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