Tag Archives: designing

Bits and Bobs

I have an e-mail with this title that I use to send myself reminders. It’s the electronic version of writing stuff on a post-it note for myself. I’m sure there’s an app for that, but whatever. I look at my e-mail constantly so having my notes-to-self right there is easy enough.

I’m waiting on some gorgeous yarn from BMFA for the Morning Walk KAL. That’s right, I’m knitting myself a second one.


This time it’ll be in red (Love is a Verb is the name of their colorway) It’s another leaf-appropriate color but for the fall season. In the mean time I’m making slow progress on my poor, neglected greenery pullover.


I’ve divided for  the front/back twice now. The first time I followed the pattern. Which wouldn’t normally be a problem. Except I’d added decreases for some bust shaping, which means that my stitch count was not the same as the pattern. So I had to frog a couple of inches of stockinette. But I’m getting there.

And in other news, I did a big (well, big for me) knitting photo shoot with a bunch of designs from some other designers! I’ve mentioned the winter designer’s retreat in passing before. This fall we’ve got a special treat in store. A project that was dreamed up around a delicious breakfast table last February is about to meet the world…


Designs in progress

I have some designs in progress and I think they’re finally going to see daylight!

(Morning Walk – coming very soon)

I’ve mentioned a lot how busy life has been. That’s finally starting to slow down. There was a moving truck involved. Things are definitely looking up in the commuting department. I haven’t had much time for knitting, or design work. But that’s finally starting to change.

(Multiflorous socks)

The things I have knit this year have been of my own imagining. And now I’m starting to revisit them. Write them up. Check my notes, my photos, dig out my samples.

bunny back
(unnamed bunny hat)

Fall is coming. And new patterns will be here soon too! Watch this space!

wine mitt mug
(unnamed wine mitts)

All these items are potential new designs. Anything you’d especially love to see a pattern for? Consider signing up for my newsletter if you never want to miss a release!

(there’s a whole sweater dress like this)

Summit vest

Hot off the press!* We have the summer 2016 issue of Interweave Knits: and I’m in it! I’m psyched to see my Summit Vest is in good company (check it out On Ravelry, where you can favorite and queue it as always)

interweave knits

When I saw the summer call included a theme for “mountain house” I just knew I had to submit. An entire story line in a summer issue about living in the mountains and needing a sweater once in a while? Sign. Me. Up. Working with the new editor, Meghan, was a pleasure and I love her eye for details. This issue is cohesive and beautiful.

interweave knits

I love this vest (easy for me to say). The cable and lace pattern is one that I’ve wanted to use in a garment forever. Integrating the ribbing with the chart took a bit of tweaking. So when you cast on follow those setup rows carefully. But once the ribbing is established it flows naturally into the charts and the body of the garment.

interweave knits

The body of the sweater switches to stockinette while the charts continue up the front and the ribbing continues at the sides to provide some stretchy fitting to the garment. The pattern keeps on going right up the hood and meets at the very crown of the head.

cable close up

This is not my first time designing with Imperial Yarns and I love their Columbia base every time I work with it. You all know I love single source yarns and sustainable family farms. This yarn is also woolly, bouncy, but still soft and squeezable. I highly recommend it!

*well, sort of – the print magazines won’t even be on the news stands until the 16th! But the patterns and the electronic version are on Interweave’s site already. Isn’t living in the future fun?


Remember the green leafy thing I was knitting? My streak of having more knitting time than computer time continues! This was finished almost two weeks ago, but I’m only just getting to share it with you.

full back

This is a thing of my own design, and I don’t even know exactly what it is. A vest, maybe? But with those cap sleeves that doesn’t sound right. A top? Not exactly, I think of those as summer wear. A cap sleeved cardigan? I guess that’s the closest so far, it’ll have to work.

front full

But “cap sleeved cardigan” is such a long term for a cozy and simple garment. The entire body is knit straight up with no shaping. Since it opens at the front this works perfectly. The front edges don’t quite meet at the hips, but overlap at the button point under the bust.


