Thursday, September 23, 2010

Brave New Knits and a Contest

When I got my copy of Julie Turjoman: Brave New Knits, I was instantly enchanted by it on a couple of different levels. Certainly, there was the immediate reaction to the beauty. Jared Flood's photography is stunning, as always.

After that initial flip through, I took a little more time to look at the projects and realized that there several things in it that I wanted to knit. Actually, it was more than that. What I realized was that all of the patterns were wonderful, that there weren't any duds. Like many knitters, I feel like a book has to have at least two designs in it that I think I'm going to knit before I'll buy it. This one had that and more!

Then there was the "will I actually read it test". I think sometimes pattern books get a quick glance and then they go to the bookshelf to be pulled down when you're ready to use them. Brave New Knits was different. I took it home and read it. All of it. It was wonderful to see how the the online lives of old friends like Stef Japel (Waves Pullover shown here in Mirth) and Wendy Bernard (Textured Tam in Pond Blue) had unfolded. It was even more fun to meet new friends like Ruth P. of Wooly Wormhead and Teresa Gregorio of CanaryKnits.

It all made me a little curious about the author and how the book unfolded. So I decided to ask. Here's a little peek behind the curtain.


Tell me a little about yourself, what's your background?

I grew up in a suburb of New York City as the oldest daughter of an artist mother who painted beautifully and could draw like an angel. I quickly realized that I needed to distinguish myself from the artistic media in which Mom had already cornered the market. As a young adult I spent my leisure time crouching over a potter’s wheel with my hands sunk into mounds of wet clay, making useful stuff such as teapots, plates, and bowls. For many years I embraced quilting; a couple of my original designs won ribbons at state and national shows. I worked for many years as an interior designer, and that training definitely informs my knitting designs today – my passion for color, form, and texture always guide my choices.

What was your first knitting project?

Needing a new hobby to keep my hands busy, I started knitting soon after I finished college. My first project was a simple Stockinette vest, made out of the first hand-dyed yarn I had ever seen. This was back in the 1980s, when the yarn choices were mighty slim compared to what we have at our disposal today. That yarn contained all the colors of a tropical sunset – so gorgeous that I almost wanted to eat it rather than knit with it! I can still summon the sense memory of that amazing fiber sliding through my fingers as I labored over the vest. Don’t think I ever actually wore it, but it’s still around my house somewhere.


What project have you learned the most from?

Early in my knitting life, I made everything in pieces. Then I made my first Icelandic sweater. That project got me to try knitting in the round for the first time. I did my first ever colorwork on the yoke. And I used waste yarn to hold the live stitches for the sleeves, which I picked up later and worked from the yoke down to the cuff. That was a LOT of new information in a single project!

What is your "go to" knit? What do you knit over and over?

My favorite knitting project is a sweater, but since they take a substantial time commitment I usually have a smaller project going at the same time. I’ve made several lace shawls, and around the holidays I tend to make lots of hats as gifts. Generally, I like to try new things so I don’t have a true “go-to” knit.

Can you tell me a little about the genesis of this book? How did you come up with the concept?

A few years ago, knowing how much time I spent reading knitting blogs and cruising around Ravelry, it hit me that there had to be thousands of others with the same curiosity about the designer-bloggers whose work I admired. But in addition to the time I spend on social media and on the internet’s vast resources for knitters, I have a shelf full of well-loved knitting books. It occurred to me that there could be a place for a volume that brought the talents of designer-bloggers to the reading public in book form. Pairing each designer’s profile with a special pattern created a tangible extension of his or her personality.

How did you pick the people you included in the book? There are really big names here as well as some rising stars.

While I wanted to bring attention to the rising stars whose work merits a wider audience, my editor impressed upon me that it’s those big names that sell books. The celebrity designers in Brave New Knits were incredibly gracious with their time and generous with their talent, and it was my goal to make sure their interviews contributed new information to their fans. Since the book’s release, many knitters have told me how excited they were to be introduced to some new designers with whose work they had previously been unfamiliar.


Tell me about your interview process. The bios were fascinating.

