Designer’s Story

Jill Wolcott Knits®, The Designer’s Story:

I first learned to knit at the age of six, when I tagged along to my sister’s Brownie troop. My mother (the troop leader) had arranged for the Brownies to learn at our LYS, The Knit Wit Shop. I knit a pair of rib slippers in a blue yarn that came out too large for a human foot. I didn’t like knitting at all and only finished because my mother made me.  It completely eluded me why anyone would knit.  I picked knitting up again off and on, when I saw a cute sweater I wanted to make, then again when I was quitting smoking.  I got back into knitting as a machine knitter in 1993, and then started hand knitting on vacation.  Once I could choose my own yarn and design my own patterns, I learned how addictive knitting can be!

In 2001 my sister and I began Y2Knit, LLC. Through Y2Knit, I designed and published patterns, led online classes, and ran events and workshops in places from Washington, DC to Buffalo, Wyoming, to Tuscany, Italy. We published a book, YNotKnit: A Step-by-Step Instructions for Continental Knitting and Knitting Basics, as well as nearly 200 patterns. After a decade, we’ve brought Y2Knit to a close and I’m looking forward to new horizons at Jill Wolcott Knits®.

Like most knitters, I love yarn and I’ve enjoyed the privilege of working with some wonderful companies, including Meadow Mountain Wool, Skacel, Universal Yarn, Zealana, and others. My Powder River Collection was developed in conjunction with a new limited-edition yarn from Meadow Mountain Wool. As a designer it was thrilling to analyze the properties of this new yarn and create sweaters, scarves and blankets that highlighted its properties. I also created a collection of designs for Skacel’s Simplicity DK yarn.  The booklet of patterns has a variety of projects that could make any female happy, ranging from scarves to sleeves (fingerless gauntlets), a cosy (wear it as a cowl or a capelet), an eyelet rib pullover with three different sleeve lengths and two neckline options.  The collection is topped off by a hoodie and a hoodie vest.

For 42 weeks of the year, I teach at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in  San Francisco, where I’ve been an instructor for over twelve years. I primarily teach technical design and portfolio classes. One type of class is very technical and the other is very creative. I believe the combination of a “left brain/analytical” and “right brain/intuitive” approach comes through in my patterns as well. I strive to be creative, yet also well-organized and clear.

Please don’t be alarmed by the length of my patterns. They’re often more than 12 pages in length because I don’t believe in leaving your finished piece to chance. I don’t think it’s fair to tell you just to “cast-on” if there’s a specific cast-on I used.  This attention allows you to get the final result that you saw in my piece. I include both written and charted instructions as well as instructions for special techniques, shaping, or finishing (both right and left) I might call for in the pattern. You’ll also find every technique I use in my online database. Really, it’s more fun to learn a technique while knitting something beautiful at the same time! And if you ever wonder what my favorite technique is, I’ll let you in on a secret… it’s the one I’m currently using!

You’ll see the creative side of me coming out in my studio! I always have lots of paperwork, works-in-progress, swatches, yarn, photos for inspiration, and never enough desk space! I almost always carry a bit of knitting in my purse, although my favorite place to knit is my end of the couch in our living room! Like many of you,  I like to knit while I listen to an audio book or while we watch TV in the evenings. That’s another reason I make sure my patterns are thorough and clear. We all know how easy it is to get distracted, and I want you to be able to jump right back into your project. My patterns are designed to help you enjoy your knitting—I’ve done the pattern work for you!


Please contact me with any questions or concerns!