Courtesy Jennifer Larson
Jonah Larson taught himself to crochet when he was 5 years old by watching YouTube videos. Now 11 he’s been described as a “crochet prodigy”. He has his own crochet business called Jonah’s Hands based out of his home in La Crosse, Wisc.
Crochet also made him a social media star – but he doesn’t do it for fame. Jonah has more than 46,000 followers on Instagram, where he sells his goods.
“After a very hard, busy, chaotic day in this hectic world with school, it’s just nice to know that I can come home and crochet in my little corner of the house while sitting next to the one I love most: my mother, “Jonah tells NPR.
He tells NPR that his most difficult design was to crochet a blanket with 800 plush flowers on it.
Jonah regularly donates part of his goods and money to the Ethiopian orphanage from which he was adopted as a toddler.
His mom, Jennifer Larson, doesn’t crochet, but she runs his Instagram account and has joined several Facebook crochet groups on his behalf. It’s up to Jonah, she says, what he does with the winnings.
“I don’t buy him his yarn. He buys his own yarn with the proceeds,” she says. “He saves some money, he invests some money and he also donates. These are things that I think are important for adults in life, and I’m glad he can learn that at a young age.”
The crochet community has also responded positively and some people have even sent him custom hooks.
“I hope that people benefit when they see my work, that they are happy too,” says Jonah. “When I see my crochet when it’s done, I am blown away to know that I, an 11-year-old with a tiny crochet hook and a skein of yarn, made this amazing Afghan scarf, shawl, whatever. “
His story went viral after an article about him was published in a local newspaper last month. Jonah now has over 2,500 orders and is temporarily not taking any new inquiries.
His next goals: attend a crochet summer camp, attend the US military academy at West Point, and then become a surgeon.
Sydney Harper, Rebecca Ramirez, Emma Talkoff and Kelli Wessinger produced the broadcast version of this story. Alicia Montgomery edited it.
Lindsey Feingold is the NPR intern for digital content.