Why I started designing patterns

*Hi, Jenny Brown has moved to hijennybrown.com.  Please come on over to read this post and see our new content!*

I love this piece on Storytelling by Ira Glass.  I’ve seen it many times in a few different versions, but Babes and I love this one by frohlocke the best (thank to Felicity Snyder for reminding me of it recently) .

THE GAP by Ira Glass from frohlocke on Vimeo.

Even if you have good taste and some skill, in the beginning, you will make terrible, ugly things.  The good news is: you’ll know it’s bad, but you have within your reach the ability to make something better.

Ira, I feel ya.

E commissioned me to make a bingo magnet for her grandpa, “Bingo Bob”: a hilarious, kind, veteran who loved him a bingo hall.  At that point, I didn’t really knew what I was doing.  I mean, I knew basic stitches and how to follow simple patterns, but that was about it.  In the back of my mind, I had a vision for what the card should look like and what I wanted the style to be.  And instead, I got this:

crochet bingo card by hijennybrown

It was not at all what I had in mind.  The stitches are sloppy and the shape is ridiculous.  I wanted the letters and numbers to look solid and uniform, and instead they looked thin and scribbled.  Luckily, E and  Bingo Bob could look past those details and see something handmade and funny.  Bob never got rid of it, and now E keeps it on her fridge.

Fast forward to a few years after that debacle: I was hanging out with E and Alexander, who was then a wee little thing.  I wanted to crochet him a personalized book of letters, but I couldn’t find a letter pattern.  I realized I would have to make the pattern myself.

Now between the embroidered nightmare above and the sidewalk letters below, I made everyone I knew a crochet doll, I started following crochet blogs, I joined Ravelry, I read patterns, and I learned about how to create shapes.  My “taste” level was always there and developing, but now I had the skills and knowledge to back it up.

v1 of crochet letter pattern - hi jennybrown

I started my shop in March 2011 with the pattern above (version 1), and I haven’t looked back since.  Although there are still a variety of challenges in my business, I know that with the right amount of time, research, and practice, I can overcome them.  Ira Glass told me so.


Jenny Brown


3 thoughts on “Why I started designing patterns

    1. Thanks for your comment, Kaitlin! From the little bit I know about you, I know you have a unique taste/style/viewpoint, and I know that when that all comes together and jumps to the other side, it will be amazing. If there’s anything I can do to be of help, let me know. I’m struggling with a lot of things, but I’m getting better every day!

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