Dear Readers,

It seems that the past few years have been all about change and reviewing my priorities. Certainly this is normal, especially as a parent. Kids and their needs change a lot in the first few years of their lives, so it makes sense to re-evaluate how you are using your time. With a baby or toddler, it is as much about survival as it is about making plans.

In addition to parenting changes, the changes in my job situation have been considerably fluid, especially after 11 years with the same employer. Since August 2010 I have been fully unemployed, unemployed with part time teaching and design work, employed at a 40-hr job with part time design and teaching work (2.5 yrs), and now employed at a 40-50hr job and barely doing as much design work as I would like (1.5 yrs).

My job status isn’t the only piece to the puzzle, but it is a significant one. As we head into 2016 I am hoping that it is a piece that will stay stable for a while. I am doing more fulfilling work at this job with more significant responsibility, but making time for design has been more difficult. I still enjoy the design work, and it still feeds a part of my creativity that is different from architecture. But when I go through periods when I am working 50-55 hours a week, Structured Stitches gets squeezed out. And for reasons beyond my control, there were several long periods like that this year.

What I have decided for now is to let go of the marketing piece of this work. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to blog or tweet or post in rav forums…but I find that the pressure to do those things is holding me back from design work and adding time constraints that isn’t helpful. It’s making me feel like I’m not living up to my promises to myself because I have no spare energy to write.

I suppose the point is that I don’t want to give up designing just because I don’t have time to convince knitters and crocheters to buy my designs or connect with you on my blog. Of course I LOVE it when my designs are bought and shared on ravelry, and I love sharing my ideas here. But I am having trouble devoting the time to getting my designs in front of more eyes and working to get people here. And it is hard to know if my slower sales this year are a result of less marketing, poor release timing, fewer releases, less advertising, or all of the above. For right now, I want to give myself permission to not worry about it, and to focus on the patterns rather than the marketing.

TL;DR There probably won’t be many posts here in the coming months, and any posts I do make will be super short. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter for occasional updates and anecdotes. I’m “Pghamers” in both places, and on ravelry if you want to see all of my patterns.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

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Fiber Event This Saturday!

I will be spending my Saturday at Indie Knit and Spin, busier than usual. I’m teaching two classes – one on designing patterns and one about making patterns your own. I’ve already got students in each class, so they are definitely happening.

I’m also splitting a booth with my friend Sarah. My design samples will be on display and you’ll be able to buy my knit and crochet patterns. Sarah will be selling her patterns, as well as many, many skeins of her handspun yarn.

Check out the link at the top of the page for all of the details, and I hope to see you Saturday.

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Still In the Works: Annabel’s Blanket

I haven’t had quite as much crafting time this weekend as I had hoped. For the moments that I played with my kids instead of crocheting, I have no regrets. For the time I spent doing work at the beach, well, I am a little less happy about. But the alternative was not coming to the beach…so I guess it is an okay trade-off.
 I did manage to finish assembling the blanket this weekend. It is laying flat enough now that I decided to start weaving in the ends before blocking it.

 Good progress. I’m not going to try to predict how long it will take to finish given how often life has been getting in the way of crochet time.

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In the Works: Annabel’s blanket

A couple of years ago, I created a crocheted baby blanket in fingering weight yarn for the baby of a very good friend. The blanket turned out just as I had imagined and I loved the result. The only reason I haven’t written up the pattern is that I was worried that a fingering weight baby blanket would turn too many people off. Ever since I have been wanting to create a worsted weight version, and this year I am finally following through on that goal.

All of the motifs are now finished, and all of the crocheting has been done between the motifs to make strips. Last night I finished crocheting the third strip onto the blanket. The hardest thing about a baby blanket at this point is that it really isn’t that portable, so it is basically just a home or “knitting group” project. But I have an upcoming 3-day weekend followed by a 4-day weekend, so I hope to have this completed before the month is over.

There are a few spots where the crocheted seam is a little bumpy. I think it will block out, but just to be sure, I will probably block it before I weave in the ends on the seaming and do the border. Better safe than sorry.
 The recipient is already 8 months old and this design has been in my queue for years. I’m ready for the project and the pattern to be complete!

