Jen Beeman, owner of  Grainline Studio , is a designer and pattern maker based in Chicago. If you're on Instagram chances are you may be familiar with her inspiring feeds ( grainlinestudio  &  jen_beeman ) that feature Jen's projects and designs for the modern maker. 

Jen Beeman, owner of Grainline Studio, is a designer and pattern maker based in Chicago. If you're on Instagram chances are you may be familiar with her inspiring feeds (grainlinestudio & jen_beeman) that feature Jen's projects and designs for the modern maker. 

1. Circular or Straight needles?

I used to be only straight, but now I’m all about the circular needles for all projects. Well, except socks. For some reason I’m very devoted to using double pointed needles on them. I like that the circular needles sort of let the weight of the project rest in my lap rather than my wrists supporting it on the straight needles.

2. Center-pull ball or hand wound?

Always center pull but sometimes they’re hand wound and sometimes wound on my winder. If I’m designing my own pattern I usually wind the first ball of yarn by hand to kind of familiarize myself with it.


3. Which knitting technique do you secretly loathe/avoid at all costs?

I sort of hate knitting sweaters in the round. Coming from a sewing & pattern making background having seams just makes more sense to me from a construction standpoint. I also like working on the smaller pieces as opposed to having an entire sweater in my lap. The added durability and stability from seams is also a plus to me, since I wear my handknits really hard. I totally understand why most people prefer to knit in the round though!

4. Flip that, which knitting technique do you wish you would have known ages ago?

Oh man,the sloped bind off, alternative ways to do SSKs, there are so many of them! I feel like I learn something from every pattern I knit.


5. If you could become any animal what would it be?

A Common Loon for sure. They’re my favorite animal, I have a loon tattoo and my phone’s ringtone is a loon call thanks to an amazing Grainline reader! They’re such elegant birds, amazing on water, terrible on land which I can relate to. Not everyone is great at everything!


6. Knit you actually wear most often:

Ooh hard one. It’s not one thing but I wear my handknit socks the most. I love making socks in Madelinetosh Twist Light, they’re durable and squishy and the colors are perfect with my color palate and clog collection. After that probably my Bellows cardigan which I wear as a coat in spring & fall.

7. Favorite Tosh colorway:

Another hard one! Everyone knows I love optic, but I think my favorite is this green I used for socks and lost the label! From looking online it might have been Geyser Pool? I just ordered more Twist Light in Bronze Age and Abiquiu so I’m excited to see how those knit up!


8. How do you balance your work with Grainline Studio and personal knitting/crafting time?

It used to be very hard for me and I worked 7 days a week, from morning to night but over the last few years, starting around when I met my husband, I’ve been pretty strict about working only during business hours. I don’t get as much done work wise as I used to, but I’m also not constantly burnt out and have much better relationships. Not to mention I get a lot more knitting done!

9. When you sit down to cast on, how do you determine what will fit into your wardrobe?

I always find this question hard to articulate an answer to. Sometimes I get an idea of exactly what I need in my head and sometimes I see a pattern and instantly know it needs to be a part of my wardrobe. How I know these things…well I’m not sure. According to my mom I’ve been imagining exactly the garment I want, that of course never existed at the mall, since I was a kid. I did a post about this on the Grainline blog and it ended up being a long rambling post and I’m still not sure I got to the bottom of anything! Basically it’s just a feeling.

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Photography by Jen Beeman

Painting vs. Dyeing

 via byrdiebrowntumblr

via byrdiebrowntumblr

Mixing colors to duplicate what you see around you is difficult to say the least. Yes, there are a ton of tomes dedicated to the subject, especially for mixing paints, but where are the books on dyes?

OK, yes, dye mixing books do exist but their number is not near that of painting. So, how can you use a book dedicated to mixing paints to inspire or guide your mixing adventures for dyes? Here is what I have to share from my many mistakes in the past, take it as you will.

1. When the paint book states add white interpret this as add water. 

 Prairie - Whiskers

Prairie - Whiskers

When you want a softer, lighter, more pastel dye shade add more water, water is your white paint.

2. When taking a color darker try add grey instead of black.

 Tosh Chunky - Oscuro

Tosh Chunky - Oscuro

You can see this demonstrated in the Oscuro skein above. Black strikes your fiber first and harshly no matter how well mixed it is in your dye batch, add grey and deepen the tone softly, less noticeably.

3. Follow the proportions outlined for paint mixing. 

Both dyes and paints are pigment based only the binder (the stuff that holds the pigment together) is different. With oil paints your binder could be linseed oil, with acrylics it's a plastic polymer and with watercolors, well it's water. So, when a paint guide tells you to create camo green by using one part black to three parts yellow then these instructions apply to your dye mixing equally. All that remains to be worked out for your fiber project is your desired saturation level; how washed out or deep and rich you want your final camo green fiber to be.

4. Use the chart mixing opposites on the color wheel.

 Color Wheel

Color Wheel


Newton's color wheel may be ancient stuff but mixing opposites in 50/50 proportions can yield some of the most incredible neutrals, it's a well-know painter's secret. Please, note, it only works with increments of for example, half of blue and half of orange any more of orange, say 3/4's and less of blue, 1/4th of blue and you will get something a bit closer to orange mud. 

