Monday, 12 August 2013

Crochet, Connections & Companions with my Petal Pullover

Let me tell you why my Petal Pullover means so much to me.

Learn more about me and my crochet life through the connections created by this special project.

I love my Petal Pullover.  Made of 100% merino wool (4-ply), it has been perfect for the autumn and winter season so far.  It keeps me comfortably warm – always the perfect temperature in a range of weather conditions. 

It ‘breathes’ very well–the open stitch pattern and moisture-wicking properties of wool prevent overheating and sweating. My Petal Pullover is so comfortable that it has been worn every week since completion in May 2012. Fortunately I chose a machine washable wool and it still looks good after regular laundering.

The short sleeves make my Petal Pullover a versatile wardrobe piece, especially for changeable weather in spring and autumn, or as an extra layer in winter without the bulk of long sleeves. I like it so much I want to make another in a different colour.

For me, the Petal Pullover is more than just another crocheted garment–it was the catalyst for a year of new learning, new friendships and new discoveries.  Upon reflection, I realised that my Petal Pullover has been like a companion this year along my various “journeys” which are as interconnected as the threads in the Petal Pullover itself:

·        Crochet and illness–crochet began as a new pastime to help me cope with chronic illness and became an integral part of my life and identity

·        Learning and technology–my first education about crochet came from a small base of traditional resources (word of mouth, books and magazines) and developed to include the use of technology and online resources. Lupey Loops and entering the ‘blogosphere’ is another step along this journey.

·        Social–crochet at the local craft group introduced me to many new people, when my illness was trying to quash any efforts to maintain a social life, but I could find no one my age with any interest in crochet.  Through online resources, I have discovered fellow crocheters around the world who share my passion.

The Petal Pullover played a direct role in connecting me with one of those passionate people–writer Kathryn Vercillo of the Crochet Concupiscence website.

I was so thrilled with the finished results of Robyn Chachula’s Petal Pullover pattern that on 18 May 2012 I decided to share the details in the Interweave Crochet forum on Ravelry.

My version of Petal Pullover has been modified to make it smaller than the smallest size listed in the pattern to provide a small amount of negative ease. It is done in washable merino. All the patterns I have seen of Robyn Chachula are well written with logical order and this Petal Pullover is no exception. It is easy and quick to make.

My non-Ravelling friend[*] and I decided to do the Petal Pullover as our own CAL because we missed the start dates for the CAL on Ravelry. When she has finished, we will take a photo of our creations together. It has been a good learning experience because she has never done a garment like this before, I was modifying mine, and we have different colourways and sizing.

The start and end dates on my project page belie how quickly and easily Petal Pullover works up - we had many interruptions to our CAL because of work, family and other
commitments but here it is and I love it. Thanks to all of the
people who have given me lovely feedback.

[*My non-ravelling friend was Adrienne, mentioned in my previous blog post “Petal Pullover: InPrint”]

One of the editors of Interweave Crochet magazine saw my post and surprised me with a message inviting me to submit a picture and a brief story about it.  Naturally I shared the exciting news with Adrienne who was still completing her Petal Pullover, and chose to write about our “crochet along” experience. 

Interweave Crochet wanted a photo of the two of us in our finished tops so we had to wait until Adrienne’s was complete to submit our photo.  I expected our photo to appear in the ‘letters to the editor’ column “In The Loop” but when the next issue arrived, there was no photo.

That was because Interweave Crochet had commissioned Kathryn Vercillo to write an article and that is how we were introduced to each other.

Kathryn asked Adrienne and I all sorts of questions to which I avoided any mention of my illness, especially the question about why I started crocheting (because I was sick and could do nothing else plus I wanted some lacy shrugs etc.) and also the questions about being a working mum when I was no longer in paid employment (again due to illness), although “all mums are working mums” in my opinion.

Meanwhile I had been reflecting upon crochet’s therapeutic benefits and Adrienne was encouraging me to blog about it.  I wasn’t sure about revealing the personal intricacies of chronic illness so I kept my answers to Kathryn’s questions strictly related to crochet.