I’m a curious person, and it was wonderful to have the opportunity to interview such a talented group of designers. I traveled as much as my budget would allow, to meet designers in person. Most of those I couldn’t get to (such as Mari Muinonen in Finland and Ysolda Teague in Scotland) were able to talk to me via Skype – another example of how our knitters’ community relies on the internet. Using a digital voice recorder, I taped each interview to ensure that I would have accurate quotes, and to help keep each individual designer’s personality fresh in my mind. I wrote a first draft of each profile as quickly as possible after the actual interview, but then spent countless hours reshaping and polishing it into final form.

What kind of direction did you provide for them in terms of their projects? Who picked what type of project ie sweater, accessorry? Yarn type? Color story?

Because this is such a personality-driven book, I especially wanted to be sure that each project was a reflection of its designer’s identity. Certain designers are known for making a specific kind of project, and I wanted them to be free to indulge that passion; for instance, Anne Hanson is known for her gorgeous lace, and Chrissy Gardiner has published a book of toe-up sock designs. I wanted the book to include a good mix of garments and accessories, but I’m well aware of the huge time commitment required to design a sweater. I really appreciated that several designers were willing to take on those large-scale projects. Several designers suggested yarns they felt would be appropriate for their projects, and others were happy to take my suggestions.

There were so many wonderful people on this project...How did you manage to coordinate all those schedules and deadlines?!

I’m fairly organized and have a healthy respect for deadlines, but I understand that not everyone works that way. I created spreadsheets to keep track of the interviews and the book’s projects. I sent out gentle reminders when necessary, but for the most part the designers exceeded my expectations. They are professionals, after all, and many are accustomed to the submission process for knitting magazines – even the newer designers who have other day jobs understand the importance of meeting their commitments. But I hate to bug people, so I was thrilled when many of the designers sent me their completed projects early!

So, I promised you a contest didn't I? Well, Julie was nice enough to send along a signed copy of the book. In addition, the lucky winner will receive Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn so they can make Ysolda's Orchid Thief Shawlette*. I picked this project because it's the one going on needles next for me. I'm just dithering about color now.

To enter the contest, make a comment. I'll leave the contest open through Monday, September 27 and pick a winner using a number generator on the 28th. Thanks for playin'.

*Errata for this pattern can be found here.

241 comments:

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vtknitboy said...

awesome! love the stories. and the pattern.

Jessica said...

Beautiful patterns! :) The Orchid Thief is my favorite...

Thriftgoddess! said...

I love the purple blouse and the hat! Looks like they'd be fun to knit.

Helen said...

Me, me, pick me! That shawl is beautiful.

faerieflings said...

I've been excited about this book! Now I really need to get my hands on a copy. :)

Amanda said...

Wow, the Orchid Thief Shawlette is gorgeous!

earthchick said...

Love love LOVE that gorgeous purple sweater!

shan said...

i have been pining after this book! what a beautiful book and great interview.

Jennifer said...

This book looks Amazing! I can't wait to get a copy. :)

Anna said...

I'd love to win! Thanks so much for sponsoring the contest.

Susan C. said...

Love that purple sweater - sign me up for the contest! :)

BeccaH said...

Oooh - gotta love a new book! Lovely pattern too!

Emma said...

Love that pattern!

Avila said...

That shawl is gorgeous! I've heard a lot of great things about this book and would love to win :)

Genevieve said...

The book sounds brilliant and the pattern you picked is fantastic. Here's to hoping!

brett said...

Beautiful knits! Would be cool to win.

Kristine said...

ohhh, that's orchard thief shawl is beautiful!

Tara said...

What a cool jumpstart into the book! I hope I win.

Deborah said...

I'm intrigued by this new book!

Candice Hope said...

Oooh, I saw that book advertised somewhere and had misplaced my mental note to myself about wanting it... Thanks for the reminder!!!

Amy said...

One of my girlfriends has a design in this book, and I can't wait to see the book in person!

Froggie said...

The Orchid Thief Shawlette is divine! A pattern book AND yarn . . . Awesome contest!!!

Froggie said...

The Orchid Thief Shawlette is divine! A pattern book AND yarn . . . Awesome contest!!!

Joyce said...

Wow! that's a beautiful shawl. I really liked reading about how this book came to be and the choices that went into it. Thanks.

Stephanie said...

That shawlette is gorgeous!

MNStitcher said...

Looks like a great book - have to check it some time!

Orora said...

Oooh, the 28th is my birthday. It would be great to win a cool new book!

Yarn Squirrel said...

It's funny how close I feel, as a knitter, to these designers I've never met in person - particularly Stefanie Japel. If I don't win, this book will definitely be on the christmas list!

heather said...

I've been drooling over this book for awhile now! Thanks for the giveaway!

Indigo said...

I am very much interested in flipping through this book. So far the patterns I've seen are very much to my liking.

Knit N Frog said...

What a wonderful interview! Before this I was more aware of the book through Jared Flood's photography, and was not as focused on the actual content. Thanks for sharing this with us!

Jen said...

Thanks for the contest! I am really looking forward to getting my hands on this book!

Knitter said...

Ooo, let the birthday girl (sept. 27th) win on Monday!! *fingers crossed* This book has caught my eye recently.

Digital Misfit said...

Gorgeous shawlette!That hat is also a piece that would be a staple in my winter wardrobe.

heidig@gmail.com

djenn said...

Me! Me! This looks like a wonderful book. An evening spent curled up on the couch reading a good knitting book is almost as nice as an evening spent curled up on the couch with my knitting!

Katie said...

I love the orchid thief! Definitely going to be knitting it!

Glyn said...

I've had a chance to look through this book, and have already added it to my wishlist! I would love a copy! Thank you for the contest!

Jane Reiter said...

Wonderful interview! thank you, Jane

elainepill said...

i've been stalking that book on various blogs trying to figure out if i need it. i think i do!

destiknit said...

Wonderful interview! Giving it a-go, my Bday is the 27th!! Thanks!

lambchop said...

I'm in! what a beautiful shawl!

Kristi said...

What a creative book! I love the Orchid Thief shawl - I've been looking for just the right lace shawl with an interesting shape to knit and that might be it!

Jersey Shore Deb said...

I love the concept of this book. It really reflects the new way knitters communicate and share their work. I'd love to win!

lauraelih said...

Oh, I love knitting books with more than a two-line biography about each designer! Would love to win a copy :)

StellsBells said...

Hey there, Random Number gods - pick me!!!!

Samantha said...

Ysolda + Lorna's Laces = Knitting Heaven!

Bonney said...

I'm pretty excited about this book and I'd love to win a copy!

Beaweezil said...

I've been lusting over this book. I'd love to win a copy!

Mary said...

That shawl is stunning!

Tabitha said...

Looks like it has come great patterns. I especially like the shawl.

Susan said...

Ooh..so pretty! I'd love this in my library!

Michelle said...

This looks like a great book. I hope I win! :)

becca said...

Oh! How exciting! Thanks so much for having a contest like this. I'd love to knit Ysolda's shawl in your amazing yarn!

Slip, Knit... Meditate said...

I did meet up with Jared and Ysolda this summer while they visited Shetland (I was there for 3 weeks holiday)and we had lunch together in the Shetland Museum in Lerwick. I really love the photography Jared does and I love your yarn and Ysolda is very sweet.... so I hope you send this copy and the great yarn over the ocean to the Netherlands XX Jan

Megan said...

Thanks for hosting the giveaway! Such a generous host =o) PICK ME RANDOM NUMBER GENERATOR!

Psylova said...

I love Jared's design in this book - definitely on my to do list! And Ysolda's is gorgeous too!

Meg said...

this book looks amazing!!!!

JelliDonut said...

Looks like a great book. Thanks for the contest and the review.

Cathi said...

I'm really impressed with this book. Hope to obtain one too - winning one would be even nicer! Thanks!

Carol Kamin said...

Wow, you really made this book sound interesting!

Jacie said...

This book looks just fantastic! Thanks for the very generous giveaway :)

Amy said...

Orchid Thief is beautiful and the book seems really inspiring!

marianne said...

ooh, I want to make that shawl!
thanks for this chance to win!

Shelley said...

What a wonderful book. There's nothing better than reading about knitting, except actually knitting. ;)

Kell said...

I've been waiting for this book to come out--it sounds great. And yarn, too? Bonus!

Anonymous said...

Lovely book!

Eileen said...