There’s some negative ease at the full bust, but that just helps show off the lace. And it can be worn open easily too.

front unbuttoned

The cap sleeves are created quickly with underarm bind off on one row followed by cast-ons for the caps on the next row. I worked up to the end of that repeat of the chart, then started the yoke decreases.

shoulder close

I admit to being nervous about running out of yarn while I worked those looong yoke rows. But it turned out just fine. I decreased at the yoke and then my plan was to work seed stitch for another inch, or until I ran out of yarn, whatever came first.

back close

Instead I worked and inch and felt it needed something more. I added just a couple short rows across the back to raise the collar up on that side – an addition I’m really glad I had yarn for. After a couple more rows I knew the neckline was the right height and it was time to bind off.

back open

I took some pretty close notes on this one, but who knows if I’ll have time, or still feel inspired by it later, when I have time to write and grade it. Maybe it’ll just be a one-off for myself. Who knows? There are even more photos on Ravelry, if you’re curious.

(and I’ve cast on for another garment already. Don’t look now, but I’m knitting up a storm these days).


Remember waaay back in August when I was knitting a second of my Meristem pattern? I probably finished the knitting in September? I don’t remember exactly. I even got the ends woven in. But then is sat. And sat and sat and sat. I really don’t know why it sat for MONTHS waiting for me to sew the shoulder seams. When I finally got around to it, it took about 10 minutes.

meristem yoke

Rather crazily, over those months, I dropped a garment size. And I’d been knitting this vest with positive ease already. What to do? Instead of giving up on it, I decided to block the crap out of it and see what I could do. Instead of blocking it flat I blocked it by hanging it upside down – the goal was to stretch out the body. Essentially I blocked it to throw the row to stitch ratio all off and make the garment longer and narrower.

meristem side

And it worked! Well, pretty much. This vest is still a bit loose at the edges. Mostly the underarms, but honestly also the garter stitch hem is mis-sized compared to the body now.

meristem whole

Not too much, but if you’re looking you can see it.

Luckily somewhere over the fall I decided I needed more sweater dresses. So adding this one to my collection is a pleasant surprise.

meristem back

The biggest problem is the static. The trim is handspun, but the body is silky wool – and apparently this fiber blend is static-prone? I didn’t know, until now. And the dress could probably benefit a LOT from a slip (especially over my microfiber leggings) except that my slip is too long.

meristem perched

But still, I finished this weeks ago. But it was late fall, or early winter, and I couldn’t take photos because it was dark. Until this week I finally took my camera with me to work. And the remote, the sweater dress, and I, we had a little photo shoot in the freezing fog.

meristem fog

I’m so glad to finally be able to share! Obviously, there have been some (ahem) changes to the pattern. The two color yoke is the biggest, and I love it. The length is different, but if I were doing this again I’d actually add rows, not just block it all wonky. Details, detail…

Happy Birthday!

I have approximately ONE sale you can count on each year, and it’s time! It’s my birthday, but I have a present for all of you

boyden preview

31% off all my self published patterns! Can you guess how old I am this year?

Ondulation preview

The sale applies only to my indie designs, you can see all the options right here. No codes are necessary, just buy the pattern and the discount will be automatically applied!

stammel preview

This sale applies to my ebook of hand patterns too! For a short time you can get all NINE patterns for $12.42

tea time preview

The sale will run from noon EDT today until noon on Friday. (My birthday is Thursday, the 12th, in case you were wondering.)

More mitts!

These are my Doric mitts – these basic little mitts have been in the planning stages just about forever. The concept came to me when I was swatching with some really lovely, multicolored malabrigo. I wanted to make mitts (I always want to make mitts) but the multicolored yarn was not cooperating with any stitch patterns.

doric snack time trio

We’ve all been there, right? Hand painted yarn looks so pretty in the skein and it’s so hard to find the right project. My Doric mitts take advantage of how well reverse stockinette blends colors. The twisted stitch columns break up the fabric adding visual and knitterly interest. I especially like how one column runs right up the thumb.

doric kids checkers2

When Malabrigo offered Doric a spot in their quickie program I decided to offer this pattern sized for the whole family! That gave me a chance to show samples in colorways for everyone. Because these mitts are designed for two reasons: to make the knitter feel clever, and to show off awesome yarn!

doric womens cards

And the clever part? The whole mitt is knit stockinette side out. Because if you’re like me, you don’t want to purl in the round that much. See? Clever use of multi colored yarn combined with clever knitting techniques. Perfect AND pretty!

