BNAFA – Jenn, Midnight Fibers

When Jenn agreed to be interviewed, I was super excited. Not only are her patterns amazing (LOVE the kitty photo BTW) but she is pioneering knitters foothold in the eReader market by being one of the first to offer patterns for your reader. That type of forward thinking is just what we need to maintain our control of the internet. And soon the world. ;-)

Please tell us how you became the amazing fiberista you are today. How did you fall in love with fiber arts?

I can’t remember I time I was ever NOT in love with fiber!  I learned to knit as a kid, and ever since then have been knitting (and crocheting, tatting, weaving…) more or less nonstop. I even knit in most of my college classes! When I first started I sold handspun yarn- that was right about the time Etsy was starting up. Then I moved on to natural dyeing and selling hand dyed yarns and batts in addition to yarn. Now I mostly sell knitting patterns.

 
What is your most astounding fiber victory to date? What technique(s) offers the most challenge? 
There are so many!  I have had the chance to design rugs, intern with an amazing natural dye company called Earthues in Seattle, and worked in a yarn store. The most challenging part of what I do is tech editing- but how cool that other people also think I am awesome enough to have me edit their patterns!
 
Who inspires you? Does that inspiration present in your fiber work?
I am really inspired by the small house movement- people who choose to live really simply in small places. I am far from a minimalist- you will never see me owning just 100 items- but do try and keep the idea of simplicity in mind. I like designing projects with simple but interesting details that don’t take tons of time, patience, or yarn to knit. Though I love a good complex shawl pattern as much as the next person!
 
Why do you do what you do? What drives you? 
I am a process knitter. I like making things, but the finished item is almost secondary. It is that unusual technique that keeps me up at night, that new yarn in the perfect shade that makes me drop everything for (another) new project. I more or less always have calluses across my fingers from where the yarn and needles rub.
 
Where do you see the fiber community headed? What trends do you see coming (or going)? {Gaze into that crystal ball.}  
I think we are finally reaching a point where technology will really help with knitting pattern sales. Now that more and more people have smart phones, Kindles, Ipads (or just getting more comfortable with the idea of finding patterns online)…  they can look up and buy patterns (and yarn) wherever they are. There is a great opportunity out there now yarn shops and yarnies- online or off- to be able to really leverage digital patterns to sell yarn. It is getting so much easier for stores to carry the latest and greatest patterns, to help customers find patterns to fit their yarn, and to get patterns from indie designers.
 
What would you like to see more of in the fiber community?
I really, really want to see more yarn companies and shops leverage the increasing popularity of weaving and crochet. With weaving especially there is a great opportunity to showcase the many uses of novelty and specialty yarns in new ways- some people might be tired of fun fur hats, but it takes on a whole other level of interest when used in a scarf.  Both weaving and crochet offer a great opportunity for classes and getting both old and new customers to the shop.
 
If you only had 200 yards of sock yarn to create something amazing – what would it be?
Lacy wrist warmers. My hands are always cold! I would knit them with a thumb gusset but totally open at the top no short fingers- since I like my hands to be totally moveable when I type. And I hate weaving in all those finger ends just for wrist warmers!
In 63.4 seconds or less…
1.  Favorite color: C2DEE1…err, it’s a lovely shade of light blue!
2.  Favorite color combinations: blue and grey, grey and red, blue and red (sensing a theme here?)
3.  Favorite shape: circles. Circles are great for so many different projects- from sock toes and shawls to vests.
4.  Favorite food: vegetarian French onion soup. I have had it at least 3 times in the last week. With popovers, which are my second favorite food.
5.  Most fiberista friendly spot ever visited: Seattle is one of the friendliest places for fiber people- you see people knitting on the bus, in the parks, in cafes…plus there are lots of great yarn shops!
6.  Favorite fiber to work with: for spinning, recycled soda bottle fiber- it is just so cool and unusual! For knitting I love wool blends with silk-  Silky Wool and Zephyr are longtime favorites.
7.  Most important quality when buying fiber: softness, durability, and a yarn that won’t stretch out when it is finished.
8.  Favorite film/show to craft to: currently, Grimm. Entertaining, but I don’t feel like I am missing the entire plot if I have to look down at my knitting for a minute.
9.  Craziest place you have crafted: kayaks are a surprisingly good place to knit in- if you can keep the yarn from getting wet! You can just float along, paddle now and then, and knit.
10.Dream fiber destination: Iceland. Even though I hate the cold with a passion (good thing I can knit myself all sorts of warm items!)

Jenn Wisbeck
Great Knitting Patterns

1 Comment

  1. Well, I for one would not have any patterns to sell if it were not for Jenn and her wizardly tech-editing skills! Great interview! :)

    Reply

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