Go looking in your local supermarket or yarn shop and feel for a hook that is comfortable in your hand. You determine the size of the hook by looking for the “mm” – the heigher the number the bigger the hook. For starters choose a hook that is 3 mm or bigger.
You can find one with a simple handle (6 mm) or one with an even more advanced handle (4 mm) for ultimate comfort. No matter which you choose it’s important you find it comfortable or like to hold it.
Pick the right kind of yarn
When it comes to yarn try to look for cotton and avoid wool as it will be more difficult to unravel or yarn with many threads as it can get stuck in the hook. I recommend yarn that is woven like this or if you want some thinner yarn, this one is great for both garments and cloths.
On the yarn label it will show you what size hook is recommended – it will also say so on the website. Bare in mind you will almost always be able to use a smaller or bigger hook than recommened on the label. But this is just a good indicator to make sure the crocheting is as easy as possible.
When you have your materials ready it’s time to get started with crocheting!
Start by practising the smallest stitches first: CHAINS
With chains you will have a foundation for whatever stitch you want to make.
Here are the stitches and their abbreviations in order of how big they are (= how they difficult they are). These are US terms:
If you know these basic stitches you will be able to make many of my patterns.
Other crochet techniques
If you want to make garments it’s good to know chainless foundation. Chainless foundation acts as the first row or round on your project. In this playlist I show you how to make chainless foundation with three different stitches.
Other good things to learn: – crochet in a circle (for making circle shapes for either garments or animals) – weave in the yarn ends (when you are finished or while crocheting) – add new yarn to your project (either by tying yarn ends together or pulling the new yarn through the stitch) – decrease and increase (meaning to either remove or add stitches to create a specific shape) – crochet or sewing panels together – crocheting out from your existing crochet (this is if you want to add something extra to your project)
Depending on what kind of project you want to make there will be different kinds of constructions. This can be working in rows, rounds or in a circle. Backless tops will be in rows. Garments that go all around the body – like regular tops, sweaters or dresses can be made both in rounds or in rows (individual panels that are put together in the end).
Check out my beginner’s video course on construction here.
Most of my recent patterns follows measurements. And even if they don’t it’s always good to have an idea of what your body measures so you are able to figure out what size you are closest to. This video will show you how and where to measure.
Choosing a project
I don’t think you need to start out with a basic square – but if you’re just interested in making household items this is a good start. You could also try out my free pattern for a crochet handbag – this is basically just a square but more fun than a kitchen cloth.
If you are more into making garments you need to pick a simple garment to start out with. Preferably one with no increases or decreases or one that is either just 1 panel worked in rows (like a backless top) or one with a video or video tutorial that comes along.
Here are some patterns I recommend for you as a beginner:
Etna top: You need: chainless foundation, chains, slip stitch, half double crochet, back loop & decrease stitches
Stella top: You need: chainless foundations, chains, sip stitch, single, half double and double crochet & decrease stitches. Pattern comes with video tutorial.
Elsa top: You need: chains, double crochet, slip stitch, single crochet and here are no decreases/increases. Pattern comes with video tutorial.
Aurelia top: You need: chainless foundation, half double crochet, chains, slip stitch& here are no decreases/increases. Pattern comes with video tutorial.
Take your time
… and have patience. Learning anything new takes time. But just spending 10 minutes everyday on doing some stitches or working on a project can really go a long way. It’s okay to make mistakes or to finish a project that didn’t turn out how you planned – that’s part of crocheting even when you’ve done it for years or are doing it professionally. Be kind to yourself – it’s about the journey not the destination.
Remember that you are always welcome to contact me if you need any more help in your crochet journey.
Let’s rewind to October 2018. I had been studying to become a social and health care assistant for 2 months and had tried to balance a normal life as a student while dealing with PTSD – meaning being in constant high alert.
I was exhausted all the time from never being able to relax. One day felt like a week and I knew that if I had to continue studying I would also have to do intern work full time for 1,5 years and I just realised that I couldn’t take 3,5 years of that.
Being in constant high alert for me meant having a racing heart, being hypervigilant – always being aware of my surroundings, being hyper sensitive to other people’s actions, words, facial expressions, tone of voice and body language, sweating and blushing if someone just approached me, feeling a sense of doom around every corner – that something would give me a huge shock which would send me over the edge. It felt like having a gun pointed to my head all the time, not being able to breathe freely or relax, feeling in constant danger.
At the same time I had flashbacks every day. Often a teacher would forget about me and I was sent right back into childhood and felt so shameful, that the whole world hated me and I was unlovable which made me feel more unsafe.
At the same time it was like I had another life on the side (crocheting and selling crochet tops), that was more interesting, fun and filled with freedom – but a life that I thought to myself would always be an illusion, something unattainable and unimaginable for me.
TRYING TO FIT IN
I thought that I would have to live a normal life – work a full time job somewhere so I could provide for my children, go traveling, buy a house etc. Then I realised I actually didn’t want children, that I was happy about living in my tiny apartment and not owning my own place and didn’t feel a need to go traveling.
I just wanted to feel safe and I was happy by the thought of just earning enough to get by and feel relaxed. But it felt like my small expectations of freedom and relaxation were still not possible.
Even working 10-15 hours a week would still mean I had to be in constant stress to earn money to pay my bills. Just the thought of earning money was so stressful to me.
BEING GASLIGHTED BY THE SYSTEM
During the next 10 months – from October 2018 to August 2019 I was unemployed.
I was broken down, but I still had to fight the battle alone – the battle of authorities not taking my mental health serious and just wanting to get me through the system as fast as possible – into any job (even if that would mean I would then break down again and get back into the system again). It felt like screaming into an empty corridor only hearing my own voice echo back. No response, no empathy, no belief in me.
I had heard of so many people experiencing the exact same thing as me. If you didn’t look depressed, anxious or suicidal then you were not.
Imagine how traumatic this is when you have been dealing with being gaslighted your whole life and then the authorities that were suppossed to help you just continue the gaslighting.
BEING IN THE SYSTEM WORSENED MY PTSD
In the end just stepping into the job center to have my weekly meeting with a social worker I would sit with the hands over my head and my thumbs pressed into my ears to block out any sound or light.
I learned to be completely inside myself, because I knew that no matter how much I tried no one believed my symptoms were serious and that I needed their help. I had to change to become a person without PTSD, instead of them helping me find a place to work where my PTSD wouldn’t get so triggered.
I couldn’t imagine a life in freedom but I also couldn’t imagine a life in panic. I WOULD RATHER BE POOR, IF IN RETURN I CAN BE FREE
So what drove me into self-employment?
It was the unbearable thought of living a life in fear and stress, controlled by authorities who didn’t care about my well-being. I would much rather not be able to pay my bills or not get food on the table, and then at least have my freedom, be my own authority.
I had to actually think: “what is the worst thing that could happen?” . The answer: “homelessness and starving”. And that sounded more appealing to me than being in a state of panic and hypervigilance.
The physical stuff didn’t scare me as much as everything I had already experienced.
Quitting welfare and going full time as a crochet designer was one of the easiest things I had done in my life, because everything else seemed even more impossible.
Choosing a life of self-employment and freedom was uncertain and something I had never done before – so at least I had to try it to see if it was possible, because I knew that a life in fear and stress would eventually kill me.
I had no other option left, there was no way back.
GETTING OUT OF THE SYSTEM FOR THE LAST TIME
In my last phone call with my social worker I laughed ironically while I told him “I might just move into a tent and create my own job” (though I didn’t actually mean or believe it).
So I quit welfare the 1st of August 2019 and somehow I knew that this would be the last time I would be in the system.
I was relieved but afraid because I didn’t believe that I would be able to earn enough money from crochet to make a living off it.
I had lived with as little as possible the past months so I had a little bit of money saved up that I could live off and I still had my part time job as a blind assistant but I usually only worked 2-5 hours a month. Though having a safety net helped the fear a lot.
ADJUSTING TO A LIFE OF FREEDOM
The first many months in freedom I still woke up every morning in panic (as I had done every day for the past many years) because I thought I had to be somewhere where I would be in constant high alert and fighting to be understood. I still couldn’t understand I was free of it.
All that time (in the system, in jobs, in school, in relationships) where I had worsened my PTSD and given me another layer of trauma to deal with.
