Blog tour! Ethnic Knitting Exploration – author interviews publisher, part 1

Welcome to a blog tour stop for Ethnic Knitting Exploration, by Donna Druchunas.

I'm the book's publisher, so we decided to turn the interview process around and have Donna ask me questions. I knew she would come up with interesting and perceptive angles. She did. The post got really long, so I've broken it into two sections; part 2 will appear tomorrow, including a free PDF download of one of the book's patterns.

If you can't wait for the PDF, it's here: Download EthnicExplorationExcerpt-FingerlessGloves (about 800 kb)—but if you come back tomorrow, there will be photos of actual gloves, too!


Donna: In several interviews on this tour so far, I've mentioned that the idea for these books on Ethnic Knitting came from you.

Can you remember how we first got started working on this project?


Absolutely. We were in that little coffee shop on Cleveland in Loveland, Colorado—that very funky place that unfortunately isn't there any more.

I was concerned that some people were missing out on the fantastic information in Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' Knitting in the Old Way because they needed help getting through the intermediate steps: from yarn-plus-gauge-swatch to a complete plan for making a sweater.

Many knitters could make that leap without help. Many more were missing out on the delights of traditional-style knitting because they couldn't quite untether from step-by-step instructions. That's a sensation I was familiar with, because I remember my own tentative first efforts. I envisioned a way to get information to knitters who might be stuck in the same place I was many years ago. It took me a long time to get past that.Ekd-indx

You sat across the cafe table from me and volunteered to help knitters bridge that gap.


Donna: That brings up the next question: Many knitters want to know how Ethnic Knitting Discovery and Ethnic Knitting Exploration are different from Knitting In The Old Way, and which approach would be right for them.

What advice can you give us, since you publish all of these books?

Deb: Great question. They're all about ethnic knitting, and about empowering knitters to discover and then master new skills as well as their own creativity.

Knitting in the Old Way
(KITOW) represents Priscilla's life-long fascination with the way sweater design has evolved through history and across geography. It's a book to dip in and out of, to experiment with, to come up with ideas. It gives the essential information on ethnic knitting in a very concentrated form: it covers a huge amount of territory, and requires the knitter to have a supply of confidence or bravery (either will do). The second edition, which I published, contains a lot more information (and more detailed information) than was in the original 1985 edition; both are classics.

Ethnic Knitting Discovery (which we call EK1 when we're at home) and Ethnic Knitting Exploration (EK2) began with the idea I mentioned above, of giving knitters a step-up to Priscilla's wonderful book. Since you are who you are, Donna, these books also became distinct works in their own right. More on that in a moment.

Here's my advice:

(1) Knitters who open KITOW and feel like they're in over their heads or doubtful of their abilities will want to start with EK1 and EK2. After they've got their bearings, they can come back to KITOW.

Yes, ANY KNITTER CAN make sweaters from scratch without a pattern! It's EASY! It's just the conceptual leap that takes courage and fortitude. EK1 and EK2 are the knitter's partner and safety net for that leap.

I recommend that knitters who are tentative about cutting loose work through one sweater from beginning to end, using the detailed EK worksheets, to see how the steps go together. For a drop-shoulder or modified drop-shoulder sweater (as described in KITOW), EK1 is the right resource. For a raglan, circular-yoke, or saddle-shoulder sweater (as described in KITOW), EK2 is the place to go. EK2 also has information on how to turn a pullover pattern (of any type) into a cardigan.

(2) Knitters who open KITOW and feel like they're in knitting heaven . . . might want to check out EK1 and EK2 as well. Those books contain information that's not in KITOW that they might enjoy discovering—like the Andean knitting techniques in EK1, and the Lithuanian material in EK2.

(3) EK1 and EK2 are also the ideal partners for people who want to teach classes on traditional and ethnic knitting techniques. KITOW is fantastic for an advanced knitters' seminar. Any of the books could provide the foundation for an extended guild study project.


Come back tomorrow for more!


6 thoughts on “Blog tour! Ethnic Knitting Exploration – author interviews publisher, part 1”

  1. I hope this book series will continue to grow. I enjoy it very much.

    It’s fun to read about the genesis of the books as well. I was thinking of signing up for your class at the Sock Summit, but since I have no intention of ever publishing anything, it would just be morally wrong to take a space from someone who could use the education.

  2. For some reason, Janet Riehl couldn’t post her comment. Fortunately, she e-mailed it to me! Deb

    Riehlife hosted Donna Druchunas last year for her “Ethnic Knitting Discovery.” We loved the knitting by ear approach.

    I tagged the book “intuitive crafting” on the Amazon product page and started a discussion on that topic with Donna on Riehlife.

    I loved about “Ethnic Knitting Discovery”:

    – Clear language
    – Fun and helpful illustrations and pull-quotes/boxes
    – Practical tips to free the knitter within by giving rules of thumb to follow and create from.

    I love the approach because it reminds me of how I make art, cook, and play violin by ear. It’s an intuitive approach that’s ageless because it’s human. It’s an example of how ancient (and sometimes tribal) societies contribute to our contemporary knowledge of a more direct and sensible way to live. I call it “knitting by ear.”

    If you’d like to read our interview, here’s the link:

    I’m sure the new work is a fitting companion for its sister.

    Janet Riehl

  3. Thanks for the good words, Marcia!

    I’m not sure how many people will sign up for the Sock Summit class, or how many they can accommodate. I’m expecting that some people will be there out of sheer curiosity about the process, which is fine!


  4. Great explanation, Deb! (Even a lover-of-step-by-step instructions knitter like me can understand the lure of these books.) Great questions, too, Donna. How you stay creative and focused on a blog book tour as hectic as this this one is a mystery to me. You’re the goddess of blog book tours to me! I’m almost done with mine, and it’s worn me out, even only doing a new blog appearance every other day….

    Janet, I love your comments. You’re right on with the knitting by ear metaphor. That nails it!

  5. Hi all, thanks for the great comments.

    Susan, things are too hectic for me right now but not because of the blog tour. I had a book due yesterday! Made the deadline for most of the stuff and have to FedEx a few last materials on Monday. But on the blog tour, believe it or not, I don’t spend more than 15-30 minutes on each day’s post and I try to do a bunch of them on each weekend so that I don’t have to be answering the interview questions every day. I also read the questions as soon as I get them, then let it sit and when I come back to it, usually the answers just flow from the top of my head. Plus I don’t do much editing on blog posts (although sometimes I regret some stupid mistakes or awkward sentences after the fact).

    Will be out of town teaching this weekend, and just extended my trip one extra day so I can stay with friends and have all of Sunday with absolutely no obligations. It will be great! It’s my reward to myself for working so hard for the past few weeks.

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