Knitting Expert Amy Detjen

Knitting Expert Amy Detjen was our guest on Yarn Thing with Marly Bird, Tuesday, May 20th, 2014.

Marly remembers meeting Amy the first time while they were shoe shopping!

Amy learned to knit while in college at “Moo-U”. She was browsing an antiques booth, the lady in the booth showed her that she already knew how to knit. She spent time with ‘knitter women’ from the generation before hers, which she needed at that time. After working for 3M and IBM, found she was feeling miserable and started to look around to see how she could support herself.

Although she has done some designing, she says she ‘designs under duress’. Meg Swansen wanted her to contribute to the book A Gathering of Lace (here is the link to her pattern A Beginner’s Triangle, a shawl, from Ravelry: and here is the link to the book on Amazon: and then Meg needed her to create something for a knit-a-long because someone else had fallen ill, she contributed another shawl, Pansy Triangle (here is the link to see the design in Ravelry: and the page from SchoolHouse Press where the pattern is offered: She now has classes available in Craftsy, for which she had to design, the Round Yoke sweater has been a very popular class (Here is the link to see the design in Ravelry and here is the listing in ) [Note from Tammy: there is another class in Craftsy for a Fair Isle and Steeking, more in depth later:,1 

Amy says being behind the scenes is more ‘her thing’ rather than designing. She operated Knit List for a few years, which was in the 90’s, before a computer at home became our way of life. She has helped Meg Swansen with Knitting Camp, which began with Elizabeth Zimmerman in an actual camp and was passed to Meg (Elizabeth’s daughter) as it transitioned from the camp to a hotel. Meg teaches during the day, then in the afternoon or evening Amy and Heather (_____) help people in the afternoon in the evenings. Amy’s involvement in Knitting Camp sort of happened by accident. She showed up at Knitting Camp one summer while taking a break from taking care of her dad, and she helped some of the knitters with a cast-on. When she got home after her weekend, there was a message from Meg asking if she would like to come back to help.  In fact, at one point when Meg had considered cancelling Knitting Camp it was the realization that Amy had learned enough of the background operations, that they could continue even after an integral person in the operation had passed away.

She worked for XRX/Knitters Magazine after leaving IBM, with help from Meg Swansen, which included the organization of the Stitches Events. Vogue Knitting Live came next: They asked Meg to come, who said she would if Amy could assist her. Even when Meg decided the big events were not her thing anymore, Amy continued with Vogue. She was connected with Trisha Malcolm through Knit List previously. Teaching has really become her niche.

She is leaving tomorrow, to do a knitting tour in Ireland, and thinking of Scotland next year… Doesn’t that sound like terrific?

The Craftsy classes came about because Vogue Knitting wanted her to do a class with Craftsy for them. She has done two now and hopes to do more, both were very different for Amy, produced differently (two different producers). She can’t remember exactly where the idea to do Custom Yoke Sweaters for the first one came along, but realizing that there are a lot of bad yoke sweaters… She shared that her sister told her to do neutral colors instead of her beloved purple, and why not do squirrels and acorns because ‘Everybody loves squirrels and acorns, right?’ She created the design with Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport which is loved by both Marly and Amy. The class begins with swatching, proceeds through customizing, correcting mistakes, using short rows to add shape around the shoulders, some two-color knitting. The second class, Simple Sweaters, Stranded and Steeked. Amy teaches the method of stranded knitting where a color is held in each hand, rather than both colors in one hand, which many knitters are finding a lot easier.

Amy can also be heard on the Knit Circus podcast, here’s the link to it: 

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  1. wendy says:

    Loved hearing about Amy and the Fair Isle craze. I too remember the days of the Fair Isle yoked sweaters from xx years ago. I remember wanting some and not having. Now I have the ability to do my own. I’m planning to design one of my own to keep a reminder of my grandmother and her love of one particular candy, coconut candies that have chocolate and caramel. I plan to use sock yarn in the colors of marshmallow (white for the coconut), cotton candy (pink for the cherry/strawberry section), rootbeer (for the caramel section), now I just have to find a dark chocolatey brown. It will be Fair Isle on the yoke and shift into cables and lace for the body and sleeves. I’m getting hungry for some of that candy as I type. Also, I was the 717 area code that kept popping in and out of the caller list. I’m a first time live listener today. I had Amy and Marly in one ear and a car auction show in the other that my husband was watching during lunch. Wish I could say we had marshmallow fluff and peanut butter sandwiches for lunch but that is too much for us.

  2. Linda says:

    I enjoyed hearing about Amy’s fascinating and fortuitous career path. Amy and Marly together are as cheerful as marshmallows, and for sure they should host a knitting trip to Scotland together. I look forward to checking out Amy’s Craftsy classes–they sound great!

  3. Audrey says:

    Amy was a marvelous guest. Enjoyed hearing of her career growth and learning about her as a person. The hour was as much of a treat as marshmallows atop a mug of hot cocoa!

  4. Shelly says:

    What a great interview! The two of you made me laugh myself into a fit. I felt like a soft, mushy marshmallow listening to how much you two enjoyed yourself.

  5. Kimberly Womack Dawson says:

    Ok loved listening to the show even though it was in line at Quiznos when I got to talk about Amy lol The first thought when she said Marshmellow was man I need some peeps…. 2nd was our favorite song to dance in the living room to… here is the link and enjoy 🙂 oh and I will steek…. one day 😉

  6. Anita says:

    I loved listening to Amy on this podcast and on Knit Circus while knitting on big squishy yarn that is as soft as marshmallows. I can only imagine how much fun her knitting tour to Ireland will be. I would love to go on any knitting tour with her, especially Scotland. Maybe?

  7. hotknitter says:

    Amy has such exuberance and such a positive attitude. I listen to Knitcircus and was delighted to hear about Amy’s background on your podcast, Marly. Marshmallow is a great key word. I love to eat them dried out and chewy.

  8. Annette says:

    I loved the energy between the both of you during this show. I can only image the energy if the two of you were hyped up on sugary marshmallows! Thank you for the Knit camp information….. Do you toast them during camp? 🙂

  9. Sally says:

    Amy is always fun to listen to while crafting. I’m a big fan of KnitCircus! It would be great to sit back with a big cup of cocoa and a marshmallow, a lapful of knitting and earbuds with Amy in the queue!

  10. JennG says:

    Loved the Podcast! I’m taking Amy’s Stranded and Steeked class and it’s been great fun. I would love to take the yoked sweater class if I win. Maybe I can eat some marshmallow candies while I listen to next Tuesday’s Podcast.

  11. Kate M says:

    Thanks for another great show. It was interesting to hear how Amy got started. It is inspiring to hear that she got into the industry not as a designer, it is something that I aspire to do as well. It is also great to hear from a fellow marshmallow lover! I love all kinds, the JUMBO ones are the best, I could eat them all day!

  12. Julie says:

    I so enjoyed hearing the conversation between Amy and Marly; what a great pair! I was lucky enough to take two classes from Amy at the Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat two years ago. She was as sweet as a marshmallow, and an excellent teacher.

  13. Brenda Reynoso Pena says:

    thank you for another great show! I have learned so much in this show. My children also love marshmallow over hot cocoa. I should probably get a cup right now and make some hot chocolate with mini marshmallows and finish one of my projects.

  14. Ruthie says:

    Great interview! It is making me hungry for some Marshmallow S’mores! I have taken Amy’s Stranded Sweater class and hope to start making a child’s sweater soon. I would love to take her custom yoked sweater class too!

  15. knittinghawk says:

    Amy is such a marshmellow (Marly too) when it comes to teaching as many people as possible more about knitting….I can’t wait to take one of Amy’s classes..

  16. Heidi G says:

    I really like listening to the Knit Circus podcast so I was happy to hear her here, too. I wonder if anyone can make a purple marshmallow for Amy. Thanks for another happy show!

  17. SandraR says:

    One day I might be brave enough to try a steek too!. In the meantime marshmallows will console instead. Thanks for the chance.

  18. Iryna Boehland says:

    Thank you for the interview, Marly! I’d love to take one of the Amy’s classes on Craftsy. Hope marshmallows are included! 😉

  19. Lori Lynn says:

    I was on a retreat when you recorded this podcast so I couldn’t listen live. We had a campfire and roasted marshmallows at the retreat. I took a class to learn color work a year ago, but I didn’t learn to hold the yarn in each hand, so I would love learning more about that.

  20. c-wraeknit says:

    It was so nice to hear Amy interviewed! I listen to Knit Circus and enjoy that very much. You both have inspired me to take her Craftsy class for a yoke sweater! I think I will knit snowflakes as soft as marshmallows in my yoke!

  21. joyce says:

    This podcast was really interesting to hear. I love learning about people’s path through their careers. Also the thought of marshmallows makes me think of smores. How yummy!

  22. Amy Daraghy says:

    It was very interesting hearing the interview with Amy. I resonated with what she had to say because I’m also a “behind the scenes” type of person. Maybe it’s the name since I’m also an Amy. How I’d love going on that Scotland trip with the two of you! It would be more fun than a barrel of marshmallows!

  23. Pat says:

    Thanks for an interesting interview! Knitting camp sounds like fun – the perfect place for some marshmallows!

  24. Suzanne says:

    What a treat to listen to Amy being interviewed. I was going to listen to Knit circus as soon as I finished but I decided I better go for a run first so my arse does not look like or feel like a marshmallow. Hope that was not TMI. 🙂

    Joking aside, I’m even more intrigued by Amy’s craftsy classes now and would truly pay big bucks to learn how to fix a dripped stitch on a long tail cast on. My current method is to swear, cry and then start over. I’m glad to know there is a better way.

  25. deemg says:

    Hope I’m not too late, I listened to the podcasts out of order because I have been busy. I would love to win one of Amy’s classes!! I’ve been busy roasting marshmallows!

  26. Mary Kay Smith says:

    I really enjoyed this particular podcast because I grew up in Wisconsin, and my sister lives very near the Sow’s Ear shop! I’ve been there! When I visit each summer, the marshmallows get toasted for s’mores. I also enjoyed hearing how Amy has gotten into this business without being a designer. Thank you!

  27. Renee says:

    So enjoyed the show, Marly! And it was such a treat to be able to ask Amy a question as I was thinking I could never do a yoked sweater as I cannot wear pure wool clothing! Thank you for letting us ask questions! She and you are sweet as marshmallows to your callers and it was a hoot talking with you both!

Marly Bird

The One and Only, Marly

Marly is a knitwear and crochet designer (and yarn addict) that is here to help you learn how to knit and crochet in a way that's fun and approachable.

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