Hello there, thanks for stopping by!
This is the bit where I’m supposed to tell you my story. Well, that sounds right up my street, but keeping stories short is not my strongest skill. I tend to write in a stream of consciousness style, which results in lots of tangents and the occasional dead end! But, in the spirit of brevity, here is Dora in a nutshell;
Who is Dora? The abridged version
Dora is my nickname, my given name is Michelle and I happily go by either or both interchangeably.
I live in Cambridge, UK, I have a cat called Millie (mills, boo, kitty, pig-face, tinker, the bloody cat etc.) I’m left handed, really clumsy and my hair is always a bit of a mess. I often think too much and do maths in my head to help me sleep, Sorry, this is meant to be the short version…
I’ve been crocheting since 2012 and soon after started to create my own designs, though only began to publish them when I set up this site in 2017.
Through Dora Does, I have found so much joy in helping crocheters push the boundaries of what they are willing to try.
I have learned that pushing yourself outside your comfort zone and building confidence in one area of your life spreads to all other areas and that is pretty powerful!
I should have ‘you can always frog it’ saved in auto-text somewhere!
I love designing garments as well as simple quick modern accessory and homeware patterns. You’ll find a whole range here (check out my pattern library) as well as plenty of tutorials, craft blogs and lots of useful info for budding designers too!
There’s a growing resource section too, which has covers all those charts and technical bits, useful hacks and tips and my stitch directory with lots of tutorials in support of my designs as well as covering the basics.
I also work as a pattern writer for yarn brands and publications, and a tech editor for other crochet designers. Oh and I’m a VA and copywriter too! If you’re interested in working with me, you can check out my ‘professional services’ here.
I aim to encourage inclusivity, so have a range of free and paid patterns covering all skill levels. Whether you are a total beginner or boss-master-crocheter, I hope you will find something here you can make and love.
If you ever have questions, thoughts or concerns about anything you see on this site, be sure to drop me an email to email@example.com
I’m a lover of feedback as it helps me to serve you better, so don’t be shy!
Welcome and enjoy
And here’s the long story…
Have you ever had a moment where you suddenly stop, take a look at yourself and think “hang on a minute, I’ve got this all wrong”?
I have. Quite a lot actually but I’ll keep it relevant, for now at least! The first time of note was about 2007 and involved some pretty poor decision making in a hairdresser (think lego head). My kindly friends likened me to an exploring cartoon character and my alter ego, Dora was born (the nickname outlasted the haircut).
Next came the point in late 2012 when I underwent hip replacement and reconstruction surgery. During the long and mostly horizontal recovery, my love for Instagram began to flourish. I had joined the platform as @doraexplored in 2011 but mainly just for the fun effects and picture frames.
As I began to follow more people, I discovered crochet and a whole world of beauty and creativity that I had no previous experience of. I came across the work of some wonderful crochet accounts and decided I wanted to learn to create beautiful things too. I was stuck on the sofa for months, so figured I should make the most of the time. Let’s remember this was when Netflix still sent you DVDs in the post! So after ordering a kid’s beginners kit from Amazon, I picked up a crochet hook for the first time.
My addiction was born!
The final moment was more of a series of small signs from the universe than a damascene epiphany. I was in a job I enjoyed, but had been doing a long time. 2016 was a hugely challenging year from a personal perspective (not to mention the political upheaval). I could feel the need for change rising up within me like I had never experienced before.
At some point I just knew, in my bones, that we only get one go around on this plane of existence and there is no excuse not to spend your life doing what you love. Well actually there are lots of excuses. We make them every single day, but thats all they are. The truth is that they mostly just mask our fear or failure / rejection / humiliation blah blah blah. There is an amazing Ted Talk about this here which puts it better than I ever could (and will make you laugh at the same time!).
I’ve always read a lot of inspirational books, books on psychology and philosophy, self-help books, books about finding purpose and books saying Fuck-it a lot. Clearly some of their content stuck!
I am not naturally a brave person, but the voice in my head telling me to break-out and make a change, kept on patiently but persistently urging me to trust the universe and somehow managed to reassure me that jumping into a void was a completely safe and sensible thing to do, regardless of how scary my monkey brain insisted it was.
So in summer 2017 I left my safe, well paid corporate job (*sigh’s at the distant memory of pensions, private healthcare, and annual bonuses*) and Dora Does burst into existence.
Initially I started Dora Does, and Doralosophy (my blog) to share my crochet designs, tip, tricks and tutorials. I always knew I wanted to involve my take on the world – my Doralosophy – to share my world view, my ideas, trivial and important, about life the universe and everything on top of the crochet love. (I’m not sure if that makes me an enthusiast or a narcissist but it is all written with the intention of sharing ideas which have helped me in the hope they will help you too)
Crochet makes such a good metaphor for so many life experiences that talking about crochet, wellbeing and mental health just seemed to happen very naturally. Crochet has had such an enormous positive impact on my own life in uncountable ways and I know it can help others too.
My main life goal is to be the best me I can be, and this site is my opportunity to try and help you do the same. I want to live a sustainably happy life where my internal beliefs match my external behaviour. This is what the hipsters mean when they go on about ‘authenticity’, and it takes self-awareness, honesty and plain old hard work!
Though my blogs center around crochet and craft, I see every article I write it as an opportunity to share lessons learned, missteps, successes, clever people’s stories and quick fixes. I want to ask questions, learn new things and encourage you, (YES, YOU!) to think about how you can improve your own life too (in crochet or other areas!). Because you can.
Dora Does is still a work in progress (and I’m open to suggestions) and I am looking forward to the journey it will take us on!
Here’s the disclaimer for clarity… Anything you read here should be taken as my opinion only (apart from the opinions of others which I may or may not agree with!). As Baz Luhrmann put it
“my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience…”
From time to time, I use affiliate links on this site. You can read my full affiliate disclosure policy here