Dakota Handcrafters: Shelley Winiger

Current Hometown: Minot

How would you describe your handcraft?

Knitting fascinates me. I am driven to play with it, to find out what it can do – that is how I fell into designing my own projects. I also love to try new techniques, and so have become addicted to doubleknitting and textured work. Sometimes I incorporate other textile crafts (crochet, macreme, embroidery) into my knitting. Lately, wall hangings have become my focus, but I have designed hats and shawls also.

What or who inspired you to become involved in it?

When I was 9 years old, I saw a neighbor knitting…and must have asked her to teach me, because the next thing I remember is sitting on the couch with her and some needles and yarn. She moved away, but I kept learning by trying patterns from books and magazines. Years later, I joined my first knitting group, and my knitting life has been much more interesting – since then, I have been in several knitting groups and have been inspired by the knitters in them. Everyone has a different perspective! Several years ago, I joined an online knitting group, called Ravelry, and there is no end to inspiration there!!

How long have you been doing this type of work?

50 years.

Do you do this for your own pleasure or is your work for sale?

Both. The projects I knit are either for personal use or become gifts. Over the past few years, I have begun selling the patterns of my own designs. I have a small online “shop” on Ravelry.com. The process of designing is very enjoyable – working out all the details is a good puzzle, and seeing the finished project is gratifying.

Where can we see your handcraft?

Locally, I have had my projects at the N.D. State Fair, and on display at the Minot Public Library. One project that I knit for another designer can be seen in his book, “Extreme Double Knitting” by Alastair Post-Quinn – it’s the hat called “Vasily.” Online, my work is on my Ravelry homepage.

Have you taught others your handcraft and if so, would you be willing to teach it to others?

Only informally, and not on a regular basis.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am married with two adult children. I have lived in several states, including Idaho, Oregon, and New Hampshire. Since being taught to knit, I have learned to crochet, tat, and macrame. In recent years, I have learned to use a spindle to create my own yarns. My knitting friends tend to be enablers…so my horizons keep expanding!