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#Crochet #TipsTuesday: 6 ways to restore your lost #crojo

6 ways to restore your lost #crojo (crochet mojo) - #Crochet #TipsTuesday by @ucrafter

Have you ever lost your crojo?

Crojo is a term many crocheters use to describe the combination of crochet skills and enthusiasm with mojo, an intangible, magic power that includes creative inspiration.

Whether you always experience a little dip in your crochet enthusiasm as the weather gets warmer, or a difficult project is making crochet seem like a chore, or life stressors have you thinking that picking up a hook is too challenging, I’m sharing 6 ways to bring back your crojo.

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1) Choose a “comfort” project

Most crocheters have favorite “go-to” projects. For some, these are “mindless” projects like a favorite pattern, a freeform project, or anything that can be done while watching streaming shows on Amazon Prime. Other crocheters prefer challenging projects that expand their skills and make them feel accomplished.

When your crojo is lost, try picking up your favorite type of project.

2) Look for inspiration online

Sometimes, you just hit a wall creatively with crochet. Looking at all the possibilities can be very inspiring!

Some of my favorite sources of crochet inspiration are…

If you’re more of a book person, browse Amazon’s regularly updated list of crochet bestsellers. You might be introduced to an interesting crochet trend!

Seeing all of these pretty images can get me excited all over again, or start me thinking about great color combinations I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise!

3) Mix things up!

Sometimes you just get stuck in a rut. Shaking up your crochet world can be just the thing that you need to find your crojo again.

  • If you always crochet for other people, try being a “selfish crocheter” on for size. Make a project just for you!
  • Or, if you always crochet for yourself, try making a gift for a crochet-worthy friend or a project to donate to charity.

You may find that crocheting a few rows outside of your comfort zone is just what you need to inspire you to return to your favorite type of crochet!

4) Pick up a new crochet technique

Maybe you’ve mastered so much with crochet that it has become repetitive and boring. In that case, learning a new technique can be exciting!

Learning something new may be just the thing you need to fall back in love with crochet!

5) Participate in a crochet-a-long

Sometimes crocheting with other people – whether face-to-face or virtually – can be so fun that it gets you excited all over again. Ravelry’s KAL Fanatics group is a great way to find out about online crochet- and knit-a-longs. You can also search Pinterest for “crochet-a-long YEAR” to find current CALs. (Here’s the 2015 search results.) Check with your local crochet guild or local yarn shop to find out about CALs in your local community.

6) Just take a break

Sometimes, a short break is really all that’s needed to bring your crojo back. If you’ve tried everything else and you just aren’t feeling the crochet love, take some time away from crochet. When you aren’t looking for it, your crojo will probably sneak up right behind you!

What are your tips for restoring your crojo?

Mini interview with Tammy Hildebrand

Hairpin Lace, the Crochet Speciality of the Month for May, 2015 on Underground Crafter
Welcome to my themed blog series, Crochet Specialty of the Month! Each month in 2015, I’ll feature a specialized crochet technique, stitch pattern, or project type through several posts.

As part of this month’s focus on hairpin lace, I’m sharing a mini interview today with Tammy Hildebrand from Hot Lava Crochet. Tammy is a crochet designer, author, teacher, and blogger. She’s also the current Vice President of the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA)

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You can find Tammy online at the Hot Lava Crochet blog, and on Craftsy, Facebook, Pinterest, Ravelry, and Twitter.  (By the way, May 18 just happens to be Tammy’s birthday, so don’t forget to wish her Happy Birthday on social media!) After reclaiming her health 22 months ago using a nutritional cleanse program after 7 years of illness,Tammy is also a health and wellness coach. You can find her health and wellness Facebook page here

I had the pleasure of interviewing Tammy before here as part of her blog tour for Crochet Wraps Every Which Way, and you can find more details about her background there. Today, we’re all focused on hairpin lace, one of Tammy’s favorite techniques. All images are used with permission and are copyright Tammy Hildebrand unless otherwise noted.

Tammy Hildebrand, wearing her Celebration 2015 Hat, a free crochet pattern.

Tammy Hildebrand, wearing her Celebration 2015 Hat, a free crochet pattern.

Underground Crafter (UC): You have several designs featuring the hairpin lace technique. How did you first learn about hairpin lace? 

Tammy: A number of years ago I attended a Stitches West show to work in the CGOA booth. Jennifer Hansen (Stitch Diva) was giving a demonstration of hairpin lace on the show floor. She is such an amazing teacher and made it so easy that I picked it right up and loved it immediately. 

3 hairpin lace designs from Tammy's book, Crochet Wraps Every Which Way. Left: Irish Jig. Top right: You Are My Sunshine. Bottom right: Shimmering Pearls Wrap.

3 hairpin lace designs from Tammy’s book, Crochet Wraps Every Which Way. Left: Irish Jig. Top right: You Are My Sunshine. Bottom right: Shimmering Pearls Wrap.

UC: What do you enjoy about designing with hairpin lace? 

Tammy: I love how quickly it works up and it is very methodical and relaxing. Plus the end result is beautiful!

Hairpin Lace Vest, free crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand. Image (c) Red Heart Yarn.

Hairpin Lace Vest, free crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand. Image (c) Red Heart Yarn.

UC: Do you have a preferred loom or other specialty tools for hairpin lace? 

Tammy: I do! Jennifer sells a handcrafted Walnut frame on her site that is the best loom I’ve ever used. It adjusts to more sizes than the typical metal and plastic looms and it is much sturdier. 

Abstract Treasures Shawl, crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand for sale on Craftsy.

Abstract Treasures Shawl, crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand for sale on Craftsy.

UC: Are there any crochet websites or blogs that you frequent for inspiration or community?

