Dona is a crocheter who sells work on Etsy. She has a great store called Onajeans. Although it was originally the products in the store that caught my attention, what really intrigued me was the story behind the work. Dona explains that she learned to crochet from her mom, Ona Jean. Both women have grandchildren that they enjoy crocheting for. What really touches me about this is how crochet can bring together women (and men sometimes) across generations in the joy of crafting, self-expression and creating for others.
Dona, a San Francisco Bay Area crocheter, agreed to an Etsy crochet interview here on the site. I posed a few questions and she mulled over her responses, giving all of us some great insight into crochet. Here’s what she had to say:
“I was around twelve when I first learned to crochet. The first thing I learned to crochet was the “chain” like so many other people first learn. I learned crocheting from my mother who is left-handed. I am right-handed. I still crochet left-handed even some thirty five years later. It feels very awkward to crochet right-handed. Can’t do it!
I love crocheting blankets. I must have made hundreds over the years. My poor family – everyone owns several – plus anyone who has had a baby shower in the last 10 years has gotten one! I simply cannot hold still so I found that crochet is the perfect way for me to relax in the evening while watching TV.
My mother learned to crochet from her neighbor when she was nine years old. I believe that there were a lot of doilies made at that time. She taught her own mother, Leona, to crochet and then later she taught me and eventually my own daughter Mandy.
Mandy was the one to encourage me to make hats to sell on Etsy. I thought she was crazy. And I told her that. Who in the world would buy anything that I made? I had no idea how to make hats. My daughter has a baby girl that she wanted hats and headbands for so she kept encouraging me to give it a shot. She bought me a hat pattern. And while on vacation to Arizona to visit my mother she and I started to learn to make hat together. We had so much fun and there was a lot of shared laughter.
Those hats were pretty rough at first but eventually together we came up with a pretty cute hat. Mandy set up the Etsy site for us and I was a nervous wreck. I thought for sure all I would hear was cricket….cricket… no one would buy a thing! But I actually sold my first hat right away! It took me 12 hours to make and I cried through the whole thing!! It was a good thing we didn’t sell 2 the first day!! Now we have a system in place. My daughter and I make the hats, Mom makes the flowers, husband sews the flowers on. (He will kill me for adding that)
I love to crochet – maybe too much – it is very relaxing. I also love the extra money it brings in, doing something that I enjoy. I am now able to stay home and watch my granddaughter during the day. She is five and is asking me to teach her!! And on it goes.”
What a lovely story about crocheting through the generations! Do you have your own crochet story? Leave it in the comments … or if you’re really motivated, feel free to contact me about having your story told on the site!
Make sure to check out Ona Jean’s Handmade Treasures on Etsy!