I was finally free and there was a a great deal of relaxation but my brain and body was still reacting like I was a captive in my own life. LIVING CHEAPLY
I started dumpster diving for food and I cut down all my expenses – no wifi, no streaming services, no money for any kind of unnecessary things. I only spent money on food and bills.
Six months went by and I had earned about 1/4 less than over the Summer, which meant if I put it all together I would have enough to pay my bills and food for maybe 1 month. So I was getting a little frightened and it was winter so not a lot of demand on Summer clothes either.
LEARNING TO MAKE & SELL PATTERNS
Gradually I started getting demands on the patterns for my designs so I started looking up crochet patterns online to see how the layout was and how they were written. And I tried to freestyle my way through it. I thought to myself: “How would I want to read a pattern?”. So basically I wrote a pattern for myself that I would then create a listing for on Etsy.
I upgraded my website subscription so I could start selling phsyical and digital items there as well. Suddenly I got a holiday pay that was bigger than I had expected and my friend out of the blue gave me money because her holiday pay was a lot bigger than mine.
I started having more and more money on my account and realised I wasn’t using my savings anymore. I suddenly had more more money than I needed to get by.
As the patterns started to sell more and more and my website got more and more visitors I started to feel that this might actually be possible. In August 2020 I officially became a registrered business – I had applied the year before but I closed it again immediately because I didn’t believe it would work out.
The past 10 monts I have earned more than any other job I have ever had.
It’s hard to understand and I pinch myself everyday. I don’t wake up with a panic attack (unless I have had bad night). I feel relaxed throughout my day, even though I still struggle with PTSD, anxiety, depression and shame.
I am living the life I couldn’t even imagine – a life of freedom, relaxation, empathy and joy. With time and space for my healing process. Where I can respect my own boundaries, be my own authority, not minimise my symptoms and share what I learned with all of you.
When I look back at just 6 months ago I believe much more in myself and my abilities. I very rarely have the thought that “This won’t work out”, which I had everyday when I first started out.
It’s not just because it’s actually going well (because even though it’s going well I can still have doubts and fear for the future — will it last?), it’s more because I am actually living a life more in harmony with my values, needs and wants.
I am giving myself the life I deserve and seeing how it’s making me more and more comfortable in myself and in my life is giving me a greater sense of trust and belief in myself and the world.
I don’t have the same obsession about the future and wheter or not I will continue to do this kind of work or not. I try and focus on the here-and-now and do the things I enjoy doing on this particular day. If at some point I want to do other things, like work as a chef, open a café, work therapeutically with other people, be a mentor or musician I have trust.
Because if I could do the unimaginable, I can do anything!
I feel extremely proud of myself and where I have come and so grateful for everyone of you who has been there by my side during this whole process. Those who have bought my digital or physical products, tagged me, sent me photos, reposted/liked/commented/read my posts and written to me and shared your own story.
Thank you for believing in me when I didn’t.
A FINISHING THOUGHT
I don’t believe the saying “believe in your dreams and they will come true”. Yes, our thoughts have impact but what if we don’t believe? Can we only start living once we start to believe? The other day in a feeling of hopelessness I was reminded that:
Just because you lose all hope, doesn’t mean that no good will come to you.
What if believing in ourselves comes from the process and experience of listening, being aware and showing ourselves patience and comfort even when we don’t believe?
So if you doubt yourself, don’t feel good enough, don’t feel ready, don’t have a support system, have been hurt too much in the past, fear that it will only go downhill – it’s okay.
Your life doesn’t require you to be fearless. Your life doesn’t require you to believe, imagine or visualize something for it to become a reality.
Start now – do what makes you happy, enjoy your passion, take your time, go in your own pace. Wanting something and going after it is enough for it to come true!
And if all else fails, just know: I believe in you. There is a way, a place for you too.
I am in a hurry to finish projects, because I falsely believe that my work is not good enough, so I shouldn’t take my time with it – it’s better to get it over with so I can get to the next step where I will do and be better than before.
In that state the present is never enough.
I am too hard on myself, judging myself for not doing it good enough and judging myself for rushing and not taking my time. Because I know that I am good enough, but in that moment I am out of touch with myself and the truth.
I feel behind in life and in my creations. I feel that I am not good enough and therefore I have to catch up with everything I have not yet done. I have to reach every goal I have not yet reached so I can feel good enough in the present moment. But it makes no sense as I am abandoning the present moment.
