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Wow, it's been 8 months since I began this crochet journey, and I can't believe that it hasn't been a complete disaster!  I think there's some sort of formula that I can share with you, that illustrates the key to success:

Confidence in your abilities + reaching out to the online crochet community + defining your aesthetic and 'brand' + working really freaking hard = successful crochet career

On the working really freaking hard point, when all was still quiet a couple of months ago, I decided to set my own brief of designing a collection for myself.  An Autumn/Winter collection using all the yarns I like, making all the things that had been buzzing round in my head.   It's only a little collection, but I am so impossibly thrilled with how it's come out that, even though I'm up to my RSI throbbing wrists in crochet work right now, I've decided to release the patterns, one a week, from the 1st of October.

The best thing about this collection?  They're all for me and my hubster, and they're things that bring me SO much joy when I put them on.  Which is surely the reason to make and wear anything.

This cowl right here?  This is just my FAVOURITE thing I've ever made.  Ever.
It's been an absolute whirlwind of crochet madness over at Steel&Stitch Towers for the last few months.  There are collaborations commissions, interviews, articles you name it.   Remember when I quit the day job 8 months ago to see if I could make this crochet thing work?  Well, right now, it couldn't be going better.  One really exciting collaboration that has come about through the wonder of Instagram, is with LoveCrochet.

If you're not familiar with their website, get on over there!  It's a really amazing resource for all things crochet - patterns, yarns, how to's, makers, books, CAL's, you name it.  They've managed to build this completely accessible crochet community, that's feels really personal and totally shows a love for the craft.

For October I'll be doing a free, Halloween tutorial for them (and you), and getting my minimalist, yarn porn mitts all over their IG account.  I'm so excited!

Just as an aside, if you think you've got a chance at following your craft dreams, take them.  It might be completely amazing, even just for a week, and that is the best feeling ever.

Here are a few outtakes of some pics I've done for them :)

The autumn is here, the beasts are all finally at school - the littlest started this year, and has had a two week lead in period, which has felt like it's taken forever!  He's all settled and happy though, which is the main thing - and I have literally been up to my eyes in crochet.

I just wanted to take a moment write about the value of branding.  I know it's horrible and commercial, but if you want to make money from crochet, you really have to think of yourself as a business, and not someone just sitting around making things.  If you don't think of yourself as being a professional with something to offer, no one else will.

I say this from experience, I'm not just shouting from a high crochet horse.  You'll know about my instagram fixation by now, and one of the reasons is, that it really made me define my aesthetic.  That's not to say I only make one sort of a thing, but I now only photograph and represent things in one, consistent way.  Having a clear, defined 'look', has then fed into all the other ways I visually represent myself.

This in turn has led to work coming from all sorts of places I never imagined.  People now trust that I'm an actual crochet designer, not just someone sitting in my sofa, covered in wool and the cat, eating grab bags of tortilla chips and watching day time tv.

So what do you need to do?
1. Find inspiration from other people - who's look do you like?
2. Pick a look you can stick to, and you like.
3. Make sure everything you have matches - blog, facebook, business cards, instagram
4.  Stick at it - if you like it, other people will too, don't lose heart if you lose followers, the like mindeds will come to you
Ta daa!  You've made yourself into a brand x

All the pics below are of different objects, but the clean white background and use of negative space give them a sense of cohesion.

We've done it!  The keen eyed among you will see that there's a new page added to the side bar, dedicated soley to yummy pics of giant crochet hooks.

These beauties have been made by my very clever husband, who made the original hook for my Big Hook book. 

Mr Steel&Stitch is a mechanical engineer by trade, and makes and designs things out of metal to shoot particles around in (see, very clever).  Not only is he the steel to my stitch, but he has an extraordinary eye for detail and many years experience of making things very, very precisely.

Most hooks this size just have a notch cut out at the top, because of Mr Steel's fanatical eye for detail, he's made each of these as a perfect replica of a traditional hook, so you get all the ease of use of a regular, just in  25mm size.

And you can now buy them from my Etsy shop!

As an impatient maker that lives at the speed of an insect, driven by instant gratification, you won't be surprised to know that I've never made a jumper/shawl/anything bigger than a hat.  The Big Hook stuff is great because you can make a whole blanket in six hours, but those massive stitches don't really lend themselves to wearable garments.

I've been working on an autumn/winter collection and have gone with the usual snoods, hats and mittens, but I know I'm limiting myself by sticking with the 'quick' makes.  I have a cardigan in my head that I'm desperate for, a capped sleeve t-shirt in a camel coloured merino that is just waiting to come out, a monochrome, checked jumper with hot pink piping...

So I thought I'd break myself in gently by making a shawl.  The South Downs summer shawl that I showed you a few posts back, where it's just playing with stitches and colours inspired by the beautiful South Downs.  I've been making it alongside a whole host of other things, but it feels like it needs to be finished - before the summer is over and before I can begin on another 'big' make and tackle a t-shirt.

I guess everyone hits these points of frustration, or runs out of energy or enthusiasm.  To get that energy back I took myself back to the Downs, and although the colours are subtly shifting in to the golds of hay bales and late summer, it really did reinvigorate me to get it made.  Sometimes you just need to remember why you started on a journey in the first place - any journey.  (A merino, camel coloured, fine knit t-shirt is a pretty good reason too.)

Wow, so running a competition on instagram is way more intensive than I'd imagined!  I made a few pics to show one a day, and have also found and shared pics from different makers to give people chunky yarn inspiration.  There have been lots of lovely entries, and an all round really positive response, but it's taken over my life!

The competition finishes tomorrow (6.8.15), so you've still got time to tag your chunky makes and yarn pics with #bighookcrochet, and win a copy of my new 'Big Hook Crochet' book and a discount on a 25mm hook from the amazing BQueen Collection.

Dearest Everyone,

To celebrate the release of my new 'Big Hook Crochet' book, I'm doing a little giveaway over on my instagram account.  Go see!

It's published by CICO publishers, who have made everything look just lovely, and features 35 patterns - from scarves and hats to baskets and rugs.  It's so exciting!  And to think, it's all from a bit of broom handle.  I can barely write anything cos it's so bonkers! xxx