You can see more photos and pattern details on the pattern page here, or on ravelry.

photos photos photos

I managed THREE photo shoots this weekend! By far the worst was on Sunday morning. Conveniently I was playing model and photographer so I didn’t destroy any friendships on this one.

sad model is sad

Why do I look so sad? Well it was 6F (that’s -14C) before wind chill. Oh yeah, and the wind was gusting to 30mph! And my MEAN photographer made me go outside without my handknit scarf and hat! Giant meanie.

What you can’t see is that the wind was blowing so hard it made my eyes water, and the tears were freezing on my coat. Oh woe is me…

human light box

Luckily my other two shoots happened indoors. For this one I have arranged a GIANT HUMAN LIGHTBOX in my living room. This works surprisingly well. The sheet hanging from the ceiling keeps my dark living room from absorbing the light. And that door faces due west, so it lets in glorious, natural lighting all afternoon. It means all the joys of an outdoor photo shoot, but with tables and warmth and stuff. Good deal.

The third shot was at the local opera house, gorgeous site, pretty model, and I got to play with the DSLR again. Which means I haven’t seen those photos yet. But they looked awesome on the camera display…


We’re getting so close!! Close to what, you ask? Close to the big release for What (else) Would Madame DeFarge Knit!! The book is already available for pre-orders and it will be going to print soon!

Why am I so excited about this book? Well if you haven’t guessed yet, I have a pattern in it! I’m not going to tell you my story, or my character (yet). But I can say, it’s VERY me.

sneak 1
crown optional

This is going to be an awesome book. We’ve got 25 designs from both new and established designers. There will be COLOR photos (this is new compared to the first in the series.) That gorgeous blue in the sneak peek? It’s Cornflower Highland, a 100% shetland wool from the incomparable folks at Harrisville Designs.

I hope this book is very you as well! If you’re looking for more information check out the book details over at Cooperative Press, or on the W(e)WMDFK website.

Do you want to know the moment the book is released? Do you want a chance to win FREE patterns and other goodies? (Of course you do.) Just sign up for the WWMDFK e-mail list. There are lots of exciting treats and announcements coming soon!

Hand sizes

I had a conversation with my tech editor yesterday that went something like this:

Becky: Here’s my pattern!
Chris: Gee, your thumb gusset numbers look weird. I wish I had a reference for this sort of thing.
Becky: Golly, you’d think with the number of mittens, mitts, and gloves I’ve published that I’d have some sort of reference by now…

But apparently I don’t. In the interest of SCIENCE! I went through every hand pattern I’ve written and recorded the palm circumference and thumb gusset length.

hand gusset raw data

I wish these were at least SLIGHTLY more consistent… Different lengths for the same palm size can sometimes be attributed to needing the pattern to fit the mitt – cables, colorwork charts, etc… sometimes skew things a quarter of an inch or so. But these numbers are all over the place.

For the purposes of this discussion by “thumb gusset length” I mean the distance from where your wrist ends and your hand begins up to the webbing that joins your thumb to your hand – measured vertically along the edge of your thumb. This is the distance you need to knit your mitten/glove/mitt increases* before creating an opening for the thumb.

I averaged those numbers, and smoothed them out as best I could, and created this little chart:

Hand chart estimated sizes BeckyinVT

But it’s still just numbers I’m guessing at, based on my sense of understanding how hands are shaped.

Wanna help this be more scientific? Get out a tape measure, and record the following numbers:


Now go to this Google form and enter your data. Got a spouse and/or some kids? Maybe a friend who already thinks you’re crazy? Measure their hands too! All the raw data is available for anyone interested to see. In a month or so I’ll come up with some averages and create a newer, better chart. A chart based off of actual facts.

I love data.

*I think if you’re working an afterthought thumb you’d actually put the opening a little lower, so it’s more centered on the base of the thumb… But nevermind that for now.