About a year ago we stumbled upon a great podcast that quickly eased its way onto our Top 5 Faves list. The Junk Yarn Podcast, hosted by knitter, designer, and now yarn dyer, Kemper Wray, is quirky, fun, and, of course, full of beautiful yarn and inspiration.
We somehow convinced this multi-tasking stitcher to design a brand new pattern to debut in our May 2016 BigStitch box. And because we couldn’t leave our SockStitchers out of the fun, we featured her very cool, Amsterdam-inspired Bickersstraat sock pattern.
We recently asked her our favorite 9 questions to get to help you get to know her a bit better:
How long have you been knitting?
I learned how to knit when I was a sophomore in college; I made one scarf for my boyfriend at the time and then lost interest in the whole enterprise. I only came back to knitting after I was in a car accident two years later that kept me in bed and made my anxiety skyrocket. I needed something to do to relax!
Who taught you how to knit?
My extremely patient roommate. I learned to knit on heavy metal needles with big box craft store yarn that I hated. It was a weird oatmeal brown color with rough neps…I don’t think my boyfriend ever wore that scarf. My mom also had a huge part to play in my craftiness. She’s been knitting and sewing since she was a kid, so she definitely helped me along the way.
What is currently on your needles?
The short answer is TOO MUCH. I wish I could be a monogamous knitter but I’m just not. The only projects I manage to knit monogamously are samples of my own designs. Usually I have two active projects – a sock project and a bigger project like a shawl or a sweater. I’m actually getting ready to cast on the Saco Stripes tank top by Pam Allen because I don’t have any warm weather knits!
Where is the strangest place you have ever knitted?
I don’t know whether it’s strange, but I love knitting in bars. Every time I knit in a bar someone asks me what I’m making or shares a story about someone they know who knits.
Where is your favorite place to knit?
My couch is the most comfortable place for me to knit because of the wonky way I hold my needles. There’s nothing better than an indulgent binge watch and knitting marathon! My husband and I just finished watching the first season of The Expanse – check it out if you love space and mystery.
What is your favorite thing in your notions bag?
My red Clover row counter. It makes the happiest clicking sound!
What do you do when you’re not knitting?
I recently started my own hand-dyed yarn business under my brand, Junkyarn so that keeps me busy! I’m also starting up a bi-weekly audio podcast where I’ll sit down (at least over Skype) with makers from all avenues and talk to them about their lives and interests.
What is on your knitting bucket list?
There are so many beautiful projects I love the look of that I know I’ll never knit! These days I’m really interested in how colors play together, so I’d like to venture more into colorwork. My recent trip to Iceland has ignited my love of lopapeysa. I have several planned. But I try not to keep too long of a queue going because at a certain point that just gets discouraging!
Note: At the beginning of this episode Kemper talks about her trip to Iceland and lopapeysa sweaters:
Who is your favorite knitting buddy?
I’m so lucky to have talented knitters as friends in my real life. I have an incredibly supportive and wonderful knit night and we try to meet weekly.