Local Fallbrook resident Jeremy Leon Guerrero created an amigurumi crochet eastern dragon that went viral online.
Leon Guerrero had posted it to a local Facebook page to showcase his work.
“I had no idea it was going to blow up the way it did,” Leon Guerrero said. His first introduction to amigurumi, a way of crocheting things to make toys and dolls, was several years before when his boss introduced him and his co-workers to knitting.
They decided to take a knitting class during their lunch breaks. “The first class there was like 12, 13 people and two guys were in it,” Leon Guerrero said. “Then the next class there were only like six people left and by the third class I was the only one.
“For some reason I was Googling things online and I went onto YouTube to see if I could get better or try different things, and I got stuck on this black hole of amigurumi crochet,” Leon Guerrero said. “I ended up in this spiraling black hole and I haven’t stopped since,” he said, laughing.
Leon Guerrero said you first start by following a pattern that a designer comes up with. For this eastern dragon, he had been asked to test the pattern out by Megan Lapp, who runs a group on Facebook with a little over 7,000 members called ‘Crafty Intentions Amigurumi and Crochet Community.’
Though Lapp lives in Pennsylvania, she noticed Leon Guerrero’s enthusiasm and work within the group after he joined and asked him to come on board as a group moderator.
“Generally, people join when they find my patterns and purchase a pattern,” Lapp said. “I encourage them to join it and that’s the perfect place for them to share photos of their works in progress, photos of finished objects, or any questions that they have as they follow the pattern along the way, and I provide immediate support for questions.
“I also have a team of experienced moderators who are volunteers, and just enthusiastic, very familiar with my pattern and experienced crocheters.”
Lapp immediately had noticed his positive attitude.
“He was just so happy and kind and enthusiastic towards other members, and he claimed to be a beginner,” Lapp said. “He took on one of my more complex patterns to start with, I think it was the phoenix, and he did an amazing job and I took notice.”
Now, Leon Guerrero is a moderator along with 14 others. Lapp had asked him to test the eastern dragon pattern.
“When I write a pattern, it takes me maybe a couple of weeks to write it all down, type it up, format it, photograph every step.
“Then the next step in the process is to find between five and 15 volunteer testers who are willing to make the thing that I wrote the pattern for, and then give me edits and suggestions on the pdf,” Lapp said.
While Leon Guerrero considers himself still a beginner in comparison to others in the group, others who have seen his dragon don’t see it that way, and some have asked if he plans on selling his work.
“I made these for myself only because I just love the calming process of creating them,” Leon Guerrero said. “So many people have asked me to sell, so many people have asked me to make them for themselves or for gifts or whatever – I think I might do it now.”
Leon Guerrero is getting help from others on starting a page and working out commission prices. He hopes to be able to start soon after he has made enough duplicate pieces.
“It’s a different language when you’re reading it,” Leon Guerrero said on understanding the patterns.
“You just understand how things curve, or you understand how to make a straight line and then you can kind of shape it in your head, and if you write it down and get the shapes right you can do something,” he said.
“In the beginning it was tough,” Leon Guerrero added. “You just have to stick with it, power through the patterns, and if you make a mistake don’t be afraid to pull back and start again.”
Leon Guerrero still has one of his first pieces he made.
“It was the wonkiest elephant ever, but I still have it and if I look at him now compared to what I can make,” Leon Guerrero said. “I sometimes think, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I made this’ because that wonky elephant, no one would have liked that,” he said, laughing.
Leon Guerrero holds Lapp’s work in high regard.
“She creates whimsical creatures,” Leon Guerrero said. “Her dragons, her unicorns are beautiful. In the crochet world, it’s nice to give credit to people whose patterns you use.”
Lapp was complimentary of the project.
“He did a wonderful job and provided thorough notes, which is the most important to me because I want my patterns to be as clear as possible,” Lapp said.
“I ask my testers to attempt to take good photos of their work, because in the internet age that’s the only way it’s appreciated online,” Lapp said. “He (Leon Guerrero) went walking around town and got some really wonderful shots of his work, which I think is just fantastic.”
For more information on Lapp’s group, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/CraftyIntentionsCommunity.
Lexington Howe can be reached by email at email@example.com.