I’ve been published! Saturday Afternoon Armwarmers

Saturday Afternoon Armwarmers Knitting Pattern

As I mentioned in my 2015 Year in Review, I was finally brave enough (or crazy enough) to submit a design idea to a knitting magazine last year.

That idea became Saturday Afternoon Armwarmers and they have just been published in the latest issue of Knit Now!

Designing and knitting a sample for a magazine within a month was a little hectic… As seen below, you can see how stressed I am, filling every second of my day with knitting.

Mandy knitting on the beach
I’ve never knit so much in my life! We took a trip to the beach while my mom was in town and I knit while we walked. (Thanks to my mom for the pic.)

Saturday Afternoon Armwarmers were inspired by ‘slow moments’. I imagined sitting in my favorite arm chair, knitting a project with the softest yarn on a chilly, spring afternoon (which don’t exist here in Florida, but I tried). Oversized, snuggly arm warmers came to mind. I sketched them up, made a swatch, and the rest is history!

The sample was knitted with Erika Knight’s British Blue Wool and it is lovely to knit with! Erika Knight has created beautiful, subdued hues for this yarn.

The sample shown is in the Fawn and Boho colorways.

I’d also recommend combos of Pretty and Milk Chocolate, Milk and Leaf, Sea Fret and Dance, Sea Fret and Mr Bhasin, and for some nice contrast, Mouse and Boho.

Saturday Afternoon Armwarmers Color Combo Suggestions
Saturday Afternoon Armwarmers Color Combo Suggestions

Check out Saturday Afternoon Armwarmers in issue 59 of Knit Now! If you knit some of your own, please share them with me (leave a comment or tag me on Twitter or Instagram @mandybee)!

Knit Inspiration from Tea Cups

Primary colored knitting swatch

Because I need a bit of inspiration now and again and I know many of you that follow me (knitters, crocheters, designers, and general makers) also like a bit of inspiration, I thought I’d start to post regularly about what’s inspiring me at the moment.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen the start of a new swatch for a new design I’m conjuring up (above).

This design was inspired by a cup that my friend Carly painted at one of those paint-your-own-pottery.

Carly Williams Tea Cup
Carly’s Anthro-Inspired Teacup

She was inspired by this Anthropologie teacup:

Anthropologie Tea Cup
Such a cute teacup!


For some reason, the design of the teacup stuck in my head and last week I started charting out what I remembered it to look like in my head. After finding a picture of the teacup, I realized what I remembered was nothing like the teacup except for the primary colors.

It got me wondering what other teacup designs might make for cute colorwork patterns… and I put together this Pinterest board! I hope you find something that inspires your next project!

Follow Mandy’s board Inspiration – Teacup Patterns / Design on Pinterest.

Resolution: Waste Less Time

These are my promises to myself. I want to be off of my phone (no Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit) after 7pm every day. I noticed I was spending hours doing these things at night when I could be doing anything else. And the return on time invested in online activities like that is… pretty much nothing.

New Year's Resolution

Anyone else want to waste less time this year?

Giving Thanks: An ultra-cheesy post on gratitude

John and I have had a year – it’s been good and bad, definitely busy. Today is a reminder to continue to dwell on the things that are good in life – my husband (hahaha – I still can’t say that without thinking it’s weird), my amazing family, good Christmas songs that I play a week before Thanksgiving (sorry, Fleur).

I think one of the best ways to stay happy is to preoccupy yourself with what makes you happy. In the same vein, I think the easiest way to remain miserable is to linger on what is making you miserable. I challenge you today to just think about something happy, fun, or good whenever Aunt Marge starts annoying the crap out of you. And maybe start a gratitude journal on your iPhone.

Although John’s mom won’t be with us, we’ll be thinking about the good times we had with her around the dinner table. She loved to cook and to adventure out to new restaurants with us. She also made a mean sweet potato casserole that I wish she could be here to share.

We’ll be spending Thanksgiving with my lovely sisters, their partners and my niece – now we all get to sit at the adult table! It’s going to be a bit of a misfit holiday – we’re having turkey skyline chili, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and more pie than actual dinner.

I hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving, however you choose to spend it! Dwell on the good!

Give thanks today and every day for a happier life

Design challenge hiatus and a change of plans

Some of you may have noticed that I stopped posting design challenges last week. I seriously thought I could create something extra every day for a year, but once I got to thirty, I decided to take a break.

