Wednesday, June 11, 2008

In Praise Of The Wife

I'm going to take a wee break from pimping myself so that I can pimp my wife instead... Wait. That didn't sound quite how I meant it. Um... Let me explain.

To the right here is a rather artsy picture of my wife that I nabbed from her blog: The Shetland Trader. You see, she has this impressive online life as a knitwear designer. I don't mean your Grammy's reindeer scarf or chunky, ill-fitting sweaters that only get whipped out at Christmas gatherings. Naw, I mean cool stuff. Stuff you want! Granted, she does draw on her Shetland roots, but she then riffs on those traditions and comes up with her own creations. She goes by her maiden name, Gudrun Johnston, by the way. (If you have any of my books you'll note that she's taken all my author photos, too.)

(Photo to the left here is our son, Sage.) What does a knitwear designer do? Well, they don't sit at home knitting socks for sale. (Although socks are popular.) It's more a matter of dreaming up designs, knitting them, writing out patterns for them (which involves a lot of cursing), and then finding ways to publish those patterns, so that other people can buy them and knit the items themselves.

In the space of a year of making the jump to designing, she has been published in knitothennet, The Sanguine Griffin, KnitScene and has something coming out this winter in a new magazine that I shouldn't mention by name yet. She's pretty much been applauded everywhere she's submitted to, and even had folks seeking her out and asking her to send them things. Nothing but love. With all that, she's had to carve out time to publish patterns to her own blog, and those have been popular too.

(Photo to the left here is our daughter, Maya. She knits, too.) She has submitted to, the super-popular online knitwear magazine, twice now. How many times has she been published in Knitty? Twice. Not only that, her design has been on the cover both times. If you click on that link above it'll take you to the summer issue. The first photo you see if of our friend Marnell, looking wonderful in Gudrun's cover-winning design. Pretty cool, huh?

For tons more stuff you could check out her blog. You'll see that she's definitely got Shetland on her mind, but her specialty is taking inspiration from Shetland's knitting traditions and recasting them in completely contemporary, hip and inventive ways. People are responding. She gets more visitors to her blog than I do (um... a lot more - she's had over 1000 visitors in the few hours since Knitty went online), and her network of friends is truly international. Actually, through some of the knitting networking sites she knows that hundreds of people are currently knitting her designs.

Does anyone see a book deal in the near future? (I do.)

And here, by the way, is Marnel in the "Shetland Shorty", the design (and the photo) that scored the cover. Hard to beat...



Blogger Mark Lavallee said...


You certainly have a talented and beautiful family. There are some amazing knits there, simply in the fact that they seriously are everything you say - something you wouldn't treat like that thing granny made for you.

Congrats on the newfound success! Here's to the future!

Your wife is a very good photographer. What kind of setup does she use? I used to be pro Nikon, but switched (back) over to Canon when the digital age hit.

I haven't pursued it professionally for a very long time, so I was happy with a Rebel XTi, just enough pro stuff in that without it being "too much" if you know what I mean.

Perfect for my amateurish snaps these days.

Anyway, it's late, and I have to work. Peace out.


Oh and PS Please, please, PLEASE do not let your wife know that you're trying to pimp her out on your blog just for web hits. You'll never live it done.


2:03 AM  
Blogger Mark Lavallee said...

Correction: "You'll never live it down."

Geez, I really am tired.

2:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy crap. I am SO bookmarking her. I have been in need of some new inspiration for my knitting and crocheting for-EVAH. And those pics look great.

Incubus Jax said it. Beauty. Talent. Family.

(LOL @ David pimpin' wife. Erm... you know what I mean.)

2:21 AM  
Blogger Corby Kennard said...

Wow, David. Very cool. My wife knits, so I'm going to send her over to your wife's blog. (She made me a hat, booties for us and a friend with a baby, and a couple of scarfs. Her friends knit, too, so I'm sure she'll let them know about your wife's blog as well.)

It must feel great to be in such a talented and beautiful family. Grats to your wife!

3:27 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...


Thanks for all the warm words. Yes, I am thankful for them all daily.

Incubus jax,

I'll have to check on the camera. She did get a new one for Christmas. She bought it because her brother had one and she really liked it when she used it. I do think it's really good. I think it may be a Canon. I'll check...

9:15 PM  
Blogger Constance Brewer said...

Gudrun's designs are awesome... but far over the head of my meager knitting skills. Someday, when I figure out right from left, I'll tackle them!

I may have to bring you guys some local Cormo wool along with the autographed Corgi pictures. :)

12:09 AM  
Blogger Meghan said...

Wow! Those designs are fabulous! They actually the king of knit I would want to wear! Geez is there ANYONE in your family NOT talented?

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was going to e-mail you a reminder to send me this link. Wow. Her work is great.

3:28 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Yeah, I'd have had no idea knitwear could be so cool. Actually, if I didn't see her do it on a daily basis I wouldn't have thought of a lot of those items as things made with some yarn, two needles and a lot skill. I guess I was indoctrinated as anyone into thinking that good clothes are made in a factory somewhere. But now I feel just the opposite. The best stuff needs to be made by hand.

Walking through clothes racks at Target just isn't the same anymore...

Meghan, re the talent question: No Comment.

3:46 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Oh, and the camera Gudrun uses is a Canon Powershot SE IS.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Mark Lavallee said...

Powershots are fun. Easy to use, great quality.

Have a great Friday the 13th!

2:07 AM  

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