Meet Mary Beth with Crochet With Mary Beth!
Happy Friday!! It’s my favorite day of the week and I’m so excited for you to meet my featured friend for today -Meet Mary Beth Cryan with Crochet With Mary Beth!
If you’ve never seen her work, you should really check it out! She’s a true artist through and through, an amazing crochet designer with a beautiful eye for design and her story is so fun! She’s from “the small state of Connecticut and currently lives in the even smaller state of Rhode Island.”
I asked Mary Beth to tell me about her journey as a designer, “Oh boy, that’s a long story; I’ll try to keep it short. My dad is a professional photographer and my mom is a retired art teacher. As a child she kept me busy crafting all day, every day. I've loved art always, so I attended Syracuse University and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in
Illustration with a concentration in Graphic Design. After college, I worked full-time as a toy designer. Yes, like the movie "Big" - I even got to travel to a toy factory in China! I have entrepreneurship in my blood and after 5 years I went off on my own as a freelance illustrator. I specialized in, of all things, paper engineering and had a great time designing pop-up cards and paper craft books. I wrote and illustrated 17 published paper craft books and have worked for many dream clients such as American Girl, The Museum of Modern Art NYC, Dover, American Greetings, Papyrus and many more. After 11 years of freelancing, I was diagnosed with a rare form of neuroendocrine cancer. I’m cured now, but it left me realizing that it was time for a change. That’s when I stopped drawing and picked up crochet for the first time. I absolutely loved it. When I found out I could make a living designing patterns, I knew that was the next career direction for me.”
Mary Beth learned how to crochet when she “took a class at Joann Stores and followed that up with Edie Eckman’s Creativebug classes. I then went on to read every book on crochet at my local public library and attend classes on my LYS. I’m still reading books and taking classes, most recently at STITCHES at Home and Vogue Knitting Live. I’m taking three classes virtually this weekend!”
When asked what inspired her to begin designing, Mary Beth says, “It wasn’t so much an inspiration as a prediction. At first, I started a blog that was reviews of other people’s patterns called "Crochet Reviews". I told my dad about it and he laughed at me. He said, “yeah, that’s not going to last very long.” I asked why and he replied, “because you're a designer, you can’t NOT design.” He was right. It wasn’t long before my brain filled up my head with my own project ideas. That blog only lasted 2 months. You can still see the remains of it if you scroll back to the beginning of my blog. I’ve been designing crochet patterns for 3 years. But I’ve been working as a professional “designer” in some capacity for 21 years.”
Mary Beth’s favorite part of being a designer is “seeing other people making and enjoying my designs. That’s exactly why I couldn’t continue as a freelancer and started the blog. So, I could get my designs out into the world for people to enjoy easily without having to go through art directors and publishers. Trying to get art out into the world as a freelancer is like trying to push a 20-foot round balloon through a 1 inch around hole. It’s frustrating and very little of your creative vision makes it out into the world. Having a blog is like pushing ideas down a waterfall! It’s blissfully easy and most of them stay afloat."
I asked Mary Beth what inspires her to continue designing, “It’s in my blood. I get up in the morning and I can’t wait to make something that never existed on the face of the earth before. I met a cool girl in a boutique in New York City once that immediately pegged me as an artist and told me she “sensed I had been making art for many lives.” So, there you go. That went straight on the old resume!”
Directly below are a few highlighted patterns by Mary Beth for you to check out. Clicking on any (or all!) of the images will take you to the pattern on her website.
She is currently “working on a cardigan and this year I plan to release many more unique garments down the stream. I also have a lot of ideas for jewelry made out of yarn, as opposed to thread.”
Mary Beth’s biggest tip to share with a new crafter? “Don’t ask other people what they think of your work. This will stifle your creativity. Do whatever it is you like to do, especially if it’s not what everyone else is doing.”
Mary Beth is married and has a son that is a 6-year-old Lego maniac. Also, “my two cats are eating machines.” She loves an obscure hobby – “I’m currently into Geocaching, Artist Trading Coin making and trading, and Postcrossing. Some of my past weird hobbies include Irish step dancing and competing in cake decorating competitions.”
I asked her what a typical Saturday morning looks like for her, “Lately I’m not a big fan of the weekend because there’s not much to do during this pandemic and it’s hard to come up with excuses to not clean the bathroom. I am not a morning person and am always the last person up in my house (besides the cats). I play with my son, do a little crochet work, procrastinate on cleaning the bathroom, pet my cats, make dinner for my family, and spend way too much time on Instagram.”
And, she has one more statement for our lovely readers, “Dear everyone, If you ever have any questions about crochet or design please don’t hesitate to contact and ask me.” So, with that said, how can you get in touch with Mary Beth? Well, below are her links. I encourage you to check out her work, follow her on social media and don’t be shy to reach out; she is an absolutely lovely person.
Business website: https://www.crochetwithmarybeth.com/
Thank you so much for taking the time to join us today and to meet Mary Beth. I hope you enjoyed reading and learning about her! Here’s wishing you a very lovely weekend that includes lots and lots (and even more lots!) of yarn!
~ Stacy J