Passing on our love of crochet not only keeps the long tradition of our craft alive and well, but also brings the opportunity to share wonderful stories.
Today, I introduce you to crochet designer Jennifer Ryan and her 13 year-old daughter, Catherine, who just had her design featured in the August issue of Crochet World.
I recently interviewed Jennifer and asked her to share her thoughts about teaching others to crochet.
Carol: You have been a widely published designer for a number of years, so I imagine crochet is a big part of your life. Was it important to pass on your love of crochet to your daughters?
Jennifer: Not only was it important, but also simply natural. All of my daughters are very creative and independent crafters so they quickly noticed the benefits, beauty and satisfaction of crochet. There are many days we sit together and crochet – and I love that I am available to help them with their questions. We also include crochet projects in our homeschooling and have even won awards at our state fair with our crochet.
Carol: In your opinion, what is the best way to teach a child to crochet? At what age?
Jennifer: The best way to teach a child is to have a small and simple project (such as chain bracelets with a button closure) completed for them to look at as you teach them how to make it. A child should wait until they are 7 or 8 since they just don’t have the connections in their brain (before this age) to coordinate their fingers with the hook and yarn. If a younger child is interested, use chunky yarn and show them how to finger crochet to make chains that they can turn into necklaces, belts and room decor.
I teach many Parent/Child workshops and I find that a relaxed, slow-paced and friendly atmosphere works best.
Carol: What kinds of projects are best for beginners?
Jennifer: Rectangular projects that have one simple stitch repeated on every row. Scarves, cowls and baby blankets are great beginner projects and with smart yarn choices, can look fantastic.
Carol: What is the best advice you can share with anyone that wants to teach a child to crochet?
- With completed fun & simple projects – ones they can make and others to strive for. Kids especially love amigurimi and jewelry!
- With brightly colored yarn and supplies.
- To give several breaks.
- Most important – give many encouraging statements and praise!
I also interviewed Catherine, Jennifer’s daughter about her experiences learning to crochet.
Carol: Why did you want to learn to crochet?
Catherine: I really liked how you can make many things with so many simple stitches.
Carol: When did you first learn and how many years have you been crocheting?
Catherine:I learned to crochet when I was 6 years old so I have been crocheting for 7 years.
Carol: What are your favorite things to crochet?
Catherine: I love to make gifts for my family and friends along with unique things that people usually don’t crochet. (Such as: an Olaf snowman sculpture, Thanksgiving meal objects, and a coral reef display just to name a few.)
Carol: Your Flower for a Friend Necklace in the August issue of Crochet World is so pretty! Was that your first design to be published? Are you inspired to submit more designs for publication?
Catherine: The Flower for a Friend Necklace is my first published design. Yes, I am inspired to submit many more design ideas. I write in my idea journal every day and love to create sketches for new designs.
Carol: Tell us one thing you love the most about crocheting.
Catherine: I love how crochet helps me to make all kinds of creative things with just a ball of yarn and my imagination.
I hope you are inspired to pass on your love of crochet! The satisfaction of teaching another is only matched by the joy of seeing someone truly excited to create something beautiful with only their imagination, a ball of yarn and a hook!
And finally, we thought it was really fun that we were able to shoot Catherine’s necklace on a 13 year-old model! Our model, Kourtney, is like a granddaughter to me, and I was thrilled to teach her to crochet several years ago!