It’s time for another installment Behind the Skeins! In this interview style segment of this blog, we chat with other crochet business owners to get a little look in on their life. I love getting to know other crochet designers and makers, and I love sharing what I learn with all of you!
Today we are chatting with Jo of Jo’s Crafty Hook. Can you guys believe we are halfway through August already!?
Behind the Skeins interviews will be posted monthly on the 15th and will feature a new designer every month. If you want to get notifications when new Behind the Skeins go live, make sure to sign up for my newsletter.
Make sure to read through to the end! Not only is Jo’s story a lovely read, but she has a little gift for you, too!
I am so excited to have Jo of Jo’s Crafty Hook with us here today for Behind the Skeins. Jo and I have gotten to know each other through some events that we have done, and I have to say I am so glad she is in my little circle of the community. Jo has some amazing designs and is a lovely person to get to know, make sure to say hi to her in the comments!
Let’s kick off this Behind the Skeins interview so you can find out all of the reasons I love having Jo in my circle and why you should, too.
This allows my imagination to run wild…
Hi Jo! Let’s start this Behind the Skeins interview off easy – Tell me a little bit about who you are as a person, not as just a crocheter/crochet designer.
“I have been married for 28 years to my best friend, my confidant. We have been together for 34 years. My husband is very dedicated to me and our kids. We have a 28 year old son and a 25 year old daughter. I have a great family, they are my world! I love to read and go for walks. My favorite time of year is Fall. The cooler weather, the changing of the leaves, and getting ready for the holiday season.“
When did you learn to crochet? Did someone teach you or are you self-taught?
“My mom and Gram taught me. I learned how to crochet 20+ years ago. My mom had one day off a week and she would come over on her day off and sit down with me teaching me how to crochet. It was very challenging because my mom is right handed and I am a lefty. My Gram taught me the basic stitches, she was a lefty like me. She would crochet SO fast that it was hard to keep up with her. 😆“
Are you a righty or a lefty?
“I am a lefty.”
What inspired your business name?
“I am not very imaginative, lol. I was trying to decide what to call my Etsy Shop and I was thinking about all the things people had said about my crocheted items. I didn’t want to use my given name, Joey, so I shortened it to Jo. People always told me I was crafty (whether they were talking about my personality or my artsy side lol) So I had a crochet hook in my hand, trying to get inspiration, that was where the hook part came in. That is when I came up with ‘Jo’s Crafty Hook‘.”
When did you start your blog? What do you offer?
“I started my blog in March 2018. When I first started it, it was designed more around the items I crocheted and sold in my Etsy Shop. As I started to design more and more crocheted patterns I put those in my Etsy Shop as well. Well 1 ½ years and after not getting a very good response for the items I sold at my Etsy Shop, I decided to start adding free crochet patterns to my website platform. After this my website started doing a little better. It wasn’t until I stepped out of my comfort zone that I really started getting more traffic to my website. I was putting my name out there with crochet designers and started signing up for Blog Hops, Roundups, and Giveaways. This is where our relationship started.” (And I am SO glad it did!)
When did you decide to change from crocheting for fun to crocheting as a business? What inspired you?
“In 2016 I started crocheting items to stock in my Etsy shop because my family kept encouraging me to do it. I was inspired by my family’s support and the great responses I was getting from the things I made in the past.“
What style or level of knowledge do you specialize in?
“I now specialize in designing women’s tops. I have also designed wraps, hats, gloves, and more.“
What makes you happiest in terms of your business?
“I’m happiest when I post free crochet patterns on my website. I love the response I get and the appreciation people show for them.”
Do you have a certain stitch that crops up in your designs more than others? A favorite stitch?
“I love crocheting the Tulip Stitch. I have designed sweater vests, hats, scarves, and coasters using that stitch.”
Which yarn and hooks are your favorites?
“My favorite yarn is Lion Brand Mandala and my favorite hooks are Clover.“
Is there anything special that inspires you, not just in crochet but perhaps in style or imagination?
“Oh wow! There are SO many designers that inspire me! If I had to pick a favorite it would have to be Crystal from ChristaCoDesigns. Her style is SO classic! She uses the basic stitches in her designs. She makes me challenge myself, to try new things when designing.“
Never give up.
