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Design and crochet your own garments

My mother taught me to crochet and knit when I was four years old, however, she never taught me to read a pattern, nor did I ever see her knit or crochet from one. She had little books called the Harmony Guides, which contained only little stitch patterns; that is all we ever used. The design of each garment was our own.

As an adult crafter in the era of social media, I noticed the following two disadvantages of using patterns.

Yarn substitution

We are scattered all over the globe and what is readily available to me, isn’t readily available to the crafter in another country. Finding something with exactly the same fibre content and weight is sometimes so tedious that many people give up and never use the pattern they paid for.

Sometimes, the yarn the designer used is available but way out of budget for the crafter. He or she is left excluded from a beautiful pattern because of financial constraints. I find that so unfair.

The fit

Even though most patterns have different size options, it is still difficult to make a garment that really fits well. Our bodies differ so much; what works for me, won’t necessarily work for you. Add to that the cost and time involved in the design of a multi-size pattern; each size has to be tested and for that I have to find testers that fit the pattern sizes. Schlep and lots of it.

I think it is for this reason that many patterns exclude the petitie and the slightly bigger bodies, as if they don’t exist. I know that I shy away from publishing multi-size patterns. There are always unhappy crafters to whom the pattern sizes do not apply. Every time this happens, I feel so heartbroken. It feels as if I have personally let a crafter down.

Value for Money

Most people use a pattern only once. After all, who wants a closet full of garments all looking the same? Free patterns are sometimes (not always) riddled with mistakes as they were not properly tested. Paid patterns are seen as the better option, but is it really if you are only going to use it once? I don’t think so. A pattern that is easy to adapt, both to a different size and to a different stitch pattern, is more value for money in my opinion.

Do I have an answer to these issues? Yes, I do.

Design Your Own

In 2020 I will host a month long CAL each month, with a different design each time. The design won’t be given as a pattern, instead, it will be given as a method. A method that will allow you to use any yarn and make the garment for any size body, from baby right through to adult male if you so wish. Make it once and change it each time thereafter. Another type of yarn, another colour, another stitch pattern and voila! Something entirely different. Now that is value for money, don’t you think?

The project for each month will be added to the Design Your Own Gallery and it will be advertised on the Ilona Slow Life Creations Facebook Page. For 2020 I am focussing on tops – all of them. Closed jumpers, cardigans, jackets, coats etc. I will even throw in a unisex item or two. Different construction methods will be used in order to broaden your horizons.

To join:

  • Make a payment of $10 via Paypal to, or, use the Paypal button on the right. If you are based in South Africa, you can send an email to requesting banking details for a payment of R150.
  • Send proof of payment to me via email, stating which month you want to join and I will reply with the link to the relevant group on Facebook.
  • Each project will span over two months – the first month of the CAL and a second month to support those who are still busy. After the second month, the Facebook Group will be closed.
  • Payment is only for one project.
  • Special offer: If you want to do all 12 projects, even thought you haven’t seen them yet, you can make a payment for $90 for the entire year (25% discount). If you are based in South Africa that would amount to R1350.