Comfort & Joy by Melynda Bernardi
Christmastime is my favorite time of year. Hands down. Without comparison. I just love it. I go crazy with decorations inside & outside of my house. I throw cookie parties. I build gingerbread houses. Traditions abound! For years I have looked in awe at photos my friend Melynda has posted of the stockings she has made for her family members. When I started talking about Grown, Melynda told me about her own book project and I was so excited to see it and basically was ready for Christmas back in October or whenever it was that I first got a glimpse :)
I interviewed Melynda about her process putting this book together. I love hearing backstory! I hope you will enjoy hearing her perspective.
K: What design from the book was most challenging for you to create?
M: Honestly, the plain stocking was the most difficult! I designed “Tannenbaum” first so I could find my ideal stocking shape. Because of this, it was knit a couple times, with lots of ripping and tinking back involved. Once I had this pattern written, I based all the other stockings (stitch numbers, heel, toe, etc) on it. Plus, I really enjoy the process of knitting colorwork, so this one just seemed like it took me a while to get through!
K: How long did it take you from conception to print copy in hand?
M: Every year I get many questions from knitters (and others who are stocking shopping) about my family’s stocking collection. I’ve always wanted to release a stocking collection, so the idea has been with me for a while. About a year ago I quit my full-time job in order to be home with my kids. My grandiose plans for knitting and designing daily were quickly squashed after a few weeks home with the little ones. My husband made a career change to become a teacher, and the first year was very tough. He works about an hour from home, so between the commute and work, we weren’t really seeing him, But, then summer hit- yay! My husband was home the whole month of July, and the layout, patterns, and charts were all done during this time. Because I was self-publishing, I was able to do things on my own time (a blessing and a curse), and the book was in my hands by early October.
K: Did you do all the knitting yourself?
M: Yes! Like I mentioned, I love colorwork, and my favorite part of the design process (if time allows), is when I can listen to an audiobook while sitting and knitting. With the exception of the first stocking that I re-knit a few times, all of the stockings were knit as part of the Ravellenic Games!
K: What is your top tip for knitters new to stranded colorwork?
M: Keep doing it. It might not be pretty at first, but do what feels natural to your hands. When I teach colorwork, I encourage students to use both hands to carry both colors. But, if that really isn’t working for you, just find a way to work it that your enjoy. I started 2-color knitting with yarn in both hands, but now I throw both colors with my left hand. It feels natural, so I enjoy it. You may have issues with tension, twisting, and other general awkwardness- but soldier on. With anything, practice makes (almost) perfect!
K: What was your favorite part about self-publishing your first book?
M: I guess the timeline. I liked being able to work on a project on my own terms with my own deadlines. There were many times I thought it wouldn’t happen within my self-imposed deadlines, but it all seemed to come together!
K: How about your least favorite part?
M: There were so many times I wished that there was someone else to consult. Sometimes you get so in to a project that you can’t look at it with fresh eyes. In the future, I may try to work on more collaboration projects!
There is something about Christmas that makes me just want to do everything myself. We don’t currently have handknit stockings hanging on my mantle…but I am SO tempted to try and make it so. This collection is inspiring and modern and just beautiful. Would you like to win a copy of Comfort & Joy?
Head on over to the book’s Ravelry page, give a heart to at least one of the stockings in the book, then come comment on this post (include your Ravelry ID please!) to be entered to win my giveaway of this fabulously festive collection. A winner will be announced next week!