When I think about the month of March, I always think about St. Patrick’s Day. And since I am a crocheter, St Patrick’s Day doesn’t have me thinking about wearing green or corned beef; I think about Celtic knot crochet and my friend, Jennifer Ryan!
Jennifer’s Celtic knot designs are works of art and I recently asked her to share with us how she began designing her beautiful Celtic knot creations.
Crochet World: Jennifer you have designed some beautiful Celtic knot projects in the last few years. Some of my favorites include the Kerry Shrug, Clare Beauty top and the Féileacán Shawl. Tell us what inspired you?
Jennifer: I love the patterns and intertwining pathways of Celtic knots so I spend time looking through books of knot designs and Celtic-themed catalogs. Often a particular knot design will jump out at me and I can see in its shape a particular project come to life.
CW: How did you develop your Celtic knot technique in crochet?
Jennifer: About 10 years ago I came across a couple of how-to books on decorative knots. I had a great time learning from these books how to weave a variety of knots with a variety of mediums (but not crochet yet!). Then about 7 years ago when I wanted to send in some of my ideas for the first time to a crochet magazine, I thought that creating something with crochet and Celtic knots would stand-out from the rest and increase my chances of having my designs accepted. It worked! Later that year I used the same thinking to create my first entry into the CGOA’s Design Competition – it worked again! I won 2nd prize for my Glendalough Shrug and later created the Kerry Shrug as a simpler version that was published in Crochet! magazine. I was thrilled that my new technique was recognized and have been doing ‘Celtic knot crochet’ ever since.
How do you plan a Celtic knot design? Does the garment shape come first or the knot design?
When I am planning out a garment (or any project), it can go both ways! Sometimes I love a knot design so much that I will want to create a garment around it. So, I list all the garment shapes that would work with it and pick the one garment I would like to add to my wardrobe. J
Other times I want to make a certain garment and then I browse my ‘inspiration folders’ for a knot that will fit well within the garment’s shape.
Any advice for beginners who want to try your beautiful technique?
Many people want to make the Kerry Shrug or the Clare Beauty as their first project but I usually recommend they try some of my smaller and simpler designs that are available for free in my Ravelry store. Picking projects that use Size 3 or larger yarn is better, too for your first project. Don’t give up! Sometimes you need to put a project down for a few hours or days to give your mind a rest. That’s okay. I also have several step-by-step photo tutorials on my website to take you through the process of weaving several knots.
If you had the all the time and resources needed, what would be the one Celtic knot design you would love to create?
Crocheters are artists that get to wear their artwork on their person while grocery shopping, going for a walk or sipping coffee at their local café – I love that! So, I would love to create a garment full of Celtic knot flowers and vines in a variety of bright and eye-catching colors that is a piece of art in itself. It would require several hours and skeins of pretty yarn, but that is just one of my dream projects to create.
Jennifer, thanks so much for sharing with us today!
Just in time for St. Patrick’s day, try your hand at crocheting Celtic knots by making one of Jennifer’s free patterns. And look for more beautiful Celtic knot crochet designs from Jennifer in upcoming issues of Crochet World.