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Thursday, March 9, 2017

NatCroMo 2017

It's really hard to believe that another National Crochet Month has rolled around!  I'm so honored to be part of the Crochetville Designer Blog Tour again this year in celebration of the enduring life skill and art that we all love so much. 

In anticipation of NatCroMo, I started offering my Pollie the Octopus pattern for free, hoping that each reader will feel inspired to make at least one to give to her local hospital to help premature babies!  More details on why octopuses are so comforting are in this post.


Also, I'm going to be having a little crochet mystery giveaway near the end of March through my Facebook page, but you have to "like" and follow my page to be in on it (a winner will be chosen from among the page's likes and privately messaged for shipping information).  I'm closing in on 500 likes, so please help me get over the top!  I'll be dropping hints about the goodies included, so check back here on the blog and on Facebook often!

This year's blog tour theme is Glamping.  Now, I am not at all the camping type, but I'm really enjoying the virtual trips we're taking this month through Crochetville's NatCroMo Facebook page, and be sure to click on Vedetta Lodges in Tuscany, Italy -- bellissima!

But still, my post is indirectly related to the theme of loving crochet and being inspired by exotic getaways and everyday locations.  This month (and throughout the year), we are going to be motivated to visit some of these amazing yarn stores that are participating in the tour and start a number of the beautiful patterns that this month's featured designers generously have posted.  But, March has 31 days in it, and, at some point, the abundant offerings of NatCroMo are going to be overwhelming -- I'm here to say that it's ok to give yourself permission to NOT crochet (only you can let yourself off the hook so to speak). 

Treasonous talk for the month in which we celebrate all things crochet?!  Hear me out.  I'm not advocating giving it up totally or taking a break if you don't feel like it; but, there are times when NOT crocheting will actually deepen your love and appreciation of crochet and help you see it all with fresh eyes (and hands!).  Frankly, I've gone through a few periods like this recently and wanted to share my experiences:

1.  Do NOT crochet when doing so gives you more angst and stress than it takes away.  Whether it's a project that's on a very tight deadline (real or imagined) or a new technique that's giving you fits, if crocheting is causing stress, you need to step away.  Life is already full of enough stress, something you love should not be adding to it.  Sometimes just a few hours away will do the trick; sometimes you'll need more time to decompress and center again.  The point is, trying to power through is going to set you back more than stepping away for the time you need to love crocheting again.

2.  Do NOT crochet when it's adversely affecting your physical health.  Whether it's the fact that you've been sitting on the couch not moving (except for your hands) for hours or that you're giving yourself carpal tunnel, it's time to put down the hook and get active!  Sometimes I try to justify watching TV by telling myself that, hey, I'm also crocheting, I'm doing something productive and meaningful.  That's true, but when hours have gone by, I realize that I feel stiff and sluggish, my eyes and neck hurt, and that I should have been pacing myself.  As they say, moderation is key.  Now, I keep an eye on the clock; I don't crochet for more than an hour at a time -- once I get to a natural stopping point, I put my project down and go for a walk.  Even if it's only for 10 minutes and just around the apartment, I get up and move!  It's usually all I need to feel better, plus this approach makes for a better crochet project in the end because I then take the time to look over the crocheting I've done and assess.


3.  Do NOT crochet when it feels like a burden.  Usually, I love making all different types of crocheted gifts for relatives and friends, and I love designing and posting new patterns, but sometimes the whole process just feels like one more thing that you have to do rather than something that you love to do.  Now, for my sister designers who are thinking to themselves, well, I'm not going to be able to make a living if I don't stay on top of all my projects, I'm especially going to encourage you to take a break.  Stepping away, even for just a day, to regroup, rethink, RELAX, can make all the difference in approaching your work with a fresh eye and renewed spirit.  Inspiration for a new crochet project is all around us, but we won't see it if we don't stop to take it all in.

So, to end on a high note, it's amazing how the love of crochet is spreading far and wide, with such variety in techniques and designs.  It's obvious that the fiber arts for many is not a short-lived fad but a lasting lifetime endeavor.  Enjoy the journey and please stop by to visit me on my blog or Facebook page during your travels.  Here's to many, many more NatCroMos!