“The greatest love of all….

…..is easy to achieve, learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all”

So says Whitney Houston, gone from our Earth but never from my iTunes song shuffle. Many a happy afternoon is spent cleaning the kitchen warbling (badly) along to a bit of Whitney. I have no shame. Golden hair loves a bit of Whitney too, I know she’s cleaning her room or reorganising her crafty collection (growing at an alarming rate) if I can hear “I wanna dance with somebody” coming from behind her bedroom door. 

What’s this got to do with crochet? Let me explain. This morning I was talking in a little Facebook group I’m in about the zig zag blanket I made for The Little Dark Star. To find a picture I ended up pulling up the blog post I’d written previously  HERE that included it. Strangely enough that entry was about giving up taking orders and I’d posted about that on my Facebook page this week too. 

So here I am talking about it again.

I realised that blanket is actually a now a symbol of starting to learn to love myself. 

Learning to politely say ‘no’ when people asked me to make things and gradually becoming more comfortable with that. It’s still a bit awkward saying “I’m really sorry I’m not taking orders right now” but I’m glad I do. Originally I started selling things in order to have a self funding hobby and perhaps a bit extra to treat myself to some top end yarns for personal use, and then I realised all my time was dictated by what other people wanted and I wasn’t creating what I wanted to anymore, my time was completely taken up with orders. It’s a sad fact that most crocheters know, items never fetch a price that really reflects the level of time and skill involved, we make for the joy of the making mostly.

It’s something I’ve noticed again and again, we do it for love and enjoyment and feeling that the things we make are loved. It’s that feeling that’s the payment really. The long and short of it is I’d switched from intrinsic motivation (the pure joy of creating, the reward of feeling like you are good person in doing something kind and generous) to extrinsic motivation (money and external validation) and that had made it become a chore not a joy and yet another reason to be unkind to myself if I didn’t meet deadlines or ‘indulged’ in a new pattern noone one had put on my order list. 

It’s also hard going when you let things you’ve really put your heart and soul into go for pennies or they just don’t sell at all. I was looking for validation from others by selling things, the transaction being the pat on the back, praise, job well done. Now I just surprise people with gifts. I don’t expect gushing gratitude or anything so please don’t think that’s why I’m giving things away now. What happens for me is I just enjoy planning things for people, choosing the right yarn, the right kind of item, the right pattern for that specific person. When I’m in the thick of the making someone’s item I think about that person a lot, remember times we shared and it all really becomes an act of Meraki. 

That’s not to say when being recompensed for my work I don’t put a great deal of care and love into my work, because I really do, I want to make good decently crafted things, but making things for others for the joy of making and giving is a real labour of love. It’s like I am singing a song with my hands….sort of. I guess we could insert a bit of Elton John here Your Song has sprung to mind. He spoke about all the things he could do for someone he loved and nothing was his thing, sculpting, potion making and all that;  in the end his gift was his song. 

Here is a picture of my latest song on the hook, I’m making it with my Nan’s crochet hook even though its super slippy on this yarn because I get the memory of being unconditionally loved when I think of her and I want to channel that good loving vibe into what I am making right now. 

So just know if I make you something that’s Your Song made just for you, and I thought about you a lot when I made it. 

Here’s some other ‘songs’ from this month 🙂 

Crochet is a form of therapy for me where I give unconditionally and in return I find a way to love myself better too.