Meet Our Class Teacher: Linda Dean!



Get to know the talented and passionate teachers at Jimmy Beans Wool through our engaging Q&A sessions! Today, we’re excited to introduce Linda Dean, a dedicated crochet instructor whose journey began at the age of 10 and has evolved into a lifelong passion 


How did you first get started with craft, and what drew you to teach it? 

I found my way to crochet when I was 10. At this time my family was living without electricity so finding things to keep you busy was always a benefit. My sister and I were given a box of books, and among them were a few "learn how to" books from Penny Press Publishing. Included in these was knitting and crocheting. My sister took the knitting and I picked up the crochet. I located some yarn and a hook from my grandmother and began to follow the directions from the book. It took some time, but I figured it out and jumped into making clothes for my Barbie. My mom eventually let me buy some new yarn and I began making afghans for the family. After crocheting for about 25 years, I was introduced to the Crochet Guild of America and the Master Program they offered. I decided to challenge myself with the Master of Advanced Stitches and Techniques program and successfully passed. After successfully completing this program I had friends and co-workers actually ask me to start teaching them. It always amazes me how that simple piece of paper then gave me the "credentials" necessary for people in my life to believe I actually understood the craft. I began teaching at a local coffee shop, and decided to complete the Craft Yarn Council Certified Instructors Program to ensure I knew how to teach. That was well over a decade ago, and I have been hooked since.


Can you share a bit about your teaching approach and what folks who take your class can expect? 

I believe everyone should enjoy the journey. Everyone has a specific goal or vision of what crochet is to them and I want to help everyone achieve this goal. To accomplish this I take a unique teaching approach that welcomes all skill levels in the same class and I teach every student according to their skill level and goals individually in a group setting. This allows the students to gain inspiration from each other, while not feeling like they are in a race or competition with anyone else in the room. Everyone has their own unique project, and gains a new group of friends to help encourage them along in acquiring new skills. If you don't have a project in mind, suggestions can be offered. I also help build knowledge not just in the skills of crochet but in the tools and yarn to be successful. 


What do you hope students take away from your classes beyond technical skills? 

I hope that students gain a new level of confidence beyond the technical skill of crochet. That they can undertake a new project, a new skill, that they can make mistakes and decide if they really need to fix them. I hope that they make new friends and feel that they have found a new safe place to love yarn. I strive to build a community, and empower people through craft. Granted if I can end up with crochet world dominance, that is okay too. 


Do you have a favorite project or technique that you love to teach? If so, what makes it special to you? 

A technique that probably is near and dear to me to teach is Backed Broomstick Lace, as it was the first design I ever had published and helped launch my international teaching career. However a skill that I really love to teach and find a way to work it into my classes is information about yarn and hooks. I can talk for hours on these topics as I think they are things that are taken for granted in the craft yet make a huge difference in the end product. 


What advice would you give to someone new to knitting/crocheting/needle felting and feeling intimidated by the learning process? 

Advice for someone intimidated to try one of the fiber crafts is simple, you will do great. None of these crafts are new, they have been around for generations, and there is no one way to do them. Everyone brings their own unique vision and thought to the craft, and your vision has value. A phrase I am known to use in class is this: "You make one mistake; it's a design element, if you repeat; it's a pattern". 


How do you like to unwind (pun-intended!) after a long day?

As far as how I unwind, well that one changes often. I have been known to take long walks, take middle eastern belly dance classes, indulge in reading, I might spend an evening listening to music, learning Scandinavian baking techniques, I might be binge watching movies with my young adult children, but the most important one is visiting with friends. And ironically I have done all these things with a hook in hand. 

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