Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week 2014: 7 - Looking Back, Looking Forward #5KCBWDAY7

2013 was an exceptional year which started out as an exciting whirlwind of activity but during the year it grew into an uncontrollable tornado, sucking me into it without escape, tossing me around at will only to dump me at a time of its own choosing, leaving me totally exhausted, dazed and wondering how it all happened!

April 2013 heralded the fourth annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week. Still early in the year, I had no warning of the events that were to arise.  

My hopes were to shorten my ‘queue’ of projects to complete and to save some money by working from the existing yarn ‘stash’.
Cupcake Monkey, Spotlight

I also toyed with the idea of purposely not making any goals to see whether it might bring “freedom to explore my crochet more spontaneously, to take up unexpected opportunities as they arise, without any preconceived targets.”
I was challenged to find (and make) a mascot project for the ‘House of Monkey

My queue already had two monkey projects to crochet for my own ‘little monkeys’. How convenient – a way to fulfil the challenge and  also ‘shorten the queue’. That seemed like a good deal!

Uh-oh!  The mascot project smashed the notion of ‘not making any goals’ because in the same breath, I had set myself a goal (or should that be two goals)!

Clarence the Monkey
by Brenda KB Anderson,

Looking Back

I am unimpressed with my progress. Good intentions fell by the wayside and turned into unfulfilled promises (a familiar theme in the Australian media at this time).  Only last week, my youngest reminded me yet again that she still wants a crocheted monkey! Who’s guilty now?

I shouldn’t feel guilty – for good reason. (Notice the word reason; not excuse – r-e-a-s-o-n! <grin>)  It was a year of extraordinary pressures on my time, energy, health and finances as I set myself the impossible task of raising money for my daughter to participate in an important school trip overseas.  When you live in South Australia, everywhere else is very far away and travel is costly!

Suddenly the entire focus was preparation for the big trip. The whole family became involved; cutting back on expenses wherever we could; babysitting and selling brownies, chocolates and crocheted beanies; meetings, scholarships and grant applications and other fundraising activities. Phew!  The Knitting and Crochet Blog Week goals were promptly discarded. Sort of.

Aim: Shorten the Queue

The ‘Ravelry Queue’ went untouched. Ignored. Unloved. Sob! So much inspiration waiting there!

If anything, my crochet queue grew as I received orders for fundraising projects but everything added to the queue in 2013 is now complete! (“Yay!” I cheer.)

Aim: Freedom to be Spontaneous and Take Up Unexpected Opportunities

Silk mohair scarves
This was successful.  Without a set plan for the year, I was able to answer the call for small fundraising items. 

During Autumn of 2013 a local gallery gave me the opportunity to sell my silk mohair scarves in their shop.  Of course I jumped at the chance to raise some money for the school trip. I was only able to supply three scarves because my highest priority was to complete projects that had been pre-ordered. Fortunately, all of the scarves sold and the demand has not waned. 

Aim: Work from Existing Stash to Save Money

I tried to work from the existing stash but failed to reduce it.  I did not ‘save’ money per se; it was a case of spending money to make money as some particular orders needed yarns that I did not have. While I didn’t lose money, the leftovers added even more yarn to my stash!

Aim: Maintain a Blog about my Crochet Adventures

I seem to have managed this very well.  I am concerned that the effort and extra commitment is an extra source of stress in my life but realise that it need not be so.  Blogging has been a useful exercise for collating my thoughts and ideas but it has also been time consuming.  

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week has taught me that daily blogging is an unrealistic expectation but my original notion of once a fortnight is achievable. I would love to find a routine time to work on the blog – my blogging is very sporadic at the moment due to health and time constraints.

Learning about social media is an ongoing exercise. Since 2013, I have used Twitter occasionally to keep followers up to date with the blog. I want to understand Twitter and Google+ because a lot of people use them but I cannot see myself spending much time with these platforms. 

Perhaps you can convince me of their value. At this stage, I cannot see a need apart from sharing information but I have a blog for that, and email for personal correspondence (  

Pinterest can be fun but is even more time consuming than blogging. Many Pinterest pages seem to scroll forever on my little old laptop computer that already struggles with modern demands; thus Pinterest  is not a major activity for me, but it is available if I have something to share or view that cannot be posted here.  I avoid Pinterest so please do not be offended if I do not visit or ‘follow’ your pages. 

