How I design

Allo everyone. I’m still getting used to being a full time teacher, so my time for crochet has taken a HUGE plummeting this month. It’s been three weeks since the start of term, and this is how my days have generally gone:

1) Wake up at 6:15. Get up at 6:45.
2) Stumble around in an effort to get dressed, feed the cat, make lunch and be out the door by 7:00.
3) 7:20, arrive at work. Potter around getting ready for lessons.
4) 8:00 staff briefing – the day begins!
5) Between 8:20 and 14:55 meet many, many children, all clammering for attention and/or refusing to do Textiles because ‘it’s boring’ (well, you’d know that from the three second glance you gave the task wouldn’t you? Thank god for good kids!)
6) 14:55 to around 16:30 various meetings and/or getting prepped for the next day of work before I leave and go home.
7) 16:30 to 17:00 drive home, try to stay awake to avoid firey car crash of death. Thankfully there’s just enough traffic to stop me actually driving more than five meters before coming to a stop at a traffic light before I really got going anyway. Realise I forgot to eat lunch at this point. Feel hungry.
8) Arrive home at 17:00. Try to get up the enthusiasm to eat/ tidy house/ converse with the boyfriend.
9) Get to 18:00 and FALL ASLEEP DRAMATICALLY..
10) Wake up around 20:00 and decide ‘sod it – I’m going to bed’. Get in bed, expecting oblivious in three, two, one… Despite being too tired to move, finally fall asleep properly around 1:00 because naps bring back the insomnia!

Ok, so I might be exaggerating a little, but it’s definitely been long days and super tiredness, hence a distinct lack of crochet in my life. apparently it’ll get easier as I get used to it, so I’m not complaining per say, just venting lol.

Anyway, since I don’t have a pattern for you this week because of all this, I thought I’d do a bit on how I go about designing. I saw some people talking about it on Facebook and found it really interesting how differently everyone works.

My designing starts with a cat.

Amiguruthi Squeak

Squeak is one of those cats who will ignore you until she realises that you have found a comfortable, feet under the butt ‘could sit here for hours’ position in which to work. Then she comes and slams herself down on your lap, adding just enough extra weight that you THINK it’ll be ok, only to realise ten minutes later that various bones in your body will never be quite right again. Designing starts with the age old question ‘Do I move or work around the cat?’ a debate which could be a blog post all of its own.

She usually wins and I work round her by the way.

Ok, so designing for me actually starts with a notebook.

Amiguruthi designing notebook


I like to used small squared paper because it helps keep my notes neat and if I need to I can count squares as stitches and try to build a shape pixel style. Usually I’ll do a quick sketch to work out shapes and positions – above you can see my Panda doodles. I’ll look at photos or watch videos if I’m going for a specific shape like with this project, but if I’m just designing something new (ie – not based on a existing character or animal) then I’ll just doodle and see where I get to. Or sometimes I don’t even doodle – I just crochet and see what falls off the hook.

After I’ve doodled, I start to improvise with the yarn. I’m terrible in that I hate frogging so much I will actively not do it if I can at all get away with it, so I tend to go straight into it with a cast iron belief that my ami will be perfect. You’d be amazed how well this works – to avoid frogging I’ve come up with some things that I would never have done before (such as the Jelly Tot Sprite, who started life as a Clanger). Usually because I believe it’ll be right, it is. Positive thinking for the win? I probably more usually think of it as working with any faults to correct on the go. Plus since I tend to stick to an increase in sixes format I tend to know what the outcome will look like before it happens. It’s only when I try to shape things specifically that I have to give up and admit that sometimes frogging is an inescapable part of crochet!

As I improvise, I write down everything.

Amiguruthi designing notebook


I only ever write down the end of round count, because like I said I tend to repeat a six increase pattern. It’s only if I do something unexpected that I have to write in long hand. There’s usually lots of crossing out and revision as I work, then once I’m done I type it up straight to the blog, copy and pasting lines from other patterns if I can to save time.

I tend to photograph everything I intend to blog too (unless I get really excited and forget, which usually happens as I get towards the end of an ami). Sometimes I won’t intend to blog a pattern but then I change my mind and have no photos for it. If it’s a small pattern I might remake it, but if it’s something complicated I rely on you readers being good enough to follow without photos. I do prefer image based patterns myself though, so I always try to include some in my own patterns. I take WAY more photos than you see, because some invariably end up blurry or unclear or just unnecessary.

That’s sort of it for how I work, except to just show you my sofa:

Amiguruthi sofa


I like to be neat and tidy when plan my lessons for school, sat at a desk in a clean classroom. When I crochet however, it’s in a mess. Half finished projects, random crap a plenty and a general feeling of ‘where the hell is.. oh wait, found it’. Maybe it’d be easier to have a clean crochet area. But it wouldn’t be me lol. I find I need to be sat cross legged, in the middle of all my stuff, on my squishy, old, falling to bits sofa, usually with something playing on the laptop (‘How I Met Your Mother’ usually, since I’ve seen them all so many times that I don’t even need to look at the screen anymore).

And this is my yarn stash:

Ha! No it isn’t. That’s the wonderful Twinkie Chan‘s stash. I’m just totally envious of it.

No, this is my actual stash:

Amiguruthi yarn stash


It’s just in a big tub behind my sofa. Since I make amis I tend to just have a lot of little balls rather than big skeins, so my stash doesn’t actually take up much room. I do have a couple more small baskets in my spare room, but they hold my lesser used yarn, like the eyelash or the mixed colours or the just plain weird which don’t get as much use as the plain coloured DK which is my yarny bread and butter.

The round pink tube has embroidery threads, and the small rectangle blue tub holds safety eyes. Apologies at my curtain’s photo bombing…

How do you design?