How to be a more Productive knitter

Have you heard words like Area 51, UFOs and PHDs?

Are you tired of being stuck in Area 51 (your stash) with all your UFOs (unfinished objects) and PHDs (projects half done)?  I’ve put together a list of ways for you to be more productive and organized with your knitting.

Keep Your Stash Under Control

We are all guilty of having too much yarn. You know what I mean. We leave the house and find ourselves in the yarn aisle at Michaels or our favorite LYS, and we just buy. It’s pretty, it talks to you, the shop gal tells you it’s the perfect color for you. Guilty! Why not start buying for a particular project and keep your Area 51 from growing out of control. Whew…done!

sock yarn pile

Choose Projects that you are serious about

Ravelry is the perfect place to spend hours, literally hours, searching for that pattern. You all know what I’m saying, I’m sure. It’s down the rabbit hole you go. But again, it will keep you from having to add on to the house for additional yarn space. *smiling*

Have 2-3 projects going at all times

I know what you’re thinking, “but Deb, you said not to buy yarn just because and I might not have the yarn in Area 51.” I gotcha. Here’s what I propose…you search through Ravelry, find 3 patterns that you’d like to make. One that is super easy and can be done while knitting with friends, one that is a bit more complicated and will take a couple months to finish, and one that makes you excited every time you think about knitting on it. Maybe its a new stitch or some part of the pattern you can’t get enough of. If you have more than 3 projects going at any given time, it will cause you to put them away and forget.

Entwined Blanket Pattern
vanilla socks1
Free Vanilla Sock Pattern

Choose a podcast or listen to an audiobook

My favorite thing to do is to watch a knitting podcast or listen to an audiobook while I knit. Even if its a bit more complicated, I find myself able to concentrate on the pattern, yet listen at the same time. Weird, I know. But, it’s also a great use of your time. A couple of my favorites can be found on Youtube: Brooklyn Knitfolk, By the Lakeside, and Grocery Girls.

Take your knitting with you (always)

Remember the one project I mentioned that is super easy and can be done while knitting with friends? Yea, that one. That’s the one you grab on your way out the door in case you’re stuck waiting somewhere, or you are done running errands and just want to find a nice cup of coffee and sit. I do it all the time and love it. Make sure it’s in a cute project bag. Just ‘cuz.

me knitting

What’s your next project?

It’s ok to take breaks. Ravelry is a great place to go to. You can assign yarn and projects. You will find yourself back there, I’m sure, so why not have a list of yarn (in Area 51) that you’d like to knit with next. Assign that along with a pattern for future projects.

With these ideas, you will soon find yourself organized and productive; actually ticking things off that list and getting rid of UFOs and PHDs in your Area 51.

How exciting is that? Please share with me your plan, your new pattern finds, and of course your UFOs and PHDs. I have many myself.

(note to self, go through Area 51 and take your own advice.)

Knit On, friends!






Interview with Martina Behm – Knitting Designer

I’m so excited to introduce you to a woman who designed the most amazing asymmetrically shaped triangle Hitchhiker Shawlette, Martina Behm. I fell in love with the way this pattern worked. The saw-tooth border evolves throughout the pattern giving it an unnatural shaping. I attend a lot of knitting groups, and I found I could carry on a conversation while knitting this brilliant piece.

She used a fingering-weight yarn called, Wollmeise Pure 100% Merino Superwash. I’ve not tried that yarn, but it receives great reviews. I definitely will, though. 

I personally used Liberty Wool Light, a fingering-weight yarn as well. I think what I love most is when you follow her directions exactly, it turns out the exact length she said it would. Gauge was right on. This is my Hitchhiker Shawlette below. I. Love. This. Will definitely make another…and perhaps another.


So, as always, I dug a bit deeper into her designs, and discovered ALL the lovely designs Ms. Martina had. You may want to jump over to her website and see what else she’s been up to. She’s an accomplished designer from Hamburg, Germany, with an original idea.

Let’s chat with her…

Thanks for joining me, Martina. How long have you been knitting?

Since I have been about 8 years old. That’s 30 years ago!

8 years old? That makes you…well, we won’t go there. *smiling* Moving right along…What inspired you to design the ever-so-popular Hitchhiker?

