Yes !!! The new Issue of Simply Crochet is out and guess who has a two page interview in this one ? Yup it is me ! It is such a joy to read back my words and answers I gave when this interview was taken. The back story in this interview is how I try to support men out there crocheting and knitting. From my own experience I know how frightening it is when you have taken the step to show something of as a male knitter/crocheter in a female dominated area. It isn’t the case that women are showing no mercy or compassion for us guys in a craft world, I think it is more the opposite as many of you do and encourage. However the step is sometimes big as we are still with a small number out there and it is hard to step over the unvisible border of just showing off what you make. For that reason I always try to reach out to any male crafter, no matter if it is a comment, a like or a small message. I know it can make that little difference to boost some confidence on this matter among us guys.
But saying the above…being a role model and stand for something isn’t always something positive. This interview was taken last December 2019 before the Spice Market pattern was showed to a larger audience. Now I don’t want to drag out all the drama again about how that whole CAL pattern was canceled and how hundreds of people behaved. But I can’t deny the fact that the things happened there are the downside of it all. Where the interview shows the bright side, the CAL let me discover the dark side of it all. There are still a lot of people all over the world who think it is weird or not standard if a man can crochet or knit, if two same-sexed persons love each other or someone walk the path differently. And there are still a lot of people who I see commenting they don’t understand why you cancel a CAL for certain things…well because it hits you in the face and touch you in your soul.
I know many, many, many of you also think these thoughts are ridiculous and old fashioned. But realize that although there is much positive out there, the negative won’t disappear. Still everyday there are people trying to spread there complaining in every way possible. There are many of you who say…look at all that love and the huge amount of people who disagree on this. I know and I see, but still that doesn’t change a feeling. The only thing you can try is give it a place, block as much out as possible and make your presence as small and limited as possible if you still want to do what you do best. And many of you can’t understand why things like this happen in a crochet community. I think it is the same answer here. Those who are not in the standards are like a target to shoot on. One big move in the right direction delivers you some bullet holes. You have just one option after each shot, try to recover and let your wounds heal into scarves.
I felt I need to mention above. Not to lay a shadow over the interview but by the time I gave this interview I never could have imagined my crochet life would turn in a way I really hate. Despite the fact many people are crocheting the cal pattern and the critics are very good about the pattern, everytime I’ll get tagged or someone tries to show off his or her’s own version of the Spice Market it make me relive the entire weeks over and over. That’s the reason why I can’t be cheerful or positive about it and I don’t think it will come back. I have taken some weeks of maintenance and rest for myself to overthink everything and although I’m very stubborn and determined to continue my crochet work even when it is hard to find the fun in it sometimes, I know I’ll have to form it in ways that work for me. This is where the main reason lies talking about the interview. It is a lovely interview and I’m so glad with it, but the joy and free mind in that interview is pretty much gone after the last months.
There are still a lot of things in the interview which I stand for. Like my thoughts on designing, I always want to include a story behind a pattern. A design has to have a soul from my side. No matter how you read it or think about it. For me something has to have meaning and being worth it to use your yarns for. Besides that I am still glad I also met some amazing people through crochet.
But although a lot of people and designers are behind me, last weeks made me feel pretty lonely. Part of it lies in the fact there are just a few who can compare in the situation it has been. Of course people reached out and had kind words but how many knew the feeling of those racist opinions and old fashioned thoughts. A few which can be counted with the fingers on your hand, as not many live that life in the exact same shoes I’m walking in. And no matter how much designers you have as friends or talk to, how many big companies you hook up with…in the end these things you have to deal with on your own. How big your name or accounts are…you will be on your own and it will be always like that. So why keeping it all up. This is something I have thought about a lot as what is the right path to walk down in the future. And in the end I came to a simple conclusion.
When I started crocheting and designing I was a independent person just doing his thing. Posting pics I liked and publish what I thought was right. No matter if it was popular or not, just do what feels right. And that’s where I have to get back too. But saying this it will also mean less personal Mark and more the Guy with the Hook. And with saying this we return to the interview in Simply Crochet. See it is a end piece. There will be a few publications left which I already did last year and which will be published this year. But once they are all out and open it is done. I feel strongly I don’t have to be in the spotlight any longer like a magazine or book. In next week I will announce a timeline with new patterns coming up in the next months….as most of the designs announced were already in progress or finished by now. After these I don’t know if I will continue designing. For sure I won’t stop crocheting but the design part is something I am not sure about as it has brought me a real series of unfortunate events along the last years. It is something I have to think about in the upcoming months. Maybe I’ll try to find possibilities in different ways of publishing like bundle some new stuff in a book or something like that. Anyway…the next months I still got you covered with some new crochet stuff so don’t worry for now.
At last I want to thank Simply Crochet for the interview and especially Lucy Evans who turned this interview in a lovely story. We both didn’t knew how talking about crochet designing could so easily change, so fast. In the end I feel this interview is a lovely closure on a old career. And I hope you do agree age, gender, looks, sexuality, language, money, success or anything else are not important in the end. It is all about creativity. And for every single person who reads this, follow my journey, make my patterns or support in any way possible…..thank you !
Bedankt voor je mooie patronen. Blijf genieten van het haken en ontwerpen en al krijgt niemand ooit nog een creatie van je te zien dan zijn ze er toch. Dan heb jij ze tot leven gewekt.
Volg je hart.
I’m so sorry that people have been so cruel to you, to spoil something that is your passion. You are very talented and good hearted and kind and wonderful. I do hope that crochet will return to bringing you joy.
You have brought so much beauty and color into the world. And I wish that the world would reflect that back to you instead of ugliness.
Met heel veel plezier ben ik bezig met jouw prachtige ontwerpen, ik hoop dat er nog vele komen, en dat je blijft ontwerpen, ze zijn te mooi om voor jezelf te houden🥰. Hoe dan ook: ik blijf je volgen en hopelijk volg jij je ❤️. Liefs
I hope it is ok that I leave a comment after such a long time…
I am a female knitter and crocheter – hence can’t know exactly walk in your shoes ref this issue and I am truly sorry that we even have such comments and cruelty in the 21st century. It sometimes makes me angry to see that there are people who seem to look for topics they can add their hatred to.
As a woman growing up in the 70s/80s in a small German village, I can however relate to this hatred if you don’t stick to images people have in their heads about the ways others should live. I know that it is hard to follow your path, but I am always happy to see that a lot of these old images change or changed in the meantime (today it’s not a problem if you raise your children alone for example etc). It was hard for me, but I was also a part of those who helped to change those images. And I’d wish that you could maybe take a bit of positiveness from this thought: that you are part of a community which does something important, to change old, entrenched prejudices!
I saw that you are a member on Ravelry and would like to encourage you to try to be more active in the forums: there are groups of men discussing crocheting, knitting in general, but also being creative as men. It could help you not also to know, but also to experience that the group of crocheting/knitting/designing men becomes bigger and bigger – and with this to help others being in a similar situation.
My main wish is that you keep designing and to publish your designs: they are wonderful!
Cheers from Germany