Wednesday, November 28, 2007


A few months ago I wrote about receiving a wonderful book from an anonymous person. The book called Golden Fleece by Hughie Call is an account of a city woman marrying a rancher in Montana and all she learned living on the ranch. The story, written about life in the 1920's and 1930's, still resonates with me – because caring for sheep in the general scheme of things doesn’t change too much. There is better medicine but all in all, it’s basic animal husbandry and getting along with nature.

As I read the book, I kept wondering who sent me such a gem and after posting about it near my birthday in October, the mysterious woman identified herself. It was my old friend Julie (Hoff) Weisenberger. I met Julia when I was working for TYC – she designed many sweaters for our collections. I loved her sense of style and proportion and fit and she always included some lovely details on her designs. We became telephone friends and then we were both featured in Melanie Falick’s Knitting in America (now called America Knits in its paperback incarnation). Julie is pictured with her older daughter Hanna in a pumpkin patch. The sweater she designed for Melanie’s book is now on the cover of the new paperback edition.

It’s funny how knitting friends’ paths keep crossing over the years. Julie and I both have daughters who are about the same age – mine you all know is Julia and hers is Emma. And both our daughters have learning disabilities and challenges that we deal with every day. Julie relocated to California with her husband and two daughters and stopped designing for awhile. She has been working with Emma to do all she can to help her grow and develop and live with her challenges, as I do with Julia. Mostly, I've kept up with her through her yearly Christmas card. Every once in a while we would catch up with each other by e-mail, mostly talk about our daughters and the trials and tribulations of being a parent of a child with a disability and then a bit about knitting. But it is through this blog that we have really caught up with each other again.

Recently, Julie has been able to devote a bit more energy to her knitting projects and she has started designing again. That’s great news for the knitting world! She’s also teaching in a few knitting shops in California – lucky students they are! She has a great website called Cocoknits and is selling some wonderful new products on it – like her Knitter's Blocks – a clever and very useful tool for blocking. There are some wonderful tutorials on it also and a nice selection of cute patterns for sale too. Julie has such great style! She sends out a once in a while newsletter that is informative and fun. I may even get to see her in person at next year’s Stitches East if we both make it. We’re all lucky she is back!

I just got a complimentary copy of America Knits on CD. I’ve got to take it in the car on my next road trip so I can remember all the wonderful stories of other knitters throughout the country. Knitting in America was a wonderful book – I was very fortunate to be profiled in it. I also got to meet so many wonderful people including Melanie and the photographer Chris Hartlove and the designers profiled through its pages. It’s how I became friends with Melanie and went on to work on two other books with her – Kids Knitting (I did the illustrations and designed a few projects) and Knitting for Baby which we co-wrote.

Circles – knitting circles, book circles, parenting circles – all intertwining as the world goes round.


Willow said...

I'm loving how much I learn about the knitting world on your blog. You keep introducing me to more knitters. Thanks!

Lee said...

I am soooo excited to know how where Julie is. Her profile was one of my favorites in Knitting in America and I have periodically searced for her on-line. Once again the web serves to connect and reconnect knitters.

mythsnmagic said...

Okay - I know you posted this two years ago, but I am just now listening to America Knits and I was Googling information about Julie Hoff, because her designs sound like something I would like. When you said that she designed the sweater the little girl is wearing on the cover of the book, I knew I was on to the right idea! Thanks for the info, and I'm going to add you to my blog reader. Thanks

-a new knitter