Why You Might Want to Become a Certified Crochet Instructor Even if You Never Plan on Teaching

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It took two hundred thirty-one days from the time I enrolled in the Craft Yarn Council’s Certified Instructors Program (CIP) to the day I received my certificate and pin. In that time not only did I learn a lot about crochet, but I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I hate having a deadline, but I also learned that I will finish something if I commit to it. I learned how to make a ripple stitch and that you shouldn’t overstretch it when blocking just to make it the perfect 5″ square. I also learned that I’m a total badass when it comes to weaving in my ends!

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The Nuts and Bolts

The Craft Yarn Council’s Certified Instructors Program (CIP) is a self-paced correspondence curriculum. Students have six months to complete their crochet samples and send them in to their Master Teacher, but you have an additional six months to complete the required fifteen hours of teaching.  The program is broken up into two sections, Crochet Techniques and Teacher’s Handbook. The materials are very well organized and detailed explanations are given for each sample as well as lesson planning. The total cost is $85, but you will need to supply your own yarn, notebook for sending in your coursework, and you will need to pay to have it shipped to your Master Teacher.

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I really believe this program is beneficial for every crocheter, even if teaching isn’t the goal! First learning how to do things correctly is pure gold. The internet is full of tutorials and videos showing how to crochet practically anything, but occasionally there are mistakes. I recently found one when looking through a very popular crochet site and was surprised to see that the woman teaching a fundamental technique wasn’t doing it correctly. Crochet is also a craft that has been handed down from one person to another and it isn’t always taught the proper way. Now the goal isn’t to crochet correctly for correctness sake! Reducing fundamental mistakes will reduce big headaches down the road. It’s not to be nit-picky but to ensure a happy, stress free outcome!

The second, and I believe the most important reason to become a Certified Crochet Instructor, is because inevitably someone is going to ask you to teach them to crochet. I’m sure you’ve already experienced it!  There seems to be a renaissance in handicrafts happening around the world and more and more people want to get back to doing things the way their grandmothers did them! The availability of tutorials on YouTube is wonderful but there’s nothing like sitting down with another human being and learning how to do something useful and beautiful.

Craft Yarn Council’s Certified Instructors Program (CIP)

Have any questions about the program? I’ll be more than happy to answer them in the comments below! Thanks so much for reading and I hope you found this post beneficial!

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Voltaire and the One Negative Comment that Kept me up Until 2:00 a.m.

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(For more information about the patterns in the photo above please visit my Amigurumi Pattern Directory)

I try to respond to each comment left on my Instagram and Facebook posts. It is important to me that I answer those who take the time to write a comment or to ask a question. Recently someone left a message that left me feeling pretty crummy about myself as a maker and I didn’t know how to respond. I read the words over and over to make sure I was properly processing this person’s opinion of my work.  I honestly sat up until two o’clock in the morning thinking about her criticism and trying to determine whether or not it had any merit.

I am not above critique. I actually look forward to constructive criticism and find tremendous value in it. I believe in order to become a better crocheter and maker has, and will continue to take a lot of work. I completed the Craft Yarn Council’s program to become a Certified Crochet Instructor for that very reason. I signed up for the course to gain feedback, positive and negative. I received both and learned most from the critical commentary.

But that one unfriendly remark on my Instagram post helped me to see something in myself, so for that I am thankful.  I learned that I will fixate on one negative point and ignore all the good. My family has actually called me crazy for not selling some of the amigurumi I make because there is a flaw that no one but I can see. Once I see the defect I cannot unsee it!

While pondering over my hypersensitivity to negativity I remembered a quote from Voltaire who famously wrote,

“Perfection is the enemy of the good.”

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Light bulb moment! That’s exactly what I have been doing my entire life! Literally! I’ve let perfection become an idol and good is no longer good enough. So from this day forward I am vowing to myself to do things differently.

  1. The pursuit of perfection is bad.
  2. I will fail, and it will be ok.
  3. People will call out my weaknesses and I don’t have to obsess over it.
  4. Good is not just good, it’s great!