5. Keep painting guides as sources of inspiration to combine colors you wouldn't normally put next to each other in one dye project.

Push yourself outside your boundaries, lavender can go next to a dirty yellow and it will indeed by fantastic, really it will!

6. Learn how to tint, tone and shade your existing color palette.

 Tints, Tones and Shades

Tints, Tones and Shades

As you can see in the chart above:

Any color plus white (aka water) is a tint.

Any color plus grey is a tone.

Any color plus black is a shade

We often get overly stressed trying to mix or combine colors to get the hue we feel it just right. Yet, if we had taken a deep breath and taken a moment we would have realized the color we wanted was there all along as a simple tint, tone or shade. Painting guides often have sections which will take a color and lay it out along a spectrum to show just how many hues can be created from only adding black. You might loathe dainty rose pink but worship a super deep aubergine. 

If you try nothing else at the very least you will have another book for your bookshelf and how can this possibly be a bad thing?




JOJI LOCATELLI, The Argentinian designer is hard to nail down, flying around the world and binding off patterns faster than many of us can envision them, her laughter is contagious and her passion only seen for some through her contagious Instagram feed is addictive. We took a few moments to chat with this grand woman during the collaboration on her newest pattern release, the Basic Raglan Sweater, our conversation went a bit like this...



We are so excited to share the Minimal Pullover with you. This pattern features both a fingering and worsted weight version, giving you the perfect turtleneck for all seasons and climates. 

Minimal has a unique construction that will expand the knowledge of newer knitters while keeping experienced knitters on their toes. Set - in sleeves and split sides allow for a tailored relaxed fit. For a more traditional look you can opt for a circular bottom hem. Short row shaping at the back helps with providing a cleaner fit on your finished garment. We know you'll love this pattern just as much as we do!


We here at Madtosh are always keen to find a colorway that can act as a neutral in our closet. The amount of time we spend on knitting a sweater or crafting something we love is usually large given how busy we are in this modern world, so we want to make every stitch count. Finding a sweater colorway that can pull double duty and match a whole host of awesome outfits is what we love best!

Without further ado, here are our picks for the top 5 colors which effortlessly match almost anything you can pull out of your closet!


1. ANTLER - the classic off-white, a cult classic for anything cabled or even slightly aran-like.

 photo credit

photo credit

2. OBI - the French do it best which is why a French grey color incorporated in your wardrobe                    can never be wrong.

 photo credit

photo credit


3. INK - classic navy, it's been a part of so many maritime cultures' histories for so long we naturally see it as a neutral to wear with everything denim of course.  

 photo credit deathbyelocution tumblr

photo credit deathbyelocution tumblr


4. MEMORY - a subtle & soft blue with a modern wash of grey, wearing a bit of the sky can only be uplifting.

 photo credit JNSQ pinterest

photo credit JNSQ pinterest


5. MUDPUPPY - think camo jackets and pants and you're on the right track

 photo credit

photo credit


Here is our fav house sock/slipper pattern we have compiled. Feel free to share and use!

Sizes - Big Kids to Women's | depending on foot length



See post here on common knitting abbreviations.


  • Size 5 double pointed needles
  • worsted weight yarn | Ranch Wool Delaine Merino (colorways pictured, neon red, filtered light)
  • darning needle
  • scissors


Cast on - 40 sts
Work 1 by 1 rib for 2 inches
Work Stockinette for 4 in


Work heel over half of sts (20 sts).
Row 1: (RS) slip 1 as if to purl, k1, repeat to end.
Row 2: slip 1st st as if to purl, p to end.
Repeat Rows 1 & 2 for 8 times more
20 rows or 10 long V's for heel flap edge. *(These are the stitches that will later be used to pick up for the gusset)


Worked over half of the heel flap sts + 2 (12 sts)
Row 1 (RS): K12, ssk, k1 turn.
Row 2 (WS): Slip 1 pw, p5, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 3 (RS): Slip 1 pw, knit to 1 st before gap, ssk (close gap) k1, turn.
Row 4 (WS): Slip 1 pw, purl to 1 st before gap, p2tog, p1, turn.
Repeat rows 3 & 4 until all heel sts are worked. (12 its)


Knit across heel sts

(Pick up same 10 long V's from heel flap section plus 1)

Place locking st maker
Knit across top of foot sts

Place  locking st marker
Use ndl to pick up remaining 11 heel flap sts.
(Pick up same 10 long V's from heel flap section plus 1)
Decrease 1 st on each side of top of foot sts until 40 sts remain as follows | 


ndl 1: K to 3 sts before m, k2tog, k1, slip m

ndl 2: k across sts

ndl 3: k across sts, slip m

ndl 4: k1, ssk, k to end of row

ROW 2 

K around

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until 40 sts remain

Knit the foot , begin decreasing for the toe around two inches before the end of your foot. 

Rnd 1:  k to 3 sts before m, k2tog, k1, slip m, k1, ssk
K to 3 sts before m, k2tog, k1, slip m, k1, ssk k to end.
Rnd 2:  k to end
Work these 2 rnds until 12 sts remain

Then work decrease every Rnd until 8 sts remain.

Divide remaining 8 sts across 2 ndls, hold parallel and kitchner stitch toe closed. 



The Madelinetosh Crew