Blog tour posts may contain links to affiliate sites.
National Crochet Month:
Marly Bird, Yarn Thing
Crochetville is very proud to have designer Marly Bird, of the Yarn Thing Podcast, with us today, March 28, as one of the featured designers on our 2015 Designer Blog Tour in honor of National Crochet Month (NatCroMo). She is a professional member of the Crochet Guild of America.
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!
- Marly is bi-crafty: she both crochets and knits.
- She is a very experienced teacher: teaching at national events, through three Craftsy classes, and through her thriving YouTube channel that is all about crochet and knitting.
- Marly’s first sweater design was also the very first sweater she had ever knit or crochet.
- Marly is an introvert.
If you’re not familiar with her work already, we’d like to share two of Marly’s designs with you.
“Soft cotton and classic shaping form a posh design. The simple double crochet stitch pattern produces an artistic lace for a polished feel, while the oversized scallops add a touch of whimsy for a charming finish.”
“The Hydroponic is a fantastic crocheted garment that is meant to be a layer piece. Made out of 100% Linen the piece has a softness and drape that is unimaginable! If this is your first crocheted garment it is a perfect choice. Sized for women size XS to 5X it looks great on all :-)”
Getting Off to a Good Start
I learned to crochet from my grandmother when I was a junior in college (1999). No pun intended, but I was hooked instantly. So much so that I would crochet during lectures and when I traveled with the Track and Field team. (I was a collegiate athlete.) I crocheted on the bus or plane or in front of the TV after school. OBSESSED, some might say, and I would have to agree. Back then I only made blankets. Never did I even imagine that I could do a garment; I only made BIG afghans.
When I graduated 2 years later and got married, had a baby, and began a career in finance, I found that I didn’t really make time for my crochet. Sure, I would make a baby blanket here and there for my little girl but it was just every now and again. Crafting in general didn’t consume much of my life. I was busy trying to balance being married, having a baby, and a career. There was no time for crochet; at least, that is what I thought.
Little did I realize then that I NEEDED crochet to keep myself balanced and happy. The satisfaction I get from a finished project was and is something that I need in a life. I need that sense of accomplishment and control of something and I get that with crochet and knitting. OH, I learned to knit when my first son was born (2004).
After 5 years in the finance industry I decided that it was not for me. Truly, I told my boss that I wanted to leave and be somebody and do something in the yarn industry. I had NO CLUE what that would be I only knew that I loved to crochet and knit so much that I had to be a part of it some how. So, with the support of my loving husband and family I worked toward that goal.
A Design Career Is Begun
Designing: honestly, it is something that I didn’t even realize I could do way back in the beginning. Nor did I realize that, as I completely altered a pattern to make it what I wanted it to be, that I was in fact designing. When I had it pointed out to me by some friends that I could and did in fact design blankets, I figured maybe that was something I should try. But, the true credit has to go to my friend Jill Wright who really gave me the big nudge to jump in the designing pool. Yes, I did feel like I was drowning at first, but I soon began to doggy paddle. It wasn’t long before I was doing back flips off the diving board into the deep end.
Now, I told you that I only made blankets, and for a long time that was the case. You might be asking yourself, how did Marly venture into designing and making garments and accessories? True story, my very first sweater I EVER made was also my very first sweater I EVER designed. I had submitted a sketch and swatch to a yarn company and figured that if they chose that design I could figure out how to make a sweater. That is exactly what I did . . . with the help of Jill and a wonderful tech editor. If I’m honest, that is really how most of my career has been: Suggest and sketch a design or idea then figure out how to do it. One of my publishers calls me fearless.
I am not the most knowledgeable crocheter or knitter but I think I am the most determined to figure things out! I don’t think there are any limitations to what you can accomplish with a little faith. Today, if you look at my collection of nearly 300 published pieces I’ve designed, you will see there are very few blankets and many accessories and garments…but I still don’t do toys.
Let’s talk about my podcast because I think I am more known for that than designing . . . at least that is how I feel sometime. It was my podcast, The Yarn Thing Podcast with Marly Bird, that really launched my career and gave me the opportunities I had dreamed of having. Many of my listeners from the very beginning write me now and say “I remember when you were only talking about wanting to design and look at you now!”
When I started the podcast I really had no idea what I was doing and just talked about crochet and knitting. Little known fact: I was the first crochet podcast on iTunes and I am still the only podcast that caters to both crochet and knitting. The podcast evolved into a show where I interview publishers, yarn companies, and designers live on air twice a week. When people ask me what to expect from my podcast I tell them it’s like listening to a first date or good friends chatting over coffee. I keep it very fun, informative, and did I mention fun? There is always a prize for the listeners to win . . . some call me the Oprah of the yarn world.
