Jennifer Williams - I like to go by Jenn
Location: Crittenden - a small town in northern Kentucky. I grew up here, lived in California for 30 years, and have returned to my roots for retirement.
How many years crocheting and/or how did you learn to crochet:
I've been crocheting, with varying intensities, for about 45 years.
My grandmother taught me to crochet, and my interest was rekindled in the 8th grade by a teacher who taught us after school. My grandmother crocheted beautiful doilies, and I proudly display many of them in my home. I also remember a hideous scarf that we worked on together. It was about 8 feet long, maroon, with horizontal stripes of white, red, teal, and yellow.
In school, I distinctly remember a few crochet projects. One was a neon green acrylic bikini, and another was a very large (and heavy) purple cotton mouse pillow.
In college, I completed an Annie's afghan kit, which my parents use to this day.
Do you crochet with your left hand or right hand and how do you hold your hook:
I crochet right-handed, with a knife hold. I don't remember this being a choice, it's just what I've always done.
What is your favorite hook:
When working with worsted weight yarn, I prefer an H or I Boye hook. I've become quite fond of the clay grips, and usually have a hook grip design from Day by Day Crochet in my hand.
What is your favorite yarn:
I suppose as our experience grows, our taste evolves. Since I've begun creating garments, a dk weight is my favorite. It has a nice drape. I enjoy alpaca, and any interesting mixes - silk, bamboo, linen, hemp, etc. My new home has a lot of heat and humidity, so open designs in lighter fibers are a new interest.
What is your favorite crochet stitch, and why:
The most intriguing stitch to me right now is a cable stitch. I find it to be more challenging. For me, crochet patterns and stitches are like puzzles, and a complex cable stitch is a great brain teaser.
Do you prefer a written pattern, a chart, or both, and why:
I have always had a knack for reading patterns. I've taken classes in chart reading, and can do it, but prefer to use the chart as confirmation, or as a backup in case I get stuck. I don't like following videos to make projects. I like puzzling it out for myself, and also controlling my own pace. To me, following a pattern is like reading the book, and the video is watching the movie.
What is your favorite item to make and why:
Creating a crocheted garment has always been my ultimate goal. Once I found the Get Squared program, created by Jenny King, I've been able to have great success creating garments. I also enjoy shawls because of the interesting patterns and possibilities, as well as their versatility. Shawls can be draped over a chair, incorporated in an outfit, wrapped around the waist or head, used as a robe (at home or traveling), one size fits all, and they are a welcome gift.
Who do you crochet for? Yourself, family, friends, pets, charities?
At the risk of being called a "selfish crocheter," I have to say that I crochet for myself. I've made hats and sweaters for new babies, an afghan for a friend's wedding, shawls and slippers for friends. But there is always the fear of being crushed by a recipient who won't like the item, or won't use it.
Have you ever participated in a yarn bombing?
At one time, I began yarn bombing an adult tricycle with an attached "trunk," called The Crochet Bike. I taught crochet out of the trunk, and could also ride the bike around. I've used The Crochet Bike when demonstrating at Michael's, and also at The Maker Faire.
How long have you been a CGOA member, and what is a fond memory from a CGOA Conference that you’ve attended?
I've belonged to the CGOA for 6 years. Stitches West was near my home in California, but I wept tears of joy when I discovered the CGOA annual meeting. I've attended 2015 in San Diego, as well as 2016 in Charleston, and am looking forward to Chicago in 2017! My favorite memory was participating in the fashion show in 2015 modeling my Get Squared cardigan, and hearing ahhs from the audience when it was revealed that I made the cardigan in one weekend.
Do you belong to a local CGOA chapter in your area?
There isn't a CGOA chapter in Northern Kentucky where I live, and one of my goals is to change that by starting a group.
What are your crochet goals for the future:
I believe that we all have a "crochet calling," an area that ignites our passion. Mine happens to be teaching. I have no children, and I believe that my legacy - the evidence that I have walked this earth and that it is different for my time here - is to pass along the skill of crochet to others. I've taught at Michael's for 5 years, and am looking forward to teaching classes on Get Squared for Jenny King.
Any crochet tips that you would like to share:
From my years of teaching, I've developed some tips and tricks...
- Large Bobby pins make good stitch markers, and are easy to reposition.
- Dental floss containers are fine yarn cutters when traveling.
- Print out the TSA regulations for hobbies and carry them with you.
- Photocopy patterns from books and magazines for portability and so that you can mark on them.
- Bags that hold produce at the grocery become good yarn carriers and dispensers. Choose the crinkly bags with a zipper top and holes for ventilation (contain mini bell peppers, cherries, grapes, etc), wash and air dry. Zip your cake of yarn into the bag, using the ventilation hole for dispensing.
Do you have any other favorite past times, interests, sports, or crafts you enjoy doing?
I invite my parents, Hazel (87) and Leo (88) to dinner once a week. It's a chance for me to try new recipes, be creative, use some of my nice things, and to honor them.
I enjoy crafty things, like coloring, cold process soap making, creating bath salt mixtures, and decorating.
Anything you would like to share, not covered above?
In addition to my parents, my supportive boyfriend Tim lives nearby. I retired this year from my career as a sales trainer for a biotech company, and couldn't be happier with my new life.
Here's a really short, easy recipe:
Pumpkins spice bars
Mix together 1 box of spice cake mix and 1 can (15 oz) of pure pumpkin. Pour into a greased pan and bake at 325-350 for 20-25 minutes.
Thank you for sharing with us Jenny, it's been fun "getting to know you"!
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Have a great day!
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