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Finished: Several Socks

To prove to you that I have been knitting for the past four months, let’s start with the obvious. Some socks. Though really, it was not that long ago that this was NOT so obvious.

I did had a significant sock period before my kids were born. But then I hit a point where I had more than a week’s worth of socks, and the sock yarns out there were not calling to me as loudly as other yarns. (Or they wanted to be knit into shawls.) So I had a rather long sock knitting hiatus.

But now, in addition to all of the glorious hand-dyed sock yarns, there are the STRIPEY hand-dyed sock yarns. LOVE.

Once I started making socks again last summer, I realized that they are a great project to have on the needles when I need a break from design samples. And also, that my kids’ feet (and my feet) are small enough that I can get a pair for one of them and a pair for me out of 100g of yarn.

I mentioned that at Thanksgiving, I finished a pair for the boy in Jawoll Magic.  And I believe I started a pair for me within a week. But this thing was that the yarn was a bit splitty. So I really had to watch while knitting. Which is not what I intend for vanilla socks.

Photo Jan 02, 2 44 04 PMSo thanks to 12 days of casting on, I may have just gotten distracted and started a pair of socks for the girl…and for me…and for the boy. And since these were all knit in Vesper Sock yarn, they were perfect for vanilla sock knitting and knitting without looking. And I kept reaching for them instead of reaching for the socks I started first.

Photo Mar 30, 12 02 20 PMThat includes reaching for the boy’s pair while we were on a cruise at the end of March. Is there anything better than knitting in the sun with a nice breeze and a cool beverage?!

By the beginning of April, on the penultimate day of our cruise, I had completed three pairs of socks, while the pair I started at the beginning of December still languished.

Photo Feb 21, 10 45 52 AM Photo May 22, 7 13 29 AM Photo May 22, 7 10 57 AM







I refused to let myself start the pair in Vesper Sock Yarn to match the boy’s set in “Pure Pumpkin” until the Jawoll socks were finished. I was feeling bad about how long they had been waiting. And frankly, I wasn’t going to let myself pick out any new sock yarn until they were done!



In mid-May I finally completed them after ripping back some of the first sock so that I could make both socks the same length. I had apparently thought I had enough for pretty tall legs, and as I worked on the second sock it was pretty obvious that I wouldn’t be able to match the height of the first one. Details, details. Photo May 09, 3 03 37 PM

Thanks to knitting them toe-up, I bound them off without about 2 meters of yarn to spare. Enough for mending, but not for worrying about what to do with the extras! Although you may see that there is spot on the leg of the second one where there was a break in the yarn. When I found that, I was VERY glad I had not been trying to make the gradient on the socks match…Photo May 22, 7 11 48 AM

I haven’t worn them yet. I’m guessing that they will be among the warmest of my socks given the spin of the yarn, and I have officially retired my boots until fall. Maybe they will get some time this spring if I find myself wearing jeans with sneakers, but as I am often in skirt mode now, I think I’ll just be happy to have a new pair of socks waiting for me this fall!

And of course, that means I have cast on a pair for me in Pure pumpkin!



