Crochet Puppy Love

Crochet Puppy Love - HiJennyBrown

Crochet Puppy Love - HiJennyBrown

A few months ago, I was working on a yarny community project when I met Anushka.  She’s a thoughtful and smart middle-schooler who was just learning to crochet from her mom.  At first, she struggled (as we all have) to get her chain straight and her single crochets working in the same direction… but all of a sudden it clicked, and you could see she had the makings of a great freeform crocheter. The next time I saw her, she was making up her own flower patterns.  And the next time she had a Jo-Ann’s haul that had me jealous.

Crochet Puppy Love - HiJennyBrown

And the last time, she gave me this bear.  Can you believe it?  She hasn’t been crocheting long at all, and yet here she is doing complicated amigurumi when she should still be making simple squares and circles.  She said she watched a YouTube how-to video and made it just for me.  Needless to say, I was floored.

Crochet Puppy Love - HiJennyBrownAnd of course, I had to reciprocate.  I found a pattern for the “Tammy” Puppy Amigurumi by Mei Li Lee, and this cute crochet puppy was born.  Her head was a lot fuller (I have to admit I didn’t *completely* follow the pattern), but I like his hollow cheeks and weak chin.  That, combined with the bigger eyes give him a kind of melancholy look that I love…but of course, we’ll let Anushka be the judge of that.  I stuffed him with a knee-high full of poly pellets instead of fiberfil (which might be another reason for his weak features) so he could stand up on a table or dresser.

Crochet Puppy Love - HiJennyBrown

Thanks again, Anushka! I can’t wait to see what you make next.

Bye,
Jenny Brown

PS – Photos by Erin Markan. Aren’t they great? Thanks, Erin!

Knitting Group Egos

Knitting Group Egos - Hi, Jenny Brown

There are few things better than a good knitting group (I know I’m a crocheter, but the truth is that most of the groups I’ve been in have been knitting groups with a small crochet contingent).  It’s great to look forward to sitting around with other stitchers and doing the thing you all love (especially with my last group, which met in the best bar ever).  Of course, that many intelligent, talented, and opinionated folks in one room, creating some of the most beautiful needlework the word has ever seen, means a few may be playing with a slightly inflated ego.  That’s why  I can’t get this McSweeney’s piece “There Are No Egos in Our Knitting Group” by Jeremy Blackman out of my head!  It reminds me of so many moments of judgment in knitting and crochet meet-ups, stitch ‘n’ bitch groups, yarn stores, and overpriced classes where I’ve encountered the infamous knitting group ego. Below are my flawed remembrances of these meanies.

And don’t forget – if you can’t figure out who in your knitting group has the biggest ego, it’s probably you.Knitting Group Egos - Hi, Jenny Brown

“I can’t show you how to do this because of the way you knit, so you’ll have to figure it out.” – The woman I was paying for group knitting lessons at a local yarn shop

Erin: [Holding up two balls of yarn] “What about these two colors together?”
Me: [Making puking face] “Why would you do that to me?”

Knitting Group Egos - Hi, Jenny Brown

“Oh, you do that kind of stuff? I prefer the really big yarnbombs, like cars and things like that.” – A lady at my old knitting group who probably didn’t think I would take this as a personal affront

“I can see your stitches here, here, and here.” – Me, pointing out someone’s visible joining like a total jerk.  Honest, it was a joke!

Knitting Group Egos - Hi, Jenny Brown

“So you’re looking for *cheap* yarn?”– Yarn shop worker, when I said I was allergic to wool

New Knitter: [Showing her first FO] “You can take a look at it to see if there are any mistakes.”
Me: “Oh no, it looks great.  It’s really good.  Oh, I mean, well, obviously you have a twisted stitch here and some issues here…” 

Knitting Group Egos - Hi, Jenny Brown

Me: [to a new group of knitters & hookers I was trying to impress] “I’m a pretty fast crocheter.”
Erin: “I always thought you were really slow.  It takes her forever…”

“You can leave it, but I would tear it out. Oh look over there! [start frogging]” -Me, to nearly everyone I’ve taught to crochet, most recently to a teenager.  I shared this with my mom, and she said these folks will thank me because their next project will be right — so now you know where I get it.

Egos come out in every knitting group. Mean comments I've heard (and said) at knitting groups - Hi, Jenny Brown

“Why would you make that?” – My mom, when presented with anything I’m working on

“Please don’t buy that stupid, ugly baby yarn that you like.” – Me to my mom when she asked my opinion on yarn for her next project

Knitting Group Egos - Hi, Jenny Brown

I hope no one is surprised that the majority of the meanness here is mine, but as someone said to me at last week’s meetup “You’re really not that mean.” High praise indeed.

Bye,
Jenny Brown

PS – want to share the mean things I (or other folks) have said to you?  Share in the comments or hit me up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.  I’d love to help you come up with some good comebacks!

How to buy your first crochet hook

hook and heart - hijennybrown

No one every told me how to buy crochet hooks, so I took the same approach I’ve perfected in the ice cream aisle – buy everything that appeals to me. I’ve bought some real duds and made some lucky discoveries, but I would have saved a lot of money and indecision if I had known what to get before I got there. So don’t do what I did – just follow this infographic on how to buy your first crochet hook.

Click the image below to view or download a PDF that you can zoom in on and study before your trip to the craft store.  Of course, if you have any questions, just search for @hijennybrown on your favorite social media platform and drop me a line.

how to buy your first crochet hook - hijennybrown.com

 

While you’re at it, also check out the Hi, Jenny Brown guide to Buying Your First Ball of Yarn.

Bye,
Jenny Brown

Buying Your First Ball of Yarn

Buying Your First Ball - hijennybrown.com

Last week I was roaming around my local chain craft store when I overheard two ladies begging a clerk to help them figure out what and how much yarn to buy for a pattern they had brought along.  Unfortunately he didn’t know, but fortunately, I will butt into ANY conversation.  A few minutes later we were doing some quick calculations to determine what needles to buy and how many skeins to throw in the cart. This isn’t the first time that’s happened, and I think it’s only fair to take some time this year to share my yarn, hook, and pattern info with you.  This week we investigate the best yarn to buy for a variety of projects.  This graphic is perfect for beginners who are ready to buy their very first ball of yarn but are feeling so very overwhelmed.  Click the image below to view or download a PDF that you can zoom in on and study before your trip to the yarn store.  Of course, if you have any questions, just drop search for @hijennybrown on your favorite social media platform and drop me a line.

Buying Your First Ball of Yarn - Hi, Jenny Brown

Bye,
Jenny Brown

2014: A Little Too Good

Professional Building Hearts-HiJennyBrown

2015, I don’t want to give you a complex or anything, but you’re going to have a lot to live up to cause 2014 kinda killed it.  I mean, seriously:

I casually talked to some famous people

Judge John Hodgman Show - via maximumfun.org Jenny - Creative Live with Michelle Ward

No bigs, just John Hodgman & Jesse Thorn on the Judge John Hodgman Podcast and Michelle Ward during her Creative Live class in San Francisco (I also met Creative Live fan-girl favorite JKO, FYI).

Hi, Jenny Brown won an award for crochet photography (thanks to our amazing photographer Erin Markan) from Crochet Concupiscence. Thanks, Kathryn!

awesome blog award - crochet concupiscence

Our crew moved to New Jersey and have yet to get a spray tan (or meet a person with one, btw) and enjoyed being just a train ride away from NYC.

Etsy Craft Party - Hi, Jenny Brown

I released a New Pattern: Crochet Bannerama

Crochet Bannerama by Hi, Jenny Brown- 3 Pattern Multipack for crochet garland, banner, and bunting that you can personalize

and two free crochet project that use my letter, number, & punctuation patterns:

Teacher Gift Crochet Cup Cuff Project PatternLast Day First Day Back to School Crochet Reversible Photo Prop

One of my yarn bombs survived in the wild for 3 months (confirmed by Richelle of the Red Scorpio in November and by Jenna of Promo Analyzer in mid-December) and counting

hello yarnbomb front hi jenny brownrepost of redscorpios photo on hijennybrown.com

Hello Yarn Bomb - picture by Jenna of promoanalyzer.com

and I made a couple other cool yarnbombs (with help from Erin & Craft Husband).

Stop Collaborate & Listen yarnbombyarn bomb - barber pole crochet yarnbomb

and a giant heart with the folks of Ohio Valley Handmade

Professional Building Hearts-HiJennyBrown
All We Need Is Love - Yarnbomb

I kinda killed it with school crafts

lego necklace - hijennybrown.com 10-30-2014, Trunk or Treat, Minecraft Car - hijennybrown.com

 

I gave some pretty good advice

You Know What You Should Make - Hi, Jenny Brown

 

10 tips to help kids love crochet - Hi, Jenny BrownI had so much fun with Hooking for Good: donating 9 items to organizations throughout the country, donating $1 from every sale to Action Against Hunger, and giving away amazing items by Kari Chapin, Ann Espo of OpportuKnits, artist and podcaster Heather Saulsbury, and Adri of Moon Star Adri to you awesome folks.

Hooking for Good Crochet and Knit Donations - hijennybrown.com

And I LOVED seeing your FOs made with my motif patterns and project ideas!

A photo posted by Jacqui J (@yarnosaurusrex) on

 

Plus, I was humble all year long.

I also met so many amazing makers, artists, crocheters,  coaches, and enthusiasts this year, and I want to thank you all for your kindness and support.  Please forgive me for not mentioning you individually because inevitably I will leave out the most sensitive person, and I don’t want anyone to feel bad on the New Year’s!

See you next year,
Jenny Brown

Hooking for Good: Make Your Presents Known

Crochet Ornaments

It’s the time of year when all crafters start to really stress: Oh my goodness, I forgot about so-and-so, and I will totally need to make them a present because they’ll be making one for me.  Oy vey, I forgot about that nephew, who I promised a crocheted blanket back in July.  Holy guacamole, how am I ever going to finish 12 pairs of fingerless gloves for the cousins on top of everything else?

My secret is to just buy things from Etsy: same great homemade feel, none of the work.  Or, I give most people nothing.  I know, it’s terrible – but I have a huge extended family, and I’d rather rotate my focus to a few people annually, so I can make them something special, rather than make one throw-away gift per person.  This year I’m so focused on making things for strangers that I’m pretty sure I won’t be making any presents for my family and friends.  Think I can get away with saying “My presence is your present?”

No matter what your gift-giving strategy is this year, here are a few projects from the HiJB archives that would make fun and quick presents.

hello banner from crochet bannerama - Hi Jenny Brown, Banner Beach Photos251

Quick Crochet Cowl – I wore the one from this tutorial during our Crochet Bannerama photoshoot.  So cozy!

lego necklace - hijennybrown.com

Lego Necklace – we made these for Liam’s birthday party, but they’d be great holiday gifts for a crowd.

Crochet Ornament - hijennybrown.com

Crochet Personalized Ornaments – Who doesn’t love a personalized gift?  Some glue, a little crochet thread, a cheap store-bought frame, and you’re all done.

And if you need a gift for your favorite crafters – why not send them some crochet-inspired postcards?

holiday postcards - hijennybrown.com

Or this unique banner pattern?

Crochet Bannerama - Hi, Jenny Brown

Or visit the shops who donated for our giveaways this season!  Thanks to Creatively Happy One, Moon Star Adri, and Opportuknits, Kari Chapin!

winner - hijennybrown.com

Today’s winner gets a present today, too!  Melissa W. was our randomly selected winner and will receive a pair of adult and a pair of child armwarmers.  Ann Espo donated this amazing prize – thanks Ann!  Her goal is to grow her business so she can begin to hire women transitioning back to their families and communities after incarceration.  If you’d like to support her or see more of her wonderful designs, visit opportuknits.etsy.com.

See you Friday where I admit I’m cheating on my crochet with….KNITTING!

Bye,
Jenny Brown

Hooking for Good – Poms Away!

pompomcloseup - hijennybrown.com

pompoms - hijennybrown.com

This week’s giveaway was from an amazing artist: Heather Saulsbury of the Creatively Happy blog and podcast (please check out both!) I figured it was only fitting for my donation this week to an art project, so of course I was reminded of my promise to Christen Mattix.  She is knitting a blue yarn line to the sea from a park bench on the street.  It’s part performance art, part yarnbombing, all amazing.  Anyway, on one of her posts about what should happen when the line finally hits the water, I commented:

comment on christenmattix.com

Friend, I am many things, but I am not a liar.  Scratch that, I totally lie all the time.  No, not all the time.  Like, what would you say is an acceptable percentage?  All right already, let’s just say I made the pom-poms and get on with it, eh?

pompom on cardboard - hijennybrown

My mom taught me before to make pom-poms with two cardboard discs, but I totally forgot how (even though I blogged about it).  This video by Bernat Yarn is amazing, except that it mentions a template that I don’t have – I just used a duct tape roll for the outer circle and a scotch tape roll for the inner circle. If you watch the video for 1 minute and then say I got it, ya don’t.  Watch the whole thing or you’ll totally miss the ingenious tips about cutting (not that I did that).

pompom cutting - hijennybrown.com

Is there anything better than cutting into a pom-pom and watching all the tiny strings break away?

IMG_4696

Man, I really used that template up.

For the smaller pom-poms, I used the fork-method and some really aggressive trimming. You can google the technique, or check out the book Pom-Poms, which is where I learned it. The boys helped me with this a little bit, but they don’t quite have the hand-eye coordination for tiny, perfect movements yet and their forks looked like they had been attacked by rebellious blue spaghetti.

pompomcloseup - hijennybrown.com

So, if you didn’t make a blood oath to Christen, you’re probably wondering how else to use a pom-pom for good?

  • I attended a class with author Leanne Prain, and she said pom-poms are the perfect way to get a kid started on yarnbombing.  I trust her because she did, like, write the book on it.
  • Have a friend who is stretched a little too thin? What about making her a pom-pom wreath or garland and leaving it on her porch?  Or maybe the two of you could make the same thing for a local senior center/classroom/new local business…whatever!
  • Knit the Bridge (which just won a Mayor’s Award – congratulations!) is starting on a new project called Pop des Fleurs that will require a LOT of handmade flowers for the testing and installation phases.  Check out their “puff flower” tutorial here.
  • Pom-pom hats are totally in right now, and that might come in handy next week…

And after you’re done with all that making, you deserve a little reward!  So our randomly selected winner for today is:

Congrats, Carina-hijennybrown.com

Congratulations to Carina, who just happens to be the awesome crocheter and knitter behind the blog Häkelmonster!  I hope you enjoy Heather’s prize-pack of awesomeness!

Bye,
Jenny Brown

Hooking for Good – Crochet Plastic Mat

plarn up close2 - hijennybrown.com

A year ago, I went to the Wheeling fair and met the ladies of the local extension office.  They were crocheting plastic sleeping mats that they donate to the city’s winter warm-up project. The mats, along with warm clothing, hot drinks, and blankets, are distributed to people in the area who are homeless.

plarn up close - hijennybrown.com

I gave the ladies my info, and a few days later, I was invited (by phone!) to a meeting where they would demonstrate the process of crocheting the mats out of plastic bags.  Craft Husband dropped me off at a local community center, and when I opened the door, I felt I had stepped into a bygone era.  Ladies were sitting at row after row of long, decorated tables with chocolate-wrapped pumpkins sprinkled down the center.  They served a snack (sandwiches, chips, coffee, and cake), talked about their previous charity project, and shared happy memories of a club member who had recently passed away.  Then they had their craft lesson, and those who could crochet pulled out a hook, and those who couldn’t asked questions and cheered the others on.  It was anachronistic and earnest and perfect.

plastic crochet mat - trial - hijennybrown.com

I’ve been working on this mat on-and-off since then, and I have to admit it was difficult for me.  I’m not great at making plarn, my hands still aren’t used to crocheting plastic, and my tension has completely changed over the past year (good news guys – I’m loosening up!)  I’m glad it’s finished and will soon make someone’s nights a little better, despite the imperfections.  Whether you’re sharing a crochet mat, a moment of silence, or a thick piece of sheet cake, someone in your community needs what you’re able to give.

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finished crochet plastic mat - hijennybrown.com

TIPS FOR MAKING A PLASTIC CROCHET MAT

1. Collect a Lot (a lot, a lot, a lot) of plastic bag – I didn’t believe it myself, but each mat will take hundreds and hundreds of chopped up plastic bags.  I think the ones from grocery stores and gas stations were easiest to crochet, and I regret mixing in the thicker bags from clothing and book stores. (One look at those wonky sides and weird color changes, and you’ll realize that’s not the only thing I regret.)

2. Cut the bags carefully – I think 2 inches is the perfect width for the bag loops,  but unfortunately, I didn’t realize that until half-way through.  You should experiment a little to see what works best for you. Also, enlist a helper, if at all possible, to do the cutting and balling while you crochet away.

crochet plastic mat plarn explosion - hijennybrown.com

3. Give yourself a break – Physically, I found that crocheting plastic (especially those thick bags) did a serious number on my shoulder.  Frequent breaks were totally necessary to keep my arm in working order.  Please also give yourself a break mentally, especially if this is your first plarn project.  There’ll be plenty of time to perfect your technique – your best is perfect for now.

4. Find instructions that work for you – I like these from First Baptist New Orleans: straight forward and easy to replicate.  To make the plarn, take your pick from the videos on YouTube – just be sure you pick the 2-ply loop rather than the continuous 1-ply strip. Some organizations do offer classes, so check in your area if you learn best in person or want to meet like-minded crocheters.

 teaching william to crochet - hijennybrown

5. Give it away – if possible, contact a local organization that distributes items to people who are homeless and ask if they accept sleeping mats.  If you are unable to find an organization to donate to nearby, a quick google search will help you find the right recipient.  Seriously, there are tons and tons of organizations, so please know that wherever you live, there is someone nearby who would love to have your handmade mat.

Please leave a comment and let me know if you will make a mat and if you have any questions about the process.  I’d be happy to help any way I can.

Bye,
Jenny Brown

P.S. – did you think I forgot about the giveaway?  No, ma’am!  The randomly selected winner of our first “Hooking for Good” giveaway is Kelly K. (who happens to be behind the awesome shop “Our Secret Treehouse“)  Congratulations! Just email hijennybrown[at]gmail.com to claim your prize. Congrats, Kelly!If you didn’t win, you can always make your own, or check Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram Tuesday to win the next prize. It’s a pretty cool one…

Hooking for Good – Quick Crochet Cowl

Hi, Jenny Brown - start sl st join for Quick Crochet Cowl

squarecowl

Craft Hope is amazing – they have collected and distributed over 100,000  handmade items to folks in need around the world, and I love participating whenever I can.  For Project 25, they are collecting various sewn, crocheted, and knitted items for We Are Kenya, which will provide over 200 students with the necessities to thrive in school. The cut-off for projects to be received at the US collection point is Nov. 15, so if you finish something this weekend, you can totally make it.  My mom and I made three scarves that we hope will be warm and cuddly for the kiddos that receive them. Hi, Jenny Brown - scarves for craft hope

Making the orange and white one on the right reminded me of my favorite quick cowl pattern, which is great for the holidays.  The pattern is easy and mindless, so it’s perfect for beginners or last minute presents.  It’s also not as bulky as other patterns, so it’s a lot more wearable (think bosses, mothers-in-law, teens).  Because the pattern is simple, it’s a great option for a variegated or novelty yarn.