 

Amigurumi Pattern Directory

This is a running list of all the amigurumi patterns I have personally used and where to find them! I added my own photos of each recommendation so that you can see an example of the patterns these designers offer. Hope you all find this helpful! Updated on 9/27/18

Crochet/Amigurumi

1. Animal Friends of Pica Pau: Gather All 20 Colorful Amigurumi Animal Characters by Yan SchenkelIMG_3007

2. Cute Crocheted Animals: 10 Well-Dressed Friends to Make by Emma Varnam

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3. Little Owlet Shop

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4. Dudu Toy Factory

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5. Tiny Curl

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6. KikaliteIMG_4397

7. Amigurumibyguli

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Disclosure: Please note that two of the links above are affiliate links, and at no cost to you, I will earn a teeny, tiny commission if you decide to purchase them from Amazon. These are books that I know, love, and trust. I have and will continue to recommend them regardless of my affiliate relationship with Amazon. Thank you for supporting Le Petit Saint Crochet!

Embroidery Pattern Directory

This is a running list of all the embroidery patterns I have personally used and where to find them! I added my own photos of each recommendation so that you can see an example of the patterns these designers offer. Hope you all find this helpful! Updated on 9/27/18

Embroidery Patterns

1. Lolli and Grace

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2. LilliPopo

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3. Sloth Pattern from Cutesy Crafts (from Polka Dot Chair)

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Comparing Cotton and Wool for Amigurumi

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I find the difference in these two puffins absolutely fascinating. Both amigurumi are made from yarn by the same manufacturer, Paintbox Yarns. The puffin on the left is made from their Cotton DK and the one on the right is from their Aran Wool Mix. The colors, textures, and sizes of each puffin depend on which yarn is used, which may seem obvious to some, but for me it is an interesting experiment.

For more information about the puffin patterns by Yan Schenkel,                    check out my blog post, Book Review: Animal Friends of Pica Pau

I began making amigurumi with cotton yarn. I love the smooth texture it produces, but found that, by its nature, was causing problems with pain in my elbow. You can read more about that here: Saying Goodbye to my Beloved Cotton Yarn

This particular cotton DK produces a more muted tone puffin. His colors aren’t as bright but have a beautiful softness to them. The grey on the left puffin is a shade lighter than on the right, but the coral colors on the beaks and feet are almost identical. In contrast, this wool yarn achieves deep, rich hues.

The texture difference between cotton and wool is what stands out the most to me. The cotton has a knobby quality, but is very smooth at the same time. The wool puffin on the right has a slightly fuzzy consistency, which I think adds to his charm. I find that the wool mix yarn leaves very few holes if any in the stitches. But with the cotton it is easier to see each individual stitch.

The size is what surprised me the most. I thought that changing from a DK weight yarn to an Aran weight yarn would lead to a much bigger difference in dimensions. In reality the wool puffin is a heftier bird than his cotton cousin, but not by much. Even though I eliminated one small section of the color-work on the neck, the height difference is much less than I would have predicted.

I have used other cotton yarns like Cascade Ultra Pima Cotton, which is a mercerized fiber and is much richer in color. It has a slight sheen to it and I especially like using it for projects that could use a little luster. For the wool, I am currently using a wool blend labeled Berroco Vintage which comes in solids and heathers. It is really soft, affordable, and washable!

Cotton and wool mix yarns both make wonderful amigurumi. The choice between the two really comes down to preference and budget. I would recommend any of the yarns I already mentioned and think they will make magnificent animals.

Below are a list of my favorite cotton and wool yarns that I have personally used.

My recommendations for cotton:                                                                                              •Cascade Ultra Pima                                                                                                                        •Paintbox Yarns Cotton DK

My recommendations for wool:                                                                                            • Paintbox Yarns Wool Mix Aran                                                                                                    •Berroco Vintage Yarn

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Why Le Petit Saint Crochet Isn’t Just my Business Name, but a Piece of my Heart as Well.

