≡ Menu

Interview: Wendy Knits

Visiting today, we have Wendy D. Johnson from Wendy Knits. Let’s give her a warm, Knitting Scholar welcome, shall we?

(sound of knitting needle applause)

So, you’ve got a new book , Socks from the Toe Up, coming out, and I gather by the title that it’s about, well, socks? What made you decide to focus on socks?

The publisher, Potter Craft, approached me about doing a book on socks from the toe up and I was only too happy to oblige!

Your first book was as much memoir as knitting patterns, I’m guessing this one is different?

It is indeed! The book starts off with an extensive illustrated step-by-step “how-to section” – all the techniques you need to know to knit toe-up socks. The patterns themselves are divided into sections: Simple Lace, Intermediate Lace, Advanced Lace , Textured Gansey, Cabled, and Sportweight. There are 20 patterns total in those sections, and three basic or “template” sock patterns.

What are you most excited about, in this book?

Something I had absolutely nothing to do with: the incredible photography! I can’t wait for everyone to see the book because it is so pretty.

What are you doing to launch the book? There’s been an obvious focus on socks on your blog for a while–not exactly a surprise–is there any type of knitting that you’ve missed doing?

Not really. While I’ve been focusing on socks, I do throw in something else from time to time – a sweater, a shawl, mittens, etc.

Your page of finished objects is impressive. You seem to have tried just about every type of knitting out there.  Is that out of curiosity? Personal challenge? Boredom?


I go through periods in my knitting where I become obsessed with a particular type of knitting, and that’s all I want to do. Then I get bored and move on to something else.

Do you think of yourself as an adventurous knitter? You don’t seem to be afraid of anything. Lace. Color work. Cables. Steeks. Does nothing faze you?

I guess I am adventurous. And I can’t think of anything that fazes me, knitting-wise. After all – it’s just sticks and string, right?

Are there any knitting traditions you have NOT tried? And, do you want to?

There’s nothing I can think of off the top of my head. I’m sure there are knitting traditions out there I’ve not yet discovered, though.

Techniques or styles you don’t like?

I don’t like entrelac because I think it is, well, kind of ugly.

For a cold, dreary, rainy day … what’s your ideal “comfort” knitting?

Lace! Light-as-a-cloud lace in a luxury fiber.

I don’t remember ever seeing any novelty yarn on your blog. Did I blink? Or do you truly never use it?

I have used very little novelty yarn in my life. Somewhere in my blog is a photo of Lucy draped in a fun fur scarf (and looking embarrassed). But as I recall, that was a partial skein I was given and I knit it, just to see what it looked like knit up.

I’ve wanted to tell you for the longest time that yours was the very first knitting blog I ever read–even before I really knew what a blog was. (A website that updates every day, how cool.) What made you start blogging?

I took up blogging out of boredom! I was at a two-week training course for work, sitting in a motel room in Pensacola Beach, Florida during what was probably the rainiest 2 weeks there since the advent of recorded time. I had a laptop with me and a dial-up AOL connection (although the phone lines keep going down due to high wind), and set up a blog using blogger and hosted it at blogspot. Soon after I returned home to my high-speed connection, I moved the blog to wendyjohnson.net. A couple of years later I moved it again to wendyknits.net

(Editor’s Note: I hope you appreciate how I toned down the gushing.)

What are your favorite kinds of posts to write? Humorous? Informative? Instructive? General? Or the mish-mash kind that have a little of everything?

I love writing up tutorials with step-by-step instructions for doing something. (See my “How to create a chart in Microsoft Word” post) In the past I’ve worked as a technical writer documenting systems and software, so I do love to write up how-to stuff! And I love off-the-wall posts that have nothing to do with knitting. Because I just crack me up sometimes.

Your record of posting every day is darn impressive–any tips for for bloggers who struggle with that?

Keeping a blog and making a commitment to post to it “x” number of days a week is a great writing exercise. I actually post only 5 days a week, so having the weekends off helps me keep to that schedule. If you can’t think if anything to blog about, you just have to sit down and start writing. Some of my blog posts are (cough cough) less than stellar. But a Lucy picture always helps!

Are the daily pictures of Lucy her idea? Is she secretly in charge?

No question. Lucy has me wrapped around her floofy little paw.

(Editor’s Note: Ahem. Not something I can relate to at all! (cough) Because, I have a DOG ( who’s got me wrapped around his paw).)

It’s always refreshing to find someone who puts fewer miles on her car than I do. (My more vehicularly-active relatives always laugh at me.) What is your odometer up to these days? (Mine, for my 7-year old car, is just under 50,000.)

I currently have about 11,500 miles on my 2004 Honda Civic, which I bought on February 28, 2004.

Do you still spin? You started just before I did (in fact, your spindle purchases got me started), but I haven’t seen any handspun yarn in a while.

Sadly I no longer spin, due to back problems. I sold all my wheels except my Lendrum, which is folded away in its carrying case, waiting for the day that I can get a spine transplant. ;-)

Clearly, you’ve been an inspiration to me, and I know you have been to countless other knitters and knit-bloggers out there … how does that make you feel? Proud, awed, and just a little bit humble?