Would love to make the shawl! Thanks for running the contest.

Mary said...

The book sounds cool! And, the Orchid Thief looks cool!

MaryjoO said...

the book looks fabulous!! and thanks for the generosity!

CardiLover said...

Every time I try to get this book at a local store, they've sold all their copies. Can't wait to get one of my own!!!

Liz said...

a book AND yarn? be still my heart!

Rebecca said...

This looks like a great no amd your yarn is awesome!

Tammy Castleberry said...

That tam is precious! I would to be the one who is selected, as I adore Lorna's Laces and would love to get my mitts on that book, too! You can find me on twitter as @gadget_girl66 if I happen to win.

scarey said...

How kind you are and how neat is the peak into the book. Thanks.

Jocelyn said...

Wow, that Ysolda pattern is stunning! I have a crush on the new LL color Patina, I'd love to give it a try.

Cheeky Red Head said...

WANT!!!

Terry B said...

LOVE!! This is going on my Christmas list!

MooseGirl said...

what a wonderfully awesome idea for a book! I hope to see more like it!

Lea said...

That shawlette is absolutely gorgeous!

easily distracted said...

That shawlette is enough for me to want the book. It's beautiful!

Kekumukula said...

How interesting! I've always been about meaning behind something. How cool Brave New Knits had a purpose and mmeaning.

tisjewel said...

Love it! Want! Pick me pick me {jumping up and down excitedly} :)

ollandeejo said...

I'm not a fan of pattern books, but this sounds like one I might actually like.

Linda said...

Thank you for an interview that makes me VERY keen to get this book.

Ivy said...

Fab interview and what a great prize for a giveaway! I've been eyeing this book, plus the bonus of some yummy yarn... well, I really hope I win!

gerri newfry said...

i love ysolda's work. this is the perfect contest.

Beth said...

I love the short cabled sweater! I need a lucky break to restore my faith...or some yarn and a book! Good work,

Beth McQ

Ruby said...

Pick me, cause I want to make this shawl. And I love the pattern. My number is the one in the random generator. I just know it is.

Ruby

Rachel said...

Pick me pick me! I LOVE the shawl and need, REALLY NEED, some Lorna's Laces.

Actually, my LYS needs Lorna's...I'm working on them...

Once A Sheep said...

I wasn't sure if this would be a book I would enjoy, your review was really interesting and if I don't win it I'll certainly be buying it.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for doing this interview and sharing it with us. That shawl is unbelievably lovely too!

Lisa P said...

Looks like a great book! The shawlette looks like a fun knit.

nancye said...

If I won this book, I'd have more $$ for yarn.

CathPete said...

I'd love to have a copy of Brave New Knits. I'm a beginner so I'm not at that level yet but what an inspiration to continue improve my skills.

sarah roxx said...

this book looks awesome!!!

SamIam said...

You guys always have the best contests. Julie is actually going to be at my LYS tonight for a book signing. I wasn't going to go because I can't really afford the book but now that I have read this great interview I just have to go.
-Thanks Much

Debbie said...

I would so love to win! I love what I've seen of the book and Lorna Laces yarns! What a great combination to win!

monica said...

I would love to have this book and of course the yarn is a must. Many thanks for the chance to win

Melody said...

This book seems interresting. I would love to have it.

melodyj(at)gmail(dot)com

Connie Garry said...

the Orchid Thief is just what I'd love to knit!

bcat said...

Wonderful behind the scenes look at a fabulous new book. Thanks for going the extra mile.

Morgan said...

Thanks for the interview:) I have to get that book---so many amazing patterns!

Diane said...

I love the interviews! And what beautiful knitting, thank you for a chance to win the book!

Nicole said...

Beautiful - thanks for the opportunity.

Sara said...

ooh, looks like a great new book! What to knit first?

a2z said...

Would love a copy of that book. Always looking for something new. Love your Lorna's Laces yarn colors. Yum.

elizabeth marley said...

I;m so excited about this book! And the Orchid Thief Shawl is gorgeous.

kjgonn said...

That looks like a really neat book

coffee said...

Oh my, that shawl is fantastic! Sign me up, yo.

Mary said...

I LOVE this book - and would really love to win a copy! what a fabulous contest!!

cindy said...

