What’s your biggest goal as a crochet designer? I explain mine and how I got to it. It’s not fame or a house on the beach (that would be a bad investment, although I do love spending my holidays close to the sea).
Where it all started
I’ve started writing about motivation, niches, crochet designer work in general. I mentioned in another article (the one about the way I finally found my niche) that there’s an end goal in mind in my work as a crochet designer.
It wasn’t very clear to me when I started designing crochet patterns. Back then I was just looking for an escape in crochet and there weren’t many patterns that satisfied my specific needs, so I needed to come up with my own and started sharing them.
But it has started to become clearer as I kept learning more about myself, about autism, about crochet design and about marketing, while slowly healing from my intense burnout that happened over the years of my PhD and beyond, while working in research.
It’s all molding together into an understanding of what I can do sustainably, what brings me joy, and what I can do to continually increase my impact on this planet, in this life.
Maybe I’ve mentioned this before, my life goal, the broader, most generic one, is to bring people joy or to make them happy. It’s not very specific because I can personalize it based on my abilities over various stretches of time.
The final goal, that I set for myself many years ago, in the depths of a depression that I’m very lucky to have survived. When life feels unlivable, I remember what I decided back then. My reason to live is this, making people’s lives easier, making them happy, with or without their knowledge.
We all need something do drive us, our internal motivator, this is mine and it has served me well over the years.
This is why I studied environmental sciences (and loved it), knowing that a healthier environment makes us all happier. I couldn’t find a job in the field, but nothing is lost.
Maybe I should have studied psychology, as then I would have seen the impact of my work in the lives of my clients, but I don’t regret not having done that.
I did study psychology in my own time and with resources I looked up myself and have realized fairly recently how ableist the whole field of psychology/psychiatry/neurology is and how misunderstood are the people that are supposed to be helped by the methods developed so far (but there is still hope!).
I’m actually really lucky that I’ve been able to explore neurodiversity in the community itself, to find out what helps others really, what helped me in life, what accommodations I created for myself and what would be useful to others.
I’m always open to share my experience and I believe that the medical and psychological field had better catch up.
My journey with hooks and needles
For many years I used handicrafts as stim replacements, even though I didn’t know such terms.
All my life I’ve moved constantly (yes, even when lying on the couch and watching TV I’d have an internal muscle movement routine), except when in depression or burnout. Internal stims are not frowned upon because nobody can see them and tell you to stop.
As I grew, my sister introduced me to origami. It stuck for a few years and you couldn’t see me anywhere without a piece of paper in my hand (I used to make kusudamas and other modular origami because they are made of tiny pieces with few folds).
Later on I discovered tsumami kanzashi (another Japanese art) and started making flowers and butterflies and other items from upcyled silk and other fabrics. On my old website you can still see some of my collections. I made these while attending university full time and doing a lot of volunteering work (plus dancing classes and parties a few times a week).
Then I discovered friendship bracelets, made a few, then bead crochet (you’d find me with a tiny hook and a bag of string and bead nearly everywhere for about half a year), then I found crochet.
Now you can’t see me in any public place without hook and project in hand. I don’t care that people stare or think I’m rude, doing something with my hands helps me calm my body and be present in company, it keeps me from fidgeting otherwise, it helps me focus on conversations (even though it’s still pretty impossible for me to follow more than one conversation thread at a time if it’s not in my own head).
So this is what I want to offer to others who are like me in a way (not in all ways, as we are all different). I want to offer this possibility of pleasant stimming that’s relatively socially acceptable (until everything else becomes socially acceptable) to people who need it or who would benefit from it.
I want to create a center where people can come and learn and practice crafts, find something they like, take materials with them, like from a library, but for their own use. I want there to be classes for people to take at their own pace, teachers who you can go to for guidance, a place for people who don’t love socializing to find other people like them who are happy to just sit and craft in silence or listening to their favorite music in their headphones. Or, if they prefer it, have conversations via chat.
I want to an have inclusive and accessible environment for all disabilities, so that people like me don’t feel like they don’t belong anywhere any more. A quiet room, a loud room, a calming garden, a colorful room, a library full or supplies and tools.
This dream of mine has morphed from a previous (somewhat forced) dream of mine, when I wanted to have my own school. Maybe I’m not that fit to own my own school, but an educational/cultural center I could surely manage.
I’m not yet sure where all this would happen. I’m not even sure that it’s something that can happen in one specific place, as opposed to mostly online.
I want it to be sustainable, so it needs to have a funding system. Not necessarily an admission ticket type, as the people this center means to serve usually don’t have funds for hobbies, they sometimes barely make enough to survive, let alone thrive.
I need to figure out these logistics aspects, as I currently live in a country where I don’t speak the language well (yes, I know I could just learn German, but my brain is overwhelmed by knowledge of Romance languages — my own Romanian, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, so cramming a completely complementary language in there hasn’t yet worked; burnout didn’t help either), nor know any people in the field of social work or handicrafts, let alone other autistics and ADHD folks.
It will take tike to get to the point where I figure these out, but in the meantime I want to grow my crochet design business.
Now we’re talking — my actual goal as a crochet designer
In order to get the dream off the ground and to find all the resources needed to make it reality, wherever it may be, I need to be able to live off of something else.
I’m not rich, have not inherited anything in my entire life, actually grew up poor and I can’t burden my hubby, who now supports us both while I grow this business.
So it all has to come from my work. I need to make this business generate decent revenue so that I can concentrate my energy on the project I just told you about (not all my energy, mind you, I’d still like to continue designing).
So far, it has been growing constantly. I love designing and I’ve been doing quite a lot of self-sabotaging during the last year, but it’s still been growing.
I am very grateful to you if you’ve been buying my patterns or watching my videos or even sharing any of my posts. That helps immensely.
I hope you’ll stick with me for a few more years as well and maybe give the crafting virus to some friends, who knows who’ll start making things once they discover that they can and that they love it.
Yes, it will take a few more years to get this business to be self-sufficient and there is a lot of work involved, but I love all of it, otherwise I would have chosen something easier (something that seems easier to people who have other skills than me, as my skills are perfectly suited to this specific type of business).
This year I’d like to concentrate on things that make me happy, things that I can’t find anywhere else, things that will make others happy as well. Others, not everyone. I never set out to make everyone happy, that’s an impossible feat.
I’d like to make other neurodivergent or disabled folk happy with my patterns and resources, so this is what I’ll be concentrating on.
If you’ve come this far and think you’re not part of one of these “categories” of people, think again. Maybe there’s a reason you’re so curious about my reasons for building this crochet design business…
I wrote a separate article about my goals for 2022, if you are curious about how I’m planning to grow this business this year. At the beginning of the new year there will be a wrap-up to see what happened and what I need to update.
Keep close and sign up to my email updates if you want to know when I publish the next blog post, pattern, tutorial, testing call, I’ll announce it all there.