Jen Chapman is a published designer of several crochet patterns. Here's a Bio on her:
Unlike the majority of crocheters, I did not learn to crochet as a child. I am a “leftie” and despite the efforts of my “right-handed” mom, it just did not click for me. In grade school I spent my free time hand weaving friendship bracelets and in high school I started making jewelry. After collage I got pretty good at making custom jewelry sets and several of the local bridal shops were selling my pieces. I really enjoyed working with brides to design pieces for their bridesmaids or something special for them to wear on their wedding day.
Unfortunately, one day out of the blue I began experiencing stroke like symptoms including weakness and tremors on my left side. I was admitted to the hospital and underwent a battery of tests and was diagnosed with MS. The next couple of years were a blur of doctors’ appointments, therapy, and hospital stays. I could not get the weakness and tremors in my left hand under control. Being a “leftie”, this was a really big deal for me. I could no longer work with tiny jump rings and crystals to assemble a simple necklace. So, I packed up all of my jewelry supplies and felt like I was packing up a part of myself at the same time.
After a while, I knew I had to find something that would allow me to express myself creatively. I stumbled back onto crochet one day when I was at my mom’s house. Watching her crochet beautiful items for my daughter with just a hook and a ball of yarn, I knew I wanted to be able to make these beautiful things for my grandchildren one day. I decided to call around and see if anyone offered crochet classes for “lefties” and I found one at my local JoAnns. After 2 classes I was “hooked”.
I must have made a hundred scarves and blankets that first year. As time went on, I started learning new stitches, working with different types of yarn and how to read patterns. Before long I was writing my own patterns and had friends asking if I could teach them to crochet. Wanting to do more, I became a member of CGOA, (Crochet Guild of America) and helped organize crochet & knit events for local charities and even started teaching classes at my local yarn shop. I love designing shawls, wraps and cowls that can be used to dress up an outfit. I am still in shock that my patterns are published in magazines, on Ravelry under the name jlcreations, and that I have even paired up with local indie dyers. My dreams are all coming true and could not be happier.
My passion for crochet goes beyond just working with hooks. It allows me to express myself creatively and helps me heal. Crocheting is more than a hobby. It is my lifestyle, and I am rarely seen sitting still without a hook in my hand. As wonderful and rewarding as that is, the best thing to come from learning to crochet is that my left hand has gotten stronger in the process.
Before starting a new project, I recommend reading over the entire pattern to make sure you understand what stitches are used and if there are special notes as to how the pattern is worked up. I keep erasable pens and highlighters nearby keep track of where I am and to mark anything I need to remember. Highlighting the rows in the Spring Fling Cowl that have stitch count changes will help you ensure that you are did not miss an increase or decrease.