Donna Druchunas Blog Tour Stop

Posted on | January 16, 2010 | 2 Comments

Today I have the honor of hosting Donna Druchunas, author of the successful Arctic Lace and Ethnic Knitting series. I’ve been a part of Donna’s blog tours before here and here.

Donna has a couple of exciting releases and events coming up including her new book, Successful Lace Knitting, which delves deeper into the work of the Anchorage based cooperative that she researched in Arctic Lace and features patterns from some of today’s most sought after designers; an audio recording of Arctic Lace; and Musk Ox & Glaciers, an Alaskan knitting cruise with Lucy Neatby.

So, without further ado, my interview with Donna:

Question: How did your Alaska cruise with Lucy Neatby come about? Will you and Lucy Neatby, who’s known for her innovative knitting techniques, teach joint classes or meld your experiences for the participants?

Donna: I approached Craft Cruises about doing a knitting cruise to Alaska because I wanted to visit again and to teach workshops based on Arctic Lace. The cruise organizers chose the second teacher and I’m thrilled. I love Lucy’s work and I am very exited about getting to meet her. We will be teaching separate workshops, and the schedule is arranged so cruise participants can take classes with both of us.

Question: Your book, Arctic Lace, has obvious ties to Alaska and their handknitting traditions, such as your gorgeous Arctic Diamonds Stole, which was reprinted in IK Winter 2006, albeit in a less costly fiber than the originally called for qiviut. Are the cooperatives the cruise will be visiting cooperatives you’ve already worked with or consulted with in writing Arctic Lace?

Donna: The cruise itself is not going into Anchorage or any of the places I visited to do my research for Arctic Lace, but there is a pre-cruise tour that will be visiting the Oomingmak Co-op in Anchorage and the Musk Ox Farm in Palmer, about 50 miles away. The tour will also be going to Denali, as well as shopping for yarn. The tour is May 19-23, just before the cruise. More info is on the Craft Cruises website.

What do you hope knitters will get out of your Alaskan knitting cruise?

Fun and education. I wrote Arctic Lace to teach knitting techniques but also for readers who will never get to go to Alaska to experience what it is like there: the land, the culture, the people. I hope that there will be a bit of that on the cruise, although we will spend a lot of time on the ship. I also hope that the students in my classes will walk away with new confidence in their skills and be able to enjoy their knitting even more.

Question: What initially sparked your interest in the Alaskan knitting traditions?

Donna: I read an article about the Musk Ox Producers’ Cooperative in Piecework Magazine years ago. It really grabbed my attention, and I started doing more research on the coop on the internet and by getting copies of other magazine articles on interlibrary loan. Then I started borrowing books on Musk Oxen, Alaska, and the Yup’ik and Inupiat peoples. Then I started buying books…. then I wanted qiviut yarn for myself! It all snowballed. I really wanted to read a book about the Oomingmak Coop but nothing was available, so I wrote the book I wanted to read.

Question: What types of projects would you recommend for qiviut? Are there any qiviut blends that might make it possible for knitters on a budget to experience this fiber?

Donna: Qiviut is said to be 8 times warmer than wool and although I have never found the study that definitively proves this, I believe it from wearing it! Unless you live in the arctic, I suggest small projects for qiviut — wrist warmers, fingerless gloves, scarves, hats and shawls. You’ll notice that no qiviut yarn is available in any weight heavier than sportweight, and most of it is sold in laceweight. That’s because it’s so warm AND so expensive! A little bit of lace goes a long way.


Question: What is the process of recording an audio knitting book like?

Donna: This was one of the most fun projects I’ve ever done. I was nervous at first because I’ve never recorded anything in a studio before, but I was confident in my reading skills. (Even though I hate hearing my own voice!) The first morning I was reading too quickly and my voice was squeaky, so I had to redo the beginning parts of the book later on, after I was warmed up. I will have a sample clip to post later in the blog tour. I haven’t heard the edited version yet.

Question: I think of audiobooks as mainly the province of areas like fiction or nonfiction where the written word is integral to the book. How do you translate a very visual book with patterns, techniques, photos, etc into an audio book?

Donna: Well, the patterns are not part of the audio book. Arctic Lace is unusual for a knitting book because more than half of the book is made up of stories. These stories tell what I learned through all of my research and traveling in Alaska. That’s the part that I recorded. I’m working with the publisher of the paperback to come out with a PDF version of just the patterns so when the audio book comes out, if any listeners also want to get the patterns, they won’t have to buy the whole book in paperback.

Your audio book will be launched on the Alaskan tour. What do you have planned for that?

Donna: It’s not planned yet but I know it will be fun! I am just very excited to be going back to Alaska again. I don’t know quite what to expect this time because I’ve never been on a cruise before. I’m working with the organizers on some ideas for how we can let everyone know about the audio book release and have a celebration on the ship. There’s nothing better than hanging out with a bunch of excited knitters!

Thanks for the interview, Donna!

Successful Lace Knitting will be released in May on the Musk Ox & Glaciers Knitting Cruise, where Donna will be teaching along with Lucy Neatby. The audio book edition of Arctic Lace will also be published at the same time, so cruise participants will be among the first to have a chance to see (and hear!) these two new releases.

To enter to win 2 balls of laceweight qiviut yarn, sign up for the cruise mailing list.


2 Responses to “Donna Druchunas Blog Tour Stop”

  1. Donna Druchunas
    March 29th, 2011 @ 2:16 pm

    Hi Connie, reliving my Alaska trip. The Arctic Lace audio book is coming out soon and I’ve been daydreaming about Alaska a lot lately.

  2. Catherine
    March 29th, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

    What a thrill this would be, meeting Lucy, Donna, musk-ox, Alaska and knitting too! Thanks for this excellent interview.

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