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National Crochet Month:
Jennifer E Ryan, Celtic Knot Crochet
Crochetville is very proud to have designer Jennifer E Ryan of Celtic Knot Crochet with us today, March 10, as one of the featured designers on our 2015 Designer Blog Tour in honor of National Crochet Month (NatCroMo).
Three Truths and a Lie:
Take a guess as to which of the following statements isn’t true. We’ll try to let you know which statement is “The Lie” somewhere in this post. If we just can’t work it in, we’ll post the truth at the bottom of the post!
- Jennifer is writing a cookbook of all her favorite recipes that she’s created.
- She worked at the M&M factory while on summer breaks from college.
- Jennifer loves to perform: singing and dancing.
- She did a cartwheel in Red Square, Moscow, Russia.
If you’re not familiar with her work already, we’d like to share two of Jennifer’s designs with you.
Celtic Coral Charm: This gorgeous design was Jennifer’s entry in the Crochet Guild of America‘s 2014 Design Competition. Jennifer won the Special Award for Technical Merit sponsored by Designing Vashti. You can check out other design winners, including Jennifer’s Feileacan Shawl, on Doris Chan’s blog.
Clare Beauty, published in Crochet! magazine, Autumn 2014. This is a simpler version of her Connemara Beauty design that won 2nd place in the Fashion Category in the 2013 GOA Design Competition. You can find a tutorial for weaving the intricate flower-like decorative center knot on Jennifer’s blog.
Getting Off to a Good Start
Jennifer has been crocheting for the past 25+ year, ever since she sat on the front steps of her neighbor’s house with her friend while they learned the basic chain. She and her friend loved using the chains to make things for their dolls. Her first project was a small scarf for one of her dolls or puppets. Jennifer later furthered her crochet skills by reading pattern pamphlets for thread crochet.
A Design Career Is Begun
Jennifer says, “About 10 years ago, I heard about a local Adult Education Center that needed a crochet teacher. I was a stay-at-home mom and could use the extra income (and time out with adults). I built a course from scratch and eventually went to a CGOA Professional Development Day. I thought it would be a great way to get some teaching tips and meet others who taught crochet. It turned out to be just that and much more! I listened to Kristin Omdahl, Lily Chin, and Robin Chachula (among many others) share their crochet journeys and how to become a designer – something I never considered before. I took copious notes and put it all into practice when I got home, gradually building a blog and submitting to magazines. I ended up waiting almost a year to have my first design accepted – the Celtic Knot Scarf – by Theresa Gonzalez at Crochet Today! From there, I responded to as many calls for designs as I could and before I knew it, I was continuously working on projects for publication. I continue to teach crochet and love to enter into the CGOA Design Competition every year. When I am able, I attend the CGOA conference to re-connect with all of those people (and meet new) that I met at my first Professional Day.”
Jennifer is very well-known for the unique way she combines Celtic Knots with crochet. She has always loved the art, music, and countryside of Ireland and been intrigued by Celtic knotwork. She says, ” I love the complexity of the knot patterns and how there is a peacefulness to seeing how they are perfectly interconnected and woven. When I first started submitting to magazines, I thought a Celtic Knot in the midst of a crocheted item would help set my designs apart and catch someone’s eye – I was right! It worked and, since that first design, I have created and published several Celtic Knot designs (with many more on the way).
Sources of Inspiration
Jennifer says, “Ever since becoming a designer I now look at the world differently. Everything inspires me from the pattern on a restaurant’s furniture to the color of a butterfly’s wings to the toy clipped to a baby’s stroller going by. My mind is constantly on the lookout for ideas that can be created in crochet.”
Her Proudest Moments
Jennifer has won a prize for three years straight in the CGOA Design Competition for her Celtic Knot designs (2012, 2013, 2014). I can’t wait to see her entry/entries for 2015!
Predictions for the Next Big Crochet Trend
“Crochet has grown by leaps and bounds over the last 20 years. I think the ‘alternative’ uses for crochet will continue to grow – crochet in yarn bombs and as art has become appealing to all ages but especially the younger generations because it challenges the traditional while honoring it.”
The Wider World of Fiber Arts
Jennifer enjoys all sorts of crafts: sewing costumes and clothing, mosaics, jewelry making, paper crafting, home decorating & repairing and anything else that requires handwork and creativity!
About Her Design Process:
All day long I find inspiration for my designs no matter where I am. My phone is full with photos of ideas and my bookshelves are overflowing with binders of sketches and experiments. I love to work on my designs in the outdoors nearby a lake or in a quiet park/garden. The beauty of nature always inspires me and refreshes my spirit.
Advice for New Designers:
The best advice – attend a CGOA conference and don’t be shy – meet as many people as you can. This is much better and more valuable than any research you can do on the internet!Always come back to what you love. If you have a passion for creating afghans, then make time for that by writing ideas down and collecting inspiration as you work on other things.
Fun Story from the Crochet Industry:
Bonnie Barker and I love music, so we were hoping to sing a special song about crochet during the CGOA conference. Bonnie re-wrote the lyrics to “Breaking up is Hard to Do” to make a song titled, “Ripping Out is Hard to Do.” We were able to sing the funny song during the Friday Fun Night (hosted by Amy Shelton and Donna Hulka of Crochetville) and had a great time. Bonnie’s friend, Terri, expertly acted out the words for us while we sang – everyone was ‘in stitches’. (Hope to post a video of our performance soon.)
Some of Jennifer’s Favorites:
- Favorite Crochet Book: The Crochet Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden: Jennifer loves the diagrams and written instructions for each stitch pattern, as well as the ring binding that allows the book to lie flat when open.
- Favorite Hook: Boye
- Designers: The following designers are very talented women who Jennifer says have become her friends and helped her get to the place she is today: Bonnie Barker, Linda Dean, Amanda Saladin, Susan Lowman, Pat Heinrich, Doris Chan, Carlotta Craig, Karen McKenna, and Tamara Kelly (just to name a few).
- Favorite Yarn: Sportweight or DK or fine cotton that has a pretty sheen. These types of yarn (Sassy Skein, Omega Sinfonia, Nazli Gelin) compliment the lines of Celtic Knots beautifully.
- Favorite Thing to Crochet: Celtic Knot designs (of course), jewelry, and she loves to design and crochet yarn bomb pieces – crochet as art on a big scale!
Visit Jennifer’s Blog: NatCroMo FREEBIE Sneak Peek
You will definitely want to visit Jennifer’s blog post today! She’s offering a FREE pattern, her Celtic Pendant Necklace (shown above). This necklace is a quick and simple project to make in time for St. Patrick’s Day.
Through the month of March, Jennifer plans to highlight several crocheters: they may have taken our CGOA yarn bomb and turned them into blankets for charity, they may have crocheted one of her designs and shared a special story about it, or they are helping to keep the love of crochet alive by teaching and giving.
Find Jennifer Online:
Ravelry: CelticKnotCrochet (must be logged in to see profile)
Celtic Knot Crochet Blog: http://www.celticknotcrochet.blogspot.com
Ravelry Designer Page: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/jennifer-e-ryan
Jennifer is NOT writing a cookbook of her favorite recipes that she’s created.
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