The idea behind creating one extra design a day (I say extra because my career as a web designer also includes a bit of design each week day) was to help me flex my brain muscles and make it easier for me to be more creative at work when designing for the web.

The problem

I began to dread (okay, that’s a bit dramatic) coming home, because I’d have to sit back down at a computer for at least 30-45 minutes. And that would be for the quicker designs where I already had a quote in mind or a photo lined up. It took even longer if I had no idea what to do that day. The longest designs included illustration, which took closer to 4-5 hours.

Along with a 40 hour work week at WebSolvers, I’m also an adjunct professor teaching an online class for beginning HTML/CSS – this typically takes 3-6 hours a week, depending on the class schedule. And I was planning a wedding, making my own bouquets from scratch with paper and designing all of the signage.

I’m just not used to this amount of busyness. I tried to work through it, telling myself I was just being lazy. I figured, after getting home, I would eat dinner while working on the design challenge, then check on my class, then around 7:30-8pm I could start doing whatever I wanted! But I usually fall asleep by 9:30pm, so that left just about an hour or two of downtime / time for whatever else I needed to do. I was exhausted and cranky. No amount of sleep (I’ve still been getting 7-8 hours) was making up for the lack of un-scheduled time on my daily calendar. Something about the shrinking size of that time was eating at me.

This is what I learned about myself during these thirty days:

My brain is dumb done after about 7pm. I am probably of better use at 4am than at 7pm on a normal day. I should probably consider a change in my sleeping schedule.

Too much scheduled time makes me antsy. The fact that I couldn’t come home and just do whatever I wanted was annoying the crap out of me.

I am a jack-of-all-trades. This is something that I had always kind of thought was a bad thing. That whole, “Jack-of-all-trades, master of none” saying would play through my mind and I was all, “I want to be The Master!” I already design digital things for a living, so why not work on being a master of that?

The problem is that I like a lot of different things. I can’t quite explain how I start feeling when I devote myself solely to one thing for long periods of time. The only word that I can think of is “off”. I get the itch to write, I love to knit and crochet, I love to read, I like taking pictures, I love to play video games, I was trying to learn how to play guitar… Having blocked out another 1-3 hours a day took away from all of these other things that I like to do.

I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’ll probably never master anything completely. There are people that become passionate and gung-ho about one particular thing and then there are people like me who love to dabble, and there’s nothing wrong with either path.

All of this sounds negative towards the design challenge, but I did have fun and I loved the feeling I got being able to complete something to show the world each day. I just don’t think I can continue to do it every day. So, I will try again after the honeymoon (two weeks from now), doing only one challenge per week.

You can also expect to see more posts about other facets of my life, such as photography, knitting/crocheting, etc… along with these posts.

Design challenge, day 30, class information listing

This is a problem I’m having to figure out for a project – how to convey a bunch of information for a class (student review/response, student work, sign up button) in a space that won’t take up a whole page to either get someone to click through to more information, or even better, to just sign up. I’m hoping here that the past student review and student work will speak for itself.

Not quite sure about the sign up button placement though…


Design challenge, day 29, travel to Kyoto for some tea

When I was little, my grandpa bought this movie from a discount bin called My Neighbor Totoro. If you haven’t seen it, the story starts with a family moving into a ‘new’ home. It’s old, rickety and to me, full of charm. I fell in love with the architecture, the shoji (those Japanese sliding doors covered in washi paper) and how they might make you feel like you were barely separated from what was outside.

My Neighbor Totoro led to my becoming a semi-otaku and an interest in some day visiting Japan.

On top of that, during my early twenties I became obsessed with tea so Japanese tea ceremonies are also on my list of things to experience.


Have tea in Kyoto

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/geraldford/3079701360/

Design challenge, day 27, Banff National Park in Canada

The next place John and I would really like to see is Banff National Park in western Canada. We’ve had a strange obsession with Canada lately – joking about moving there, even lingering a little too long in Canada at Epcot. This was one of the places we seriously considered for our honeymoon but I found that sometimes roads were closed in November up there due to snow and something about chains and tires – I’m not sure what you do with chains that relates to tires but I did not want to deal with that. (Lifetime Floridian here.)

Banff National Park, Canadian Pacific

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gabri_micha/5602659584/