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I’m tired of saying “we’re busy” or “our schedule is crazy” or any combination of phrases that uses “busy” and “crazy”. I mean, it’s true. It’s true for most of us that the busy is taking over, especially at this time of year of fun fairs and field trips and final projects. (My kids have no homework for the rest of the school year – yippee!!)
 The real truth is that we are lucky to lead very full lives. (And I’m speaking specifically of my family here, but I’m sure it is true for some of you, too.) This weekend we are looking forward to a family wedding. This summer our kids will take advantage of some great summer camps offered all over our city. We have many friends and neighbors that we enjoy spending time with. My husband and I have jobs that we find fulfilling, and kids that we love, and a 100+ year old house that sometimes takes as much as it gives.
 But all of these great things in our lives also mean that our schedule is very full. And when work or illness or fun activities take more time from us than usual it can make me feel overwhelmed and like I just want to quit it all to have a day of quiet.
 As indicated in my last post, work took more than its share of my energy earlier this year. When I posted at the beginning of February, I had worked 50+ hours for two weeks straight. Now, this isn’t really unusual in architecture at the end of a project. Usually the last 3 to 4 weeks before deadline are intense, but that burst of energy is short enough that it isn’t too hard to recover.
 Except that on this project, that intensity lasted until the last week of March. And it lasted so long that it really took me a while to recover. Once it was done, I didn’t want to do anything. And while it was happening, I would find myself wanting to crochet before bed, but just holding the yarn and hook. Eventually putting it down and giving in to the fact that all I had the mental and emotional energy to do was stare at a screen.
 There was some knitting and crocheting in there, and I’ll share that with you soon. But I wanted to document why I haven’t blogged in four months, when there has been two new patterns, several socks, a sweater sleeve, and several new pattern ideas that I could have been writing about.
 In many ways, this blog post is more about what I need to write about than what you may want to read about. This is the “log” version of a blog post. I want to try to be able to remember why the first half of 2015 has been relatively unproductive. It may not be something that I can fix in the future, but if I can give myself some understanding that could make the next period like this easier to take.
 As I ease back into pattern writing, I’ve found myself interested in updating my pattern template. I haven’t worked on it since the days of my first two patterns. Some of my uses of fonts and formatting has evolved as I have written patterns, and I’ve never updated my abbreviations list to ensure consistency among my patterns. I am also hopeful that a more up-to-date and useful template will help streamline the writing of my next few patterns!

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I have a naval gazing post about the New Year in my drafts folder that I have been working on here and there. But now that it is February it feels a little silly. I think it is the kind of post that I need to write, but it may be better for the anniversary of my new job rather than a New Years post. I read my posts from the beginning of 2014, and I was in such a different place then. My life changed drastically (for the better) when I changed jobs, and seeing where I have come after a year of change seems more appropriate.
 Things around here are in constant motion. Deadlines at work, birthday parties to prepare for, as well as personal goals, and squeezing in some fun as we can. I am so thankful to be at a job where I can leave work on time and get a bit extra done after the kids are in bed or on weekends. But the main problem with working overtime is the toll is takes on my motivation to do chores. I’ve worked 50+ hours the past two weeks. Tonight I don’t have to do anything for work. I really should catch up on dishes, but I don’t want to. I don’t want to straighten up or even put away my clean laundry. I’m so excited to have an hour to myself that I just want to sit and enjoy the quiet.
 I’m not really complaining. It is really just an observation that working so many hours is not sustainable for me long term. I am just too tired to do anything beyond the bare minimum. I can’t find balance at home when work is getting so much of my energy.
 I know that this overtime spree will only last a few more weeks. I’m doing my best to keep my head above water while it lasts.
 Along these lines, I have used spare moments here and there to make progress on one of my 12 Days of Casting On projects. I’m even farther along than this picture shows.

 In addition to finishing two socks, tonight I bound off the second sock for my daughter and cast on the second sock for me. The bright colors are lovely and a great pick-me-up on grey, winter days. A neighborhood Super Bowl party helped me get here. Two hours of letting my kids play in a neighbor’s playroom while I hung out with the adults eating yummy food I didn’t have to prepare.
 In an ideal world I would have been catching up on dishes. But a woman has got to have her priorities straight. 😉

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Proxima Hat

Have you ever had one of those weekends with few real plans, but a very critical list of items that needed to be done before bedtime on Sunday night, leaving you with little time to complete optional items? Yes, well that’s the kind of weekend I had and it may not be the last. 🙂

I mention this because I published a new hat pattern on Friday, and I haven’t had the Proxima_Hat_Looking_Down_medium2opportunity to tell you about it yet! It has been one of those weeks where there is always something just slightly more critical to get done after the kids are in bed, and I have not had the kind of focus needed to write a blog post at 10pm. But as the birthday invitations are sent, upcoming appointments have been made, and I’m a teeny bit less swamped at work, I can use my lunch hour to share the Proxima Hat with you today!

