If there is something that’s been on our minds lately here, it’s been travel. Here to fan the wanderlust flames at Jordana Paige is knitter, designer, author, teacher and avid traveler Donna Druchunas. She sits down for a chat in our latest edition of Knitter Profiles.
JP: What’s the best time for you to knit?
DD: I love knitting when I travel. It keeps me from getting nervous, frustrated, or just plain bored when in airports and planes or when on long car rides. I especially love buying one skein of a special yarn I find at a shop I visit and making a small project that I can finish
during my trip. In fact, I’m working on a booklet with a “knitter’s dozen” of patterns that I made during my year of travel in 2010. I went to Hawaii, Alaska, New York, Florida, Wisconsin, England, Scotland, France, The Netherlands, Italy, Geneva, and Lithuania. It was an amazing year.
JP: That sounds so awesome. We’ve just been talking about how well-traveled JP bags seem to be. What stamps are on your L.J. Kaelms’ passport?
DD: Alas, I didn’t have my bag on last year’s trip. But this year it’s already been to Oregon for Sock summit, and then to New York, New Jersey, Maine, Nova Scotia in Canada, Boston, and Vermont in October and we’re getting packed to go to California, Vancouver, and Denver this month. Now that I’ve had time to experience using my L.J. Kaelms bag, I can’t imagine ever traveling without it.
DD: Jordana very generously sent me a bag for Sock Summit. I’d seen her bags before in yarn shops and had been drooling over them, but never had the gumption to actually order one!
JP: What was your reaction?
DD: Futterwackin! I was so thrilled.
DD: Right now? A whole box of Scottish shortbread. Sometimes I want to devour a whole NY pizza or a 3-lb Maine Lobster drowned in melted butter. I love good food, especially when in the company of good friends.
DD: It’s so hard to pick. I’m hooked on Europe these days. I love going to Lithuania and I have wonderful friends in Switzerland and England. The hardest part of traveling is falling in love with places and people that you won’t be able to see again for a long time.
DD: I don’t remember. Somehow I got in touch with Melissa at Craft Cruises and I was excited about doing an Alaska Cruise because I’m always looking for another excuse to visit Alaska again. The cruise let me visit places like Haines and Juneau that I hadn’t been able to get to on my previous research and teaching trips.
Now I do a cruise every year. This last one to Canada and New England was with an absolutely AMAZING group of women and would have been a wonderful experience even if we’d never gotten into port to explore. But, OMG, the yarns we found once we got off the boat. I’m back to familiar territory with another Alaska Cruise in May 2012.
JP: What project are you working on right now?
DD: Beaded fingerless gloves. I’ve adapted an Estonian lace/leaf pattern with beads. I’m making a second pair for myself now and then a pair for my niece for Christmas. I’ve also promised some Facebook followers that I’d get a pattern written soon, too.
I bought an Intarsia sweater kit from LaLana wools years ago and I don’t know if I’ll ever actually make it. I don’t hate knitting Intarsia, but I don’t know when I will have time for such a large Intarsia project because even though the knitting itself is simple, it requires a lot of attention and is slow going. I’ve been daydreaming about making a mitered-square or lace shawl with the yarn instead…we’ll see.
DD: That was Joyce M. Turley at Dixon Cover Design. She did most of the illustrations for my books Ethnic Knitting Discover and Ethnic Knitting Exploration and I’m hoping to work with her on a new pattern line that I’ll be developing in 2012.
JP: How many JP bags or patterns have you bought/knit over the years?
DD: Two now! I picked up a Bella bag, which is smaller than the L.J. Kaelms bag, at Interweave Knitting Lab so I can use it when I’m not on the road.
JP: Coffee or tea?
DD: Both. Mostly coffee. But I love Chai and my English friends have taught me to drink black tea with milk and sugar. It’s quite addicting!
JP: What was your favorite book to write?
I know it’s politically incorrect to say, but Arctic Lace. Because I loved the travel and research that went along with that book, and learning about a different culture. I’m working on a book about Lithuania right now that will be a lot like Arctic Lace, although (obviously) the details and knitting projects will be completely different.
JP: What are your cats’ names?
DD: Uno, DeeDee, and Buddy. They all came with their names from the shelter, and I didn’t see any reason to change them. Although I sometimes call them Monkey Boy, Tiny Girl, and Budski.
JP: What inspires you?
Everything, but especially travel and beautiful yarns. It is impossible for me to take a trip and visit new yarn shops without creating an entire pattern line in my head. The hard part is when it comes to making them real. There’s only so much time in the day (the year!) and I have to force myself to focus.
DD: My grandmother taught me. I don’t even remember learning. It’s like I was born knowing how to knit.
DD: I don’t remember making anything except a swatch of honey comb cables when I was a girl. Obviously if I was knitting cables, I’d done other things before that. But I don’t recall any projects and whatever I made is now lost.
DD: Flying like Superman so I could visit any place on the planet in an instant!
DD: God knows. LOL. I carry it with me all the time when I’m on the road, so everything gets tossed in at one time or another. A chewed off fingernail? Leftover paella?
DD: Swimming in salt water. I miss living by the ocean so much, being land-locked in Colorado. I’m not a big fan of lakes with slimy, muddy bottoms.
DD: Alone. Whenever I go to knit group I either a) mess up my knitting or b) put it down and just enjoy chatting with my friends.
Thanks for inviting me. This was fun! I love talking about knitting and travel and my Jordana Paige bag has become the intersection of these two loves in my life. PLUS it has room for all of my writing materials, too. Amazing!
You can find Donna on Facebook, Twitter, and Ravelry. If you’d like to be featured in our knitter’s profile, we’d love to hear from you! Email or leave your info in the comments and we’ll make it happen! Don’t worry, you don’t have to submit photos of yourself if you’re not into that (but we do want to see your knitting and your bags for sure!).