Challenges and new things…

Over the last few years, I’ve found that life has changed a LOT. My children are now 3 and almost 2, and besides the challenges of parenthood, I’ve found that setting myself creative challenges has been very rewarding as well.

The first one was to crochet 10 Shawls in 2010, a challenge found on Ravelry which is still going – this year it’s 12 in 2012. I found that I was able to complete the challenge despite having a baby in June – there was a hiatus in the work, I promise!! 🙂 – but it had some unexpected benefits. Looking at my work in 2009 and again in 2011, my skills were definitely improved over the year, as I worked to make the projects as good as I possible could. I now know a lot more about crochet terminology, more about starting and finishing techniques, and about the importance of blocking. It also increased my confidence, and I began to think that some of my ideas weren’t far-fetched, and that maybe, one day, I would submit some ideas to a magazine for publication.

South Bay Shawlette in Wendy Happy, No 1 in the 10 Shawls in 2010 challenge

In 2011, I was keen again to do a challenge, but despite joining fantasticmio in her 11 Blankets in 2011 challenge, I didn’t complete that one (three finished, three started, one frogged…) – I had forgotten how much willpower I need to finish blankets, and starting a new business took all the extra time and energy that my family didn’t need!

Spiral Hex in Sirdar Bonus DK, No 1 in 11 Blankets Challenge

I was also feeling some creative frustration – some of the things I wanted to do didn’t come out right in crochet, or I thought could be better if they were – shock! horror! – knitted! Coming up to Christmas, I made a concerted effort to learn how to knit, and found it wasn’t as hard as I was thinking – and even managed to make a few knitted gifts!

So, 2012 – what challenge have I set myself this year? As with all new skills I learn, I’m really fired up by knitting at the moment, and with my busy life I decided I needed a challenge that provided some instant (or near-instant, anyway!) gratification. I tried a few hat patterns by Woolly Wormhead, and found I liked both her ideas and her pattern writing style – and the challenge was born. This year I’m going to try to make a multiple of 12 hats by Woolly Wormhead – if I make only 12, that’s OK, but more than that would be good too! So far I’ve finished 5, but I’ve just been distracted by another shawl pattern, and we all know how that goes!!

Pixetta in Sirdar Supersoft Aran, No 1 in 12x Woolly Hats Challenge

I did another good thing in 2011, though – I finally submitted some designs to a magazine! And I’m pleased to say, I’ve had three accepted – one has already been published in Issue 28 of Inside Crochet magazine here in the UK (the Waffle and Berries Cowl!), and two are coming up in future issues. I’m very excited!

So, we’ll see how this year goes – I’m expanding my baby signing business from next term, and life always gets more complicated than I think it will,  but we’ll see what comes from this challenge. I’ll try to keep you updated this time! 🙂

About Beth

I'm a Canadian crochet-obsessed mum living in the UK who used to make a living teaching English to teenagers. Current distractions: babies, baking and baby sign language!
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