In 2020, Lion Brand Yarn is encouraging makers and artists around the world to make a Traveling Afghan, and share more about their lives in the yarn industry using the hashtag #MyLifeinYarn. Personally, I’ll be doing a bit of reflection, a bit of cleanup, a lot of learning and a lot of looking into a bright future of growth. Throughout the year, I will be sharing stories of my own ongoing journey in this colorful, wonderful community of fiber artists.
My email subscribers get first peeks get each month’s topic, and can ask questions that I’ll try to answer in a follow-up article, so head on over to get on the list!
If you missed an email or a specific topic, you can find the whole series linked below:
JANUARY: The Journey
Once upon a time. Don’t we all start stories with those fateful four words? Well, once upon a time, I loved crafting and art, of math and logic. Over the years of growing up, I turned my love of math into a career as an electrical engineer. But in the midst of college and single living and learning to be an adult, the creativity and love of crafting was buried.
How It All Started
My husband and I once picked up a Learn to Crochet kit from Michaels, just for fun. The two of use picked the worst possible yarn for beginners (shiny yarn that splits easily), and slowly made a hot pad and a scarf. Then we put it away and forgot about crochet for years.
It wasn’t until I had my own baby that I had this crazy idea to make him a granny square quilt that he can take to college one day. Because boys do that to remind them of their moms, right?
I thought a blanket would be a beautiful and useful thing to have, to remind him of home. But even as I write this, I realize there was more to that desire than just giving him a conversation piece. A handmade blanket is made with love and care; it is a tangible expression of that crazy, overwhelming love I felt for this new human being in my life. When I watched him sleep, I felt like my heart was ready to burst for love of him, and every time he stumbled or fell, I felt a shiver of goosebumps.
I wanted to capture these huge feelings I had in something that will last beyond the flash of childhood. I also see now that deep down, I wanted him to know me as a woman capable of being both his mom as well as an individual with talents of my own, that I am a multidimensional being of art and math and creativity and logic and parenthood. And by doing so, I can show both my kids that they are multidimensional too.
I started a blog and wrote about an assortment of things, including crochet, but it took years of stumbling around with arts and crafts and recipes and home renovations to find my path. At one of my first blog conferences, I heard the phrase “80% of your (website) traffic comes from 20% of your content”. My audience wanted crochet, and as I leaned more into the craft, I fell in love with the amazing things you can do with a ball of yarn.
All the Stuff in Between
Over the next few years, I designed simple accessories, toys, home decor, and eventually started making garments. I challenged myself to learn new skills like corner to corner crochet, tunisian crochet, and knitting. At the same time, I was learning how to run a website, how to market myself, and how to be active in an online community. It was exciting and overwhelming and a little bit scary. As I created more projects, I began to shift towards sophisticated, modern aesthetics, and was excited to incorporate my engineering background into my designs.
By 2018, I had a successful blog, worked with premier yarn companies, and made so many friends along the way. My kids and my family have a treasure trove of toys and blankets to fill their lives. Finally, I made the bold move of quitting my full time job as a marketing events manager at a start-up to work on One Dog Woof full time. What a journey it has been to uncover interests I’ve had since I was a child, to find so much encouragement along the way, and to turn a hobby into a career.
The Journey Continues
The idea that a strand of yarn can be made into fabric is what fueled my interest in crochet, and it still drives me to this day. I am constantly amazed at what fiber can do, whether it’s in the form of crochet or knit or weaving or embroidery, to create beauty and functionality in our world. I love that these fiber arts is a medium to express powerful messages, and bring awareness to broad issues. Fiber crafts is an infinitely beautiful and relatable way to connect with others, share our lives, and tell a story full of texture, color, ingenuity, and hope.
Photo credit: Institute for Figuring
On Instagram, I shared BOLD as my word of the year. 2020 is when I hope to really lean into what excites me about fiber crafting, expand my own skill set, and dig deeper into how this art form can shape our lives in so many ways.