about include: 

  • "But I'll waste good yarn". 

In my humble opinion, yarn can not be wasted. You either unravel and use it again or give it to someone else. That is of course, if it's not mohair. Mohair can be wasted and burned for all I care. Nasty, itchy, sneeze inducing stuff. 

  • "It's a lot of time to spend on something I might mess up"

If you're worried about timescales for a hobby you're not doing hobbies right. 

  • "It'll look so bad" 

Who's looking? Who cares? I have yet to see an instagram comment or a reply in a Facebook craft group saying "your tension is all over the place" or "that's a bit of a mess, isn't it?". That's just mean. You don't knit or crochet for critics. 

  •  "But I'm not good enough" 

Who told you that? Did somebody tell you that crochet blankets are not the same calibre as shawls or garments? Do you think that because you only knit washcloths, you can't knit anything else? Why do you think this way? I've seen crocheters bang out blanket after blanket with a crazy variation of stitches and the most exquisite multi coloured granny squares but if I show them a one stitch shawl pattern they're like "oh I can't do that. That's too complicated". 

Nonsense. Do not assume that because what you've done doesn't require a bit of shaping, it doesn't nurture your skills. 

You don't have to be good at everything all at once. If you don't know the answer, go out and get the answer. 

In the world that we now live in, I do find myself dumbfounded when people leave reviews of patterns saying things like "I didn't know how to do X" I'm just writing instructions to tell you to make the thing. I've included as much glossary, photos and instruction as I can for the bargain price of £5-£6.

What prior knowledge (or lack thereof) you have when opening a new pattern is your responsibility. Go and learn some stuff. Google it, youtube it, read the blog. All of the information is there and it is yours for the taking. Join some make alongs, chat with some makers, join a group. No one is going to make it for you. 

Stop caring and start making. 

I can't stress this enough; Perfectionists and crafts don't mix. Your perfectionism will only hold you back. 

Yesterday, I received a comment on one of my Youtube tutorials. The commenter said that what was particularly effective was when I said "this will look messy" as she could then feel better about getting it messy or muddling along. It really struck a chord and made me think "do we not remind people that learning is messy?". I was thrilled that because I highlighted how easy it is to get it wrong (and showed how wrong it could get), someone felt confident enough to do it themselves. That's what it's all about. 

Life is too short for picture perfect makes. Make what you want and wear/use it with pride. 

(and if you want to enter that competition to win a free pattern every month, just head to https://www.instagram.com/germandercc/ to see the rules of entry. ) 


Further reading: 

How to get started with crochet: A Beginner's Guide. 

Not got crochet game? 

Things I wish I'd known as a beginner knitter. 

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