Today we have Jennifer from Wood House Knits in our Designer Spotlight. Jennifer and her family live in Knoxville, TN and she might just be the Cable Queen. One thing in particular that I love about her patterns is that they are equally beautiful on the front and the back. (Pattern links go to Ravelry, yarn links go to The Loopy Ewe.)
Loopy: Hi Jennifer – thanks for being with us today! How long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?
Jennifer: For about 17 years. Well I have my daughter to thank for my learning to knit. When she was in middle school, she read The Witch of Blackbird Pond. The descriptions of colonial women knitting captivated her,
and she begged me to teach her how to knit. So I bought a book, some needles and yarn. And we
learned how to knit. I fell in love! Something about this age old craft captured me immediately
and I have hardly put the needles down.
Loopy: I haven’t thought about that book in ages! But I also remember reading it in school – maybe around the time I started knitting. That’s fun that she was your inspiration to learn. What is your favorite type of item to knit?
Jennifer: I would have to say sweaters. And I go back and forth between cardigans and pullovers. I like that
with pullovers there is very little finishing and you do not have to pick out buttons. I always have
the hardest time picking out buttons. Cardigans are such a fun canvas to work with because there
are so many different things you can do with the two front edges.
Loopy: You know, I agree with you on buttons. I don’t like that process, either! What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?
Jennifer: Murron. It was the first time that I worked with Japanese stitches and the first time I
designed something that complicated. It was so worth all the work! I absolutely love the
cardigan and learned so much in the process of designing it!
Loopy: It’s such a beautiful pattern – and the detailing on the back is stunning. When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?
Jennifer: I started to designing in 2009. I did not know how to knit sweaters at that time so I was doing
mostly scarves and hats. Then I learned how to do sweaters by reading books and playing with
designs for them. It was a learn by trail and error process. Little did I know at that time how
much I would enjoy designing. I love to get an idea and then figure out how to make it work. It
Loopy: You sound kind of like a knitting engineer. That should be an official thing! Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?
Jennifer: Murron, for reasons stated above
Loopy: What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?
Jennifer: I love all the actual designing process. From getting an idea to swatching and figuring out
how to implement the idea. I also like grading, I think because it is part of figuring out
how to make the work process. And of course I love the knitting part. It is always so fun to
watch the sweater come together. My not so favorite part is cleaning up the pattern before
it goes to the editor and then after the testing. That is the kind of detail I do not care for.
Loopy: It seems like you’d have to like Math to enjoy the grading aspect. To me, that always seems like one of the hardest parts in making garment patterns. Do you do this business full-time, or on the side? And is that hard? Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?
Jennifer: This is my full time job. It is hard from the stand point that there is little return for the
amount of work. You really have to love it. But I am very thankful to be able to work from
home and set my own schedule. I have a big family so although very fun it can take some time.
Loopy: It’s nice that you can do something you love so much, full time. And we’re all glad you do! Does anyone else in your family knit?
Jennifer: My daughter mentioned above does occasionally. I have lots of grand children that I will
be teaching to knit so surely one of them will take to it!
Loopy: I think it’s always really wonderful when you can pass down the love of a craft to future generations. Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?
Jennifer: I love playing in my flower garden and enjoy embroidery and needlepoint when I need a
break from knitting.
Loopy: What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
Jennifer: Sitting outside among my flowers reading.
Loopy: That sounds like a lovely setting for some reading time! Last question – Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors?
Jennifer: Neither, I do not like to stay up late or get up early!
Coffee, the stronger the better!
I mostly do Continental but I have learned English so I can do colorwork with two hands.
Solids most of the time, they work better for all the cables and lace that I like to do.
Loopy: Sounds good. Anything else you’d like to add?
Jennifer: One of my favorite things that has come from the this job is watching and helping knitters
get out of their comfort zone and try new techniques in knitting. It is so exciting to see
them complete a project they did not think that they could knit. It gives them such a sense
of accomplishment and inspires them to keep challenging themselves. So I just encourage
everyone to be adventurous in their knitting and enjoy the process of expanding their
Loopy: That’s great advice, and a great way to end. Thanks again for being with us today, Jennifer!
Jennifer is offering 20% off one of her patterns of your choice via her Ravelry Pattern Shop. The code is: Loopy20 and is valid October 1 – 8, 2021.
Have a good weekend, all!