Are you an online yarn purchaser or do you prefer to purchase yarn in store?
“I prefer purchasing my yarn from stores, but I do buy online, but only buy the yarns I’ve used before. I like to see what I’m getting and hold it in my hands. This allows my imagination to run wild in thinking of things I can use the yarn for.“
Do you have a stash you like to work from or do you prefer to purchase yarn as a project presents itself?
“I do have a stash I work from. I always seem to run out of DK weight yarns because I always sign up for testing or creating lighter weight designs that use that yarn.”
What’s one challenge you’ve had in crocheting and how did you overcome it?
“The one challenge I’ve had was putting my designs out there with other crochet designers. I try not to compare myself with them because I think “Oh man! I should have made something like that!” I overcame it by signing up with designers I tested for. They knew my work, they had seen what I could do with their designs and they showed appreciation and encouragement. So I started doing the smaller blog hops or giveaways with them.”
Which of your patterns would you say is your fan favorite?
“My fan favorite design has got to be my Wrapped in Diamonds Wrap. I did a pattern giveaway and had over 800 downloads in 24 hours.”
Which of your patterns is YOUR favorite?
“My favorite pattern is my Flower Cluster Beanie. My son found me a really nice crocheted hat from the Gap. I loved the design so much that I designed one just like it.”
Do you take your crochet WIPs with you when you travel or do you give yourself a break?
“I always take a WIP with me. I take one or two with me wherever I go.”
Are there any patterns from other designers you love?
“There are SO many! lol. I’d have to say right now the patterns from Rachy Newin are my favorite. I’m fixated on her shawls right now. I want to design a triangle SO bad, but I don’t know how to begin.“
What do you like to do while you crochet? (TV in background, read, podcasts, etc)
“I like to watch Netflix when I crochet. The TV or music always has to be playing in the background.“
It’s ok to step out of your comfort zone.
What advice would you give to a brand new crocheter? Any tips?
“My advice would be to never give up. There are so many tools available to help you learn! I would also say don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone learns at their own pace, you will get there if it’s something you really want to do.”
Where is your favorite place to crochet?
“My favorite place to crochet has to be outside in my rocking chair.“
What other hobbies do you have that bring you joy?
“I love to read and play Sudoku.”
Any exciting things coming up in your business? Or going on now?
“Being interviewed by you right now is the most exciting thing coming up in my business! There are a couple other exciting things coming up. I’m doing a Preemie Challenge in August, another pattern giveaway in August, and I’m being interviewed by another designer in November. I have several new designs that I hope to reveal this year.”
If you had to tell your past self one thing, what would it be?
“I would tell my past self to not procrastinate as long as I did. I would tell my past self to believe in yourself, to keep trying no matter how many mistakes you have made.“
Anything else we didn’t cover that you’d like our audience to know?
“I’d like them to know that it’s ok to step out of your comfort zone. You need to believe in yourself because you are our own worst enemy. No matter where you are at in your skill level, remember even advanced or intermediate crocheters make mistakes.“
I’d love to give a BIG “thank you!” to Jo for taking the time out of her busy schedule to chat with me for this Behind the Skeins interview. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Jo on a deeper scale, and love her tenacity and passion.
One of my favorite things about the crochet community is that you aren’t competing or working against the other designers or makers. We are all here in this together and I have never been a part of a better community. It is always such a joy to get to know the other designers a little more intimately and I hope you enjoyed learning more about Jo today.
AND…. Now to the Gift!
Jo has been so lovely to work with and today she has really outdone herself!
Jo has included her Triple Vee scarf pattern PDF as a FREE gift to you for reading this Behind the Skeins interview! Yay! Head over to the Triple Vee pattern on Ravelry and use code “THELOOPHOLEFOX” to receive this PDF pattern for free. This is a limited time offer – This PDF is only free to our readers between August 15th, 2020 and September 14th, 2020, so don’t forget to grab yours!
Did you learn something exciting about Jo today? Let us know in the comments!
Places you can find Jo’s Crafty Hook
All pictures (except from the intro Behind the Scenes picture and my signature photo) are copyright of Jo’s Crafty Hook and are used with permission for the purposes of this interview. Please do not redistribute these pictures as your own under any circumstance.
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