Who is This DWJ?

Well, hello! I am DWJ. Or you can call me Dana.

Boxed pullover
Boxed Pullover

In 2008 I started a blog, the Art of Accessories (it eventually became I Am DWJ), and had some fun and great success. And after 5 years of blogging about beauty and accessories I decided it was time to stop blogging, I had moved on but said I might be back one day. In 2010 my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and I decided I needed to focus on the positive to help him through and to help myself and my family cope. So in 2011 I learned how to knit after wanting to learn for so long.

Rainbow Tecumsehs
A trio of Tecumseh sweaters for me, Cher and Jellybean

I quickly fell madly in love with knitting and yarn, building my skills with each new project. I also used knitting as a way to cope with the stresses of life. In March of 2015, my father passed away, 5 years after he was diagnosed. I knit 13 sweaters (and various other projects) in the 12 months before he died. Knitting was my coping mechanism. Knitting brought me joy when I felt lost or sad. Knitting helped to ease my pain.

Sister sweaters
My girls looking holiday ready

So I decided after my blogging hiatus to come back to blogging. I found my voice again in sharing what brings me joy. I find inspiration, excitement and sometimes comfort in creating things with my needles and yarn. Welcome to my little piece of the Internet.

64 Replies to “Who is This DWJ?”

  1. Heeey there! I am so sorry to hear of the lost of your father. i have enjoyed your former post of the A of A where you at times would share with your viewers your loving family, my prayers are with you. I was so excited when I ran across your newest blog! your knitting is lovely! looking forward to your post to see wait you create. Continued Blessing so good to see you back.

  2. What a wonderful blog! I’ve just found you and am really looking forward to following along with your knitting adventures and with precious Cher!! I can’t believe you’ve only been knitting since 2011. Your finished work is gorgeous!

    1. Nice to meet you as well 🙂 I love seeing all your bulky knit adventures in my RSS feed!

  3. Lovely stuff! So many of us use knitting or crocheting to soothe our souls.

  4. I am so happy that WordPress suggested your blog to me! I love your works and the colours,OMG, fantastic!
    I’m at the moment in my life right now where I’m not sure where to go next and feeling pretty sad so I also use my crochet and yarn to focus on the positive… and it helps!
    When I feel more confident in crocheting I want to get myself a sewing machine and remind myself how to sew, but now after watching your blog I think that knitting might be on the list as well 🙂 Anyways, thank you for sharing your story and your work here! Greetings from Dublin 🙂

    1. Awww well I’m glad you found me as well! Knitting truly helps me stay sane in this unbelievably crazy world we live in. Rock on with whatever crafty skills you’ve got to make yourself feel great!

  5. Wow, it’s so amazing how many of us started some form of creative hobby whether crocheting, knitting, or sewing to ease heartache. I started crocheting when my Mom lost her battle with leukemia. That winter, I made everyone (well almost) a scarf or winter hat. I also taught my nieces and nephew as well, I wanted to pass on the new founded joy. I honestly believe that crocheting saved me. I tapped into a different world and was able to get through the pain and sadness I was feeling at the time. Haven’t done much since then but, I love your makes and now feeling motivated to learn knitting as well. Thank you for sharing.

    Roxanne T.

  6. I love your joyful knitting blog! I remember about 10 years ago, a few months before my Mom passed away. Her Alzheimers disease had progressed to where she did not know any of her family and her verbal communication was very limited. While we were sitting together I was knitting. She looked across and watched me knitting. Then she looked up at my face and I think she recognized me as her daughter who always has her hands busy with a knitting project.

    1. Awwww that makes me all emotional. The nurses at the hospital would always chat me up about what I was making while I would sit with my Dad. Knitting can be a powerful thing.

  7. Your blog is wonderful — I found it via Fringe Association. Your voice and your stories are so engaging and inspiring, I now want to start a knitting blog. I got into knitting when I quit drinking — it was something to do with my hands, and I haven’t stopped. The things you say about knitting resonate so much with me (and with many others). It is healing, and it is love. Thank you for what you are doing, this is one of the most refreshing and uplifting things I have come across in a long time.

    1. Oh you made my night. Thank you for your kind words! And thank you for reading and yes start a blog! Share your stories and your journey ☺️ There’s space for all of us out here.

  8. I just subscribed. I am here via a link from the Fringe Association and I enjoyed your blog entry. Happiness and joy! Who doesn’t want that.

  9. Omg I just found your blog through ravelry and am hooked. Love your message and gentle spirit. I look forward to following you and your project adventures in 2018. And I’m totally going to start knitting sweaters for my Borgi! I’m sure my kids will think I’m crackers which is part of the fun, Thank you for sharing!