Do you use Google+, Twitter or Pinterest ? How do they benefit you?

Looking Forward

How can I have ‘no set goals’ when there are so many great crochet projects out there?  
Cardigan swatches
8 ply sportsknit crepe

This year I hope to continue working through my stash and finish at least two garments for myself, after doing so many things for others last year.

For this winter I would like a cardigan. I am currently swatching for 'Belcarra Cardigan' by Robyn Chachula (so far, so good).

A cotton top called 'Helene' by Melissa Leapman has been patiently waiting for two summers for my attention. I have the yarn and began swatching but never got any further.  With any luck, it will be ready to wear in summer 2014/15.

I need to mend some amigurumi guitars and locate a home for the Fab Four amigurumi. I am waiting for a decent block of uninterrupted time when I am well enough to get their box down from the top of the cupboard and patient enough to work through the solution.

Add a couple of monkeys to the list...

If there is still time after that it might be nice to revisit tricot and try to work it in the round.

Most of all, I am looking forward to a new arrival in the extended family, and very excited to start crocheting some adorable baby projects. 

Do you have a favourite baby gift project that you would recommend?

Pattern Details

Anderson, Brenda KB, "Clarence the Monkey", Interweave Crochet [magazine], Volume V, Number 1, Spring 2011, <>, Interweave, Loveland CO, USA, 2010

Chachula, Robyn, "Belcarra Cardigan", Interweave Crochet [magazine], Volume IV, Number 4, Winter 2010,  <>, Interweave, Loveland CO, USA, 2010

Fuertes, Monica Rodriguez, "Fab Four Amigurumi", Crochet Today! [magazine], Jan/Feb 2012, <>, Future US Inc., South San Francisco CA, USA, 2012

Fuertes, Monica Rodriguez, "Fab Four Instruments", Crochet Today! Free Projects Online [free pattern], <

Leapman, Melissa, "Helene", <>, Cool Crochet: 30 hot, fun designs to crochet and wear, ISBN 0-8230-1124-0, Watson-Guptill Publications, <>New York NY, USA, 2005

Spotlight Pty Ltd, "Cupcake Monkey", Charmed Knits [booklet], 'Living with Yarn' series, article #80143872, <>, <>, <>, <>, Australia, 2009


  1. You've done well, Jodi. I'm always a bit suspicious of those who can tick off absolutely everything ;-)
    As for social media...I'm more or less a recluse. I have a link from my blog to my FB group, but no separate Page for my blog. I also don't do Twitter (had a two day-look and decided it's too much hassle). My Instagram is Private, as I use it mostly for editing, and not sharing. Pinterest is mainly for my own interests, but I have started to break my board related to my FB Group up into smaller boards, just to make searching easier. I only have Google+ because I have Chrome/gmail, therefor by default. I never use it. My personal FB is also just that - not linked to any others.
    My take on social media is that YOU must USE it, not you be consumed by it. I'm happy with my little compartments, and especially with how my FB Group led me to meet so many new friends in real life. I will move to a new town in 6 months and hope to do the same.

    1. Thank you for the reminder to not be consumed by technology.
      Good luck with your move later in the year. I hope you make some lovely new friendships (and perhaps rekindle some old ones?)
      I have replied further in the comment below.

  2. Hi Jodie :-) I'm impressed with all your achievements! I'm like Stel in that Google+ came with my device. I use it a bit but mostly find it annoying. I have a personal Facebook page so as to keep up with friends and family photos etc, and I have my blog. I do have a yarnandpencil Twitter account and face book account but to be honest I think they are a waste of time as I don't do anything with them really. So, in short, it's my blog and personal fb page that are important to me. I'd rather live life in the real world rather than in hyper-reality.
    Tracey xxx

    1. Well said. (living life in the real world)
      I have replied further in the comment below.

  3. Thank you Stel & Tracey! I am glad it's not 'just me'! I do not want to link the social media - I have FB for personal content with friends and my blog to document my crochet etc. If they are linked and all have the same content, what's the point? I have introduced myself to these applications to try to keep in touch with particular people but seriously, if I need to contact people I have email and the phone. I suppose I am wondering what all of the fuss is about. Thank you for your reassuring feedback. it is good to know we share similar values in this regard. I prefer to keep my life as simple as possible.