Crochet Designing: Where in the world should you start?

Megmade with Love - Crochet Designing

Have you ever thought it’d be super cool if you could make a sweater, hat, or blanket all on your own? Not following a pattern or anything, just letting your mind work it’s magic and create something unique and all your own? Or maybe you’ve seen other designers come up with such cool pieces that you admire and think to yourself man, I wish I had that kind of talent! Then you start to think about it, and wonder where in the heck do you even begin? I get it. Jumping into a whole new project can be incredibly overwhelming. I’m sharing about how I got started, and how you, too, can take the first steps towards designing something all your own.

Megmade with Love - Crochet Design

When I first entertained the idea of seriously becoming a crochet designer, I actually had a bit of history with design already. I had started a blog a couple years back, mostly me just dabbling with crochet patterns and sewing projects. While that first venture wasn’t serious, I did learn I had a knack for turning yarn into something my mind dreamt up. So when it came time to get serious with it and start up Megmade with Love, I had at least a tad bit of experience designing.

Megmade with Love - Crochet Design

Something you should know, though, is that when I did start back up again— I didn’t know everything. My stitch knowledge was minimal, and if I’m bein’ real… I can recall not even knowing what a decrease was (gasp!). I just made projects work by simply experimenting. I studied lots of other patterns already published, got a gist of certain techniques, then went to the races with my new ideas. I’d take note of how someone else did it, then think now how can I do this my way? Or how can I make this better? Is there a different variation of stitches that I could put together to create a unique piece all my own?

Megmade with Love

I’d learn the stitch patterns for creating different sized hats, then try to throw in my own variation of stitches to create a hat all my own. Or I’d play around with different stitch combinations and textures, and that’s actually how the Textured Boho Cowl was created. And when I designed my first sweater, The Homebody Sweater, I experimented for hours with yarn, hook sizes and stitches to create the perfect simple and stylish sweater.

Megmade with Love - Crochet Design

I’ve learned so much since first taking the plunge to designing, and I’d like to share what info I’ve gathered while on this journey. Below are some ideas I’ve brainstormed to help you get the ball rollin’ on your own design dreams…

Start with what’s familiar

it may be easiest when first trying to scheme up your own design when it’s something you have confidence and experience with. So if you’re the queen of crocheting beanies then designing a new hat would be a great place to start. Same goes if you’re into making amigurumi, clothes, blankets, etc. Because if you’ve been making these things, chances are you know the basics of how they are made— if there are stitches that are common for the types of thing you make or how the different shapes are formed. Plus it won’t seem as daunting when you won’t have to learn a complete new type of project along with designing it. And once you’ve conquered that first design that came to you like second nature, you’ll have confidence in the future to tackle more complex designs. While it’s easier to start with something you know, it’s certainly not bad to venture out into new ground though! Great things can happen by experimenting with new areas of the crochet realm. Plus you’ll learn what you like/are good at.

Make a sketch/plan

This isn’t always necessary, but it’s nice to give yourself a visual on paper of what you’re about to bring to life. Start by what it would look like completed (and I wouldn’t worry about it looking super pretty— my sketches are usually wack, definitely not blessed in the 2D area), then sketch out each of the different pieces would look like (if applicable). Mapping out the stitch sequence would also greatly aid you when planning out the design. You can also plan out color schemes, what stitch(es?) you’d like to include, what sort of yarn you want to use and any other materials you’d need.

Experiment

This is maybe my favorite part of the prep before jumping into your design. Experimenting with your yarn and different hooks is where the magic will happen. Decide what sort of drape you want your project to have— loose and flowy or sturdy and structured. Changing out the hook size will give you different amounts of drape. Play around with different stitch combinations—grab a stitch book or browse online for interesting stitches and swatch different ones up. You can play with texture and figure out what looks good with the type of yarn you’re using, plus the result you’re going for. And in this phase, you may find your plan for your design goes a completely different way! That happens to me all the time. That’s why this part is so fun to me!

Study

If you’re planning on designing something you’re familiar with making, you may have all the knowledge and “studying” done for your piece, but if not, you may need to take note of how certain things are created. To do so, you can look to other designers who have made similar items. For example, if you’re making a beanie, you’ll have to do a certain sequence of stitches to make a hat. So it’d be wise to study how others before you have done it and apply it to your experimentation. I’d look for multiple inspiration sources, and find the commonalities then play around with your own unique idea applying what you learned. I will say there is a big difference between looking for inspiration and copying, I would never condone copying another’s tactics— it’s just a groundwork for your own designs!


