KAT’S JOURNAL ...from the studio
Designer and blogger Kat Goldin on slowing her crochet pace and learning to savour the process instead.
For someone who makes her living out of crochet, the following admission might seem strange, but here goes: I've spent a lot of the last six years as a crochet designer not really enjoying crocheting very much.
I like the swatching and problem solving that comes with pattern development. I like the code cracking that is crochet pattern writing. I love photographing finished items to show them in their best light. Layout and charting took a while to get the hang of, but have become an aspect of the business that I really look forward to when publishing new designs comes around. For me the best part of the whole process is definitely the release of new patterns and seeing the designs remade by others. But the actual crochet? Meh, I could take it or leave it.
From the early days of my business, getting myself to sit down and crochet required a very similar skill set to the one I employ to get my five-year- old on the school bus in the morning. There was the mental preparation that took place in the day or so before: “OK Kat, tomorrow you are going to crochet that shawl.” Then, there were the warnings that ranged from “in 25/20/5 minutes, you are going to sit down and actually do the work,” to “PUT THAT PHONE DOWN AND GET OFF THE INTERNET RIGHT NOW.” Of course, the snack
“I delighted in the process and repetition of stitch after stitch.”
and Netflix or audiobook accompaniments had to be just right as well, and then built-in extra incentives to “just finish the next row then you can check Instagram” kept me on task. Heavy yarns, long stitches and quick and easy projects became my design wheelhouse, just so I could get it over with. And so it went for years. I would begrudgingly crochet so that I could do everything else.
A CHANGE OF HEART
“It occurred to me how much I had actually been crocheting.”
I can’t tell you exactly when that mindset altered, but I can tell you when I noticed it. One afternoon, at our weekly three-hour stint at the local swimming pool for lessons, I realised that I'd forgotten my current crochet project to work on. I had my book, my phone and a friend with me – all of which were perfectly good entertainment to while away the hours – but actually, I just wanted to crochet. I made a quick dash out to the car park to see if maybe I had a long-neglected project in the car that I could pick up. I even debated making the one hour round trip drive over a rather snowy mountain at the time to get my project from where I had left it on the kitchen counter at home.
As I laughed about my obsession later, it occurred to me how much I had actually been crocheting recently. My
mornings started with a few rows before I begrudgingly left it and my bed behind to feed the masses and start the day. Projects followed me around the house as I did various tasks: change the washing over, crochet a bit, stir the porridge, crochet a bit, read with the six-year- old, crochet a bit, and on and on all day. I even found myself reaching for my hook more often than I was reaching for my camera – something that’s normally unheard of in my house. PROCESS VERSUS PRODUCT The strangest thing about it was that the desire to always have a hook in hand wasn’t fuelled by the ambition to finish something or the blind panic that proceeds a deadline. It was because I genuinely enjoyed making. I delighted in the process and repetition of stitch after stitch, and designed things that highlighted that leisurely meditation – Tunisian shawls and double crochet ribbing in fingering weight yarns have featured heavily of late with the slowness of stitch built into the design, just so I can savour the process. I even recently picked up a lace weight yarn, such a change from my previous preference for aran and chunky, before realising that I didn’t have a hook to match its weight.
It seems that old dogs can learn new tricks. And if I can become a process person, surely one day I will be able to get that small boy on the school bus. See what Kat’s been hooking lately on her blog at www. slugsontherefrigerator.com or on Instagram @katgoldin
“Mornings start with a few rows.”