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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