Though I did preview a couple of my samples a few weeks ago during the 12 days of casting on…


The Proxima hat is my 13 self-published pattern on ravelry, and like most of my other hat patterns it is graded from 12” to 22” circumference. Unlike my other stranded hat patterns, this one has colorwork from right after the ribbed brim all the way through the crown. The pattern includes three charts to accommodate the different lengths needed for varying hat sizes and crown shaping.

I developed the crown motif while improving another stranded hat several years ago. The hat had a few issues with shape and fiber content (knitting a hat with 100% alpaca needs to be thought out carefully…), so it feels like I have finally won over this design. My old sample is still around and still mocks me a little bit for not working out the first time. Maybe someday I will return to the original idea, but for now I feel a big sense of relief that my favorite thing about that hat has been realized in a completed design.

In Proxima, the stranded design never uses more than two colors in the same row and the background color regularly alternates between two analogous colors. You could easily use more colors in the background or use a variegated yarn with long color repeats. A wool or wool blend yarn is recommended for maximum “forgiveness” and memory. Based on previous experience, I don’t recommend 100% alpaca, unless you like your hats floppy!




Required Skills: This pattern requires the knitter to work knit, purl, and decrease stitches in the round for the basic hat shape. The colorwork and crown decreases are represented in the chart, and not written. This pattern does not recommend a particular method for knitting in the round.


0-3m, 1-2y & T/S adult sizes: 24 sts/26 rows = 4” (10 cm) square
6-9m, 3-10y & L adult sizes: 21 sts/24 rows = 4” (10 cm) square
Gauge measured in stranded knitting with larger needles

Needles: 0-3m, 1-2y & T/S adult sizes: U.S. Size 4 (3.5 mm) & 6 (4 mm)
6-9m, 3-10y & L adult sizes: U.S. Size 6 (4 mm) & 8 (5 mm)
or size to produce noted gauge.

Sizes and Finished Measurements:
0-3 Months – 12” Brim CircumferenceProxima_Top_Close_medium2
6-9 Months – 13.75” Brim Circumference
1-2 Years – 16” Brim Circumference
3-10 Years – 18.25” Brim Circumference
Teen/Small Adult – 20” Brim Circumference
Large Adult – 22.75” Brim Circumference

Note: Measurements for each size assume 1-2” of negative ease for a snug-fitting and warm hat. Infant and toddler head circumference can vary by as much as 3”. When possible, measure the head of the intended recipient.

Good Yarn Substitutions: Berroco Vintage, Dream in Color Classy, or your favorite worsted weight wool or wool-blend yarn. Handspun yarn in worsted weight would work well also.

Due to the nature of electronic pattern sales, once you have downloaded a pdf file of the pattern, there will be no refunds issued.

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12 Days of Casting On: Part 4

Part one of this series

Part two of this series

Part three of this series

Multiple 2-hour school delays and a ridiculous amount going on at work has made the beginning of 2015 a bit of a whirlwind. I have several other posts in the works to share with you. But first, let’s wrap up the 12 Days of Casting On!

On Day 10, I was beginning to feel averse to casting on something new, eIMG_5372specially with so many new and cool projects around me. We were home all day – playing games, watching movies, and getting a few things done as I had the inclination to do them. I picked the Eidetic Mittens back up and spent all my available time on them. I had gotten so far on day 8 that the end was in sight. And, this eventually turned into an actual cast on. I weighed the remaining yarn when I finished the first pair, and there is plenty left for another pair of mittens. This time with the variegated as the background. I cast on for the Clytia Mittens before I went to sleep. Not much progress, but it counts! And I have since knit most of the first cuff.









Day 11 was spent a little sad that the holiday “break” was almost over and trying to get enough chores done that I wouldn’t feel like a complete sloth when Monday rolled around. Groceries were purchased, dishes were washed, and lunchboxes were cleaned out in preparation for refilling. We also played some games and relaxed, but in that way that one does in shorter spurts as you get ready to return to long abandoned routine.IMG_5381

By the time the kids were in bed, I had only crocheted a bit on my Day 6 cowl and I wasn’t feeling super inspired to think of something new. But I have a blanket project that has stalled out a bit due to other distractions, and I cast on the next square. I came within a few rows of finishing the square before passing out on the couch. I definitely want to get back to this project as time allows. (Cascade 220 Superwash. How I love thee. Let me count the ways!)