  I was very fond of the long and narrow triangular shape that my free design 22.5 Degrees featured (to the right). I was just playing around with a little drawing and a ruler trying to find other ways to knit such a triangle, and found the “Hitchhiker way.” And then, just to add a little spice, I thought, well, I could do the decreases like little teeth.

And little teeth they are. And “22.5 Degrees” is in my que next, by the way. When did you become a designer, Martina?

I think it was just a couple of months ago. I used to work as a freelance jounalist and designed a bit on the side, but now designing, answering knitters’ questions and handling my pattern business is taking up all of my workday. So now, I consider myself lucky enough to call myself a part-time knitwear designer (the other part of the day, I take care of my two kids.)

 I’m interested in knowing what got you started?

Since I learned how to knit, I modified designs and made up my own patterns. At some point I thought, well, I should try to write that down. I published a couple of free patterns which was a great way to learn (because people will forgive your mistakes more easily if the pattern is free). A very useful resource for aspiring designers is Shannon Okey’s book, “The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design.”

It’s funny you mention Shannon, she’s my publisher. An amazing artist herself. So, do you draw out your design first or does your yarn lead you?

I usually make drawings for my shawlettes, because they are easy to do and they give me an idea of what I want to achieve. I also do calculations before I knit the sample. Usually, I have to knit several samples and start over multiple times before something works out as I planned. Currently, I am trying to learn how to make fashion sketches for sweaters, which is hard.

Designing is a very strategic thing, I do know. Martina, who are some of your favorite knitting designers?

Ysolda Teague, Nora Gaughan, Fiona Ellis. They design great, inspired garments, and I admire that.

I, too, have always admired garment designers. Something I have yet to try. When you’re not knitting, what else do you like to fill your time with?

I love to play the piano and I asked Santa to bring me a guitar this year. It is my favorite thing to play music and sing with my children.   

Oh, I love that! I hope Santa is good to you this year. What advice do you have for a new knitter?

Use all the cool knitting innovations like Magic Loop, Judy’s magic cast-on, knitting sweaters seamlessly top-down in the round and toe-up socks. Don’t be afraid, they really make life so much easier than the classic, old-fashioned style of knitting that your grandma taught you. Also, be on Ravelry. But that’s obvious, isn’t it?

You know, Martina, that is good stuff! Great advice. Do you have a favorite type of yarn you like to use?

Fingering-weight yarn in bright and variegated colors. But, I am learning to appreciate thicker yarn as well.

Nice! Bright and variegated, my favorite too. One last question, Has knitting changed your life in any way?

Yes! No matter what is going on in my life, knitting always provides comfort. It is challenging and rewarding when everything else is boring and dull, and it can be soothing when the rest of my life is stressful. Also, being a knitwear designer means I can work from home and have no deadlines such that any kind of child-related emergency is manageable. I am really grateful for that opportunity, and I know I owe it all to you wonderful knitters out there – and the guys at Ravelry. Thank you so much!

This was an amazing interview with Martina Behm. Seriously, she is an inspiration to all of us designers, as well as a go-to for us knitters. Her patterns are a delight to knit. 

Dear Readers, I’d be honored (and I’m sure she would too), if you’d check out her other patterns.
Many, many thanks to Martina for joining us today. Please join me here monthly to find out my next greatest designer/have-to-knit. Or if you find a pattern that you have fallen head-over-heals in love with, please write me, or comment below. I’d love to hear about it (and maybe even blog about it).

So, as I always say,

Knit On!


Knitting Help is Here

Ask Deb
Deb is the author of Dishcloth Diva. She teaches beginning knitter classes at her local yarn shop. Her specialty is helping the beginner knitter feel confident in their craft. Not one person does it the same, so she tailors the lesson to fit the student. Her designs can be found on Ravelry and Etsy in her pattern stores. You can also find her as an independent designer on Knitpicks. Deb takes great pride in her confidence with the craft.
Reasons you would need Deb’s help:
  • I don’t understand a specific term
  • I don’t have the yarn recommended for the pattern and want to use different one
  • I need help understanding the pattern details
  • I don’t understand gauge and why it’s important to my project
  • I want to make it larger and don’t know how to convert the needle size
  • I don’t understand the different yarns and what projects they would be good for
Whatever the question, Deb will have the answer. (or help you figure out how to get it)
How to get a hold of her:
  1. Email her at
  2. Leave a comment on this post

Knitting help = a happy knitter. Don’t get discouraged and give up before asking that all important question.

Happy Knitting!