Knitting Expert Amy Detjen was our guest on Yarn Thing with Marly Bird, Tuesday, May 20th, 2014.
Marly remembers meeting Amy the first time while they were shoe shopping!
Amy learned to knit while in college at “Moo-U”. She was browsing an antiques booth, the lady in the booth showed her that she already knew how to knit. She spent time with ‘knitter women’ from the generation before hers, which she needed at that time. After working for 3M and IBM, found she was feeling miserable and started to look around to see how she could support herself.
Although she has done some designing, she says she ‘designs under duress’. Meg Swansen wanted her to contribute to the book A Gathering of Lace (here is the link to her pattern A Beginner’s Triangle, a shawl, from Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/a-beginners-triangle and here is the link to the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/reader/ASIN/1893762246) and then Meg needed her to create something for a knit-a-long because someone else had fallen ill, she contributed another shawl, Pansy Triangle (here is the link to see the design in Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pansy-triangle-shawl and the page from SchoolHouse Press where the pattern is offered: http://www.schoolhousepress.com/patterns.htm). She now has classes available in Craftsy, for which she had to design, the Round Yoke sweater has been a very popular class (Here is the link to see the design in Ravelry http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sipseys-folly and here is the listing in Craftsy.com http://www.craftsy.com/ext/MarlyBird_154_CP ) [Note from Tammy: there is another class in Craftsy for a Fair Isle and Steeking, more in depth later: http://www.craftsy.com/class/simple-sweaters-stranded-and-steeked/495?_ct=sbqii-sqjuweho-qbb&_ctp=495,1 ]
Amy says being behind the scenes is more ‘her thing’ rather than designing. She operated Knit List for a few years, which was in the 90’s, before a computer at home became our way of life. She has helped Meg Swansen with Knitting Camp, which began with Elizabeth Zimmerman in an actual camp and was passed to Meg (Elizabeth’s daughter) as it transitioned from the camp to a hotel. Meg teaches during the day, then in the afternoon or evening Amy and Heather (_____) help people in the afternoon in the evenings. Amy’s involvement in Knitting Camp sort of happened by accident. She showed up at Knitting Camp one summer while taking a break from taking care of her dad, and she helped some of the knitters with a cast-on. When she got home after her weekend, there was a message from Meg asking if she would like to come back to help. In fact, at one point when Meg had considered cancelling Knitting Camp it was the realization that Amy had learned enough of the background operations, that they could continue even after an integral person in the operation had passed away.
She worked for XRX/Knitters Magazine after leaving IBM, with help from Meg Swansen, which included the organization of the Stitches Events. Vogue Knitting Live came next: They asked Meg to come, who said she would if Amy could assist her. Even when Meg decided the big events were not her thing anymore, Amy continued with Vogue. She was connected with Trisha Malcolm through Knit List previously. Teaching has really become her niche.
She is leaving tomorrow, to do a knitting tour in Ireland, and thinking of Scotland next year… Doesn’t that sound like terrific?
The Craftsy classes came about because Vogue Knitting wanted her to do a class with Craftsy for them. She has done two now and hopes to do more, both were very different for Amy, produced differently (two different producers). She can’t remember exactly where the idea to do Custom Yoke Sweaters for the first one came along, but realizing that there are a lot of bad yoke sweaters… She shared that her sister told her to do neutral colors instead of her beloved purple, and why not do squirrels and acorns because ‘Everybody loves squirrels and acorns, right?’ She created the design with Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport which is loved by both Marly and Amy. The class begins with swatching, proceeds through customizing, correcting mistakes, using short rows to add shape around the shoulders, some two-color knitting. The second class, Simple Sweaters, Stranded and Steeked. Amy teaches the method of stranded knitting where a color is held in each hand, rather than both colors in one hand, which many knitters are finding a lot easier.
Amy can also be heard on the Knit Circus podcast, here’s the link to it: http://knitcircus.libsyn.com/