© The Hook Nook/Jessica Carey
Crafting has always been an interest of mine. I remember being very young, about 7 years old, and going over to my nana’s house often. We’d paint ceramic houses ALL the time. Sometimes we’d do those fun sand art creations, bake yummy cinnamon twist treats, or even just color in coloring books. I’ve always loved creating for as long as I can remember.
©The Hook Nook/Jessica Carey
When my oldest was about 8 months old, I decided I needed to find a hobby, something that I could do just for myself. Being a mom and wife was so amazing, but I seemed to have started to lose bits of “Jessica”. With my daughter being so young, I wanted to be able to create her fun beanies and blankets that she could keep as she grew up. I went to JoAnn’s Craft Store and purchased some crochet hooks and yarn, went home and took to YouTube to try and figure out how to crochet.
The first beanie that I made was awful. So terrible. BUT, the pride and confidence I felt in creating SOMETHING was such a thrill and excitement and I knew that I wanted to keep going, to keep learning. I tried every free pattern I could find to just get more practice. My edges were uneven, my tension varied throughout each piece, and my seams were so jagged. I think it took me a good six months to really understand those basic stitches and how to read patterns. But I LOVED creating each new item. To know that *I* made something was so unbelievably motivating for me.
In my early stages of crocheting, I loved making baby items. I would create beanies, burp rags, blankets, newborn photography props, everything. As orders came in, it encouraged me to do better and better and offer items with higher quality. But after my order list never ceased to grow and feeling absolutely burnt out, I decided to halt custom orders and really focus on items I wanted to make, instead of items others wanted me to make. I found that I enjoyed many patterns from other designers, but I would always change a few aspects of each pattern to make it more my style. So, I began creating my own cowl designs, scarves, beanies.. I loved making items specifically for women. Items that *I* would want to wear.
©The Hook Nook/Jessica Carey
I wrote patterns for awhile but never really had an “it” pattern. I would still create many Puff Stitch Beanies for orders once in awhile and those always did really well with customers and online reviews. I had many other crocheters ask me to write up the pattern. The day I finally released it was the day I knew that being a crochet designer was something I definitely had a passion for. It sold like hot cakes and I absolutely bawled at the response. I mean, what an amazing feeling to have one of your designs so well received and that others were willing to pay to learn how to make it! Absolutely incredible. I kept pushing forward with more designs and learned so much as I continued to find ways to streamline my writing, detail out certain aspects of more difficult sections, etc. I LOVED it.
Writing has always been a passion of mine as well. Through middle and high school, I loved words, grammar, spelling, creative writing, etc. I had the opportunity to complete college level courses through high school with the intent to become a professional journalist. Clearly that never panned out, but I’m truly glad that it didn’t. Crochet designing and pattern writing fills my soul. As I mentioned before, creating things makes me feel so proud of myself. I had a relatively difficult childhood and teen years and finding ways to feel proud of myself were far and few between. But gosh, the pride I feel about what I’ve accomplished so far has been such a light for me. I’m at a stage in life where I get to share that passion, drive and confidence with my children and help them learn what motivates them in those same ways. How amazing is that?!
Having the opportunity for my children watch my husband (who is a phenomenal tattoo artist who now owns his own tattoo shop) and I do what we love and go against the grain in terms of career choices, allows them to see that they really are fully capable of creating the kind of future that they want. Whether they want to be a creative, a doctor, or anything in between, they CAN do it. All they need is drive and motivation and self confidence. This is something I am so grateful for as a parent.
I love to find inspiration for new designs everywhere I go. I was on an airplane once and saw a woman with a beautiful (commercially made) bag and quickly sketched out my version of a similar stitch work but for a cowl instead. For my Brixton Sweater design, that was solely inspired by the fact that I LOVE oversized sweaters, kangaroo pockets and longer fitting sleeves.
The ability of walking into a yarn store and touching, feeling, petting the different fibers elates me like no other. Baby alpaca, superwash merino, pima cotton, bamboo.. Man. Each hank I get to hold provides so many ideas for so many new designs. I don’t know about you, but fresh yarn in its packaging holds so much opportunity for something amazing. Yarn itself can really offer immense creativity. Just holding it, it can “speak” to what it wants to be. A sweater? A scarf? A shawl?
I know in my heart that being a crochet designer is what I was meant to do. It makes me so happy and it never feels like “work”. I’ll always be on the lookout for inspiration everywhere I go, with everyone I meet, and with every hank I get to play with. Cheers to fiber life!
What a dream come true to be featured here with Knit Purl. Thank you so much for reading my story!
©The Hook Nook/Jessica Carey
The Hook Nook