EKRA | Emily Kircher Recycling Artist
Brave face.

I’m a stubborn person.  I can be very inflexible.  And I’m pretty tough on myself, I work hard and I expect a lot from myself.  Those are things I know about myself and sort of an explanation of why I think things went down the way they did.

Once my arm started hurting so bad that I couldn’t ignore it – if I’m completely honest, it started hurting a long time before I admitted it to anyone.  So, once it was so bad that I couldn’t ignore it anymore, and I started getting diagnosis and treatments, I realized that I would have to change the way I did things.  Here’s where the stubbornness and inflexibility comes into play.  I thought, “This is the way I make rugs and if I can’t make them that way, I can’t make them at all.”  I mean, I think my judgment was clouded by the extreme pain I was in – I’ve never been in such constant pain, it really is tough on you emotionally and physically.  I couldn’t bear to look at my crochet hook and fabric, just looking at it made me sad and made my arm throb.  I couldn’t do more than a few stitches at a time and it was incredibly frustrating.  I cried a lot, ate a lot of sweets, cried some more, moped, and finally decided that I needed to break up with my crochet hook.  I cancelled the custom orders that I hadn’t finished, and for the most part, people understood, which I’m really grateful for.  But, just like any relationship that ends, either by breaking up or moving away or death, there needs to be a period of grieving.  While I missed my crochet hook and fabric, I threw myself into mosaics to pass the time.  I put on a brave face, called it a cris-a-tunity, and worked hard.  I do enjoy making mosaics, but not nearly as much as I enjoy making rugs.  I came to realize, with the help of a friend, that I could go back to making rugs.  I mean, no one but me said I had to stop.  It was just my own inflexibility and stubbornness that was getting in the way.  I missed my fabrics so much.  I was having fun making mosaic tiles with my fabrics, but it was missing the texture that I crave.  It was time to reconcile with my crochet hook.

I cleaned off my big work table that is almost never cleared off.  It was piled high with broken bits of glass and half finished projects.  I cleared it all off.  Surprisingly, it didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would, it seemed like such an insurmountable task in my mind.  I bust out some fabric left over from other rugs, and started crocheting.  It felt so good to crochet again! I sat up straight, put a pad under my injured elbow, and stopped when my arm said stop.  Then later, when my arm felt okay, I went back.  And then stopped again.  It was working!  I was no longer sitting on the floor, hunched over, not listening to my body when it said it needed a break.

So, I’m making rugs again!  I’m not taking any custom orders for rugs though.  I don’t feel strong enough to take them on, and I don’t want to pressure myself to be on any kind of schedule to get things finished by.  Also, I have some incredible fabrics that I want to use that when I was only making custom work, I had to just hang on to because I never knew what people were going to want.  So, I’m going to make some seriously awesome rugs with these amazing fabrics I’ve been collecting.  I’m also going to continue to make mosaic frames, it will be a good way to use up my fabric scraps, and showcase my fabrics in a different way.  Also, I invested in quite a few supplies while I was “in the zone” of mosaicking.  Plus, it will be a good way to be creative while resting my crocheting muscles.

Another thing I want to do is document my rug making knowledge.  I have a bunch in my head, but writing it all down as one document like a book is just too overwhelming and I won’t do it.  I’m going to post tid-bits on my blog.  They probably won’t be in the best order, but once they are all up here, maybe I can rearrange them into some sort of more reasonable format.

So, that’s where I’m at with all of this. I finally feel sort of back to normal.  I’m still working on listening to when my body needs to take a break from crocheting and finding other outlets for creativity and my business.  I appreciate all of you who continue to support me and my business!  And if you are one of the many people who has inquired about how to make rugs, stay tuned, because I will be slowly but surely dishing out what I’ve learned over the years!


  • http://profiles.google.com/maidenjane Jane Skoch

    Thanks for sharing your journey. I know that many of us can relate. I’m so glad you are enjoying the thrill of crocheting rugs again! They are simply amazing.

    • http://www.etchouse.com/ekra/ Emily Kircher

      Thanks Jane!

  • Rosanne

    What a good post.
    Can fabric be made textur-y by braiding, knitting, looming or other non-crochet methods?

    • http://www.etchouse.com/ekra/ Emily Kircher

      Yes it can! And I purchased two different kinds of looms to try and see if I could make rugs on them. There were a couple of problems I ran into the main one being that they require a lot of repetitive motion just like crocheting and so it was hurting my arm just the same. What I really needed was rest, and there is a lot more rest involved in mosaicking than any fiber craft I know. Just the fact that glue and grout need time to dry was enough to slow me down. I’m too hard working for my own good!

  • Jennie

    I’m so glad you’ve found a way to listen to your body AND continue to follow your true passion!

  • Scoop45

    A seamstress friend of mine arranged for periodic ‘muscle-stripping’ massages that she said allowed her to continue working. Look into it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/natalie.bass.9 Natalie Bass

    So proud of you, not only for allowing yourself to do this but for writing about it and sharing it with the world.

  • http://www.facebook.com/natalie.bass.9 Natalie Bass

    that comment below is from me, i don’t know how to work this s*&%!

    • emily