  10. Hello Dana, I’ve recently found your blog and enjoy reading your posts very much. I am so impressed with your knitting! So beautiful! So colourful! Sooo fast! And what I absolutely love, is to see the photos of you in your new creations with such a radiant, gorgeous smile on your face. I can’t help smiling back, it’s so infectious- it really brightens my day. :))) Thank you for that!
    Sometimes you say that you are not like what other knitters are supposed to be. But I wonder, what are knitters like? I like to think knitters can’t be stereotyped. If you love knitting, then you’re a knitter, and that’s all there’s to it, IMHO.
    Maybe you’d like to know that I live in Aberdeen, Scotland. Just so you know you’re famous all over the world!
    Big hug, Elien.

    1. Elien, thank you so much for the sweet note 🙂 And Scotland? Wow! There’s an Aberdeen, Maryland here where I live…I have a feeling it’s not quite the same.

  11. Hi Dana, it’s Peggy from Friends & Fiber. So happy to meet you today and chat with you! Thanks for showing us your beautiful sweater. Look forward to keeping in touch and following your work!

  12. Love the colors your and and techniques your in.
    do you make patterns and tool kits for beginners to advance ?
    please let me know
    Many thanks

    1. I don’t make patterns, I offer tips here and there but you may want to check YouTube for helpful videos for knitting.

  13. I read about you on the Mason-Dixon blog. I love your bright colors and positive attitude … and I share your joy from knitting. Thank you!

  14. Ditto — heard about you from Mason-Dixon. Wow! What an inspiration. You go girl!!!

  15. I love the color choices in your sweaters. Like you I’ve been knitting for a while to deal with depression and stress after being medically retired from my career. I have never needed anything for myself as you stated before in your blog. I would love to knit sweaters for myself but I have trouble with deciding on what pattern and color choices. I just found you and your blog and I love everything so far I’ve seen. You seem like a very positive person and your knitting reflects it.

    1. I’d say start with a simple sweater shape like a basic raglan and knit it in your favorite color!

  16. I just discovered you from Mason-Dixon too. You are an inspiration, and I’m so glad to follow your blog posts (and Ravelry & Pinterest!). Your joy, and enthusiasm are contagious. Your knitting projects are the best!

  17. Hi Dana! Thanks for sharing your positive attitude and happy colorful projects. I saw you on Instagram in the Coral/cream sweater with your dog and literally LOL’d ( and then showed my husband who also laughed!) I am very inspired by your vibrant wardrobe and can’t wait to see what you do next. Thanks for all the joy!

  18. A knitting friend emailed your blog to me after your comment about easy 2color brioche was, and about how you knit 2 hours per day. Also how you managed to finish all the projects you have. She and I have been trying to get that stitch down so we could move on to start any Stephen West pattern with brioche.
    I am inspired by your projects and color choices. Cher and Jellybean are the cutest😙. You showed pics of Chicago, are you attending Stitches Midwest next month by any chance? I will be along with 2 other knitting kittens. We live in Louisville, Ky. I will start following you to see what’s next. Been wanting to do the Kangarullover too.

    1. I have no plans to go to Stitches West but I was in Louisville over Presidents Day weekend! We have friends there and I posted about a great yarn shop ☺️

  19. Hi Dana, wish you every success in the future with the teaching and The PhD. Good luck! (But do’t give up the blog please!)

  20. So glad I found your wonderful blog. I truly appreciate your great spirit, creativity and shared joy. Thank you for being a positive voice in the knitting community. Kiss those sweet pups for me!

  21. SO happy to meet you. Please accept my deepest condolences for the loss of your father, it is such a difficult journey! The tagline on my blog is that knitting keeps me sane. I think I need to get back to the blog
    because some sanity is exactly what’s needed right now. Thanks for the beautiful inspiration!

  22. How lovely to see your gorgeous work, beautiful smile and joyous spirit! I adore your color choices and fantastic style. Thank you for sharing!

  23. I just want to say thank you. I found you through Andrea Mowry’s recent IG post and I am so grateful. I love your beautiful smile and all the happiness that radiates through your posts here and on IG. What a ray of sunshine! And you still keep it real. Awesome!

  24. Hi Dana, the minute I saw you on Ravelry I had to comment on your gorgeous white and green sweater!! Ok, so the fact that you knit matching sweaters for your dogs 🐶 really got to me! My 3 adult daughters have been telling me that I am the only woman with the matchy matchies ie, coordinating my outfits, shoes, jewelry, belts and bags toooooo much!,,, So…. sell your patterns…. I’m in!

  25. Hi!!!! I found you just now via a post on The New Yorker, “All Knit up in Sweater Instagram”. I followed the link, saw your cover photo, and your smile, dogs and that gorgeous cardigan on the right drew me in!

    I lost my Dad 3 years ago, right in the middle of my own cancer treatment, and my mom 15 years ago. My doctor suggested to me years ago that I should try a new hobby to help me with depression and anxiety. I took a beginners crochet class at my LYS in 2010, and never looked back. I promised myself that this year I will progress beyond knitting rectangles too, lol. I’m looking forward to reading your blog!

