A Re-Introduction

Yards of Happiness Ravelry Group

There is a conversation happening on social media about the knitting community and race, discrimination, people’s feelings of being left out and ignored…all the things most people of color are aware of in every setting and space in life. I haven’t been surprised at the stories people have been sharing, stories of feeling unseen, ignored or discriminated against. None of those feelings are new to me in my life. But I have been surprised at how hard all of this is hitting the knitting community. It truly came in like a wrecking ball, but someone pointed out that it is probably because it has been like this for a very long time. And by this, I mean a predominantly white space without a demand or action towards being truly inclusive.

Think about it this way, how many knitting magazines do you own without a single person of color modeling a finished object or on the cover? How many times have you purchased a product, pattern or knitting related accessory from someone who wasn’t white? How many times have you gone to a yarn event or store and noticed how few people of color were there? People who aren’t white knit, I’m proof of that, but we are often overlooked within this community.

I’ve gotten an influx of new followers, comments, private messages and emails because of all of this talk in the last few days. I’m not here to educate people on race and discrimination; that’s not my job and I’m not the representative of all knitters of color. There are lots of other people who can do that or just a simple Google search will help you find resources and books to understand these different points of view (and there are many because we don’t all have to agree on everything). But I thought with all the new folks following and maybe even for some of you who have been here for a long time, it was time for me to (re)introduce myself and this site for you.

DWJ - Yards of Happiness

I am Dana but I also go by DWJ. I’m a college professor at a historically black university in Washington, DC and I knit every day. I live in the Maryland suburbs with my very handsome husband and our two rescue dogs Cher and Jellybean. I started knitting after taking lessons in 2008 and fell in love with it. I also love color and that shows through my knitting projects. I’ve spent a large part of my career working in the digital space with social media and web development and have blogged before. I started this blog BECAUSE of the lack of diversity I saw in the knitting community, I felt that there wasn’t a voice like mine and I had something to share. In spite of how I have felt at times within this community (I’ve been ignored, shamed and dismissed), my love of knitting, creating and wanting to see a more diverse community is what makes me share in this space. I named the blog Yards of Happiness because knitting and color truly bring a level of joy to my life. I blog because I want people who look like me to feel like they aren’t alone and I want people who don’t look like me to see that diversity matters.

Diversity matters.

That’s the message I’ve tried to show here. When you see yourself represented in any space you occupy it makes you feel seen and appreciated. I often get messaged on Ravelry by other women of color who are happy to see me and my projects. It’s why I knit dolls for little girls in their likeness. It’s why I show my face and model my projects so someone else feels like they are represented. I know I’m just one voice, one blog in a very large community but I hope if I keep showing my face and making my presence known others will follow and see the value in everyone’s differences.

That’s just a little bit about me and my space here on the internet, have a look around and read my archives if you want to see more or learn more about me. Welcome to the new folks, welcome back to those who come back every week. I’m happy you are here and want to share your love of knitting with me.



FO: Boxed Pullover

This is my 500th post on Yards of Happiness. Wow! That kind of blows my mind that I’ve stuck to it this long. So thanks for reading with me. Now on to the latest finished object…

I have been staring at my overflowing stash and have really wanted to focus on using the yarn I have. At least making a big enough dent in my stash before Maryland Sheep and Wool and because I have some really beautiful yarn. I also really love this Madelinetosh Vintage color, Clue Board from 1984 and I wanted to use the rest of it (you may remember it as the accent color in my brioche cardigan I made in October). So I dug through my sweaters I’ve favorited on Ravelry, thought about something with a bigger gauge to make the 800 yards I had left work and landed on the Boxed Pullover.
Boxed pullover
This isn’t my usual silhouette but I’ve seen so many other people wear cute cropped pullovers that I thought, why not try it? Too often we just say this isn’t for me and miss out on something good. I’m glad I decided to knit this one because I love it. I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone. And if I didn’t like it I’d either give it to my BFF or just frog it, no harm no foul. The only modifications I made were to make the body pieces 2 inches longer than specified and make the sleeves 2 inches shorter – so I knew I’d have enough yarn to balance it all out. I think I had enough leftover that I could’ve added another inch to the body, but the 10 inches from underarm is the perfect cropped length for me. And since my arms are shorter, the original 13-inch sleeve would’ve been too long on me, know your measurements so you know what to modify to suit your shape better!
Boxed pullover
One of the reasons I wanted to try this silhouette is because I wear a lot of high waisted pants and I thought it would work. These are a pair of fun high waisted wide leg jeans that I love. I’ve also paired it with skinny jeans over a longer top too. Next I’m going to throw it on top of a short sleeved dress. I really, really love this color. It’s like a rainbow with a charcoal grey wash on top of it, it’s a perfect neutral in my book.
Boxed pullover
Also, this sweater is knit in pieces and seamed. That’s not my favorite technique but I told myself I really need to get better at it, so I’m going to also stop using excuses for things I don’t like to do to keep me from making what I like. And maybe the more I work on it, the better I will get. Maybe.

FO: Wonder Woman Hat & Goals for 2019

It’s only the second week of the year and I’m two finished objects down! Woohoo! And for my first finished object of the year I decided to finish a gift for a friend who just turned 40, the Wonder Woman Hat.
I wanted to do a little brioche knitting, it’s the same way I started off 2018. Brioche is so soothing to me, I don’t know why. So I dove into my stash (a goal of mine for 2019, use my stash) and pulled out this awesome combination based on a coat my friend Susan has that I wanted to coordinate. The yarns are more of my leftover Tempting Ewe Yarns Ewe So DK and Sparkly (I bought sweater quantity at Sheep and Wool two years ago and have made a lot of things with it) and Madelinetosh Tosh Merino DK in a Game of Thrones color, Daenerys. Her coat was black, white, blue and red and the Daenerys color had all of those and more and instead of white, I used the metallic grey to add a softer contrast. And I had a perfectly colored pom pom to add on top. It was a combination that was meant to be.
I did have to frog this one when I got halfway through because brioche knitting and wine really don’t mix. I put in a lifeline on my second go round but didn’t need it and was able to finish it even faster. And the hat fits Susan perfectly and goes with a bunch of her coats!

Now about my 2019 goals. I always have goals and plans and then never follow them. I always want to knit all the things but this year I really want to just knit with what’s in my stash as much as I possibly can. My stash is out of control and my Mom gave me yarn money for Christmas so I know there will be more yarn in my future, but really my stash is awesome and I need to stop hoarding it and start knitting with it! Too often I think ‘this skein is too pretty to use,’ but I need to just use it and make really pretty things. I also want to keep pushing myself to try new things. And I want to make an enamel pin this year! I’ve had an idea for a long time in my head for a Yards of Happiness logo and I think it would make a really fun pin for a project bag or jacket, so I want to make that happen this year.

What are your knitting related goals for 2019?