Just like a writer sometimes finds it hard for words to flow, so can a crafter get a “block” in his or her creative energy. Suddenly, my hook is too heavy, the yarn is too scratchy, and I can no longer find any joy in the craft I love so much. Every project seems too long and too hard and….and…and…
I’ve lost my cro-jo!
This happens to me all too often, and when your flow stops, everything just seems to grind to a halt. I have to find a way to get back to creating (and frankly, working) as fast as possible! So here are my top five ways to beat Hooker’s Block.
Find something small to make or finish.
When you put in that last stitch of a project, it’s like turning the last page on a good book. It makes you feel accomplished, refreshed, and often ready to move on to the next thing. I find that seeking out something to finish quickly has a way of recharging my cro-jo batteries. A new small project is a good way to do this – something like a Tiny Seal or a Pokeball. Or, more often than not, I have something sitting around that is done but needs the ends woven in, or an amigurumi that is almost done, but he still needs ears. Putting the finishing touches on something makes me step back and ask, “What’s next?”
Look at other people’s work.
This is a big one for me. I love hanging out on Ravelry
and looking at new patterns. On Raverly, you can browse and simply filter by “newest” patterns in all categories. I find this to be a great way to change the scenery of my mind and see what other people are making. Make it a goal to find 5 new patterns you want in your library. Comment on someone’s good work. It makes you feel great and passes on the love.
Pinterest is also great for this. I have many boards for inspiration filled with crochet patterns that I have fallen in love with or someday want to try. Sometimes, I have pictures pinned of fun animals or poses of animals I saved to make into amigurumi later. Those are always fun and inspiring to browse through. And if you don’t have many boards, go find other’s boards! Search “crochet” and just scroll down for a while. Let it fill your cup with ideas.
Clean out your yarn stash.
This one is something I try to do at least once a quarter. There is something cathartic about pulling every skein of yarn off the shelves or out of bins and laying it out to see. Then the Type-A personality comes out and I get to decide if I am going to put them back by color? By weight? By fiber content? By purpose? By Manufacturer?
Go through and touch every skein of yarn you have. Think of when you bought it, what you were thinking about when you did, and did you have a project in mind for it at that time. More often than not, you’ll find that one or two skeins go back to your “working chair” with you to start that project you had intended for that particular skein.
Time your hefty projects.
Sometimes, a huge blanket project can cause hooker’s block for me. I get about halfway through something huge and all of a sudden, I’m sluggish and can barely make the next stitch. I start doing the math of how many more stitches I have to go and get disgusted.
But, like my mom says, “You have to eat the elephant one bite at a time.” Sometimes, a giant blanket is your elephant. Sometimes a stuffed elephant is your elephant!
To eat it one bite at a time, set a timer and only work on it for 10 or 15 minutes. Or one of my methods is to watch a favorite show (Supernatural, Star Trek, Gilmore Girls) and say that I will work on it for one episode. Then move on – either to another project or to something not even related to yarn! If you are on a deadline, set 10 minutes every hour to work on it, or one episode of Supernatural, then a one hour break. You’ll get through it. One. Bite. At. A. Time.
Learn something new.
We can all grow as artists. There are endless stitches and techniques to learn, endless tools to try for the first time. Hooker’s block has forced me to learn things like Tunisian crochet, filet crochet, and tapestry crochet. I has even driven me to find classes online or in my area to add to my repertoire and give me new ammunition for creating new things. Use your time on Pinterest or Ravelry to scope out things you have never done before. Take some scrap yarn, put on a video of a new stitch, and learn something awesome!
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Kati is the designer behind Hooked by Kati. With thousands of patterns sold around the world, Kati prides herself in creating innovative, easy-to-follow amigurumi patterns. She has designed for several publications, including Crochet!, Crochet World, Simply Crochet, and I Like Crochet. Kati finds her inspiration in science fiction, video games, and numerous visits to the zoo — all passions she shares with her husband and two boys.