Meet Jen with Jen Hayes Creations!
Hello and Happy Friday!! Today I’m excited to introduce you to Jen Hayes with Jen Hayes Creations! She is such a positive and lovely person, as well as a fabulous crochet designer. She has such fun and colorful creations and is even offering a discount on her patterns for this weekend only to you! (Please read on to see the details.)
Jen grew up in the small town of Fruitland, Idaho and currently lives in Layton, Utah. She considers herself to be an advanced crocheter and a newbie at knitting.
I asked Jen how she learned her craft, “I can’t remember for certain how old I was when my mom taught me the basics of crochet, but I was probably about nine or ten. My newly acquired skills produced projects such as mile long chains that my siblings and I would wind through the house and yard. Then there were bracelets, necklaces, potholders, purses, scarves, a few blankets for dolls, one massive granny square afghan, and a variety of gifts for friends and family over the years. It’s always been fun to share my work with others.
Back in the day the internet didn’t really exist, at least not like it does today, so the patterns I used came from books and magazines that I was able to acquire, the back of the labels that the yarn came in, and just playing around with stitches.
During much of my high school and college years, my crochet work was put off to the side as I was busy working and going to school. Looking back, I think how much of a benefit it could have been for me to keep up with crocheting, but there is also the reality that it wasn’t until later in life that I saw all the possibilities that were available with crochet and the fiber arts.
As for knitting, I started my knitting journey in March of 2019 teaching myself from books and online tutorials and videos. I have even designed a cowl which I plan to share someday along with other designs I would love to create, but I need to get better at writing up knitting patterns. Sadly, my knitting also fell by the wayside a bit with all the additional responsibilities that 2020 brought with it, but I intend to pick it back up this year and hopefully begin my first knit socks and a sweater.
I was inspired to begin designing several years after I was married. It was in 2008 when my husband, who works in the video game industry, came across a crocheted game character during one of his internet searches. He knew I could crochet and asked me if I could make something like that and the rest is history.
I had no idea that crochet could be so cool! I began searching the internet for what I now knew needed to become part of my life. I discovered that what I was looking at was broadly called amigurumi. From there I found a handful of helpful bloggers that happened to be sharing their patterns (such a contrast from how it is now with so many available options) and a couple books at my local library to begin my adventure with. These items, along with the then more limited YouTube videos, helped me to figure out the stitches that I wasn’t familiar with.
Bob-Omb, from the designer Wolf Dreamer Off the Hook, became the first amigurumi piece I made for my husband. He found a few others he wanted made that actually had patterns, and when I couldn’t find a pattern for something he wanted (or that I wanted), I began designing my own.
As we had children and they were growing up, they too put in their requests for favorite characters, animals, and toys. This further expanded my design skills and opportunities to learn as I worked to create them.
Amigurumi have always been my favorite, but I also enjoy other types of crochet pieces and would love to learn more about designing size inclusive garments at some point.”
Below are 3 designs that Jen hand picked for you. They are available free on her website (click on any or all of the images to be directed to the site) or you can save 20% for the ad free pdf in her Etsy and Ravelry Shops using the code SAVE20 Friday, March 5, 2021- Sunday, March 7, 2021 (MST).
I asked Jen when she began designing and what inspires her to continue designing; “It was in 2008 that I began designing for myself, family, and friends. Early on I played around with the idea of having a blog and even started one where I shared my general love for crafts and some of life’s journey type of stuff.
However, life’s experiences won out and I took the opportunity to return back to school to get my Master of Education in Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education (with an emphasis in Early Intervention for the Deafblind) after learning that our first daughter was deafblind due to a genetic disorder (Peroxisome Biogenesis Disorder - Zellweger Spectrum Disorder).
School and life once again considerably consumed my time and the blog got pushed to the side so much that I eventually just deleted it, certain that it would not be missed by the crickets that frequented it, lol.