A to-do list that never ends
It feels like I’m in a race with myself. I am on negative 100 and have to rush mentally just get to zero.
It feels like having a whole list of to-do’s and everytime I cross off something 10 more things appear. And no matter how much I do, create or rush the feeling of inadequacy just becomes worse and worse.
Sometimes I find myself getting annoyed about how many ideas I have in mind because I feel like I’m out of time – that if I had create all of that I wouldn’t sleep, eat or do anything else for the rest of my life. It feels exhausting.
Enjoying the unfinished projects
Then this morning I noticed something. I noticed the dress I have been working on for weeks that I have never felt rushed with, the items that are finished yet I haven’t even woven in the ends – and I don’t care!
I don’t mind having unfinished projects and taking my time when I feel the intention to create arises from me.
I am practising telling myself: I am enough. I have enough. I don’t need to do more to be okay or successful. I don’t need the things I create. I have and am enough right now.
Create because I want to not because I need to. Create for myself not for others.
When my focus is outwards on the world and what I think is expected of me it will never be enough – because there will always be a need out there, there will always be expectations but it’s not my job to please others, do it the “right” way, post the right things at the right time, create the “right” things at the right time.
The need to rush comes from fear. I get scared that I won’t be able to continue to create for a living, that what I create will not be enough to pay the bills. I always thought the worst part about having a creative job was not creating or having ideas enough but it’s the opposite. The challenge for me is to tell myself that it is enough; that I will still be able to pay my bills even if I create less.
Creating for myself
When I focus on creating for myself I feel body breathe deeper, I feel more settled, more trusting of myself and my path, because I am here now, and there is not anywhere I need to get to.
Everything happens right now, my ability to sense, create, be present, grow, find safety and slow down – nothing every happens in the future, it happens now.
Therefore I can’t rush to get somewhere because there is no “there” there. I am not rushing to get somewhere I am rushing because I falsely thing that it will make me feel less stressed, incapable and inadequate when in reality rushing makes me feel all those things.
So this is a reminder for me (and for you) to do and be right now from the intention that arises right now inside me.
Be with that. Create with that. Slow down with that.
Hook: 4 mm Yarn: 420 grams. 2 strands of jute – these two strands counts as 1 strand of yarn. You need 8 squares for this bag. Stitches(US TERMS): Slip stitch, chain, single crochet, double crochet, decreased double crochet.
Round 1: Chain 4, connect to a ring with 1 slip stitch in the 1st chain, chain 2. Make 12 double crochet in the ring, finish with 1 slip stitch in the first double crochet.
Round 2: Chain 3, make 1 slip stitch in the next double crochet. Repeat and finish with 1 slip stitch in the first double crochet = 12 arches
Round 3: Make 1 slip stitch around the first arch. Chain 2. Make 3 decreased double crochet around the arch, chain 3. Make 3 decreased double crochet around the next arch. Repeat and finish with 1 slip stitch in the first decreased double crochet.
Round 4: Chain 3. Make 1 slip stitch around the next arch, chain 3, make 1 slip stitch into the decreased double crochet. Repeat and finish with 1 slip stitch into the first decreased double crochet = 24 arches.
Round 5: Make 1 slip stitch around the first arch. Chain 2. Make 3 double crochet around the same arch, chain 3. Skip 1 arch and make 3 double crochet around the next, chain 3, skip one and make 3 double crochet around the next. Repeat and finish with 1 slip stitch in the 1st double crochet in the beginning of the round.
Round 6: Make 1 slip stitch into the next double crochet. Chain 3, make 1 slip stitch around the next arch, chain 3, make 1 slip stitch in the 2nd double crochet, chain 3, make 1 slip stitch around the next arch. Repeat and finish with 1 slip stitch in the first slip stitch in the beginning of the round.
Round 7: Chain 3. Make 3 single crochet around each of the next 6 arches. Chain 3. Make 3 single crochet into each of the next 6 arches, chain 3 – repeat and finish with 1 slip stitch around the first arch.
Chain 1 and break off the yarn. Leave about 25-30 cm yarn end to join the squares.