Tammy: Well, obviously Stitch Diva! Ha, Ha. I also love to search for inspiration on Pinterest.

Amelia Broomstick Lace Long Vest, crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand for sale on Craftsy.

Amelia Broomstick Lace Long Vest, crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand for sale on Craftsy.

UC: Do you have any new or upcoming projects you’d like to share?

Tammy: I will have a design in the upcoming issue of Interweave Crochet that I am rather proud of. It is unlike anything I have ever done before and it was a bit challenging but very rewarding!

Tammy, thank you for sharing your love of hairpin lace with us! We’re looking forward to seeing that upcoming pattern!

If you love these patterns, you may enjoy my Crochet Lace Board on Pinterest.

Follow Underground Crafter’s board Crochet Lace on Pinterest.

Interview with Katy from KT and the Squid

Interview with crochet designer Katy from KT and the Squid

I’m sharing another post as part of my series interviewing crochet designers for (Inter)National Crochet Month! Today, I’m interviewing Katy, the crochet designer behind KT and the Squid. Katy has over 6,900 sales in her Etsy shop, where she started out selling custom crochet hats and where she now sells digital patterns.

This post contains affiliate links.

Katy can be found online on the KT and the Squid website, and on Etsy, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, RavelryTwitter, and YouTube. All images are copyright KT and the Squid and are used with permission.

Interview with crochet designer Katy from KT and the Squid on Underground Crafter

Katy from KT and the Squid.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet?

Katy: I taught myself to crochet with one of those generic instructional books in high school. My grandmother crocheted (even after she lost her sight), but she passed before she could teach me, so I like to think it’s in my genes.

Woodland Hooded Vest, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

Woodland Hooded Vest, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

UC: What inspired you to start designing? 

Katy: Designing was always just a fun thing for me and I didn’t realize I was doing it until years later. When I taught myself to crochet, I never really followed many patterns or if I did, I always tweaked. Not because there was anything wrong with them but I always found myself asking, “Well, what if I do this instead…” I ended up with a LOT of hats that would never fit a human head but it was the process of creating something that really intrigued me. Years later, I discovered I could share my designs with people and actually make a living doing it what fueled my fire even more.

Spiky Man Blanket, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

Spiky Man Blanket, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

UC: Although you have a lot of variety in your patterns, you have recently been focusing on garments more regularly. What do you enjoy about designing garments?

Katy: Back in 2009 when I really started to get into crochet I experimented with garments. I then started an Etsy shop where I became known for my finished hats. I enjoyed making the hats but they became a distraction from what I really wanted to do which was clothing. Last year, I decided to stop selling finished hats and took on designing full time and I’m loving it.

It’s hard to pinpoint (or put into words) what it is I enjoy about designing garments. It’s funny because not too long ago they intimidated me. In my mind it was like a huge puzzle. All the increases and decreases, going around shoulders and arms and making neck openings… it was scary! But today I really enjoy putting that puzzle together. I loved puzzles as a kid, lol.

Katy modeling her My Favorite Crochet Pullover pattern.

Katy modeling her My Favorite Crochet Pullover pattern.

UC: On your site, you share the links to makers who sell your finished items. Can you tell us how you started these partnerships?

Katy: The KT and the Squid Makers are a group of ladies that test my patterns for me. I get a lot of people asking me to make items from my patterns for them. It not something I have the time (or desire) to do so rather than just sending them on their way, I like to have a list of ladies I can send them to that are familiar with my patterns.

Lily Tunic, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

Lily Tunic, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

UC: All of your patterns are self-published. What do you enjoy about self-publishing? What do you see as the challenges?

Katy: It’s funny you ask this now because it’s something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit recently. I have only self-published up until now so I have nothing to compare it to, but there are benefits that I see. Just to name a few, I can get my designs out to my customers fairly quickly and I retain the rights to my patterns… I’m sure a challenge would be getting my work out there for everyone to see but with sites like Ravelry, Etsy and Craftsy it’s made it easier. Very recently I have started communicating with some publishers so we’ll see where that takes me.

Kayla Sweater, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

Kayla Sweater, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

UC: Where do you generally find your creative inspiration?

Katy: I get a massive amount of inspiration from fashion trends I see in stores. I could spend HOURS shopping, looking at clothes (or anything) and not buy a thing. With three little kiddos I can’t always get out to go shopping, so I might browses like Pinterest online.

Chunky Crunchy Newsboy Hat, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

Chunky Crunchy Newsboy Hat, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

UC: How would you describe your style?

Katy: I’d say my style is simple and practical. When I’m designing I want all the elements to come together neatly for pattern writing purposes but I also want my designs to be practical so you can actually wear them when you’re done. I also love little details. Things like little buttons, simple trims…things that put a design just over the edge but not too over the top.

Braided Section Infinity Scarf, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

Braided Section Infinity Scarf, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

UC: What is your favorite crochet book in your collection?

Katy: I love Crochet Stitches VISUAL Encyclopedia by Robyn Chachula(UC comment: You can check out my review of the book here.)

UC: Do you have any crochet/crafty blogs or websites you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Katy: I really don’t visit too many sites regularly. I do spend a lot of time in Facebook groups. If I’m looking for inspiration online I’m more likely to visit a fashion site than a crochet/ crafty site…Like I said before I like to browse Pinterest. I usually do a general fashion search just to see what trends are out there.

Bancroft Top, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

Bancroft Top, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

UC: How are you celebrating NatCroMo this year?

Katy: I decided this year I will finally make (or at least start) an afghan for myself. I’ve made one for everyone in my family so I need one now.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Katy! An afghan for yourself sounds like a very worthy project for NatCroMo!