The Beginning:On May 9th 2011 I published my amigurumi facebook page Amigurumi Freely. I had just started crocheting in October of 2010 so I was a "newborn" in all respects to the craft but a friend of mine (Cynde.. thanks so much!) thought that my projects needed to be shared and suggested I start a page. So I thought about it for awhile because I honestly didn't think there would be much interest. But then I decided why not? If I could share a few patterns and help somebody then what the heck. I published the page with no great expectations. The page is heading into the 4th year now with new members joining daily!
Before The Beginning:I taught myself to crochet because I wanted to make my youngest son a sackboy doll for Christmas. My son was absolutely obsessed with sackboy dolls and he would search and point them out to me on the computer almost daily. "LOOK at this one mom, isn't it the coolest?!" For those of you who don't know, a sackboy is a character from a playstation game called "Little Big Planet". Anyway, of course I knew what I needed to get this boy for Christmas but my goodness they were expensive! Most of them were being sold privately with jacked up prices and the amount was just too much for me to pay at the time. I was a single mom with 2 small children and one older child so food in the fridge, bills, and stuff the kids needed soaked up every penny pretty fast as many of you can relate, that's just life, right?! Then the thought came to me to make one but I needed a pattern so I went to google of course! I searched and my eyes fell upon this video. OH glory be! It looks so much like the character itself I just knew this is what I needed to make! I was very excited. I got the yarn and the hook and at nights when the kids were sleeping I would go to work. It was a very slow process since I never crocheted before but the video was so helpful. I could stop and rewind it when I needed. And then just in time for Christmas there it was in front of me, I made it! Ta Daaaa!!
It has a working zipper, wowee! And I even made it a little hat, (not part of the pattern). It's not the best but I can tell you my son absolutely loved this doll. This sackboy has traveled to and from school, had a few spotlight moments in Show & Tell, went to Summer camp and it slept beside him at night. I would check in at nights and there it was all wrapped up in my son's arms and oh my heart just wanted to burst! Honestly, burst open with joy! I was so thankful that I was given the opportunity to make the doll for him. It was a gift that kept giving and giving. I don't believe a store bought doll would have had the same effect, I really don't. There's something special about handmade dolls from a mother to a child. I poured my heart into this doll and I believe my son could feel that!
I was hooked. Literately hooked. I wanted to make my children all their favorite characters. I found my passion. It meant the world to me to be able to crochet and make things for my family and my children just soaked up everything I made. The store bought things were ignored and my handmade dolls got all the attention, how marvelous!
Frustrations:But the search for patterns was not marvelous at all. It was frustrating and endless. OH MY GOSH! There's tons and tons and tons of patterns.. I would get on google and do a search and the results were overwhelming! I'd find something my kids might like and there would be an endless run around to get to the pattern.. click here, then here, then here and finally get to the spot and there's no pattern at all! Just pictures or it was tagged free but it wasn't free at all. I'd be wasting so much time just searching. Time I didn't have to waste. Social media was just as frustrating. I'd join a page just to find out they would share things with no links, no credit to who designed the pattern. What's the point to that? Why share something and not give out the vital information that would help the rest of us get to the original source? Or share a link that doesn't go to the pattern but to a craft site where there's endless patterns and projects and not be able to find it after all. They're using a designer's photo to get views on their page. Is that fair to the designer or to the public?
With time I did get better at searching for patterns. I was able weed out some things that were tripping me up in my searches and I also got better at using key words. I dropped pages that don't give credit where it's due and I found many great online sources. I learned from endless searches, dead links, pay for patterns that were tagged free. I've gained so much knowledge from so much frustration and this was worth every minute that had me wanting to bang my head upon my computer desk, lol!! During this process I learned what will frustrate others. I learned that somebody that's just starting out in this wonderful craft will go searching and get discouraged, maybe even give up! I learned what not to do on my pages. (I have more than one, here's the other)
Over time my page has evolved. Amigurumi Freely has truly become a community service solely focused on providing patterns to the public. I do the searching and the weeding through bad links to get people linked up directly to a pattern page and at the same time credit the designer. I don't do "share for share" or "like for like", it's not what it's about. I'm no longer interested in numbers. I don't care if there's 10 people or 10,000 people that like my page. I share pages everyday and I don't share them so they will share me. If there's a free pattern out there I'm just happy to provide the information to help people get to that pattern. No time wasted.
But Also:I have to add that there's many pay for patterns out there that are wonderful and worth every penny. I'm not against paying for patterns at all, so please if you see a pay for pattern and you like it then buy it. I might in the future have a few of my own for sale or I might even have a book for sale, who knows but I made a choice a long time ago to keep the facebook page free and I stuck to it. A couple years ago I did have a couple patterns for sale and I didn't advertize them on my own page. So I delete links to businesses and pay for patterns when they are left on my page, it's nothing personal, after all I didn't even advertize my own for sale patterns! And crochet businesses are wonderful and I wish them great success but Amigurumi Freely on facebook is a free zone only. And I want others to be confident that when they come they will get what they are expecting to get. There's no weeding though this and that, and no spam.The patterns will always be free, they will always be linked right to the source and the designers will always be credited.
Conclusion But Not The End:Amigurumi Freely is about love, gratitude and my way to pay it forward! Free for everyone. Free to those who can't afford patterns and free to those who can. It's about the joy amigurumi brings to others. About crafting with our own hands. About returning to the basics. About learning and growing. It's about giving.
I was given a gift that I can never really repay but I can pay it forward. In the bible there's a verse that I love. Now I have to say here that I'm no bible thumper, haha it's not even something I would consider being but it's a simple verse that just sums it all up nicely. Matthew 10:8 "Freely you have received. Freely Give" So just come and enjoy Amigurumi Freely.
I hope you enjoyed this post, if so you might also like:
Why I Love Amigurumi
It's Free Not Cheap