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On Mystery Crochet and Domestic Science

I’ve been working on a new crochet project recently in preparation for a brand new Mystery Crochet Course. It’s going to be a very beautiful object – a rich mix of colour and texture and completely unique. There will only ever be one of these and there will be no written pattern or documentation other than a few photographs to log its development over the coming weeks.

Last night as I was working on ‘my project’ (with no crochet pattern to follow, or write) I tuned my maternal radar into the children’s conversation and was pleasantly surprised to hear that boredom had finally prompted a scientific discussion.

“So how fast does sound travel?”

“Well, say I made a noise and you heard it 2 seconds later, that’s how fast it travelled”


“You say ‘hello’ and I’ll say ‘hello’ when I hear you.”

“OK. Hello”


“That wasn’t very fast. Let’s do it again. Say it louder”



“You said hello before I had a chance to say it!”

“No I didn’t”


I turned my radar off so I couldn’t hear any more of the scientific debate and refocused on ‘my project’.

A few seconds later…

“What are you making?”

Flattered by this sudden interest in ‘my project’ I explained in an excited and mysterious voice that I didn’t know yet – it’s a mystery project. I made a surprised face to further illustrate the point.

“What do you mean you don’t know? How can you make something if you don’t know what it’s going to be?”

The pleasant inquisitive faces had turned into scowls and their eyes were rolling almost uncontrollably at each other.

I thought about this for some time. I’m working on a piece of freeform crochet that combines a range of motifs, stitch textures, shapes and colours in a way that is as much about process as it is results.

I am making the rules up as I go along. They are my rules and sometimes I break them. I am solving problems as I work and discovering new ways of doing things.

This creative process is a liberating one –I am not bound by other peoples laws and I will allow myself to make mistakes, sometimes unravelling and redoing; a 21st century Penelope perpetually making and unmaking.

Why is this playful approach to making so difficult to comprehend? I don’t want to know what happens at the end of ‘my project’, I simply want to enjoy watching it grow and thinking about the many different things that it could be. For me life isn’t about what happens at the end.

As I work on this unknown object my creative thought processes are re-routing and forming new passageways. Some are dead ends, but some are opening up into beautiful uncharted landscapes. Right now the idea of making a prescriptive object feels like creative fossilisation and I have no desire to rigidly reproduce a predictable result.

mystery crochet course in Norwich

I was about to explain this in easy terms when I realised that the young scientists had left the room and returned to the domestic science project.

“If I throw this book at you fast enough it might break the sound barrier”

I picked up my hook, returned to ‘my project’, and waited for the inevitable crash of a sonic boom.


This blog post is a link in a circle of blogs called Sisterhood Stories. You can read the next link by Sara here:

If you would like full details of the Mystery Crochet Course please email Sue at


This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. I can see your kids are as creative as you 🙂 Creation is mostly in the process, not so much in the result. Can’t wait to see your project evolve.

  2. Really looking forward to seeing how this project evolves! I love the vibrant colours you have used in the piece shown in the post.

  3. Oh I love the conversation between your children! It’s lovely listening in on kids’ conversations sometimes, they can be so grown up!
    I’m looking forward to seeing some of the project. 🙂

    1. Thanks Sara – yes, sometimes it’s lovely and sometimes I wish I hadn’t been listening! 🙂

  4. Loved this piece and I’m incredibly excited about your mystery project. And even more delighted that I’ll be creating one of my own on your next course!!! Eeek! Can’t wait xx

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