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QUICK CROCHET COWL

Quick Crochet Cowl - Hi, Jenny BrownSupplies

  • 250-280 yds worsted weight yarn (I used Red Heart Unforgettable because it’s pretty and acrylic, so it’s perfect for us wool allergic crocheters) Hi, Jenny Brown - Red Heart Boutique for Quick Crochet Cowl
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • “I” hook

Abbreviations

  • ch = chain
  • dc = double crochet
  • sl st = slip stitch
  • sk = skip

Instructions Ch 38 Hi, Jenny Brown - Red Heart Boutique for Quick Crochet Cowl row 1. Dc in 6th ch from hook, (ch 1, sk 1 ch, dc in next ch)  16 times, ch 4, turn.  You’ll see 17 “squares” (aka, ch 1 spaces) across the row. Hi, Jenny Brown - turn Quick Crochet Cowl Hi, Jenny Brown - first row for Quick Crochet Cowl row 2. Sk 1, dc in dc, (ch 1, sk 1, dc in dc) 15 times, ch 1, sk 1 ch, dc in next ch, ch 4, turn Hi, Jenny Brown - second row for Quick Crochet Cowl Hi, Jenny Brown - second row turn for Quick Crochet Cowl Repeat row 2 until you have about 1 yard (from your fingertips to the middle of your chest) of yarn left, or until the scarf is as tall as your intended recipient (I’m 5’6″, and this is almost exactly my height.  If you’re making this for a kid, you’ll want to stop sooner so it’s not overwhelming).  Do not cut yarn. Hi, Jenny Brown - ready to join for Quick Crochet Cowl Finishing Holding right sides together and being careful not to twist, match top and bottom ends together.  Sl st ends together by inserting hook through corner last dc (on end) and corner chain (from foundation chain), pull up a loop, then pull it through loop on hook. Hi, Jenny Brown - start sl st join for Quick Crochet Cowl   Hi, Jenny Brown - how to sl st join for Quick Crochet Cowl Continue for each ch or dc.  After last stitch, fasten off and weave in ends. Hi, Jenny Brown - final sl st join for Quick Crochet CowlTurn cowl inside out and wrap it around your neck.  Resist urge to keep it for yourself.   Bonus Points – replicate woven scarf Instead of joining cowl, lay scarf flat.  Thread yarn onto needle, and using a double thickness, weave yarn through first vertical row.  Cut yarn, leaving a long tail at top and bottom. Hi, Jenny Brown - woven crochet scarfWeave using opposite start (if you went over the first row, go under) for next row.  Continue until entire scarf is woven.  Tie yarn for each row at top and bottom to secure.  Trim fringe evenly. Hi, Jenny Brown - scarves for craft hope

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PSST: I’ll be giving away a pretty blue version of the cowl this Tuesday – follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for all the details Tuesday on how to win.  I’ll share the winner in my post Wednesday.

Bye, Jenny Brown

10 Tips to Help Kids Love Crochet

Alexander at Knit the Bridge - hijennybrown

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve held something yummy in my hand and said “Just take one little bite.  Just lick it.  I KNOW you’ll like it!” only to be met with the most incredulous snarl imaginable.

Sometimes I forget: you simply can’t tell kids what to like, even if you’re really, really, really, really sure they would like something…say, the wonderfully awesome craft that is crochet?  Even if they don’t become prolific hookers themselves (although wouldn’t that be the freaking best?), there are a few ways to get them to appreciate crochet without being overbearing.10 tips to help kids love crochet

 

10 Tips to Help Kids Love Crochet

*Also, please be cool with the fact that some of these pics are dark and blurry, even for me.  If you’ve ever tried to catch a kid in the act of crafting, you feel my feels.  The pretty, focused, well-lit pictures are by Erin Markan of Folks Collected.  Thanks, Erin!*

1. Make them something to love

IMG_0344

You’ve probably already done this, so cheers!  If not, this is your chance to blow their socks off – make them a minecraft blanket to cuddle with while they play the game, crochet their favorite animal in their favorite color to make a mystical new creature, or hook them something with their name on it. I usually stick to tv or video game toys because those get the most “OOOOHHH!”s.

Saveliy Mushroom - hijennybrown

2. Make the ugly thing you don’t want to make

Alexander and the green and blue hat

I asked Alexander if I could knit him a hat, and he insisted on it being green and blue stripes.  Oh, the very idea was nauseating, but I bought some really soft yarn and went with it.  He really loves it and never misses an opportunity to tell someone I made it.