I think these couple of tactics will be a great start for your first design venture! Really, the thing is to just go for it. Creating stuff from absolute scratch is so rewarding… it fulfills such a creative desire for me personally and kinda sorta brings me life. I want you to feel that too!! If you’ve got some ideas swirling in your head, and you haven’t been sure where to start, pleeaaasse consider trying some of the tips above. The world needs your unique creations :)

Happy hooking (and maybe designing?)
Meg

Seven Ways to Get Your Crojo Back

7 Ways I Get My Crojo Back - Megmade with Love

You’ve heard of it, right? Crojo.. a funny little take on the word mojo, but with a crochet twist. It’s when you’ve lost your desire to pick up a hook and play with your yarn, it’s just meh… not there for ya. Whether it be because you’ve had too many failed attempts at the sweater you’re working on (um ya, I feel ya on that one 😒) or because you’ve had crochet overload— losing your crojo can really leave you feeling crummy and uninspired. And then you end up getting frustrated with yourself because you’re not getting anything done because you simply don’t feel like it! It can be a vicious cycle.

7 ways to get your crojo back - Megmade with Love

Ugh. I totally get this feeling. I struggle with this from time to time and I know how sucky it is. I took a step back recently when assessing the thought of losing my crojo, I’ve realized a common theme when it came to the reasons: it’s almost always because I’ve had “too much” of something. I’ve been crocheting too much, failing and having to frog a pattern too much, or looking for inspiration too much. Having realized this, it’s sort of nice to be able to stop the “too much” before it ends in a lost crojo. But sometimes it’s just not controlled, and you end up uninterested. Once I’ve found myself in this spot, I’ve realized there are a few things I can do to get my crochet loins goin’ (ew, did I just say that?? lol!) I’m listing them in order of importance for me, the first one being the most effective.

1) Take a break!

Yep, this one’s my fave. It’s without a doubt the first thing I do if I’m just not really “feeling it”, and honestly taking a break is what usually works for me when getting back into the swing of crocheting. Sometimes we just need to step away for whatever reason, and a lot of the time, it’s because we’ve just had too much of something. Whether it’s crocheting in general, or even too many failed attempts… putting the hook and yarn away for awhile really can be the refresh you need to step back into it at a later time. I don’t necessarily have a magic amount of time that I take breaks for, because it’s always different. Sometimes I take the weekend off, or end up stopping for the night. I think it’s just important to be aware of the situation and how your feeling, then commit to stepping away for however long you decide.

2) Hop off social media

This one sort of goes hand in hand with the taking the break. I mean, you are taking a break.. from good ol’ social media. I’d be lying if I said this one wasn’t another favorite tool of mine to get my crojo back. I can be totally guilty of consuming too much content, and gathering up inspiration on Instagram and Pinterest— and you know what they say about too much of a good thing… And looking at it from a productivity standpoint, you’re not getting anything done when you’re endlessly scrolling. It’s best sometimes to actually log out, and get some work done, or log out for the sake of taking a break altogether.

3) Go somewhere that inspires you

This one really works for me. Usually when I take breaks I like to venture out to different stores or places that inspire me. I’m almost always inspired when I go to a craft show, and I think it’s because I get so inspired by other people’s creativity. I also like to go to antique shops, flea markets, craft stores, TARGET (hehe), or my fave home decor and clothing stores. I always go without expectations… just let it flow and enjoy the experience.

4) Get active, go outside, adventure

This one is definitely a staple for me in life but certainly applies to lost crojo. I find when I adventure outside and experience nature, things just… get better. I’m usually filled with gratitude, and marvel at what God has done in this world. It’s like your world expands when you go outside. Plus getting active releases those feel-good endorphins that’ll help your mood. Win win and win.

5) Simplify your project list/focus on one WIP

Sometimes you just need to simplify to get moving in the right direction. True for so many things in life, and this definitely applies to crochet. When you’ve got too much going on, it’s hard to focus, easy to get overwhelmed and causes delay. But when you put all your energy into one project, you get quicker results which leads to gratification of a completed project. And then you’re onto the next! I am very big on making it a habit to have only 1-2 projects going, because I know how easy it is to get sidetracked, lose momentum and eventually drop a project when I’ve got too many going.

6) Destash and organize yarn

Just like with #5, simplifying can be so helpful when it comes to your yarn stash. I know how it goes, you see the yarn…. you want the yarn… and you buy the yarn. haha I’m just as guilty as having way too much of it. But perhaps organizing and getting rid of some of your yarn could really help your situation. I think it’s good to go through every skein and ball you’ve got… feel them, imagine what you’d make with them and truly ask yourself if you really need it or is it unnecessarily taking up space in your home.

7) Do a different craft

Been wanting to upcycle an old piece of furniture for your home, but never seemed to have the time for it? Or maybe you’ve always wanted to try making pottery or weaving.. painting or bookbinding? Maybe putting up your current WIP for the weekend and tackling a different type of project is the answer you need. It might get the ball rolling for you creatively, and give you the gratification you need of accomplishing something beautiful. I personally love this technique!

Megmade with Love

And those are my seven little tricks that help bring back that lovin’ crochet feeling you so desperately need in your life 😉. Do you use any of the ones I listed or have any others that are your go-tos? I’d love to hear, so comment below! It can be rough when you feel uninspired to crochet— (especially if it’s your business!) so hopefully you could take at least one of these tactics into practice and be on your way to more stitchin’.

Take care and happy hooking!
Meg

How to start crocheting again - Megmade with Love