After initial contact with Kathryn Vercillo, I visited her website and discovered that crochet as therapy was a keen interest of hers as well as mine, and she had already written a book about it: “Crochet Saved My Life”. 

I felt guilty about not being completely truthful with my answers but knowing that Kathryn would understand, I wrote to her again and told her the full story because I thought it would be useful as anecdotal evidence to support her ideas. 

I love the way the internet has put me in touch with others who are just as passionate about crochet. If you don’t believe me that anyone else could be as one-eyed and passionate, you must take a look at Kathryn’s blog “Crochet Concupiscence”–amazingly comprehensive.

Whatever you want to know about crochet, Crochet Concupiscence will help you find it, including  stories of how crochet (and craft) has helped people to heal. 

Kathryn has written profiles of people who are using crochet and craft for healing and at the end of June, she published an article about me (with my blessing) using some of the information that did not get used in the Interweave Crochet magazine. 

I hope it brings encouragement to others who are struggling with chronic illness or any other challenge in life.  I found it heartening to read the stories of others, to know that I am not the only one with these battles. Kathryn has also made some pertinent observations about the value of sharing stories.

You can get to know more about me and my crocheting life in Kathryn’s article:

What is your story? Tell me about your ‘journey(s)’ whether it be about crochet or craft, healing, learning or new connections. Have you had companions along the way? What connections have you made or would you like to make?

You can use the comments box below or email to share your story.

It amazes me that my humble Petal Pullover led me on an exciting journey that I could not have previously imagined. Crochet is such a gentle, affordable, and satisfying activity that can be intellectually stimulating and yet still meditative, as easy or intricate as you like, and a great way to expand one’s horizons in all sorts of ways.

Further Information

Robyn Chachula, crochet designer

Crochet Concupiscence website: <>

Petal Pullover Pattern by Robyn Chachula

Crochet Sweater Studio: Creating Garments that Suit Your Shape with Robyn Chachula, DVD Workshop, Interweave, ISBN 13: 9781620331446: <>

Interweave Online Store: <>

Petal Pullover Project Details

Wool: Shepherd Baby Wool Merino 4 ply
Colour #2936 Lime
Amount used: 5 x 50g skeins (825m / 903 yards)

Petal Pullover Ravelry Project Page: <>

Ravelry: a free site for knitters and crocheters: <>

Vercillo, Kathryn, Jodie Bravely Crochets Through Chronic Fatigue, article, Crochet Concupiscence, 28 June 2013, <>

Vercillo, Kathryn, Crochet Saved My Life: the Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Crochet, book, self-published 1 July 2012, ISBN/EAN13: 1478190450 / 9781478190455, <>


  1. How exciting, I remembered seeing this article! I had to go and rummage through my magazines until I found it! I have also seen this pattern on Ravelry and admired it greatly. My skills are still developing, but I no longer consider myself a beginner, I've moved up to intermediate :)
    xXx Helen

  2. I am glad you got to see the article Helen, and now that you are no longer a beginner, you will soon be able to have a go at the Petal Pullover yourself.

    Sometimes it helps to ignore the skill level rating of a pattern. When I first started to crochet, my mentors Val and Laurel (acknowledged at the bottom of each Lupey Loops page) encouraged me to choose patterns that appealed to me and that I really loved, regardless of the difficulty level. They figured that the love for the item will motivate one to find a way to learn everything required. Lots of practice helps too whenever a new technique comes along.

    What is difficult for one person might be easy for another. Often if you don't know that something is supposed to be difficult, you can confidently achieve amazing things.

    It helps to have someone to call upon if you get stuck but since my technology-loving friend Adrienne introduced me to the world of video tutorials, I am sure there is nothing one cannot work out without the help of online videos and crochet forums. The crochet community is so friendly and helpful. The love of crochet rules!

    All the best as you travel your own learning journey! When you are ready to start your own Petal Pullover I will be happy to 'travel along with you'.