I can't wait to get my hands on this book, and my needles on some yarn.

The Mom said...

wow! what a prize!

Sarah said...

Oh, it is so very lovely! If I win, the hard decision would be whether to make Orchid Thief for me or my sil who has quite the history with orchids.

Erin said...

Beautiful shawl! Pick me, please.

Mindy said...

So many beautiful patterns in this book!

CathyR said...

What an awesome idea for a book. I can't wait to take a peek at it.

The shawl is beautiful.

Tara said...

This book looks amazing! I'd love to have it in my library! Thanks for the giveaway!

kylie gusset said...

i'm super exited to be able to read these interviews and find out more about designers such as Mari Muinonen. i'd love a copy!

emy said...

Ysolda's lace is definitely intriguing and Jared Flood's photography...well, what more need i say?

I certainly hope to lay my hands on the book soon!

Holli Yeoh said...

Thanks for your insight into the book. Now I really want to read it.

twicek said...

Ooo, shiny! That book sounds even more interesting now - and that shawl is gorgeous!!

Andrea said...

It looks like a great book. I'd love to win it.

Mylyne said...

The shawl is to die for! I'd love to win the book, too. :)

Kirsten said...

I've been waiting to get my hands on this book and ever since I saw Ysolda's pattern on Ravelry, I've been lusting after it. What a fantastic giveaway!

xx
Kirry

Erica said...

Can't wait to see all of this book... from the photos I've seen so far I want to make every single project!

MonetMum said...

Wow, what an amazing book idea. My interest is piqued as to which great design to make first. Thank you for the giveaway!

Lynette0514 said...

I will wait until the 28th to find out if I won, and if not, then I will go get it anyway!

BunnyKnut said...

Love, love, love this book. I can't wait to get a copy!

yvette said...

The book looks fabulous, thanks for the interview and review :o)

Esther said...

I love a knitting book that gives me something to read as well. This sounds like a lovely book.

Ashley Knowlton said...

I don't usually buy knitting books as I usually just knit my own designs, but this one looks so lovely that I can't help but put it on my wish list!

(Also, just to let you know, there's some errata for the Orchid Thief Shawl. You might want to check it out before you get started!)

Yoga Knitdra said...

Great book concept and love how striking the orchid thief shawl is!

beckus said...

would love to have a copy of this beautiful book! thanks!

LaurenS said...

I'd love to win the contest Beth ... pick me, pick me please.

Lauren

martha said...

Hmmmm Looks like a lovely book. Love the internet!

bettlejuice said...

After I hit post. I said oh wait , how can that be I didn't type yet. Then there was the box . My chance to say how much I enjoyed reading this post this morning with my coffee.

mycreativespirit said...

What I saw was enough to make me drool, those are some lovely pattern! I really like that tam.

Syd said...

Love the concept of the book! Love the shawl...love the yarn. Thanks for the contest!

duchessnyc said...

I'll always be torn over which i love more- Jared's spinning or his photography. Stunning, as always!

Anonymous said...

Loved reading your interview and it would be great to win this book. Linda

Anonymous said...

Love a knitting book you can read AND get patterns from! Thanks for your generousity in opening up a contest.

Laura from beautiful West Michigan

ikkinlala said...

Thanks for the interview - this looks like a wonderful book!

Pixiewear said...

I would love to win this book! Thanks for the great interview.

Amy said...

I just found your blog after hearing about you during the Windy City Knitting Guild meeting and what a great first post to read. Since I am just getting started with knitting, I would love to have a new knitting book.

Mully Nex said...

Excellent interview - book looks fabulous

flamingwitch said...

Very pretty, love that colour of yarn in the picture too

Rachel A said...

Great interview and what a fab book!

Joanne said...

This book is already on my wish list, there are some beautiful patterns in it!

Bogie said...

That shawl is stunning! I'd love to make it in LL.

TangledUpInBlue said...

I love the symmetry of your interview with an author who interviewed designers for her book. Great article, great book, great yarn.

Connie said...

The book looks wonderful and I LOVE the LL yarn!! Maybe someday I'll win??

owner said...

If I win, I promise to knit the Shawl immediately!

owner said...

