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Q & A with the Lovely (and Crafty!) Vanna White

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You may think you know Vanna White from her role as America’s favorite letter turner on Wheel of Fortune, but did you know she’s also an avid crocheter with her own line of yarn? That’s right, her “Vanna’s Choice” collection from Lion Brand Yarn was launched just last June and has already become a top seller, helping to raise money and awareness for St. Jude’s Hospital in the process. We took a spin with this crochet connoisseur to learn more:

Listen to the Lion Brand’s Yarncraft podcast to hear their interview with admin from their visit to Etsy Labs!

Q: When and how did you learn to crochet?
A: I learned from my grandmother when I was 5 but I came back to it 25 years ago when my hair dresser encouraged me to crochet on the set of Wheel of Fortune. Whenever I have downtime on the set, I crochet. I find it very relaxing and I have something to show for the time I’ve spent doing it. I connected with Lion Brand Yarn when I spoke about my love of crochet on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson 14 years ago. They contacted me and it’s been a great friendship ever since.

Q: What is your favorite thing to make with yarn?
A: I love to crochet afghans. I have made countless afghans over the years as gifts for friends and family. I put a tag in each one that says “Handmade for you by Vanna White.”

[Fashion images courtesy of Lion Brand Yarns]

Q: Do you have any other crafty hobbies, or any that you’d like to learn?
A: Recently I’ve taken up cooking. I get recipes from the internet and my favorites are desserts.

Q: Have any handmade heirlooms been passed down in your family?
A: I treasure the doilies by grandmother made for the tables and I still have them.

Q: Have any of your Wheel of Fortune fans ever sent you crocheted or crafty items?
A: Yes, when I was pregnant, I received all kinds of baby items!

Q: What three things inspire you most?
A: I have two children and they are my greatest inspiration. I’m also very involved with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The amazingly talented doctors who work at this hospital inspire me by their dedication to such a worthy cause. Half of my proceeds from Vanna’s Choice are going to support St. Jude.

Q: I first learned of your crochet skills when you were emceeing a Lion Brand fashion show and now you have a line of yarn with Lion Brand named after you! Can you tell us a little bit about what the process of developing the line was like?
A: I worked closely with Lion Brand to develop a yarn that has an incredibly soft feel, yet would be practical in that it can be machine washed and dried. Once we found the right fiber and texture, we developed a color palette that has beautiful colors that are in the same range tonally so whatever colors you put together will match. Since I love crocheting afghans, we made certain that this yarn would be ideal for knitting and crocheting afghans. We’re adding colors since the line has been so successful and a new yarn called Vanna’s Baby Yarn with contemporary colors for babies and kids.

[Fashion images courtesy of Lion Brand Yarns]

Q: Any crochet trends you can forecast for spring?
A: People have been experimenting with crocheted stuffed animals of all different types and I just see them getting more and more creative. You can make almost anything with yarn!

Q: Any trends you wish would go away?
A: Not really. When it comes to something that has been lovingly made by hand, it’s all good.

Q: What’s one thing people don’t know about you that you wish they did?
A: That I am a normal person and lead a normal life. I cook for my kids, take them to school, do homework with them, tuck them in at night. Exercise is important for me, too (so I can fit into those Wheel of Fortune gowns!). I’m not an extravagant or glamorous person at all.

Q: Any other thoughts you’d like to share?
A: I think that handmade gifts are so meaningful and more valuable to people than the most expensive store bought product. I love the look on people’s faces when I give them a blanket for a new baby or an afghan for their home. I have this one friend who has a 13 year old and I made a blanket for him when he was a baby. After 13 years she tells me that he still loves loves it. That means everything to me.

Dear Etsians: for this week only (3/25-4/1/08), Etsy users can get 20% off catalog orders at Lion Brand Yarn. Just enter “etsy0308″ at check out. Special treat!

Check out Vanna’s top Etsy finds below:

  • melissakate

    melissakate says:

    Yay! I love Vanna! (and Pat!)

    7 years ago

  • HeyMichelle

    HeyMichelle says:

    Gorgeous knits! Love that huge yellow scarf! Ah, and I, too, love Vanna. Brings me back to being 5 years old and watching Wheel of Fortune, which was one of my mom's "shows". "Banana" White was the most beautiful woman in the world, and I wanted to look just like her. And I loved her name, "Banana", and didn't believe my mom when she tried to tell me it was Vanna. And she's still as gorgeous as she was over 20 years ago... Craft on, Vanna, craft on!

    7 years ago

  • NestaHome

    NestaHome says:

    Very cool! Go Vanna :)

    7 years ago

  • littlepurls

    littlepurls says:

    Great interview! Thanks Vanna! You rock!

    7 years ago

  • contrary

    contrary says:

    Gotta say I love the yellow too!! Great interview!

    7 years ago

  • sagittariusgallery

    sagittariusgallery says:

    Very cool :)

    7 years ago

  • qwynwyn

    qwynwyn says:

    Wow! I had no idea that Vanna is so crafty! This was a great interview!