The difference this time however, was that crochet and designing very much continued to have a place in my life. I used them as a reprieve from the demands that school and life had on me. I enjoyed them more than ever and found it very exciting to find new ways to make the yarn work in ways that I wanted it to, to achieve a desired outcome.
I always wrote down the patterns I was creating, thinking that maybe someday I would share them. My one wish now, besides maybe wishing that I’d been able to keep up with my blog, is that I had put my designs in one specific notebook instead of in random notebooks and on scraps of papers. Trying to go back and decipher some of the patterns can be pretty crazy too!
In January 2018, after years of crochet practice, as well as four kids and a lot of life experiences, I was feeling like I wanted something to work on, something for myself. A project that I could develop, learn from, grow from, meet some people, and make my own.
My full-time job is mom, taking care of the kids, primarily our little guy who has the same genetic disorder that his older sister had (she passed away in 2010) and requires constant care. While I love being a mom, I also miss being at work at times and the opportunities and experiences that it brought (I used to work as a social worker with kids teaching behavioral and life skills in a group setting).
With my little man reaching the age where he consistently started attending school for a few hours a day and having my girls already in school, I jumped on the opportunity to use this newly acquired “free time” to start up a blog again, and Jen Hayes Creations was born!
I can’t express my appreciation enough for my husband who continues to support and encourage me in my endeavors and all those who actually visit my blog and make and share my designs! This is seriously the best feeling as a designer! I get excited every time I see someone taking one of my patterns and making it.
I draw inspiration from a lot of different places, from nature, from colors, textures, and pattern that I see in magazines and home stores where I love to just browse the isles, and then there’s the toy stores where all the plush toys just scream to be turned into crochet amigurumi, and of course the wishes of those around me to make something specific for them.
What probably propels me the most though is that I continue to feel that I have so many things that I want to share with the world! The more I design the more ideas continue to pop into my head. There’s just not enough time to make and share them all and while it gets frustrating at times wishing that I could, I also love the idea that there is so much creativity in the world.”
Jen’s favorite part of being a designer is “probably the process of bringing something to life. Being primarily an amigurumi designer it really does feel like I’m breathing life into my yarn as I shape it into a doll, a dinosaur, a dog, a bear, a bunny, etc. And as frustrating as it can be at times to have to frog something over and over to achieve the look or shaping that I want, it’s absolutely thrilling to have it come to life and then ultimately be made by someone else. Seeing others use my patterns for themselves, for others, and for spreading kindness and good into the world just brings so much excitement into the design process.”
Jen and her husband have been married for 16 years. “My husband, who is probably also my biggest supporter and cheerleader, encourages my craft in so many ways, even my excessive yarn purchases despite my already large stash.
We have had four children. Our oldest daughter passed away from a rare genetic disorder (Peroxisome Biogenesis Disorder - Zellweger Spectrum Disorder) in 2010 when she was almost four. I have two other girls (typically developing, 13 and 10) and a little boy (8) who has the same disorder as his older sister.
We don’t currently have a fur baby in our home but we will sometime in late April 2021. We are getting an Australian Shepherd as a service dog for our son who is deafblind and has issues with constantly banging his head on things. The dog will be trained to help disrupt this behavior. We’re going to have a lot of work and training ahead of us to get the dog ready, but we are all so excited to know which specific dog will be ours and have him/her in our home! For now, we are watching the litter of puppies grow up through pictures and videos from the breeder in anticipation for when they will be old enough to bring home.”
What is Jen’s biggest tip to share with a new crafter? “I would tell a new crafter to enjoy the process and go for it! Be willing to put in the time it takes to learn the craft you want to learn and remember that even when you’re having to frog (undo) a portion of the project that you are advancing your skills and capabilities to create amazing pieces.”
To learn more about Jen and Jen Hayes Creations, please check out the following links and follow her on social media.
Thank you for taking the time today to meet my friend Jen! I do hope that you'll check out her website, subscribe to her newsletter and make some of her creations. Until next week, happy yarning!!
💕 Stacy J