Monday, March 28, 2011

I've Got Skills: Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011

Today's topic for Knitting and Crochet Blog Week calls for each blogger to assess how their skills have improved over the last year.  I started blogging last year when I was halfway through my first pregnancy, off from work and moving to the suburbs. Crafting and crocheting in particular, became a calming, meditative practice when my life was changing pretty quickly. I've had some highs and lows and even picked up a few new techniques along the way.

unfinished dolls

Most notably, I went from discovering amigurumi dolls -- to making sellable ones in my own signature style. My technique improved rapidly because of two reasons:

1. The super helpful blog community. There are some great amigurumi blogs out there that share free patterns and give tips and tricks for the novice. I can't say how grateful I am to those great folks for sharing. 

2. Practice, practice, practice. I made so many heads and bodies that I can't begin to count. I still have a bunch of unfinished, rethought parts in a box. I probably tried 20 different sphere patterns before I found one that made the round head I liked. I went to the craft store at least 5 times to find yarn that would make for suitable hair. I was determined to make dolls that I would have bought myself.

One day, I made the original Dr. CraftFro doll after working late into my usual insomniac night and I knew I was onto something. I enjoyed making her, crafting her big hair and giving her a story. 

The dolls were just the first push for me to learn the right way to crochet instead of just winging it the way I had been. I joined Ravelry and Crochetville and started watching crochet videos on youtube. After a while, I was making booties and hats for my soon-to-come baby and felt confident enough to make gifts for others. 

I made my first ever granny squares. I know I know. Every crocheter makes granny squares. I just never had.

I went from barely knowing how to start the next row in a rectangle scarf pattern, to being able to design my own patterns and to follow others. I even learned symbol crochet. 

I did pick up a pair of knitting needles in 2010. I got one of those Teach Yourself How to Knit kits as a prize and tried to give it a shot. It was my first ever attempt at knitting. 

After a lot of unraveling and started over, I made a hook case. It wasn't perfect, it was practice! I didn't bother blocking it. I just wanted to see how long it would take me to knit (and purl!) something. I decided that knitting wasn't quite my thing, yet. So' I've put the needles away until summer when I can devote a bit more time to learning. 

All in all, this year I've gone from being a beginning crocheter who never finished anything but oddly shaped scarves to being a pretty decent pattern follower and a, dare I say it, near expert doll maker. 

All that said, I haven't made any dolls for a while. I got frustrated after making a few for sale. I realized that I loved the way they looked but I wasn't very efficient with my time or materials. I just couldn't take the time to make each one in the way I was making them for all of the people that wanted one. I'm still torn about what to do about that. I don't want to stop trying to make the dolls for gifts and to sell but I can't find a good way to change my process. 

And most importantly, in the last six months, I've learned to craft while having a sidekick who needs lots of attention.
My Little H. as an Oompa Loompa

Peas and Carrots, 


  1. Well hooray for dolls! Would love to see a pic of the box with the unused doll parts. There's a story there, too. :)

    And love your little Oompa Loompa. Need the too-cute-for-words button, please.

  2. I love your dolls! They are too cute. I'm the type to get bored with stuff, but crochet has kept my attention for way longer than I thought it would. There is just so many different techniques and stitches. I have yet to try knitting. I mean I dabbled, but you are brave and actually made something! Great job and keep up the awesome work. You're little one is adorable.

  3. Hi how do I get the pattern for the oompa loopa hat please


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