Refined Knits by Jennifer Wood

Refined Knits by Jennifer Wood was our focus today on the Yarn Thing podcast with Marly Bird.800_1672 - Version 3

This was the first time on the podcast for Jennifer so we all got to know her together. Originally from Texas, settled in Tennessee as a young adult. It was when her daughter was in middle school and was assigned to read the Witch of Blackbird Pond that she ventured into yarn. Her daughter was attracted by the young women in the story knitting and the copy she had included knitting patterns. She and Jennifer searched more information and learned to knit together, Jennifer pursuing it even further…

Her first project was a cabled scarf. She remembers her panic that her knit stitches didn’t look like those in the pictures and then realizing those were the backside of the stitch or the purl stitches. After a few scarves and a couple of sweaters, with which she ‘changed things up’ she thought if she could design things, she could sell patterns and make enough money to by nicer yarn! She sold a few on Ravelry and then her first publish pattern was in Knitty. (See the post from last TUESDAY! with Amy Singer of Knitty.) That pattern was Emmaline in Spring + Summer 2010.

Jennifer admits she had a learning curve, for instance with sizing. When she had a piece published that appeared in Interweave (Cardiff Coat, Interweave Knits Fall 2011) the sizing didn’t work. Learning to size garments by hand and then learning to use spreadsheets and various programs (she says she uses Stitch Mastery) was time was well spent, when you view her ideas in Refined Knits.

Jennifer says she never considered doing a book, but when Carrie Bogart at Interweave approached her about it, she spent a lot of time thinking about it, and e-mailing back and forth. Jennifer really wanted to focus on mixing cables and lace, she views that as an adventure, making the stitches balance with the garment shapes. Collecting the pieces together then dividing them into sections of refined knitsCables, Lace and a mixture of both in Aran Lace. Willa Cardigan (links to Ravelry so you can see all the pictures) featured circled cables, included in the knit-in button bands, saddle shoulders and incorporating seed stitches (which we are currently loving in the Free Kal with Red Heart Yarns and Marly Bird).  Adelaide is a reversible scarf which also shows her love of the nice yarns, this is merino, cashmere and silk blend. Idril is beautiful, feminine, v-necked with long sleeves pullover that began with the cables around the neckline that she loved so much, she wanted to incorporate them around MORE in the bottom of the sweater. Because of the finer gauge yarn, and the fiber being again a merino, cashmere and silk again, a hand-dyed so it has lovely marbling and great stitch dictionary. Maisie, is a round yoke, cap sleeves cardigan that features a combination cables with lace that are gradual in sizes, in a wool and silk blend that would transcend seasons. It was really the cable & lace pattern that inspired her to make that work. Camelia is a cardigan which features a pine-cone lace around the neckline to frame the face. The Corinne also draws attention up toward the face, but the back is extra special as it incorporates more of the oval cables, which also went down the sleeves. The cover design, Anwen is a rectangular shawl that is knit in different directions and grafted at the center, assembled with three different vintage lace patterns, frost flower, feather & fan and the fern stitch.

Such a beautiful book, we hope you’ll find a copy and fall in love with it as we did. You can follow Jennifer Wood at her website: www.woodhouseknits.com, her designer page in Ravelry, Pinterest and Facebook (when it’s working).


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  1. Linda says:

    Jennifer Wood’s book, Refined Knits, looks really interesting. The patterns are lovely. Any one of her patterns would be quite the knitting adventure for me since I’ve never knit a sweater (but really want to some day). Another great podcast, Marly!!!

  2. Adrienne Greenway says:

    This was my first time listening to the podcast and I really enjoyed it! I love the idea of looking at challenging patterns as an adventure! Adrienne

  3. Suzanne says:

    This was a great interview. You three had a great conversation and the enthusiasm was quite nice. I appreciate how Jennifer incorporates so many stitch patterns into her patterns. I bet it’s quite the adventure to go from what she sees in her mind’s eye to the finished garment. So many twists and turns take place when we follow our imagination.

  4. Ceeley Williams says:

    This is only the second time I’ve looked up something I’ve heard about on a podcast. (I’m still new to the whole concept!). Since I love cables and lace, I was intrigued. I cannot wait to get this book! I have never tried to knit myself a sweater (too much of an adventure for me) but this book makes me want to try. I’m super excited.

  5. Anita says:

    I love the adventures of sweater knitting. The lovely patterns are a treat and the challenge of learning new techniques keep me in love with knitting. No matter at what level you are there is always something new to learn. It was fun to hear Jennifer explain her love of knitting and the adventure it has taken her to become such a talented knitwear designer. As always Marly, this was another great interview.

  6. Vicki says:

    Getting sweaters to fit is often quite an adventure. I love that your knitting story started with your daughter and The Witch of Blackbird Pond. I read that several times when I was in school.

  7. [email protected] says:

    I wish I could get my mom interested in knitting, it would be quite the adventure =) The book is beautiful and how wonderful to progress from learning to knit to designing so quickly.

  8. Michelle says:

    Knitting a sweater with CABLES and LACE!?! That would be a crazy adventure. I have crocheted cable and lace but never knitted those techniques. Thanks for a lovely, fun podcast. Keep up the great work ladies!

  9. Pamela Geist says:

    I loved this podcast, Jennifer was really interesting to listen to. It would be a wonderful adventure to knit my way through this entire beautiful book!

  10. Carol T says:

    Thanks, Marly, for another great podcast. Jennifer’s story was a fun one to listen to. It would be an adventure to knit my way through her lovely book.

  11. Loretta says:

    Knitting any one of these beautiful patterns would take me completely out of my comfort zone and I would welcome the adventure! Stunning book!

  12. Lori says:

    I loved this episode. The patterns in Jennifer’s book are beautiful and I loved hearing about her adventures in learning to knit and becoming an author.

  13. Cheryl Clemons says:

    No matter what adventure I go on I always have my knitting. What a great podcast and great patterns.

  14. kayleigh says:

    It would be quite an adventure for me to complete one of these patterns. I’ve never completed something so beautiful and would love to give it a try. These are gorgeous! I’ve loved browsing the patterns.

  15. Pam Maher says:

    I wasn’t sure who Jennifer was but when I could sit down in a front my computer I realized I have already favorited a number of her patterns! What an adventure it would be to knit my way through her book!

  16. France says:

    I’m a new knitter, and knitting one of Jennifer’s designs would be a welcome adventure! I love your podcast and rarely miss an episode, although I can’t listen live because I’m at work :o(.

  17. roseruffolo says:



    Congratulations Jennifer on such a smashing book!

    Marly, thank you for once again letting us know about another amazing designer!!!

    I am totally going to try my hand at some of these designs. I’m sure it will not only be a challange but definitely it will be an “ADVENTURE!”

    Thanks Ladies!

  18. Lauren says:

    I am looking forward to sampling this fun adventure of cable & lace knitting. It sounds like a wonderful learning experience.

  19. Ramona says:

    Oh wow, I went to look at the patterns in this book and they are absolutely gorgeous! Trying new techniques is always an adventure for me. A lot of the patterns in the book would definitely qualify!

  20. Louise Gingery says:

    Loved today’s interview. I checked out the book…the patterns are amazing and I have a couple of choices for my next knitting adventure!

  21. Wendy S Senter says:

    Wow, what beautiful patterns! I love them all and want to cast on at least half of them right away–what an adventure that would be! Another great podcast, Marly, with a super talented and lovely guest! Thanks for all you do!

    Wendy (Wendeluu on Ravelry)

  22. Lori Biamonte says:

    I love to knit on every adventure I go on. Then the finished project reminds me of the place I’ve been.

  23. Wendy says:

    Thanks Marly and Tammy for a great adventure through the many podcasts. Jennifer’s was one more in a long line of books I want but might not get to ever knit from. I’m working on back episodes so I still have many knit and crochet adventures to listen to.

  24. Robin says:

    Knitting for me is still new, but I am trying to break out of my crochet comfort zone. Some day I may be adventurous enough to try one of Jennifer’s patterns.

  25. Katelyn M says:

    Thanks for another great show. I loved learning about the book. I always find knitting to be an adventure. I am not an advanced knitter but I keep trying to learn every day. I always look for something new to learn and explore. This book looks really beautiful and the colors and images are so great. This would make a great addition to any library!

  26. Diana says:

    Beautiful patterns! Thank you for another great podcast – taking us on an adventure to meet a new designer!

  27. Rachel Catherine says:

    I am always looking for a new adventure in knitting a crocheting! Jennifer’s book looks lovely–I am so glad she decided to put it together.

  28. Shelly says:

    I have only tried knitting hats on a loom so far, but I am always up for another craft adventure.

  29. Carol T says:

    Great interview with Jennifer Wood. Her new book Refined Knits has some really awesome patterns in it. I would love to go on an adventure through the book and knit several of them. Thanks Marly.

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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