On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about yarn and media with my guest Dana Williams-Johnson.
Dana is a knitter, newbie crocheter and college professor. She holds a PhD in Communications, Culture, and Media Studies and researches issues with online communities, feminism and the impacts and use of social media by minority women. She also writes about her love of all things yarn on her blog, Yards of Happiness.
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We begin this interview by talking about Dana’s childhood. Dana talks about her interest in accessories and her expertise in makeup. Her first blog, The Art of Accessories, began as a school project for a course called Electronic Publishing Theory and Practice, a requirement to complete a master’s degree in publishing at George Washington. The blog developed into a business. Dana created 1.800 posts over five years and she talks about the impact of that site on herself and on the community she developed through it.
When her father was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, Dana learned to knit as a way to process the challenges she and her family were facing. She says that knitting was her coping mechanism.
Dana’s Ph.D. dissertation was titled “Stitches of Progress: Knitting, Consciousness, and the Changing Power of Black Women’s Work and Leisure.” She explains what got her interested in this topic, the research she did, and what she discovered (especially about comments sections). Dana also talks about an article she wrote in June 2020 for Modern Daily Knitting called See Me- Not Just What I Knit and the discussion that followed, including the decision to change the name of that site.
Dana is a prolific knitter who knit 27 sweaters in a year. We talk about her sense of color and fashion, and her choice of glasses frames as a way to express her aesthetic. Recently, Dana has started a Substack newsletter in order to write about topics beyond just knitting.
And, of course, I ask Dana to recommend great stuff she’s loving right now. Dana recommends:
- Rest, especially for creatives
- Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton Yarn
- Birdie Parker Designs 6 in 1 ruler wristlet