If I win, I promise to knit Orchid Thief immediately!

Mya said...

Love the "will I actually read it test". Sounds like a fabulous book!

duni said...

what a gorgeous book and pattern! i have been wanting a copy since i first heard of it. :)

Micicuta said...

Definetely need to buy a copy as soon as possible!! :)

BM said...

Oh, I'd love to win that book! Thanks so much for the contest.

marlono said...

I can't decide which to make first! SO many of the patterns are great!

kanitta said...

great blog about the book -- and what an awesome contest! gotta love the lornas laces!

OzKnitter said...

Gorgeous book, I'm looking forward to learning more about the bloggers and designers I've been following.

Kimberly said...

I would love to knit the socks! They are gorgeous.

socks and said...

I may need to get this book before the contest ends. But that doesn't mean I wouldn't love a signed copy and some wonderful yarn.

knitarooooo said...

What a wonderful book and I'm a Lorna's afficianado! I would love to win your giveaway ;o)

Denise said...

The shawl is AMAZING and I'm feeling lucky

pigbook1 said...

gorgeous shawl!!

Meg t said...

This looks like a winner of a book. I'd love to add it to my library

cellowingnut said...

Wow! This book looks awesome and that shawlette is beautiful!

Azullewis@yahoo.com said...

good pick! It's lovely, probably the first thing I would knit as well, though I definitely look forward to seeing the rest of the patterns...

Christy said...

What a generous contest! Thanks for the opportunity!

Lisa said...

The book looks lovely. I love all of Ysolda's patterns.

Kristen Harrison said...

I totally agree about pattern books not usually getting read all the way through, and checking to make sure there are "enough" good patterns first. I love hearing this one is full of them!

Sharon said...

I always like background info on designers, very nice.

Jessica said...

Would love this book!!!

Caitlin said...

I'll be looking for this book at my LYS! :)

Jenny said...

What a wonderful collection! I'll have to add it to my must read pile. And that shawl, STUNNING!

KnittyKat said...

I'd heard about the book but reading that interview really makes me want it now I know the whole story behind it. And The orchid thief shawl is so pretty!

Miranda said...

Agreed 100% - a great read AND great patterns. Nice to be able to enjoy knit-thought while giving the hands a break.

pencraftco said...

great interview and lovely book. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

Lori said...

Thanks for the chance to win such a wonderful book. That shawl is gorgeous!

Lara said...

The Orchid Thief shawlette is lovely! Looks like another one to add to my queue from Ysolda!

zoom said...

Oooh, what a glowing book review! I now desperately want it.

barbhnm said...

Looks like a lovely book!

katya said...

Ooooh, I NEED that shawl!

Sinéad said...

I've heard so much about this book since it came out, I'm looking forward to geting it!
The shawl you've highlighted is really lovely. Thanks for the interview, too!

Gigi said...

I can't wait to get my hands on this book. And some Lorna's Laces yarn ;)

skaro964 said...

I like how there is a little bit about each designer not just the patterns.

Editor, Chateau Screwtop said...

Gorgeous shawlette. Perfect for autumn in that colour. I'd love to win the book & yarn.

Anonymous said...

O-o-o-oh!A book contest! I love contests! Kay

lardertales said...

Looks like a great book and the shawl is beautiful! thank you!

Cathy W said...

Looked up the patterns on Ravelry - I see why you're in love with the book!

scifiknitter said...

Thank you for offering such a wonderful giveaway! The patterns in this book are worthy of your yarn - and vice versa.

Christa Giles said...

Thanks for giving us such a great review and interview! (the contest is pretty awesome, too :)

Yarnsnob said...

That shawl sure would help make the upcoming autumn season much more stylish!

Allison said...

What a lovely book!

Kathleen said...

This book sounds great, enjoyed your interview.

Wendy said...

What a great prize! The book looks like a beauty!

Merna said...

How nice to get behind the scenes peek! Thank you for this post.

Walden said...

How wonderful! This is one of the books on my "to get" list. I love the concept.

Ellen said...

what a generous give away! The book alone would be wonderful to win. Thank you for the in-depth reveiw. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for me! :)

KnittingWithMorgan said...

What a cool book, (especially cool prize). Thanks for the contest

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