Posted in Knitting
January 18, 2010

Blog tour: Donna Druchunas

On today’s blog tour stop, I pester Donna Druchunas with lots of questions about knitting audiobooks, her upcoming Alaskan knitting cruise with Lucy Neatby and some of the history behind her book Arctic Lace, which is about qiviut (musk ox down) one of the world’s most luxurious, warm, and lightweight fibers. It also happens to make amazing hand-knitted lace, as demonstrated by the Alaskan artisans of Oomingmak Musk Ox Producers Co-op. Donna’s book presents instructional workshops on knitting and designing lace, a sequence of projects suited to new as well as experienced lace knitters, a list of yarn sources, and comprehensive historical background.

How does knitting “translate” to audio? Do you think there are certain types of knitting books that work better as audiobooks than others? What sort of response have you had to the audio version? Where do you see knit-audiobooks going in future? For example, wouldn’t it be cool, with a book that covers historical or regional knitting, to actually be able to put in live interview snippets, either integrally from the text or as bonus features?

I don’t think technique or pattern books are good candidates for audio books. You need to see the pattern either on paper or on screen to make it useful for most people (except the visually impaired, of course). Most of my books are part knitting technique and patterns and part stories and history. These are the parts that translate well into audio format. In Arctic Lace, I read the book straight off of the manuscript so listeners will get to hear me talking to them. I’ve received wonderful compliments from readers who have attended my workshops telling me that they can hear my voice when they read my books, and I hope the audio book will give those who can’t make it to my workshops that same opportunity.

I’m also looking into several different options for publishing knitting e-books with text, pictures, audio, and video! I think the knitting techniques are good video material. And wouldn’t it be amazing to have a Rick Steves type of travel video included with a book such as Arctic Lace or my Ethnic Knitting Discovery and Exploration books which take knitters to several countries to learn interesting techniques and cultural tidbits?

What are your plans on the cruise? What sets it apart from the other knitting cruises to Alaska? Will you be able to put things from your book into context for the people on the cruise…?

I think on a lot of cruises the material that is being taught has nothing to do with the location of the cruise. The cruise organizers just pick popular teachers and plop them onto a cruise. I’m not really interested in that. I want to go to places that are related to what I’ve written about. Alaska is perfect because I will be able to talk about Arctic Lace and musk oxen and everything I learned on my previous trips to Alaska and while writing the book and this tie in, I believe, will enrich the cruise experience
immensely by giving the participants some insights into the history, culture, and traditions of Alaska as they relate to knitting.

Tell me about your upcoming lace book — what’s the focus? How does it differ from existing lace books? Where do you see lace knitting heading as new means of publication emerge? (I reviewed Myra Wood’s Crazy Lace a little while ago, really found it liberating and finally got my head wrapped around lace more than ever before because I wasn’t concentrating on it being perfect perfect perfect)

Successful Lace Knitting is, in a way, a sequel to Arctic Lace that takes the techniques of Dorothy Reade — an amazingly talented knitter, spinner, and designer who worked with the Oomingmak Co-op at its inception — to the next level. I love telling stories, and this book is no exception. Readers will learn about the life and adventures of Dorothy Reade, who was a knitting archaeologist in spirit. In addition, for those who want to dive in and make something, there are over 20 projects made by some of today’s most talented designers. Everything from lace-weight shawls and a sport-weight tea cosy to worsted-weight sweaters and a super-chunky lace afghan! For those who want to delve in to the technicalities of lace knitting, there is a large section of material written by Dorothy Reade about her own techniques.

For more on Donna and her books, check out SheepToShawl.com, or join the Twitter-based “twit-along” knit-along here after 25 January.

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  • Virginia

    Very cool. I’ve always kind of wondered about knitting audio books – not that I’ve actually listened to any of them.

    And that’s also a neat idea about knitting cruises to locales that actually have something to do with the knitting. It would be awesome to see a Baltic Sea cruise with knitters…

    Reply to Virginia
  • Post authorShannon

    I want to lead a (land, not sea) tour to check out feltmakers in Hungary, Virginia — wouldn’t that be awesome? Amazing work there.

    Reply to Shannon

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