Amazed! Gobsmacked! Grateful!

And how about you? Who has inspired you as a knitter and/or as a blogger?

So . . . much . . . inspiration. I’m inspired by everything around me – stuff I see everyday, blogs and magazines I read, knitters I know “in real life.”

Best blog comment ever?

That’s hard to narrow down, but the comments that I love best are ones from people who’ve told me that my adopting Lucy from a rescue organization has inspired them to adopt a pet from a shelter. Also, I love to have knitters tell me they have tried something outside their comfort zone because I encouraged them to do so.


Are there any crafts that you’re interested in but haven’t tried? But that you’d like to?

I’ve tried a lot of them (including making paper!) and knitting is the only one that really stuck. I did sew for years, but that stemmed more from a desire for couture-quality clothing than from creative impulse – I always followed a pattern when I was sewing.

So, when you’re not at work, not knitting, not blogging, and not adoring Lucy … what other things do you do in your free time?

Classic movies! I love classic movies, and my very favorites are British films from the 1940s through 1960s. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: my dream job would be introducing the movies on Turner Classic Movies. I will also admit to a liking for Irish and Scottish whisky.

If you had an extra two hours in the day, what would you do with them?

Knit! Preferably while watching a David Lean film.

Name one yarn you’ve never tried but would love to knit with.

Off the top of my head I can’t think of one that I want to try that I haven’t.

(Editor’s Note: Lucky!)

What is the one thing you would want to say to a new knitter?

Be fearless! Don’t pay too much attention to people who say they are afraid to try a knitting technique (steeking comes to mind). If you screw up you knitting, at the very worst you’ve wasted time and yarn. And you probably learned something from it.

You work in a secret, government agency, right? Admit it. It’s just a cover for some kind of knitting superhero, right? If you could have a superpower (knitting or otherwise), what would it be?

Okay, you are on to me. I am on the shortlist to be named to President Obama’s Cabinet in a new position: Secretary of Knitting, heading a new agency: the Department of Knitting If I had a superpower . . . do I have to narrow it down to just one?

Since this IS a site for book reviews–two questions: What do you look for in a book review?

I like knowing the number and type of patterns, the size ranges, and the yarns used. And I do like hearing the reviewer’s opinion of the book, even if it differs from mine!

And, since I’m slowly working my way through my knitting book collection, are there any particular books–other than your own, of course–that you’d like to see reviewed? Maybe I could bump something up the list for you?

I’d love to see both Carol Sulcoski’s Knitting Socks With Handpainted Yarns and Cookie A’s Sock Innovation reviewed because I am all about the socks.

(Editor’s Note: Um, I reviewed Carol’s book in December, and Cookie’s? I’ve actually got it right here, just have to get the review written up. So, it’s coming!)

Thanks so much, Wendy! Books (so far):

Other posts for this author:

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • maria March 13, 2009, 12:26 am

    Hmm. This makes me wonder which knit blog was the first I read. I think it was ChicKnits. (Which I still read!)

    I love Wendy’s site and her socks. This interview was great, and I can’t wait for her book!

    maria´s last blog post..I’m it!

  • --Deb March 13, 2009, 8:11 am

    I KNOW that Wendy’s was the first blog I read because I was knitting a Dale of Norway sweater and getting hung up on the rows of 3-color knitting. So I did a Google search for tips and came across a post of hers where she talked about it, and then I browsed around a little. Then I started checking every day. Then I started clicking links in her Blogroll. Then I signed up for Bloglines. Then started my own blog … you get the idea!

    –Deb´s last blog post..Interview: Wendy Knits

  • Wendy March 13, 2009, 8:14 am

    Thanks for the great interview, Deb! :-D

    Wendy´s last blog post..About Those Kneesocks . . .

  • Mickie March 15, 2009, 6:52 pm

    I enjoyed your interview with Wendy it was great. Can’t wait for her new book. I believe her blog was the 2nd one I started to read.

  • Marta March 16, 2009, 3:58 am

    Wendy’s was also my first knitting blog. I have been reading it daily for years – and it always is an inspiration for me. Thank you for this interview, i enjoyed it very much!

  • Danielle from SW Mo March 16, 2009, 6:58 am

    Thanks for the Great Interview!! Wendy’s is actually my second blog find and is one of my “daily reads” as well. I just cant get enough of Miss Lucy, and neither can my boy kitties :-).I cant wait to get my hands on her books and will be making an order from B&N pretty soon.

  • Chris March 16, 2009, 7:41 am

    That was fun! I’m looking forward to the new book.

  • Susan March 16, 2009, 10:24 am

    Great interview — except not enough gussing, I think.

    WendyKnits was the first knitting blog I read, and even after many years, I am still in awe of her knitting skills, and how much she shares with her readers.

    Thanks for the review.

    Susan´s last blog post..Dyed in the Wool

  • --Deb March 16, 2009, 4:29 pm

    She certainly has been a trend-setter! I’m glad you’re all enjoying the interview–I know I did!

Next post:

Previous post:

%d bloggers like this: