Creative Roots Challenge Week 6 - Montana Crochet

Week 6 of the Creative Roots Challenge welcomes Ashley of Montana Crochet!
You can find this talented lady on Instagram here, and check out her website here.

Creative Roots Challenge Montana Crochet

Week 6 Challenge: Flash your favorite makes!! Share in a post (or two!) throughout the week showcasing your favorite handmade/crocheted/knitted items!

Prize: Full Montana Crochet Fall Collection on your choice of DK Tweed or Sock Tweed Minis 

How to Enter: Post your challenge photo and tag @montana.crochet + @knitbrooks, using hashtags #CreativeRootsChallenge + #CreativeRootsWeek6. You have until Monday, October 12th @ 1pm EST!

I thought it would be fun to remind ourselves of what we are capable of creating! My hope is that by revisiting the pieces that bring us the most joy, we can reflect on our proudest moments as makers together!

Creative Roots Challenge Week 6 Montana Crochet

Hello everyone, I’m Ashley - the dyer, crocheter, and creative heart behind Montana Crochet! I dye yarn, design colorful crochet patterns, crochet full-time and have been doing so for just over two years.

Montana Crochet Q&A

Creative Roots Challenge Week 6 Montana Crochet

When you first started your maker journey, what was your goal? How has it changed?

When I first began dyeing yarn, it was honestly just to experiment and play with a new creative outlet! I ended up going out on a limb and decided it might be fun to dye up some colorways and maybe see if anyone would like to purchase them and before I knew it, my first update sold out in just a few hours! At that time I had around 2,500 followers and couldn’t really even wrap my head around the thought that people were actually interested in what I was dyeing, when there were and are so many talented dye artists out in the world!

Fast forward just over two years later and I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. Dyeing yarn has become something that I never even realized I needed, and I have found so much joy and self-worth in creating something that brings so much happiness to others within our community. 

What is your favourite inspirational (or creativity-related) quote?
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” 

Comparison is this massive demon that so many within our maker community struggle with on such a deep level. I don’t want to get too preachy here, but I’m telling you right now, you have to stop. You, yes YOU reading this: You have to stop comparing your maker journey to anyone elses. What someone else is doing, what someone else is creating, what someone else is accomplishing, what someone else is insert the bullshit here. Everything, and I mean every single little thing that you have experienced in your life, has led you to this moment right now. Only you can bring what you bring to the world. Only you.

Once you squash that comparison thief in yourself -  grab the creativity reins and hold on for dear life, friends! You are the only thing that’s stopping yourself and YOU ARE WORTHY OF YOUR JOURNEY!!

What is your main creative struggle, and how do you work through it?
My main creative struggle is taking on too many projects, even when I’m completely aware that I shouldn’t. This could be a collaboration, testing patterns for other designers I admire and love, or even pushing my physical limits on how much yarn I can dye in a given time frame. For me, I’ve learned that I need to check in with myself and realize that the more boundaries that I create and hold myself accountable to, the more balanced and happy I end up being in the end. 

Tell us about a total maker FAIL. What did you learn from it, and how did that failure help you grow?
Oh goodness. Soooooooo this one time I had this incredible collaboration planned!! (The kind that dreams are made of, y’all!) When the collaboration went live it sold out in hours, which had me totally elated! Like, I was sincerely blown away. Something totally slipped my mind throughout the entire process, and though it was very simple - I had completely forgotten to stock up on citric acid. (So SO necessary to the dye process, you guys.) At the time I only had enough citric acid to dye half of the orders, which was a massive and I mean, massive issue. Knowing that I couldn’t get enough citric acid delivered in time, I literally went to every single grocery and hardware store in town buying up all the citric acid I could find! (We're talking even little packets with two tablespoons in them, y’all. It was hysterical!) In the end, everything worked out just fine but let me tell you - I now have at least 200 POUNDS of it on hand at any given time. Lesson learned, lol!

What do you feel has been your biggest accomplishment? 
Each and every collaboration I’ve had with such an amazing array of designers feels like my biggest accomplishment! I’ve been beyond blessed to collaborate with the talents of @tlyarncrafts, @hookedhazel, @detroitknots, @knitbrooks, @by.stephanie.erin, @evolvecrochet, and @littleredknits - just to name a few! Each and every time I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside these amazing women, feels like such a triumph of creativity coming to life!!

What is one goal you’re working towards right now?
Balance. Making sure that I don’t work myself into the ground on the regular, and keeping myself in check to my responsibilities as a mother, wife, daughter, and friend amongst running a business that I love as much as I do. 

Name three creative people who inspire you, and why? (include IG / site link)
@by.stephanie.erin - Have you SEEN her designs? Stephanie is turning crochet on it’s head, flipping it sideways, and shattering all preconceived ideas about what crochet is in the fiber world!

@1dogwoof - ChiWei is mind-blowingly talented. Her eye for design and structure is something that I feel few can achieve the way that she does. From Amigurumi to shawls, from baskets to blankets...this woman is genius!

@tlyarncrafts - When I first discovered the crochet community on Instagram back in January of 2018, Toni was one of the very first people I followed. She never ceases to blow me away with her creative prowess and cultivating a friendship with her is something that I value beyond words. Also, she gives the BEST HUGS EVER!

What is your best piece of advice for someone who has lost their creative mojo?
Don’t be afraid to step away for a bit to regain your drive and purpose. That may look like taking a break for the afternoon to focus on family, taking the weekend to commit to anything (and I mean anything) that isn’t related to your craft, or maybe it’s stepping away for a lengthy amount of time to rediscover where your passions truly lie. Whatever that looks like for you, it’s important that you realize that stepping away is truly okay - the internet, Facebook, and the ‘Gram will be there for you whenever you return!

Creative Roots Challenge Week 6 Montana Crochet

Share five fun non-maker-related facts!

  1. I traveled to Denver, CO for an N*SYNC concert as a 6th grader and lo and behold - a lone bird flying around the stadium took a massive shit in the air and it promptly followed the laws of gravity and landed on my thigh. I “Must Have Spent A Little More Time” on my laundry that day…

  2. I used to be a professional wedding photographer before starting my yarn dyeing journey!

  3. My favorite color is green! It’s the color that calms me and reminds me of new growth and life. I love to dye it, I love to crochet with it, I love to wear it - but I’ve quickly come to realize that my followers don’t really like green at all so it’s very rare that I find myself creating with it anymore. (Insert sad face, yo. Y’all need to jump on the green train!!!)

  4. Some of you may already know that I am a HUGE fan of tacos. Well, my Granddad started a tradition when my Dad and his siblings were growing up where, when they had tacos - everyone, and I mean EVERYONE was welcome. He opened his home weekly to family, to friends, to friends of friends, and most importantly, to people he would see on the street. My Dad continued this tradition as I grew up and even though my Dad has been gone for 16 years now, the tradition of eating tacos and opening up my home is something that I plan to continue carrying on for all of my years. Even in the divisive times we’re living in right now, I truly believe that tacos can bring everyone together.

  5. My favorite sound I’ve ever heard is the absence of noise. When we’re up at the cabin in the dead of winter there’s such a lack of sound in the mountains that is utterly breathtaking. I’ve literally been able to watch a pine needle drop from a tree, land on the snow, and be able to  hear the sound when the needle makes contact with the flakes. If every single person on the planet was able to experience such a moment, I truly think the world would be one helluva lot better place.

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