JOIN THE SQUARES
Start by making 1 side of the bag – by connecting four of the squares. Do the same with the other side. Then connect the front and back on 3 of the sides. Sew them together by sewing through the stitches – back and forth – use only one strand of your yarn end, this way you can sew in both directions with the yarn end. Make sure to match up the corners (where you chained 3) and sew through the corners a few times.
Insert your hook in the 7th single crochet counted from the middle – make 1 slip stitch, chain 2. Make 1 double crochet in the same stitch, make 1 double crochet in the next 5 stitches, chain 2 and turn over. Make 1 double crochet in each stitch, chain 2 and turn over. Crochet back and forth until you have 20 rows or however long you want the strap to be. Break off the yarn and sew the other side to the bag. Do the same on the other side.
Remember to tag and mention @mati_denmark if you share on social media. The pattern and product made from the pattern is for private use. May not be sold or distributed.
ACTIVE WORK You are selling physical items or actively participating in every sale that you make.
Example: custom made or ready-made products, coaching/mentoring, sponsored posts
PASSIVE WORK You make the work once and then the item can be sold again and again automatically without you actively doing anything. Example: patterns, e-books, courses, affiliate links
Is this your part time or full time job ?
There is a big difference in what you need and what you want to earn.
If this is your full time job you might both have the time and energy to focus on your job and therefore be able to make more money. But if it’s just a part time job and you don’t depend on it, you can work less (and work when you want to) and therefore you don’t need to earn that much.
If you are in-between and you want to make this your living, my advice is to keep your other job so you know that you can pay your bills – if you are able to go down in hours so you just earn what you need, then you can spend the free time you have on your own business but still be able to take it slow and do it your way.
How much to pay yourself
Example: Money: You need/are satisfied with 175 euro per week – 700 euro per month. Time: You want/are able to work 40 hours a week – 160 hours a month. Your hourly rate: 175/40 = 43,75 euro
HOW MUCH THE PRODUCT HAS TO COST Let’s say you can make 10 active products a month.
700/10 = 70
That means that your product has to cost 70 euro.
HOW MANY PRODUCTS YOU HAVE TO SELL Let’s say a passive product costs 5 euro.
700/5 = 140
That means you have to sell 140 passive items a month to earn 700 euro.
How to price your products
Option 1. You can look at all the individual factors regarding the product and then calculate how much that is.
TIME – How much time did you spend making the item (and how much do you want to pay yourself an hour)? MONEY – How much money did you spend on materials?
You spent 15 hours. You pay yourself 43,75 euro per hour. The materials cost 10 euro. 15×43,75 = 656,2 + 10
666,2 euro is what the product should cost.
Option 2. Forget about the time and money spent and instead find a fixed price for that item. TIME/MONEY/ENERGY – How much time, money and energy did you spend on this product? Is this a product you made as a “test design” where you were just playing around? QUALITY – How is the quality of the product and materials? Is the work kind of slobby or is it done with a lot of effort and precision? OBJECTIVELY – If you saw this in a shop, how much would you pay for it?
What amount do you think is fair when keeping these factors in mind?
Custom made or ready-made products
In my opinion custom made and ready-made items should be priced differently as there is much more work going into custom made products.
CUSTOM MADE – communicating back and forth with customer – working with their specific measurements – making the item in the color, material and style that the customer want – pricing can be difficult as the item may take longer for some customers than others – the customer doesn’t exactly know what they get before they receive the item – this can cause uncertainty and stress for both creator and customer
READY-MADE – the product is already made in the color, material, size that you want – in the listing you can state all the details about the product – this way the customers knows what they get – easy to price as you can just determine from the time, material or quality how much you think it’s worth
Setting a goal
It’s a good idea to have a goal in mind – what is your goal – how much do you want to earn and how much do you want to work? Even though it might seem unrealistic right now it’s good to have an idea about where you want to be so you can move towards that.
Only you can decide what your time and effort is worth. Only you can decide what your hourly rate looks like and how many hours to work.
If you don’t want to work that much then that’s just perfect, there will always be people out there willing to pay a good price for your work. Remember to pick the customers that value you and your work.
At the same time it’s just as great to work 60 hours a week if that feels good to you! There is no recipe on how to do it right. If you want to sell your items cheaply, then do that!
We are all different and the most important thing we can do is stay true to ourselves and what is important to us.