I love doing the podcast. It is a LOAD of fun as I get to chat with people in the industry that I respect and admire about a subject that we both love. Many of the people in this industry have now become my friends and I couldn’t ask for better people to be associated with at all!
Marly As a Teacher
I LOVE to teach people how to knit and crochet. So much so that many of my friends all learned how to do one or the other from me! They would come to my house and I would put a hook or needles in their hand and give them some yarn and tell them that we were going to learn X, Y, Z today. It was a blast! When I began to teach at my LYS, it was a dream come true.
At the yarn shop I had a personal identity again, an identity that I felt like I had lost as a stay at home mom to 3 demanding kids. When I went to the yarn shop, I felt like Norm walking into Cheers . . . all the people inside would all say MARLY when I came through the door and I felt like me again! Please don’t misunderstand, I LOVE MY CHILDREN and I LOVE BEING MOM but there are times when it is nice to be just ME.
These classes and the students in them were my break. Never did I feel like I was going to work when I went to teach. It was always like I was going to hang out with my friends, handing them a hook or needles and some yarn then telling them we were going to learn X, Y, Z today.
Anyway, I worked at the LYS for 4 years and only left because I started to travel more to teach and I couldn’t dedicate enough time to the shop as needed. I now teach at all the STITCHES Expos across the nation as well as various wool festivals and workshops at a variety of yarn stores.
I was also honored to have been asked to step in as the Crochet Expert on the 5th season of the Knit and Crochet Now TV show for Robyn Chachula who was on maternity leave. So much fun to be able to teach people while on TV! But I do have to say, Robyn’s shoes are hard to fill . . . She is my favorite crochet designer after all!
If more interactive online learning is your thing, you can also find three of my classes at Craftsy.com. On Craftsy.com I teach Curvy Crochet, Curvy Knits and Mittens and Gloves Galore. I love everything about Craftsy and think that if you have not have the pleasure of taking a Craftsy course you really should. You will NOT be disappointed!
Yep, there are several ways for you to have me as a teacher whether at a crafting event, at a yarn shop, online via Craftsy or my YouTube channel, but, The Knit Knack yarn store in Olde Town Arvada holds a special place in my heart and I would go back and teach there in a minute!
Her Greatest Accomplishment
Okay, so something that I am really proud about is a little something that started in September 2014. See, I know many crafters are not able to venture to craft shows to take classes taught by me, so I’ve recently started my own YouTube Channel dedicated to crochet! This was one of the biggest decisions I made in my business since I began in 2007. Doing a YouTube Channel was something that I always said I was interested in doing, but I wanted to make sure I could offer high quality videos and great content if I did it. Mediocre was not going to cut it for me.
Well, I was introduced to a wonderful production company out of Austin, TX to produce HD Videos. That means I travel to TX at least 4 times a year to film up to 40 videos in a 3-4 day period. I chose to work with Tiny Courage Production because they make it possible for me to offer high quality videos and I know I can offer great content. The men behind the camera, Parker and Brian, are top notch and really know their stuff.
Now, for those of you wondering about knitting videos, in the future you will be able to find knitting there as well but for now I am focused on teaching THE WORLD how to crochet! On the Marly Bird YouTube Channel there are videos for basic crochet, crochet techniques, crochet tutorials, crochet projects and as time goes on crochet reviews. There is something for the beginner to the experienced crocheter. This channel is new but it is growing and I hope that people will find it, like it and come back for more.
As a matter of fact…there will be a big announcement regarding the YouTube channel in April so stay tuned!
Some of Marly’s Favorites:
- Favorite Crochet Designers: Robyn Chachula, Kristin Omdahl, Ellen Gormley, Simona Merchant-Dest, Drew Emborsky, Melissa Leapman, Candi Jensen, Rebecca Velasquez, Lisa Naskrent, Lisa Gentry and Jill Wright
Visit Marly’s Blog: NatCroMo FREEBIE Sneak Peek
You will definitely want to visit Marly’s blog post today! Earlier this month, her Fun in the Sun Coverup, shown above, won a Flamie from The Crochet Awards. Marly is offering a special coupon code so you can get this pattern for just $1.00 (regular price is $4.99). Just click on the pattern name, and use the discount code crochetville at checkout.
Ravelry: MarlyBird (must be logged in to see profile)
Marly Bird Website and Blog: http://www.MarlyBird.com
Ravelry Designer Page: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/marly-bird
Yarn Thing Podcast: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yarnthing
Marly is about as far from an introvert as you can get, with a very bubbly, outgoing personality.
Additional Blog Tour Information: