Over the weekend author Donna Druchunas visited the blog to talk about writing her new book, Ethnic Knitting Discovery. I found her post fascinating and asked her a few follow-up questions that she’s agreed to answer here:
AOH: Since this book is not a standard collection of designs, what kind of knitting did you do in preparation and while you were writing it?
DONNA: I didn’t do much knitting specifically for this book, but I’ve been designing my own sweaters for years. The first time I designed my own sweater from scratch, it was such a freeing experience that I knew I’d eventually want to do something to help other knitters share in that feeling of freedom. I’m now working on designing several sweaters from the book that will be featured in a gallery on my website. I’m very interested in hearing from readers and seeing what they come up with, and I will be opening up the gallery so that readers can send in photos of their designs for me to post. I hope everyone who uses the book will also feel free to share their design process and finished sweaters with the world on their blogs, flickr pages, and so forth.
AOH: Did you travel for your research?
DONNA: This book was very much an armchair-travel research project for me. I ended up buying current and out-of-print books about each of the regions I was interested in. I also took classes on several of the topics in the book over the years because I love learning new knitting techniques and trying out new types of sweater construction. I use knitting as a way to explore my own creativity through the endless possibilities for combining texture, color, and fiber into new combinations.
I also learned a lot of fun tricks and technique that didn’t make it into the book that I’ll be adding to my website over time. I’m hoping to develop a kind of repository for information about ethnic knitting techniques with links to interesting information on websites around the world. Unfortunately, I only speak four languages, and only one with any degree of fluency.
AOH: You use drawings instead of photographs when you talk about the construction styles in the book. Do you think that helps to “draw out” your readers’ own creativity?
DONNA: That was my idea exactly. I discussed this in detail with my publisher before we got started on the book. I didn’t want to include photographs of specific sweaters, because I was afraid that readers would want to make those exact garments instead of using their innate creativity (all knitters are creative!) to design their own special garments. I am so thrilled with the way the illustrators took my kindergarten-style sketches and turned them into textured drawings that really convey the feeling of the finished garments that I had in mind, without limiting the unique imagination that each reader brings to the page.
Thanks again, Donna, for taking the time to write the guest post and to answer my follow-up questions. I look forward to following the rest of your exciting blog tour.