    1. I’m sorry for your losses but glad you found a way to cope through it all. Knitting is definitely my comfort. And I’m glad you found me! Welcome ☺️

  26. This post about about your dad brought tears to my eyes – I too lost my dad 7 years ago. Although I didn’t know how to knit then I have since learnt and I find it incredibly fulfilling and it really helps my anxiety. I love your extremely colourful knitting and the fact that you knit matching coats for your doggies! 🙂 x

  27. I, too, knit to ease stress. When my dad died, I knitted a matching skirt and sweater through the entire shiva period. Knitted so fast and furious that my gauge changed and everything was too small. But boy, did it help the stress.

  28. Hi! I am in middle school and I am doing a project where I am learning how to knit. I am starting simple by making a scarf. Do you have any advice for a beginner? Please email me back. Thanks.

  29. Hi Dana. Looking @ your Instagram feed is such a ray of joy and positivity. Always brings a smile to my face. It is especially welcome in the recent turmoil in the craft world.

  30. Hi Dana,

    I stumbled upon your IG account months ago while browsing the search screen. Soon as I saw your matching sweaters with your dear lil’ doggos, I immediately clicked FOLLOW. 🙂 Now, months later, I’m finally exploring your blog.

    I didn’t realize that your love of knitting came to you at such a rough point in life. I also started knitting seriously when my Mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer 5 years ago. Knitting saved my life on those long car rides to and from visits with her.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for sharing so much of yourself here and on IG. Your posts always make me smile.

    Kayla from Newfoundland

  31. I don’t know how I arrived at your blog today, but I’m glad I did. Maybe I saw a picture of something you knit? and because of the colors I followed the trail??? I dunno. But here goes. Internet is very slow here still (a little faster than dial-up..really!) so it will take awhile to get caught up.

    Those colors on the walls!!I ❤❤❤

    1. Hi Dana, I love your posts on MDK and they led me to your blog, which is amazing. I love what you do with color and especially with non-wool yarns. Would you consider a doing a post about some of your favorite yarns to work with that are on the budget-friendly side? I’m reading though your archive and considering it to be “color therapy.” Thanks for sharing your work with us!

  32. Hi there! I found your site through Ravelry, specifically your version of Stephen West’s Painting Bricks sweater. And then I clicked through and realized that I already follow you on Instagram (because, COLORS + DOGS + KNITTING!). I loved your quote in the New Yorker article: “I can’t with all this gray.” Thank you so much for sharing yourself and your talents.

  33. Hello, I read about how knitting helped you cope with your father’s illness and eventual loss. I lost my father thirty years ago today. You inspire me to finish a sweater of my own. Happy knitting!!

  34. I found your What I Learned story on page 75 of March 2020’s Washingtonian. I read it today for the first time, as I was behind on reading this issue. What a joy to see the colorful spotlight and then to find your dogs online before I actually found the one you were holding in the picture! I absolutely loved the Marketing class I took at Howard in the late ’80’s. I can imagine what a great teacher you are. So now, I think I’ll learn to knit so I can make my own dog some winter clothes.

  35. I found out about you through Modern Daily Knitting post. I was so inspired by all the sweaters you knit. I have a hard time finishing a sweater in less than 2 years. You’re amazing! I’ve only knit 1.5 sweaters and it didn’t go very well. Would love to get an email from you. You make me want to knit more : ) Thanks!

  36. Dana: Just want to let you know that your smile llifts my spirits immeasurably. I found out about you relatively recently (through MDK), and I can feel my spirits lift when I see that I have a new post from you. I love the photos of your work, but it is your smile that really speaks to me. It is so positive; it makes me feel that everything will be okay. So, even if you just want to “check in” with a smile and a “How’s it going?”, that’s fine with me. Thanks for sharing your inspiring enthusiasm.

  37. I am reading “This Long Thread” with the thoughts of then sending it to my gay niece who has a dream of opening a fabric store. When I got to your chapter, before I even read it, I wrote in pencil, “I love this woman”. I was sitting in the parking lot of a hospital while my husband was in the ER for the third time in a month. Covid times hospital mandate require that I stay outside, so I had my knitting, my books, my phone, content in my little pod in the warm sun. I began to read your chapter, and it was like a thump on my knucklehead. I needed an attitude change fast, as I was being so dark and gloomy. So then I took him home, but had to stop by the pharmacy and Trader Joes, while he slept in the car. I was very rattled. I was standing across from the TJ’s cashier, and she asked me how my day was going. I could have been morose, but I heard your words about joy, and I stopped myself and said, “The silly Christmas Sweaters are out in full force.” She started laughing. I told her about the guy in the produce section who has a Rudolf face mask on. We had such a sweet conversation, because of you. Thank you dear. You mean a lot to me, and I think good thoughts for you, you life, your little family and your lungs. Be well, and Happy Holidays.

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