Face Time: Jay’s Nancy Chaney – combining nursing and craftsmanship

Nancy Chaney de Jay has been knitting, crocheting and crafting for years in her spare time. Chaney, center, stands next to her husband, Ted, and daughters, left to right, Hailey, Hannah, Hillary and Heather. (photo sent)

JAY — Nancy Chaney is a registered nurse who learned to knit and crochet with her mother years ago.

Jay’s Nancy Chaney is a registered nurse and does a variety of crafts in her spare time. (photo sent)

She extended her craft skills to sewing, quilt making and jewelry.

She worked at Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington for 18 years, currently as a clinical coordinator, which sounds like a nurse supervisor.

Chaney usually works nights and does crafts in his spare time. In fact, if she doesn’t do crafts every few days, she gets anxious, she says.

Chaney graduated from Livermore Falls High School in 1984 and moved to Jay in 1989. She has been married to her husband, Teddy, for nearly 30 years. They have four daughters, Heather, Hillary, Hannah and Hailey.

When did you learn to knit, crochet and sew? I learned to knit and crochet with my mother many years ago. She knitted socks and loved making knit sweaters for her grandchildren. She died when I was 18, and over time I picked her up as a way to connect with her. I tried sewing at home (economy) in school. I expanded on this when the kids were little by making them pajamas and trying my hand at quilting. Recently, I tried my hand at jewelry making.

Here are some of the items Jay’s Nancy Chaney makes in her spare time. (photo sent)

Why do you enjoy doing the crafts that you do? Knitting and crocheting are incredible stress relievers for me. Rhythm and repetition can be very soothing. Things like making socks are instinctive now and it’s a great escape from work. I love my job, but it wears you out sometimes. It is beautiful and difficult work that I love.

What is your most favorite and hardest item to make? I like to love making socks. I tend to stick with a style that I don’t really need to use a pattern for anymore, but have tried to learn new styles, like spiked socks and different types of heels. I find quilts to be my biggest challenge. I can handle basic patterns on a large scale, but the more complex assemblies intimidate me. If I make a mistake while knitting or crocheting, it’s usually pretty easy to fix. If I make a mistake in a quilt, it can be a huge undertaking to fix it.

Do you create your crafts for the family or does it go beyond that? At first I was just doing things for family and friends, but recently I’ve started making items to sell and taking special orders from people. I have a Facebook page, Maine Mountain Crafts, as well as an Instagram of the same name. I also have an Etsy shop, although it’s rarely fully stocked because I have so many orders from friends and family. I recently had a logo for the site developed by Barbara Richards at Office Services on Demand and I’m working on a logo for a line of hats.

How many skeins of yarn do you go through per year? I can’t even imagine how much yarn I buy in a year, it’s a bit of an obsession. I like to hold it and think about what it might become.

With a full-time job, where do you find the time to create? I make time for my crafts because it’s therapeutic and makes me feel calmer. I actually get a little anxious if I haven’t crafted for a few days. It keeps me sane.

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