In case you couldn’t guess, I love amigurumi! I don’t think this will come as a shock to anyone, considering the content of my website, Instagram, or if you come to my house and see bunnies all over the place. In fact, I’ve had several people walk into the house and say ‘I feel like I just stepped into your Instagram’!
When I started making crocheted items, everything was made just for me. My little Star Wars creatures, hats, blankets, all mine! I quickly discovered that there was a whole online community for crochet, which provided some interesting opportunities, such as testing patterns for others! I started signing up to test a variety of clothes and ami patterns, which I have, and still very much enjoy.
Shortly after, I started being asked to make things for other people. I’m so honoured that people would want me to make them things, and it is something that I absolutely love to do. I especially love being sent pictures of the items I’ve made being enjoyed by their new owners (usually babies or small children, but also people over the age of 5 as well!).
As if I didn’t have enough going on, I also started writing my own patterns (and having them tested by others), and developing ongoing projects like The 12 Bunnies of Christmas. I was connecting with people online, learning new things, having a blast. Crochet was coming out the ying yang!!
Before continuing on, I want to reiterate that I LOVE making things for others, testing, writing patterns, connecting with people on the ‘gram and Facebook. It is a huge part of what gives me joy from crochet. Just keep that in your back pocket…
I was doing all these fun, incredible things, but after Christmas, when everyone had received their gifts, all the bunnies had been designed, all my testing done, I realized that I hadn’t made anything for myself in ages. Yes, I had crocheted a lot, and I had read and provided feedback on a lot of patterns, but when was the last time I had made something that no one was waiting on, or needed critiquing? Probably when I gave up on my temperature blanket in July!
Making something new…
I’m trying this new thing, I guess you could call it a new mindset. This has evolved over the last few weeks through a series of events. I was firstly inspired when one of my fellow #wonderwoolmen posted about making something for herself on Instagram. I said to myself ‘I should do that too!’. I had recently seen someone make a Ponyta (a horse Pokemon for anyone who isn’t a fan) version of this pony pattern from All About Ami and just thought it was the sweetest. So, instead of saying ‘oh that’s cute’ and moving on, I made my own! I was so incredibly happy to have my sweet little Ponyta, and am even making a shiny version now too!
Then, a few nights ago, I was working on a new pattern design and felt totally uninspired and annoyed with my lack of progress. I messaged the #wonderwoolmen and asked whether it would be totally horrendous to drop what I was doing and make something just for me. As per usual, they were totally supportive and said ‘do it’, so I dropped my hook, and opened my iPad to my Pinterest. My eyes fell onto the pattern for Bao, a little dumpling ami designed in the likeness of the character of the same name from the recent Pixar short. I had admired this pattern by Ami Amour for quite a while, but have never had the chance to make it. Two hours after grabbing some white and green yarn from my stash, I had a new Bao, and was feeling much happier.
To my surprise, the next morning I felt inspired again and could finally continue on with my design! Taking a break, doing something purely for my own enjoyment and coming away with something just for me put me in a much better space for my other projects. I felt much more productive, and my new pattern, as well as some other projects I’ve been working on for others, came together much more quickly!
Just for Me Ami
I’ve made a pact with myself. When I feel totally bleh, overwhelmed, frustrated or in need of a break, I’m going to drop what I’m doing and work on a ‘just for me ami’; free small patterns from other designers that I’ve always wanted to try, but never had the chance!
I’m going to be putting all of the patterns that I find that I want to make in a Pinterest board. If you would like to follow it and perhaps become inspired with some ‘just for me ami’, please do! I’ll also share some of my completed projects here on my website in a new section. First on my list is this absolutely ADORABLE Buzz Lightyear Bunny, designed by the incredibly talented Once Upon a Cheerio.
I think it’s important to remember that when you are doing things you like, you don’t get so worked up that you forget why you started doing it in the first place! I think this applies to all art forms. So while you’re working on your commissions, pattern designs, tests, blogging and all the other ‘side-hustle’ business stuff, make sure that you are doing something that is just for you too! Write for the sake of writing, throw a mug that you’ll use yourself, paint something that goes on your own wall, knit a pair of mittens that you’ll wear next winter (because spring is coming…right???) I think you’ll find that taking a break and maintaining that sense of balance between ‘work’ and ‘play’ will help ensure that you are still having fun as a maker! Which really is the point of it all, right?