Around this time last year, I began working on a special kind of crochet project. One of my blog readers had stumbled upon my lace swimsuit top design and wanted to order a custom piece for herself. After exploring different options, we ended up deciding on a one piece crochet swimsuit inspired by fashion made ones.
This was my first time designing and working on a piece of this structure and size, so it was an interesting and educational experience. I used light fingering cotton yarn and a 2mm crochet hook. The main body was worked both in the round and flat, and it featured a simple allover pattern made of dc stitches. The bust and leg openings featured delicate but simple lace edgings. Even the straps had their own decoration as tassels were added to their ends. These tassels are probably my favorite part of this project, mostly because of the combination of the shiny gold thread with the sage green yarn.
However great the result may look, this project actually gave me a hard time. Not because it was difficult, but because it involved a lot more work than I expected. Only adding in elastic to the leg openings took me around 5 hours for each leg. Needless to say, it took me 2 full weeks to finish by working daily for several hours.
This situation gave light to a disturbing habit of mine: of underestimating the time it might take to complete a project and of overestimating my knitting speed. I have noticed that when it is about making something for other people, I tend to estimate more or less the same effort and time no matter the size or difficulty involved in the project.
The weird thing is, why is this happening when I don’t lack knitting/crochet experience? It makes sense to make out-of-place estimations as a beginner, but not so much if you are experienced, right?
Well, as far as I can understand the situation, I think that the main reason behind it, is the fact that I knit & crochet primarily for myself. This means two things. Firstly, I am used to making more or less the same size, so consciously or unconsciously I compare the new projects to that particular size. Secondly, selfish knitting is mostly leisure knitting that happens at random times and without a schedule and as I only occasionally set myself a deadline, it’s easy for the time needed to go unnoticed and unrecorded.
There may be more reasons I haven’t thought of, but currently this is my explanation. Of course, there is also the fact that one can never be too precise in estimating projects never done before.
Since this swimsuit, I have taken up more custom work, (in fact I have two of these projects on my needles right now), but because I have been more conscious of this bad habit, I have been able to make better estimations and manage my time better. It is still difficult to figure out the time and effort needed, but I hope that with time and more experience, things will get easier.
What about you? Have you been in a similar situation? How do you handle requests from family, friends and/or custom orders?