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  • Writer's pictureMary-Lynn Dalrymple

Crocheting with purpose

Over the last few months, there’s been a shift in the way I choose which crochet patterns I make. Today I want to talk about crocheting with purpose - how I choose patterns that I will actually use.

I used to see a pattern, love it, then make it. There wasn’t a whole lot of thought beyond that. I was definitely guilty of buying patterns, only for them to languish in my Ravelry library. I also found that as a pattern tester, I would get swept up in the enjoyment of testing for a designer I liked working with, or because friends were also testing a pattern, or applying for tests just to keep me busy (especially when I wasn’t working due to Covid-19), without actually considering the finished article. Compared to some, I’m not a particularly prolific garment maker, but I’ve gathered up a fair collection by now and I’ve noticed that some items get a lot more wear than others. Don’t get me wrong, I love them all - that’s why I chose to make them in the first place! But some of them aren’t the most comfortable, aren’t flattering to my body shape, or don’t go with the clothes in my wardrobe. And when I’ve spent hours upon hours making something, I want to enjoy wearing it.

This change started off almost subconsciously with the simple question ‘would I wear this?’ when I saw a pattern I liked. This led me to think more deeply about how I would make use of what I was making - something I am now trying to make a habit of. Now when I see a pattern release or a tester call, I try to think about it in three ways:

  • Will I wear this item? I’m going to spend a lot of time making this garment, can I actually envisage myself wearing it frequently? Will it be comfortable? I try to look at the style of the item and think about whether I have or would want clothes of a similar style in my wardrobe. Just because you like the look of something doesn't mean you will wear it. For example, I love how off-the-shoulder tops/sweaters look but experience has shown me that I don't actually like wearing them, so I'm not going to buy or test an off-the-shoulder pattern.

  • Will this look good on me? Every body is different. I've got curves, and sometimes garments hug me in the wrong places. Thankfully, many crochet garment patterns are size inclusive now, meaning you can choose a size that will fit you correctly, and often offer options for customising the fit. If a pattern has been well tested or a lot of people have already made it, you can scroll through the hashtag or Ravelry projects to see how it looks on someone with a similar body shape to you.

  • Will this go with the clothes I already wear? This is a big one for me. Even before lockdown, I tended to wear the same things over and over. So if I'm going to crochet something new for my wardrobe, I want to be able to pair it with clothes I already have. I don't want to make something and then have to buy clothes to actually wear it with.

Another important consideration for me when I see a pattern I like is whether I have the yarn to make it. I enjoy buying yarn, but I also have quite an extensive stash (just ask my husband) which I need to make more use of. So when I see a pattern I try and think about what yarn I could use for it, which in turn (depending on colour/fibre choice) helps me figure out whether it would go with the clothes in my wardrobe. But yarn choice is a whole other topic!

I really love wearing clothes I've made myself - it's the best feeling when someone admires your top and you can say 'thanks, I made it!', so it's important to me that I'm making things I actually want to wear. It's definitely something I want to continue working and improving on, but I hope this has been a useful insight for you.

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