Day 12 was similarly tricky, as it was the first day back to work and school for the whole family. I had only had a four day weekend, but the previous week I had been getting ready for work in silence and skipped packing lunches. By the time the kids were in bed that night, I was tired, but not so tired that I felt like I could only do another granny square. So I went through the project IMG_5382bags near my bed and found the leftover from my Crackerjack. There is plenty of yarn left, and I really like the resulting cowl. Though the red doesn’t go with a substantial part of my wardrobe since I have a lot of pink, purple and teal in my closet. So my plan is to use just the grey and white in this one.

What you see in the picture is my third attempt. I want to add a little texture without making it too complicated. I’m not sure that I’ve found the right stitch pattern yet, but it will be easy to grab the next time I am in a swatching mood. The red yarn is just the provisional cast on, the cowl really will be just grey and white.


This was a really enjoyable exercise. It forced me to cast on for some swatches and projects that I’ve had in mind for a while. It helped me finish some awesome mittens. And, selfishly, it allowed me to make sure I made some time for me and my pursuits for two full weeks.

Truthfully, I’m not bad about making time for myself. I have learned that if I don’t regularly do things for me, I get very cranky. I’m good about making time to see friends, to knit, etc. But there was still something about this challenge that really helped me make time in a way that I’m not usually good at over the holiday break. Every year I imagine all of the knitting and crocheting I will do, but most years I spend more time ticking things off my to do list or taking care of others. Worthy endeavors, but not as relaxing as I imagine. Some combination of this challenge, my kids getting older and going into the holiday with my house less crazy messy allowed me more time to craft over the break.

My only goal for next year is to be a little more organized about what I’m going to cast on. I think, ideally, I would like to swatch in advance and actually cast on projects during the 12 days. Or at least have a higher percentage of cast on projects and be doing fewer swatches/designing on the needles. Especially for the days when I have to work.

We’ll see what kind of place I’m in next year and where my designing has taken me! 🙂


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12 Days of Casting On: Part 3

The first post in this series is here.

The second post in this series is here.

Day 7…I’ll be honest and tell you that I wish I had better planned out my projects for the three days that I needed to work in the midst of this challenge. It was tricky to sit down Photo Jan 02, 8 10 12 PMafter 9pm and figure out what I wanted to cast on for the day. Plus the need to wind yarn and find needles. If I do this again next year I will do more advanced planning and organization of materials.

Though this day was a teeny bit easier. I wanted to cast on a hat for a friend expecting a baby this year and another hat pattern design has only been knit in one size so far. Though by the time I checked the gauge, dug yarn out from my stash (Berroco Vintage), found the needles and cast on, I didn’t make it very far in the process. This will go faster once I make the chart for the pattern instead of working from the completed sample and my notes!

Day 8 afforded me quite a lot of knitting time, so I chose it for one of the not casting on Photo Jan 02, 2 43 11 PMprojects I planned to afford myself. The goal was to knit as much as I could on my second Eidetic Mitten in the yarns from Wren House that I purchased at Indie Knit & Spin. I reknit the portion of the cuff that I had to rip back several days before and knit at least half of the mitten hand. I felt like I surpassed the point where it would be easy to put the mittens down and forget about them until it was too warm to wear them. It was a good day of focus that paid off later in the 12 days…

Day 9 was a home day with the kids. I had plans to go to the movies with the girl and out for dinner afterward, so it wasn’t a day to work out the math for a new project or spend Photo Jan 04, 10 55 07 AMlots of time tracking down yarn and needles or hooks. So I cast on another pair of socks, this time for the boy. He picked another skein from the Vesper Yarn collection – Pure Pumpkin, and I cast on during dinner. I won’t go too far with these until I make notably progress on the girl’s pair, but at least they will be easy to get going when I’m ready.

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