This week has been fairly quiet for me on the crafting front. Partly because I’ve had a bad back, and partly because I focussed on baking rather than crochet. It has, however, provided time for reflection.
A friend of mine here in Portugal was 40 earlier this week. Buying presents for people is a little more difficult over here as generally people don’t go so overboard. Rather than buy her something for the sake of a present I offered to make a good old-fashioned British birthday cake. I always forget how long this takes, especially if, like me, you are going to make flowers out of sugar paste! I had one lovely day making the cakes and the sugar paste flowers and a second when I put the cake and the decorations together. These were perfect activities for a person with a bad back and minimal range of motion! The cake was very much appreciated and devoured at the party. The only comment I would make – when the bakers in Bake Off complain about the heat in the tent- they don’t know they’re born! And from my experience, things set just fine in the heat – having said that I did have days to make my cakes not hours!
Besides that I have finally finished the second hedgehog that a friend commissioned me to make. This is the third hedgehog I have now made and I think it will be my last. One thing this has taught me is that I do not crochet quick enough to make things to order. On top of that, I don’t really enjoy making the same thing multiple times. I enjoyed making the ones I have because they were for a friend’s grandchildren and so I knew they were appreciated. I’m not sure I could be so enthusiastic about making things just for the money, not knowing the end destination. I craft for love and I want those who receive the items I make to love them just as much. When I think about things I have made over the years, Flop the Bunny for a good friend’s little boy, or a striped jumper for a colleagues baby, I knew that they were appreciated and that they have been loved. For me, that is a really big part of making things for people. Hand-made things take time and you can never charge the true amount and hope to sell them. Generally people like hand-made items, but not hand-made prices.
On that topic, I have been on the receiving end of a gift this week. I received these lovely stitch markers for use with my crochet, which are also hand-made by my friend. Far nicer than the plastic safety pins I have been using until now and I will think of her every time I use them. The only problem is they look far too good to use! A friend and I also went along to a crafting group at Algarve Shopping Centre. I’ve only been able to go along a few times so far, but the group has been so welcoming and it’s great to have the opportunity to share ideas. As a result of this week’s group I have been along to Aldi to buy some sock wool. I’ve never knitted my own socks, but have always wanted to give it a try. The wool from Aldi was not very expensive at all, so it’s the perfect opportunity to try. So far I have cast on my stitches and completed one row! I’ll keep you posted on progress! Using 5 needles was incredibly strange, but I’m sure it will become easier with time.
Crochet has been a real journey for me. From struggling with the basics via YouTube when I was recuperating from an operation, through Part 1 of the International Diploma, and on to Part II, I have learned a great deal. I have learned that I love creating my own designs, whether or not other people will like them too is another matter – but I have so many ideas that I want to put down on paper. Only time will tell if there is a market for my ideas. But in the mean time, I will continue to enjoy what I do and making different things for friends, be that sewing, crochet, knitting or backing – but making for money is definitely a no go!