Over the next few months Bela Crochets will be featuring a series of fantastic crocheters. I have interviewed these wonderful makers to help you find new people to follow and to get in touch with other crocheters like yourself.
For week five I have interviewed Jacki Donhou, the maker behind Dear Jacki Stitchery
Crocheter: Dear Jacki Stitchery
Greetings from Jacki – Dear Jacki Stitchery: Ello! I am Jacki Donhou and I am the designer and creator behind DearJackiStitchery. I am a wife and mother in suburbia of the PNW. Coffee runs through my veins and I have a special place in my heart for yarn and goats in pajamas.
How did you come up with your business name?
Finding the right business name can be very daunting. DearJackiStitchery is the third name that I have had in the last decade. I wanted to steer away from the fun and catchy to something simpler and rememberable. It had to represent me as well as what I do. It took a front and back sheet of lined paper and a thesaurus to decide on the final name choice of DearJackiStitchery.
What inspired you to start crocheting?
I wasn’t inspired to start crocheting. It was more of something for my hands to do, to keep my sanity. Making the decision to be a stay at home parent, and in a new state with no friends, I needed to keep myself busy.
How long have you been crocheting?
It has been 9 years of getting to know this art. I say getting to know because it is forever changing and evolving. There is always new trick to learn or a new set of skills on a different platform that you can teach yourself to continue to sculpt your craft.
What was the first thing you ever crocheted? Do you have a picture?
The first thing I ever made was a pale pink scarf for my youngest daughter, she was 3 years old at the time. I choose this item because the photo was beautiful, and I didn’t like the plain, basic starter scarves. Well, unknown to me this was an intermediate pattern. When I finished, she hugged it and smiled while I cried and got so mad that I through the pink yarn in the trash. My daughter still has this piece. Although she doesn’t wear it any more, she loves it so much that she tucked it away in the back of the bottom drawer of her dresser. You know, for safe keeping. There maybe a photo on my Instagram feed for proof.
What is your favorite thing to crochet?
My heart belongs to amigurumi, chibi and plush animals! I really tried with the accessories and wearables, but they just don’t have those adorable little faces! I think it all stems from seeing my daughters face when I made the first one. It was like Christmas for her. She now knew that mommy could make toys! HA!
What have you created that you are the most proud of?
It’s hard to pick one project that I am most proud of. Every new design and creation is hard to let go! But if there must be one, I’d say my Fairlee the Unicorn pattern. This was the breakthrough design that started the DJS style that we all know today.
How long have you had a crochet business?
I started my Etsy shop in 2012, with only 2 years of crocheting experience. Back then I sold mostly Monsters and lovey blankets.
What are the main focuses of your crochet business?
Staying focus can be a difficult task. Each month is usually split in half. The first half is used to research, design and create a pattern, get it written, tested, and photographed to go live by the end of that month. The second half is utilized by handmaking product. This way my shop has not only patterns to create your own DJS plush friend but also premade product that can be purchased and shipped out as gifts.
What are your ultimate goals as a crocheter?
My long-term goal is to have a book of my own designs. I love creating and sharing this passion with others. It’s a wonderful art and I believe there are a whole new generation out there that would love this craft! It is no longer your grandma’s crochet.
Do you have any must-have accessories when crafting?
My must have craft supply is locking stitch markers. I love them. I eventually want to get some pretty ones.
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Do you do any other fiber crafts?
Crochet is the only fiber craft so far. I am taking a course next month to learn how to sew. That way I can dust off my sewing machine! Eventually, I’ll learn how to knit, cross stitch and to spin but I’d love to do macramé. Maybe this summer I’ll have a chance to learn more skills and widen my brand.
Do you have any non-fiber related hobbies? What do you do when you’re not crocheting?
When I am not working on designing, I am usually working in my garden. I love spring and playing in soil to plant new flowers. There is a little garden shop I like to visit about 15 minutes away from me that gets the most unusual plants and foliage. I love having something unique to show my friends. It brings a new life to the same routine to see around here.
Are there any crafters you would like to send a shout out to?
My list of designers I most admire is so large! But if I am going to give a shout out, it must be for all my testers and Liz @ Shopintaglio. I would not be where I am without these wonderful people. My testers Simone, Sabina, Patricia, Lindsay, Cheryl, Melissa, Kimberly, Alexandria and Emily are amazing, and I couldn’t ask a better team! Liz @ Shopintaglio makes my wonderful butt tags for all my plush. She has a wonderful company that supports the local community and promotes female leadership. All these ladies make DearJackiStitchery what it is today and what it will be in the future.
Are there any big projects you are currently working on?
Big project, Yes indeed! If all goes as planed, 2020 will be a great year!
In the meantime, here is a sneak peak of a fox pattern that I have been working on.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
Small businesses like mine, love reviews. If you ever have a chance to purchase a pattern or a product from a local business, help us out by leaving a review of your experience. Even if it is only 5 stars with no comment. This helps us all grow as a business as well as designers. It gives us encouragement to keep dreaming and creating. We need small, local business. Thank you!
You can find Dear Jacki Stitchery by clicking the following hyperlinks: