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  • June’s Designer of the Month – Wendy D. Johnson
  • Post author
    Josh Hutchison

June’s Designer of the Month – Wendy D. Johnson

2016 is the “Year of the Designer” for Feel Good Yarn Company.  The first Thursday of every month we will feature an interview with one of our favorite knitwear designers and the following week we will release a pattern designed exclusively for our SilverSpun® yarn by that designer.

On June 9, 2016 we will be releasing the pattern that Wendy designed using SilverSpun® Sock to our subscribers.  Be sure to sign up here so you don’t miss it.

Wendy D. Johnson is our June Designer of the Month and to be perfectly honest, I can't believe it!  About a year ago I got an order for yarn from a Wendy Johnson who lived in Alexandria, VA.  Coincidentally, just the day before, I had been thumbing through my copy of Wendy Knits and noticed that the author, Wendy D. Johnson, lived in Alexandria, VA, which is very close to Washington DC, where I live.  "This couldn't be the same person, could it?", I thought to myself.  How flattering (not to mention validating) would that be if the author of some of the best known sock and lace knitting books out there was ordering my yarn?  I emailed her and asked, and sure enough, it was her!  We have since become good "on-line" friends and when asked if she would design a pattern for the "Year of the Designer" she graciously agreed.  You can find Wendy on Ravelry, Instagram and her very popular blog, Wendy Knits.

And with that, I give you Wendy ….

Can you give us a little background intel on yourself? Where were you born? Do you still live there? How long have you been knitting? Who taught you to knit?

I was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, but only lived there for the first few months of my life. My dad was in the U.S. Navy so we lived all over when I was growing up. I learned to knit when I was 4 years old. One day after I got my hands on a screw driver and took my tricycle apart, my mother cast some stitches onto a needle and gave that to me, along with a book she had that showed how to knit in pictures, saying “figure this out.” I did, and I’ve pretty much never stopped!

Where do you do your designing? Do you have a special room in your house, a studio, a favorite chair?

Most of my designing is done at home, using my MacBook Pro, while I’m sitting on my couch. The idea for a design will happen anywhere, though. Sometimes I have something in mind and will think about it for days or weeks before committing it to electronic paper.

Where do your design inspirations come from? Nature, architecture, fine art, what?

Design inspiration comes from a wide variety of things – including all of the above. I love a wide variety of traditional knitting styles and techniques, so I often base designs on a traditional style or use traditional motifs.

Who are your favorite designers (and it doesn’t have to be knitwear designers)?

My hands-down favorite knitting designer is Alice Starmore. I first encountered her at a TKGA convention in the 1980s – she was the instructor for a colorwork class I took. I took several more classes form her at subsequent TKGA conventions. I’ve always loved her colorwork . . . and her cable designs ain’t bad either!

What is it about designing that gets you to jump out of bed every morning and grab the needles?

I think I must have a god complex because it is the joy of creating that keeps me enthusiastic. There’s just something exciting about being able to create something both useful and beautiful from a pile of string.

What do you have on your needles right now?

At the moment, I have none of my own designs on the needles. I’m finishing up an afghan from the second Rowan Martin Storey Afghan Knit-Along (you can see the box of afghan squares in my knitting spot photo above). The afghan is almost done: it’s put together and I’m now working on the edging.  That’s my “commuter” project. My “main” project is Alice Starmore’s Kinsale gansey (from her Fishermen’s Sweaters book) that I’m knitting in cream colored organic cotton.

While designing your piece for FGYCo, what qualities of SilverSpun® did you find most appealing?

I love the elasticity that the bit of spandex adds, and I love the incredibly softness of the yarn. Last year I knit a chemo cap out of SilverSpun® for a friend undergoing chemotherapy, and she really appreciated the softness of the yarn against her very sensitive skin. The strand of silver, I’m sure, added to the therapeutic qualities of the hat.

Do you have any other passions besides knitting?

I am a voracious reader and will read pretty much anything, as long as it is well-written. I’m also an animal lover and a certified Crazy Cat Lady. If I were to win the lottery, I’d buy a piece of land and build The Crazy Cat Lady’s Cat Compound and adopt all the homeless cats I could. But because I live in a two-bedroom condo, I have limited myself to one feline companion: Loki, my lilac point Ragdoll.

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On June 9, 2016 we will be releasing the pattern that Wendy designed using SilverSpun® Sock to our subscribers.  Be sure to sign up here so you don’t miss it.

  • Post author
    Josh Hutchison