(Images courtesy of Sewrella.com)
Ashleigh Kiser taught herself how to crochet through YouTube videos after deciding she needed a creative hobby to help her deal with health issues. Once her son was born she decided that having a blog to share her love of crochet would be a good outlet. Learn more about Ashleigh, how crocheting is therapeutic for her and how her OttLite lamps help shine a light on her latest projects.
How long have you been crocheting? I started crocheting about 2 ½ years ago and started my blog about 1 year ago. I was in college and found myself needing a hobby. I was studying and working and found I didn’t have any time to myself. I had grown up crafting with my mom so I went to the craft store to find something to let my mind relax. I have fibromyalgia so I’ve always had a lot of back pain and issues. So I needed something to take my mind off everything else and relax. I was on the yarn aisle and thought ‘this looks like fun’ so I got some yarn, looked up a YouTube video and the rest is history!
How long did it take you to learn how to crochet by looking at those videos on YouTube? It took me about 2 weeks to learn the basic stitches. But to be able to read patterns and be confident to make a whole project, probably about 6 months. I was pretty dedicated to learning the craft by crocheting a couple of hours a week, but it still took months and months to where I felt I could look at a pattern and make it.
Do you think of crocheting as therapy? Oh yes most definitely. I have very few days where my symptoms really hold me back and it used to be much different than that. It used to be (that) I’d wake up in pain and I’d deal with it until I went to sleep. Some days were worse than others but since I started crocheting, I very rarely have days like that anymore. It’s been quite literally a life saver.
You have a baby in the house – how do you find time to craft? It’s very hard to find the time; you never have enough time. I feel like accepting that is the first step to being successful. You kind of just have to get over the fact that you’ll never have all the time you want. For me, since I’m home all day with my son, it’s difficult to focus on one thing and do it. So I’ve come to a process of while my son is awake to focus on him. Luckily he’s still taking several naps a day so when he’s napping I focus on the thing I need to get done for the day. I have a list of goals for each day and for the week so I feel accomplished when I’m done.
What’s your favorite thing to crochet? It’s so hard to choose. When I first started out I learned how to make a hat. And did a horrible job with it! I don’t like to follow rules so garments aren’t always my favorite. With wearables you have to pay attention to guidelines and sizing – there are certain things you have to do with them for everything to come out right. That’s not always my process so I struggle with garments more. I did a crochet-a-long in December that was 25 Christmas ornaments. They were all really small, kind of arigarumi type design 3-D objects. But they were quick to get done so I really enjoyed that process of designing all of those for the site.
What inspires you when creating your designs? Everything. I might see a color combination in a store that I like and I’ll incorporate it into something I’m working on. Recently I went on vacation to North Carolina, which is much colder than where I live, so I designed a scarf and hat because I needed them. Sometimes it’s something I’ve seen, or a technique I’ve seen that I want to transform it into something else like a blanket. Or it’s just out of necessity.
If someone wants to start crocheting, what tips would you give them? Just start! No matter how many tips and trips and things you read on Pinterest, I feel like there is nothing quite like going to the store, getting a ball of yarn and trying. And then keep going. There are definitely going to be moments where you feel overwhelmed. The best advice I have is to just start and if you really want to do it, don’t give up on it. There are so many good resources on the internet. Just keep with it, don’t give up.
You have an OttLite lamp – how does it help you when you’re crafting or working on your blog? Since I got the 13w Craft Space Organizer, I’ve used it every time I sit down to work. I have horrible eyesight. Even though I’m 22 you’d think I’d have no issues with yarn and threads. And I’m always losing my glasses. So the OttLite, for me, helps illuminate everything. The light is so bright. It’s so helpful to see those tiny threads. The stitches are a little bit larger than if you’re sewing but there’s a lot of things in crochet where you need to see one tiny piece of something. And if you don’t have good light you’re not going to be able to see very well and you could stitch in the wrong spot. If you’re going to spend the time crocheting or making things by hand you need to be able to see what you’re doing and make sure you’re doing it correctly. I have two OttLites and I’ll never be able to make anything without them.
For more information on Ashleigh visit her blog or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest or Etsy.