cantankerous crochetier

 “I crochet to keep my mind from unravelling” is a revised version of a quote by Niki de St Phalle, very much appropriate for my next blog post, all about my crochet processes. 

I suppose it helps to look back at what you have done, every now and again, to review, and when you make blankets as huge as the ones I make, at the same time hope to post monthly, well, there are expected to be some months void of crochet blanket completion news.. This gives me a space to fill with crochet ramblings before each blanket is finished and each blanket’s story is ready to be written into a new blog post.

As i crochet, lots of thoughts come and go, some stick and some float away, but i have been thinking recently about the stages of my process. Suppose these are in line with a very generalised version of any creative process, you can decide that for yourself by reading on.

 The story of each blanket, varied in details, but generalised to the process with which I tend to approach the making of, usually starts with an idea. 

A stitch that I want to explore/ learn/ habituate, or a stack of previously made small samples of crochet work lying around our spare room without a purpose, waiting to be connected into a bigger piece. This is done in the hope to give the smaller pieces a purpose, a way to use them constructively.  In the case of my most recent project, the idea of a stardust galaxy theme was the starting point. After some pondering, the story of the making begins.

It’s important to not rush the project, to figure ways to connect pieces as and when the answers/ options present themselves, and to continue simply when you cannot stop… 

Blankets, for me, are a choice and an obsession.  They are for working stuff out.  They start without a plan, and very organically develop as each stitch is informed by the previous one, followed until understood and habituated. 

Once habituated, and once the central parts are finished, they are encased by a sort of framing of sorts – some of which are necessary if they are made from modular pieces, and some of which are to encase, to frame and to finish of each crochet artwork piece. In a way this encasement is a final stage, by this point, the creative problem solving part of each project is complete. This last stage aims to be fluent and quick growing, usually, but not always, using granny square stitch, which aims to bring repetitive rhythm when nearing the end of each handmade free-form crochet project. More recently, I have changed the final stitches and even made myself try to automate and understand stitches that I have avoided using in the past. 

If i were to classify the way i make crochet blankets, i would class my crochet process as Freeform Crochet: Each blanket is a different project, with different challenge at the start, different challenges through the making, and different stitches chosen as the end is nearing. Each has a different spurs of energetic speedy growth and stagnant stages, each has different yarn replenishment needs…  But each one follows a pattern – not a crochet pattern (you know me in that respect, I love to buy new patterns so that I can not follow them), but a pattern none the less.

In how my work develops, how it is created and how each stitch follows the previous one, bound together in development and chained into time, depending on each previous one for the ability to exist.  In a way, they have thoughts knotted in them, and that is why i chose to use the #thoughtsinknots in my Instagram profile HERE.

Not only within each single project, but also in terms of the choice of the next one after completing the previous… Seemingly, every single turn I have ever made in terms of my crochet work has always lead me to the next, but without the previous one, or if they were out of sequence, my work might have developed a different way.

The focal point of this post are not only the processes that are involved in creating one stitch next to the other, each blanket is also about the processes that go on inside my own mind, whilst each crochet blanket is being made.  In the making of my most recent project, I have wondered: How many stitches?  Thousands?  Hundreds of thousands?  How many in this blanket and how many in my crochet activity so far…  How many?  Is there a significance to the number?

I do not have answers to these questions, but it made me consider the importance of each stitch for me, the importance of crochet in my life and the weight (both literal and metaphorical) of the blankets in terms of my thinking processes and well-being..

The next thing to consider are the background noises of each blanket. By this i mean the physical surroundings of each crochet blanket making. Films, where I don’t know what any of the characters look like, music associated with each project, based on the particulars and circumstances of everything else happening in my life at the time of making each freeform crochet blanket.  Whether these have any impact on the choices made in the crochet creation process, I cannot confirm, but also I cannot deny. 

I keep crocheting and things become more apparent. It became apparent to me a little while ago, that the moment I name an emotion, a feeling, a passing state of existing, or even an opinion, a way I do stuff – no sooner that those identifying words are articulated and escape my mouth, I seem to go against them and do the exact opposite.  My whole perspective changes. So maybe once I finish describing my process in this post, it will actually change..

We will just have to wait and see… 🙂

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