3. Let them read your crochet books

I know your crochet books are holy, but if you have one or two they can peruse (especially if you’re willing to make something they pick), leave them just within reach. Liam still loves this Amigurumi book, but he’s lost interest in my stitch dictionaries (who can blame him).

Liam with book - hijennybrown

If you’re not ready to share pattern books, you can pick up a kid’s book with a knit or crochet theme.  I have and love Extra Yarn.

4. Involve them in your projects any way you can

yarnbomb - hijennybrown

Alexander and I just donated a square to Yarnbomber for his new project.  I picked the type of yarn I wanted to use ahead of time and shoved it all in a bag before we rode in the back seat together on a trip to NYC. Although Alexander doesn’t crochet yet, I asked him if he would help me by picking the color order so I could do the crochet.  I think he felt important without being overwhelmed with involvement (with plenty of time between color picks to play Minecraft).

yarnbomb close-up - hijennybrown

When Yarnbomber received our donation and posted it online, Alexander’s mom was sure to show him the post and define the word “brochet” for him.  He thought it was “cool” that hundreds of people liked our work, and he is relishing his involvement in the “bombsquad.”

Screenshot_2014-09-18-11-13-12

I think I’ll have no trouble getting him to help with the next project.

5. Show them something huge and unusual

Annie and Eisa - hijennybrown
Eisa & Annie

I know that what you make is amazing (duh), but if you have the opportunity, seek out a chance to show them crochet in a way they never imagined.

Marcus and Paige at KTB - hijennybrown
Marcus & Paige

Our Knit the Bridge crew brought a ton of happy, crochet- and knit-loving kiddos.

heartbomb - hijennybrown

They were also on-hand for our heart-bombing (although they mostly ate the heart-shaped cookies Erin made).

alexander eating cookies

They also love looking through my instagram feed for “yarning” or checking out installations and projects by wonderful artist like Olek, Knits for Life, and Twinkie Chan.

6. Let them touch your yarn

kidonyarn

If you haven’t closed the browser window already, let me explain: letting them tear your yarn apart and string it across the house gives them permission to love yarn.  I use an old set of lockers to store my stash: I put the most-loved yarn high and the crappy acrylic down low.  I bet you can guess what they go for…

11-06-2013 Warsaw Yarn Bomb Letters & Koozies-3888

Bonus if you let them play with your projects (these are coozies for the Warsaw Bar yarnbomb – they make great mittens).

IMG_20140813_163316

And these are the sample pieces for the Teacher Gift Cup Cuff.

7. Explain what you’re doing

The easiest thing in the world.  No prepared speech needed here, just tell them what you’re making, who it’s for, and why you think they’ll like it. Let them know it’s not a mindless task but a way for you to share your talent with someone who will love it. (M&Ms optional)

8-14-2014 Hi Jenny Brown, First and Last Day142

8. Ask them for their input

These are the cutest critics you’ll ever have.  I can’t tell you the number of times they’ve given me very sweet feedback or seen a problem I didn’t (which, I know, is hard to take).

11-22-2013-Peace-on-Earth-6107-MOTION2

Prepare yourself for less-than-positive reactions.

9. Put a hook in their hand

Babes crocheting in hotel - hijennybrown

Let them pick the giant pink, bubbly Q hook and try to make a stitch.  Let them turn your golden Js into light sabers.  Let them spill all the hooks on the floor and put them, one by one, back in the container.

Liam Knitting - hijennybrown

I try to elevate my hooks one step above toy, one step below tool.  They’re free to play with them, but they’ve got to be picked up, put away, and kept out of that spaghetti, please.

10. Let them walk away

Alexander at Knit the Bridge - hijennybrown

Occasionally the boys will ask to help me, or to make their own design, or to learn how to crochet/do yarning.  I hold their hands, I go through the motions, and I patiently allow them to quit and walk away a few minutes later. They’re not ready to crochet yet, I know, and I try not to let my impatience show.  I know that some day they’ll be great crocheters…or should I say…brocheters.

Do you have any tips & tricks for getting kids to love crochet or other crafts?  Share them in the comments!

Bye,
Jenny Brown