Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Giveaway Series- Wendy Bernard's Custom Knits 2!

Wendy Bernard has long been one of my favorite knitters. Her blog, Knit and Tonic is always a humorous breath of fresh air! Her designs are simply fantastic as well! I love her simple and casual style that is very much West Coast Chic. She's hip, and fun, and refer's to her adorable daughter as "girlfriend." What's not to love about Wendy?! Here is what she has to say about her follow up book to the original "Custom Knits", the life of a knitwear designer, and a few other fun facts:

JBW: Can you give us a super quick (2-3 sentences) description of Custom Knits 2 for our readers who might be new to you and your work?

Wendy: Custom Knits 2 is more than a pattern book. It also offers formulas and tips to help you truly customize what you knit. It teaches you how to adapt patterns to your size and style, swap out yarns and stitch patterns, and change gauge.

JBW- What was the inspiration for the book?

Wendy: Custom Knits 2, like Custom Knits, was inspired by knitters who have read my blog over the years. They’ve encouraged me to write down ways to customize their knits so they work for them.

JBW- Do you have a favorite design (or designs) from the book that you’d like to highlight for us? What makes them your favorite?

Wendy- I really like Pebbles, the red sweater on the back cover. I like it because the man’s version, also shown on the back cover, proves that a knitter can take a woman’s knit pattern and convert it into a man’s and come up with something that looks like it should! I also love the sweater on the front cover, the Zuma
Tunic. It totally looks like a Southern California knit.

JBW- Besides the new set of patterns, what makes Custom Knits 2 different from Custom Knits 1?

Wendy- There are unique “recipes” in this book that cover converting a woman’s pattern to a man’s, a child’s to an adult size, as well as a handful of other techniques a knitter can add to their arsenal.

JBW- What made you want to start designing knitting patterns?

Wendy- The readers of the blog, Knit and Tonic. As I wrote about my knitting and my life people kept asking me to share my patterns. And so, I did.

JBW- As a designer and author do you have any advice for those folks out there who are just starting to design on how to make a living doing what they love?

Wendy- First, they need to know that it is very, very difficult to make a living from knitting or designing. Even the most successful writers/designers have second jobs or a partner who contributes. That said, finding a mentor who understands the business of working as a designer is a great idea. Having someone give pointers
and inform you about how magazines, wholesalers and those sorts of things work is invaluable.

JBW- And now for the lightening round! Here are some fun/silly questions we'd like to ask about you!

JBW- Where did you grow up?

Wendy- Born in Minnesota, lived in Northern California, then went to Houston, TX, and have been in Southern California since the late 70’s.

JBW- What time do you start work?

Wendy- Whenever I roll out of bed.

JBW- Do you prefer coffee or tea?

Wendy- Coffee!

JBW- Tell us about your previous life—you know, before knitting…

Wendy- I was a marketing executive for many years in the financial services industries specializing in Internet sales.

"Lemon Drop"
JBW- A little known fact about you…

Wendy- I was on a synchronized swimming team as a youngster. (Ha ha.)

JBW- Your favorite book?

Wendy- Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

JBW- Biggest accomplishment?

Wendy- My daughter.

JBW- Favorite possession?

Wendy- A nude my grandfather sculpted. On the back he inscribed: “Bikini, g-string or jaybird?”

JBW- Next big adventure?

Wendy- Hopefully, after a fourth book, a book of fiction.

Thanks so much to Wendy for the fantastic blog interview! Also, thanks so much to the nice folks at STC Crafts for sending us a copy to give away to one of you fine readers! Please leave a comment letting us know what your favorite Wendy Bernard design is by Tuesday, July 3rd at 12pm (PST) and we'll select a winner (using a random # generator) and announce it in the 4th of July Blog post!

Lastly, the winner from last week's giveaway of Denyse Schmidt's "Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration" is Commenter #18- slmiller8 who said:

"I love the Tobacco Leaf quilt, but "Basketweave" makes me want to start quilting again, something I haven't done for 2 or 3 years."

Thanks to everyone who entered! Slmiller8- please e-mail me at with your shipping address to claim your prize!

Thanks everyone and happy knitting!

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