Friday, January 8, 2010

Etsy Knitters and Crocheters on Parade

Jolen, of Knits by Jo, is a very energetic and busy lady. I think you will find her and her shop to be very interesting. Take a minute and get to know her and then check out the beautiful entrelac in her shop. Just click on the title Etsy Knitters and Crocheters on Parade.

How did you learn to knit, and who taught you?

While working at a school about 4 years ago, I became good friends with a 4th grade teacher. She was teaching two of her students to knit after school and I got excited telling her that this was one of my "bucket list" items! She told me what type of needles to get and I borrowed some scrap yarn from the after school program's craft bin.
Miss Hagstrom was so nice that she volunteered to stay with me at the school after all the kids left from 6-8 p.m.! In those two hours, she taught me how to cast on, knit, purl, bind off, and even seed stitch. I picked up on it quickly and went home to practice in every spare minute I had. From there, I learned everything else I know by looking in books or online and teaching myself.

Tell us about your time in AmeriCorps.

AmeriCorps was my first job out of college. For those of you who might not know much about it, it's a one year commitment to work for a stipend. The amount of that stipend depends on how many hours you commit to do in that year. The amount, of course, is not much, but they pay some of your student loans when you are all done. Because of this, I was also working a second job beyond this full-time position with AmeriCorps. It was a busy time!
I was placed in an after school program, taking the secondary lead position. Before even starting, I was asked to begin a science club, which I took to three different schools each week to children in grades K-5. It was that spring that my friendship with that 4th grade teacher turned into a knitting session.
While continuing my commitment at the local YMCA summer program with the kids, many of them saw me knitting during their free time. I simply could not accept all the requests to knit them all something (there were 27!), so I told them I would teach them instead! I started a sign-up list and the most committed ones signed up, two a week for seven weeks. For some of the younger ones, it was more of a lesson in mastery of hand-eye coordination, but some really took off with it!
While all this was going on, I was interviewed in the local newspaper for my time in AmeriCorps. I just happened to be teaching a 6 year-old at the time how to knit so that ended up being the picture on the front page. That picture is the one you see with this interview.

What is your favorite material to work with?

I'm a pretty simple girl when it comes to materials and base it more on colors than I do on the actual material. I have to admit, my favorite material I did work with in both texture and colors was a Lion Brand wool when I made my Raspberry Mocha Entrelac Scarf.
I have tried all kinds of things however, even "larn" (plastic bags cut to a yarn-like consistency). One thing I have been thinking about but have not delved into yet was making a "yarn" out of old t-shirts. I'm all about reusing if possible.

You are spending time with photography. What is your favorite subject to photograph?
I have not done as much since I've moved to South Carolina, but my passion in my very amateur photography adventures is always the small stuff. I love taking photos of very small things in nature, and I love doing it close up (almost always using the macro function) so that I get all the detail you don't usually see. I think this comes from my love of the outdoors and outdoor education and the fact that I don't care much for a vista view, but rather a highly focused detailed one.
I took many pictures while living in Wisconsin at a YMCA camp for two years. I would get up early and go out in the woods and just shoot anything that came into view that I thought might be interesting. It almost always came out to be more interesting in the picture than it seemed to be in real life!
After I gathered a somewhat large volume of these pictures from the camp and other various locations in Minnesota's Twin Cities area, I started a "Life in Detail" series in my Facebook page and a little section devoted to it on my blog (
Life in Detail-flowers:
Life in Detail-other plants:
Life in Detail-winter:

If you could invent anything, what would it be and why?

Wow, what a big question?
When I was a kid, I always thought that the best thing would be to have hover crafts instead of cars, and I would invent an entire highway super structure that would feature air holes that blew up from the ground to keep you all up off the ground and Plexiglas between the lane sort of like a big vacuum tube. This way there would be fewer accidents?right?
Now that I'm an adult (although I think I still see the world as a child in some ways) I don't think I'm quite as creative!


  1. What a fun interview and how special to pass on the love of knitting to yet another generation!
    I especially enjoyed getting to know another Jo!

  2. Great read! I loved reading this feature!