JayRae's Yarn Tales

Welcome to Yarn Tales

Let me tell you a bit about my history. I’m from rural central Illinois- a beautiful part of the Midwest with four seasons and every type of weather through the year.  I grew up in a big farmhouse- an OLD farmhouse originally ordered from a Sears catalog. My parents also came from farming families, and actually grew up within walking distance of that house. We gardened and canned and preserved our harvests. We had beautiful flowers and giant trees. At various points there was a horse, a goat, rabbits, chickens, and hogs. I grew up in the era of playing outside- besides, we didn’t have cable TV or internet. It was the 80s- an exciting trip was a drive to the nearby town to rent movies on video tapes.

My parents are both talented crafters and it seemed whenever I wanted or needed something, they would make it for me. I had handmade toys, costumes, and furniture. My parents taught me to keep items with a purpose and to reuse things whenever possible. Often the things they made me were put together from scrap items and other various bits and things they had collected. It shouldn’t be surprising that I too became a collector and a crafter. When I wasn’t reading, I enjoyed taking things apart and putting back together again. I loved making things just like my parents. I tried any and all arts and crafts that I could get my hands on. I dabbled in thread, fabric, paint, beads, buttons, cord, and of course, yarn.

My mom taught me to crochet around age 8 or so. I had extremely tight tension and my first project- a blanket for a small plastic pterodactyl- was a tiny red square. I was not impressed and neither was my toy. I didn’t crochet again for over a decade, but I kept busy with various crafting throughout my childhood and into high school. I tried pottery, drawing, painting, and weaving in high school, but I didn’t like my art teacher telling me what to create. I decided I would never want to make a career out of something as subjective as art. So, of course, I went to Eastern Illinois University and got my Bachelor’s degree in Biological Science- a nice solid science degree that got me exactly zero jobs right out of college.

I did finally get a job, totally unrelated to my degree, and I got a small apartment with approximately 2 square inches of grass out front. Well, maybe 2 square feet. I was bored whenever I wasn’t at work and I decided to give crochet another try. I made my best friend from childhood a potholder with a skull on it- her degree is in anthropology, and she likes bones. My technique was much better and I found the work to be relaxing and fun. I loved that I had turned a ball of yarn into a useful and colorful item. It reminded me of my childhood and all of the skills my parents taught me. I consider that the moment I really “learned” to crochet. That was about 12 years ago.

Over the past decade or so, I’ve been buying yarn. Lots, and lots, and LOTS of yarn. And pattern books. It’s kind of a hoarding situation at this point. Okay, so it really IS a situation. I got a great government job in 2008 that actually lets me use my Bachelor’s degree, AND also lets me buy yarn. I got married in 2012 and bought a house in 2014, and this house is packed with yarn. Everywhere you look, yarn. Yarn in the craft room. Yarn in the basement. Yarn in the dining room. It’s like Tribbles, but with yarn.

The past 2 years I’ve been tentatively planning a business where I crochet things with the all of the yarn and sell them so that there is less yarn, but it’s not really helping. I need to get serious and organize, crochet, and market my products. That’s where this blog comes in. I will share my stories, my business successes and failures, and anything I learn along the way. I’ll review my yarns and books and tools. I’ll design crochet patterns, too. I hope you learn something, or at the very least will be entertained with my journey. Wish me luck!


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