The winner of last week's pick your own yarn from my LYS Tour stash is:
Me! No, I don't mean "me" as in myself, but the commenter who's Blogger name is Me! Everytime I see Me comment I always have to laugh, because I think how am I going to write out the winning post for "Me" if they ever won! Congratulations, Me! You have won your choice of yarn from my LYS Stash and you wrote, "OH what a hard decision!! But Malabrigio would be my choice!" Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your shipping information.
This time I have a short podcast to share with you, and I also have a written interview with our sponsor. Enjoy!
If you cannot see the player click here.
Links and such from the podcast:
- Phoebe's Sweater the book
- The 3 patterns in the book: Phoebe's Sweater, Phoebe Mouse & Phoebe Doll Sweater
- Poppy Flower
- Nancy's website
- Look at this bib style necklace that would look great made with knitted poppies.
- Poppies of Endearment Project
- YOTH Ravelry Group - you are definitely NOT cool unless you are a member!
- Melissa LaBarre's blog
- Tea Leaves Cardi
- crooked paths
- Melissa's other designs
- Eyelet Shawl by Vikki Harding
- Vikki's other designs
1. Joanna, why don't you start by telling us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
Let's see...I am a writer, a mother, a wife, a book publisher, and a designer... all mixed up in one somehow! I have always loved books ever since I was a young girl- I would spend hours turning tiny scraps of paper into my own books, usually featuring drawings of windows and little faces. In college, I earned my degree in Literature, and while I focused on Old English and Medieval Lit, my heart has always been drawn to Literature for children. As a mother of three children, I have a lot of opportunities to read great books to them, and as the wife of an artist, it seemed like it was always meant to be that my husband and I would create a book together. Phoebe's Sweater is a really unique kind of book, (which I call a knitting picture book), and it didn't really fit into a "slot" in the tradtional publishing world... so I am not just a writer and a designer, but became its publisher also. What's really interesting about my book is that I literally had my hands on every aspect its creation, from the writing, layout, production and styling, to selecting yarn, designing and knitting all of the projects, planning photo shoots, and setting up distribution. It has been quite a journey, and I have to say it is really an interesting time to be in publishing!
2. You just released your new children's book in April, Phoebe's Sweater, what inspired you to write this book?
We get a lot of inspiration for stories from our three children, and Phoebe's Sweater was inspired by our daughter and a sweater coat I knit for her one summer. I wanted to share the story of a new baby coming into a family, and how such big changes might feel to a little girl, and the knitting of a sweater seemed like a really neat way to show the passage of time and seasons while waiting for a new baby to arrive. Of course, Phoebe is patterned after our daughter, and the way she loves to play and spend her days. She really enjoys everything I knit for her, so that makes the knitting a really natural part of the story.
3. Incorporating a knitting pattern in a children's book is a new concept that I have not seen before. How did you come up with this?
The knitting was such an important part of the story, I thought it would be fun to include a knitting pattern with the book. As we progressed through the concept development of the book, we created the doll character and I thought it would be fun to include a doll sweater to match Phoebe's sweater, too. The story of Phoebe's Sweater is largely told through the beautiful illustrations, and I thought it would be very interesting to a child to see the "real" knitted items from the story photographed and included in the book. Our children often say they want a toy or character from a favorite story book. Unless that book is a licenced character, you can't really go out and buy a toy from your favorite children's book. So Phoebe's Sweater is really special because you can knit the toy just as she looks in the drawings.
4. Who did the beautiful illustrations in your book?
My husband Eric did all of the illustrations for Phoebe's Sweater. He has been a graphic artist for over 20 years, and has always wanted to illustrate a children's book. He used a variety of media for the illustrations, including sepia ink, sepia pencils, watercolors, and colored pencils. It is very rare for a writer and illustrator to work as closely on a book as we have. I designed and knit all of the knitting projects before he did the final illustrations, which he looked at carefully while he created the artwork for Phoebe's Sweater. He asked for a lot of feedback about details in the artwork, so as a writer, it is really special to have the artist approach you and ask you what kind of fabric a dress should be made of or what style chair a character should be sitting in. The book was really a true collaboration, and it was a creative project we passed back and forth all along until it was finished.
5. Are you planning on writing more children's books? Or, are there other types of literature that you would like to venture into?
We are working on our second book, which will be similar to Phoebe's Sweater, except it is more of a "boy" book. Eric is working up character studies, we have the story written and the illustrations sketched... honestly, I have so many ideas for other knitting picture books like this one, I would love to just keep writing more and more!
6. We know that you are knitter, so why do you knit?
Why does anyone knit? It is fun, relaxing, gratifying, and addictive! I knit every day, and really enjoy everything about it. Our daughter is a knitter, too, so now we can share our stashes and knit together! I especially enjoy knitting with my friends, as we have formed such strong bonds of friendship over the years of sitting together and sharing our lives over our needles.
7. Who taught you to knit and what was your very first project?
My mother is a a talented knitter, and so was my grandma. They both taught me to knit when I was a girl, and I truly don't remember learning to knit the first time. I remember learning to knit the second time, when I was in college and my mother showed me how to make a pair of mittens. My very first project as a child was a pair of legwarmers!
8. What is currently on your needles?
Right now I have a lot of projects going... I am making Citron out of Brown Sheep Wildfoote in a really beautiful variegated pink and I am finishing up In The Garden, also in Wildfoote. I am also working on two knitting pattern designs which were inspired by Phoebe's Sweater, one is a pattern for women, and one is for a girl and her doll. I am trying to make Jeff's Pub Sweater for Eric, but I think it will have to wait until fall!
9. Where is your favorite place to knit?
My very favorite place to knit is in the car. I love to sit and knit and talk with Eric when we take a road trip somewhere. Our kids are good car travellers, and it is a great time for me to knit!
10. And last but not least, if you were enjoying a favorite drink while reading my blog, what would it be?
Coffee, always coffee. I think I need to go get a refill now...
Here is a pic of the adorable red Phoebe's Sweater in the book:
And, a little look at one of the illustrations in the book:
One lucky follower has the chance to win a signed copy of Phoebe's Sweater and two skeins of Lamb's Pride Superwash wool (enough to make one of the Phoebe Mouse dolls and her dress). I would like you to do the following if you would like to be entered into this week's giveaway:
1. Read over the rules if you have not done so already.
2. Leave a comment on this blog post by the end of Sunday, 6/13/10, telling us what your favorite children's story or book was when you were a child?
I'll randomly pick the winners on Sunday and post the results on Monday along with the new giveaway, so be sure to check back. Good luck everyone.
Four followers also have the chance of winning a copy of one of the featured 2 patterns that I talked about in my new "more projects" series. I will randomly pick four winners from the YOTH Ravelry group and send you a message there. Be sure to check out the group and join if you want the chance to win some cool patterns.