#crochetgirlgang one year on

I started the #crochetgirlgang hashtag on International Women's Day 2016 with a single-minded determination for creating a space for women to share their crochet makes in a happy, vibrant and bitch-free environment.

clockwise from top left: @distinctly_analogue, @skeinheroine, @bexcrochetworx, @craftplanter

clockwise from top left: @distinctly_analogue, @skeinheroine, @bexcrochetworx, @craftplanter

One year later and the hashtag now has over 100,000 amazing crochet pictures to its credit and almost 50,000 girls in the gang. It is an incredible community and I'm not just saying that because I created it, it really is.

The support from the gang when pictures are reposted is overwhelmingly lovely; girls saying congratulations to other girls, asking for patterns, sending love. Also if I get something wrong (it happens), it's so lovely to see that girls other than the image owner will pull me up on it, so cool to see that kind of community spirit. The #crochetgirlgang makes me happy every. single. day.

@arietsang using a pattern from @konekocrochet

@arietsang using a pattern from @konekocrochet

It hasn't been all sunshine and roses, I won't lie. There have been plenty of behind the scenes dramas that, given the ethos behind the gang, would make your toes curl! Ahem! But, through it all I have tried to maintain a sense of consistency by adhering to a set of guidelines so you always know what you are getting. I know, I know, that sounds terribly dramatic when we're just talking about an instagram account that shares crochet pictures but the reality is that there is a lot more going on with instagram these days and if you want to provide something particular, if you have a dream, then you gotta be strict with YOself!

Thus, no promotion, advertising, competitions or sponsored posts, I am not trying to sell you stuff. No knitting posts (even though I love it), no yarn, accessories, fabric or people posts. Just crochet, only crochet and only crochet that has been tagged #crochetgirlgang by the author (I know, go ahead and eye roll, but it works), I try to make sure that different people are reposted as often as possible and I always try my hardest to check the provenance of every image even though I sometimes get it wrong - there is a lot of weird stuff out there folks, seriously!

I feel like the community works well. Girls know the one rule - be nice - and I've had so many emails and messages from people who tell me that being part of the gang makes them feel less lonely, more inspired and confident about their work and that just gives me a big ole buzz. That is what the #crochetgirlgang is about.

@thearticaussie showing off her amazing @crochetgirlgang blanket

@thearticaussie showing off her amazing @crochetgirlgang blanket

So if you want to get involved (please do) all you have to do is use the #crochetgirlgang hashtag whenever you post a crochet picture to instagram and then all the other girls in the gang get to see your work when they are browsing through the tag (I do this browsing through the tag WAYYYY too often!) Get chatting and make some new friends, find your tribe. Comment on pictures, send some love, you'll be amazed at how easy it is to make someone's day.

Happy crocheting YO!