    7 years ago

  • stellaloella Admin

    stellaloella says:

    I would so love to own an afghan with a tag that says "Handmade for you by Vanna White."

    7 years ago

  • jmillenLovesToKnit

    jmillenLovesToKnit says:

    I would loved to have been picked as Vanna's Etsy finds... She has great taste!

    7 years ago

  • AuntChilada

    AuntChilada says:

    I saw a biography of Vanna on Lifetime many years ago, she is awesome!

    7 years ago

  • lupin

    lupin says:

    I really am in love with the giant yellow scarf. Seriously awesome stuff :D

    7 years ago

  • TeenAngster Admin

    TeenAngster says:

    Vanna is amazing. And the yellow scarf = seriously covet.

    7 years ago

  • AuntChilada

    AuntChilada says:

    I kindly request the question "What's your favorite junk food/candy?" be included in furture spotlight and etsy sucess story interviews :-)

    7 years ago

  • gemmafactrix

    gemmafactrix says:

    I *need* that scarf.

    7 years ago

  • Ekioart

    Ekioart says:

    Yay Vanna! I do so love that yellow scarf.

    7 years ago

  • daniellexo

    daniellexo says:

    Great Etsy finds, Vanna!

    7 years ago

  • hellome

    hellome says:

    Who knew Vanna was such a crafty girl! I love too that she finds recipes on the internet lol. Such a sweet article, made me smile. ☺

    7 years ago

  • sweetestpea

    sweetestpea says:

    What a nice interview! Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on handmade items.

    7 years ago

  • LazyTcrochet

    LazyTcrochet says:

    Yay! One of my favorite hats is made with Vanna's Choice. Wonderful yarn. I love it. Thanks Vanna and Etsy!

    7 years ago

  • phoebec

    phoebec says:

    Great article, this is wonderful, what a pleasant side to see of celebrities instead of gossip:) yay etsy!

    7 years ago

  • StacyRaeT

    StacyRaeT says:

    its great that you're interviewing celebs. Great article.

    7 years ago

  • backwoodsophisticate

    backwoodsophisticate says:

    This is a great article and Vanna is a great person! How exciting that etsy is interviewing stars!!

    7 years ago

  • SteppingStones

    SteppingStones says:

    Great article!! Who Knew!!

    7 years ago

  • saraaires

    saraaires says:

    Thank you for the wonderful article MissBatch, and WOW!To Vanna! I'm very flattered to be a part of such a nice selection! Crochet Rocks!

    7 years ago

  • mydesertstudio

    mydesertstudio says:

    I went to Lion Brand's website. They are only giving 15% off. I was going to get 2 skeins of a microfiber yarn for $8. I put in the code for the 20% discount. They only gave me $1.19 off, which is 15%. So I didn't order it. That's kind of embarrassing.

    7 years ago

  • mykonos

    mykonos says:

    all items are so great!!

    7 years ago

  • Vanessa Admin

    Vanessa says:

    Hmm, we'll look into that discount problem. Thanks for the heads up mydesertstudio. Sorry about that.

    7 years ago

  • scrapsnthings

    scrapsnthings says:

    Hi! Thanks for featuring Vanna and crocheting! I'm kind of wondering if one of my items was featured before it was purchased today...my raspberry sherbet dishcloths had over 1000 hits total! I've been trying to find out what made them so popular today! Thanks, Vanna, if they were featured!!! I loved the article. I, too, learned at a young age. My great-grandma taught me to crochet when I was 8. She'd be so excited about etsy if she were alive today! Shannon

    7 years ago

  • LionBrand

    LionBrand says:

    mydesertstudio: We're very sorry about the problem with the discount coupon code. We have fixed the error, and now all discounts will show up as 20%. Sorry for the trouble!

    7 years ago

  • birdsofafeather

    birdsofafeather says:

    i'm new to crochet, but have knit forever. i'm going to have to check out vanna's new line! thanks for the fabulous crochet etsy items ~ the talent here is amazing!

    7 years ago

  • mydesertstudio

    mydesertstudio says:

    Thanks for fixing the discount problem so quickly! I'll have to go back and buy now.

    7 years ago

  • delli3

    delli3 says:

    Thank you Vanna, I have over 600 hits on that Tea Cosy. I love the colors of your yarn, most of the time you see those colors in wool yarn, and now it's nice to have them in acrylic. Gorgeous Yarn! Thanks Cathy BTW one of my cosies sold after your mentioning of one of your Etsy finds. :)

    7 years ago

  • 11 Inspiring Stories About People Who Crochet | says:

    […] Vanna White explains in a video interview that she learned to crochet at age five from her grandma then re-learned when she started on Wheel of Fortune, beginning by crocheting baby blankets for friends. Photo is from an old Etsy crochet interview with Vanna. […]

    58 days ago