Get to know the knitters behind the designs in One-Skein Wonders® for Babies.
To celebrate the arrival of One-Skein Wonders® for Babies, edited by Judith Durant, we’re talking to some of the talented people who helped make this book a rich library of patterns for babies, new moms, and the knitters who love them. Today, meet designer Andrea Wong.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you live? How long have you been a knitter and designer?
I live in Powell, Ohio, with my husband, two children, and my mother. I have been knitting since age seven and designing since the same age, without knowing I was doing it. I used patterns that were in my family for several generations, modified and customized them to fit the recipient, and there there you have it — a different design!
How did you learn to knit?
I learned from my mother, who learned from our Portuguese neighbor. Knitters in this country are familiar with the English and German (Continental) styles of hand knitting. But what makes Portuguese knitting different from the these styles is that it relies on tensioning the yarn around the neck or around a knitting pin on your shoulder. As knitting is a two-handed activity, this method also uses both hands at the same time, so it is good for both right- and left-handed crafters. For those knitters that avoid the purl stitch, Portuguese Style makes purling a breeze!
I decided to call this technique “Portuguese” even though knitters in many countries (Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Egypt, and Peru to name a few) use this style. (Interestingly enough, none of these cultures use the knitting pin. They wrap the yarn around the neck.) Also all these countries, including Portugal, use knitting needles with hooks at the end, which brings the advantage of combining crochet and knitting in the same fabric as you work.
Is there anything you especially love about knitting or designing for babies?
Baby designs are my favorite! The idea of having a little one blessing a family is my inspiration. It doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or a girl, all babies are special and what they wear should be, too! Designing for babies uses little yarn, and babies look cute in just about anything. They are a great blank canvas for trying new stitches, new necklines, and comfortable clothes.
Apart from knitting, what keeps you busy and fulfilled these days?
I take care of my family and my house (my friends say I keep it like a “model home”). I cook most meals from scratch, work full time on my own business, travel, and teach knitting. I am also going back to college to earn a second degree. Besides that, I volunteer at my church and local hospital.
There are so many gorgeous fibers available to knitters these days. What are your favorite yarns in your stash?
My favorite yarns are made of camel, cashmere, merino, and angora, either blended or pure.