Designer Spotlight

Kristen Stoltzfus Clay

Emerald Bloom Beret
Kristen Stoltzfus Clay

A fourth generation crocheter, I have lots of crafty folks in my family. My grandma taught me my first crochet stitch when I was six years old. I picked it up again in my teen years, mostly teaching myself the basic stitches from back copies of old crochet magazines, and sold my first design when I was 19. Since then I've been designing steadily for many publications and yarn companies, even while the years brought a 2,300 mile move across the country, a marriage and an infant son. There is never enough time in the day to work up my ideas! Inspiration is everywhere.

It was very important to me to be able to work from home, and designing became both a creative outlet for a hobby I was already passionate about, and the perfect way to work at home at my own pace. Plus, I love the process—it's fun to see an intangible idea in my head take shape under my fingers and become something others can use and duplicate. My favorite kind of projects to design are jewelry and versatile women's accessories, but I do everything from garments, to home decor, to kids' wearables. I enjoy adding new techniques to my arsenal and using other elements such as beads in my crochet, but I also love playing around with combinations of the basics in countless ways. Just with color alone there are a dozen variations to every project, and the same piece can have a whole new mood! I also love reading, writing, exploring and photographing my beloved Idaho, collecting old movies and music, ranch life with my family, cooking, jewelry making and designing, vintage fashion, and sewing my clothes from vintage patterns. I blog about some of my interests at

I've dabbled with felting crochet a few times, and after noticing how perennially popular classic felt berets are, I had to try making my own version. This one is finished after felting with one last round of single crochet, which gives you more leeway with the felting process since you can draw it in to fit your head size instead of depending on the felting shrinkage. I added embroidery to make the petal motif more noticeable (why make something plain when you can dress it up?), and love the visual appeal it adds—it's so fun to combine several fiber arts in one wearable piece!

Emerald Bloom Beret
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