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I’m not French. I don’t speak French. I’ve never been to France. I’ve never even been to Quebec, for goodness sake! But the name of my little crochet business is most definitely French and more than likely I don’t even pronounce it correctly!

When I began thinking about making my little crochet hobby a bit more official I knew it needed a name. I’ve admired other craft bloggers and handmade businesses for years and they usually have a very memorable name. I wanted something that represented my love for crochet but also represented something more than that. I wanted the name to represent why I was crocheting.

I wrote down dozens of cute names that typically had the word “bunny” or “cozy”  or “cottage” in them, but none felt quite right. I thought about how I loved making beautiful crocheted things and that I took such care to make sure that no detail was overlooked. Those thoughts led me to my admiration of a little French saint from the late 19th century.

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St. Therese of Lisieux, also known as The Little Flower, was a cloistered Carmelite nun.  In her autobiography, Story of a Soul, St. Therese wrote about how her position in life limited what she was going to be able to accomplish. In coming to this realization she wrote, “Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.” Her attitude towards life was a great inspiration to the legendary Mother Teresa who is famous for saying, “Do small things with great love.”

That saying perfectly encapsulates my highest goal as a maker. I want to do everything, down to the smallest of details, with great love and care. I know that my place in this world is a small one, but I believe that the small things really are the big things when done in the right spirit. Le Petit Saint Crochet (The Little Saint Crochet) is a tiny homage to St. Therese and a reminder for me to always do the small things with the greatest of love and attention.

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My Favorite Handmade Business Podcasts

6I’ll admit it, I’m a podcast junkie. I have loved listening to them for years, but recently discovered a handful of amazing ones specific for those of us with handmade businesses. I listen when I’m driving, when I’m cleaning, and when I’m crocheting. I love that they are informative, entertaining, and FREE!

My favorite podcasts for handmade business people are (cue drumroll……)

  1. The Merriweather Council Podcast This is my hands-down, absolute favorite, handmade business podcast. For starters, Danielle makes me laugh. She has a very natural way of connecting with listeners. She has had an extremely successful Etsy shop for many years and shares her secrets with all of us! I love that many of the podcast episodes are quite short and are packed with useful information! She’s a tell-it-like-it-is host and I appreciate her so much for it!
  2. The BHooked Podcast  This is my favorite crochet related podcast and it’s my second favorite business one as well. Brittany has turned her handmade hobby into a successful career and helps us do the same. While she doesn’t sell finished products, she does design and has a YouTube channel. Brittany is the Oprah of the crafting world with her insightful interviews with the top designers of the industry.
  3. The Goal Digger Podcast is the bomb dot com for business gals. Jenna Kutcher’s podcast feels like you’re sitting down with a girlfriend who has all the answers! She is very open about her own struggles but shares with listeners how she has overcome them. The podcast is part inspiration, part kick-in-the-pants. She gives listeners practical, doable steps to take to become successful.
  4. Raw Milk Podcast is a fairly new podcast and has a very different feel from the others listed. Beth Kirby (@local_milk) has a huge following on Instagram (over 700k!) She is an accomplished photographer, who has taken the unbeaten path to find success. Her first episode about taking the anxiety out of Instagram is worth its weight in gold!
  5. Christy Wright’s Business Boutique Christy Wright is one of the Dave Ramsey personalities who specializes in small businesses run by women. I listened to the first two episodes of her podcast before I even knew how to crochet, but what I heard intrigued me. I knew then that I wanted to have my own business someday, I just didn’t know what it would be! Christy is a very serious woman who knows how to go after what she wants and shows other women how to do the same.
  6. The Jennifer Allwood Show is a new podcast to me. I have only been listening for a few weeks but what I’ve heard so far has me coming back for more. Jennifer is a down-to-earth, boss momma. She’s been-there-done-that and isn’t afraid to share her secrets. Two of her recent episodes have been extremely helpful for me, episode 81: How to Fight Discouragement and episode 83: The #1 Thing You Can Do to Boost Your Online Sales.

I hope you all have found this list helpful! Tell me about your favorite handmade business podcasts!