I started crochet design back in the fall of 2020.
I was just a few weeks away from the end my Child Psychology degree. Most near-graduates would have been starting to job search, but not me. While working through my college degree, I was also fighting chronic illness. It had already been decided for me that a full-time job was not waiting for me on the other side of finishing my college degree, due to my extreme fatigue and the fact that my body had to work so hard just to stay upright all day.
Crochet had been the perfect hobby for me to occupy my time – something low-energy that I can do from the comfort of my own couch. Just a few months before, I really started to conceptually understand crochet – how the stitches come together to create a specific shape, and how to change the stitch pattern to manipulate that shape.
I was making some cupcake decorations for my mom. I didn’t quite love the pattern that I was following and the shape that it was producing, so I decided to tweak the pattern just a little bit to try and achieve the result I was going for. After a little trial and error, I was successful!
Then, it clicked. This is how other people create crochet patterns. They just imagine the shape they want to create and they go for it! And some people even make money off of this! It was like a lightbulb went off in my head: crochet design might just be the perfect way for me to produce an income, while still giving my body all the attention and rest it needs.
The next thing I did was challenge myself to just make something. No pattern. I’ve always crocheted while following a pattern, so this felt very intimidating to me. But I took the leap just to see where my hands took me. And this is what followed.
Pretty ugly, right?! Of course, I was just using scrap yarn to play around with, and I don’t remember trying to achieve any particular item or “look” in particular. I just wanted to see if I understood shaping and what would happen if I just started crocheting randomly.
Life went on, and I kept practicing this free-form crochet thing for a while. I also started testing patterns for other crochet designers, so I could get a better idea of what the pattern design process really looks like. Eventually, I got to the point where I felt ready enough to design my first pattern. Read that sentence again – I felt ready *enough*, not to be mistaken for feeling completely confident and ready.
I think it can be easy to delay trying something new. You don’t feel ready, the timing isn’t right, there are so many other people who are better at it than you are, the list goes on. These kinds of thoughts can consume you and scare you away from ever doing anything new. But – if it’s something you really want to do, you’ll have to take that leap eventually.
So I did. I started off designing something very basic and straightforward – a washcloth! I picked one of my favorite stitches, put a tiny spin on it, and out came the Alpine Cloth Set!
I designed this matching washcloth and dishcloth set in November of 2020 and released the pattern later that month. I had a goal of receiving 3 sales by the end of the year (I like to keep my expectations real low so that I don’t get disappointed) – I ended 2020 with 7 sales of my first pattern! I went into 2021 thinking that I could really do this. I had no idea where it would take me, and I really didn’t expect this to ever make a full time, or even part time, income by any means. But it was a way to keep myself busy and creatively stimulated, and maybe make a little extra money on the side too.
Fast forward 3 years later, and this little crochet designing side hobby has become a full time business! I have now released over 30 crochet patterns (with several of them free on the blog), sold over 4000 copies of patterns, grown my social media to nearly 20,000 followers, and I’ve written my first crochet pattern book! I would have never guessed that crochet design would take me here.
I get to stay at home and nurture my health, and now my baby boy, while also working and doing something I absolutely love. Are you considering taking the leap into crochet design. I say go for it! You never know where it might take you.