Christy Becker, knitwear designer
Christy Becker, knitwear designer
Christy Becker is a talented designer, a regular Thursday afternoon knitter, and a HUGE supporter of String Theory. (Notice that several of her pictures have String Theory in the background.)
Be sure you read all the way to the bottom. We saved the best for last.
What motivated you to start designing?
My first design was the Downtown Cowl. I had ordered a beautiful skein of lorna's laces sock yarn called Downton Abbey. I never seem to knit anything before I spend way too much time on Ravelry pondering what would be the absolute best thing to knit! It seemed that many of the projects that had been knit with it were, in my opinion, quite ugly. I didn't like how the colors pooled. Thus I started researching how to avoid pooling to create a cowl the i would like. And, I thought I would prefer edges that didn't roll. So, suddenly I was a designer.
After over 30,000 knitters around the world had downloaded the pattern, I was at Stitches Midwest and a yarn dyer had a sample. She suggested I should start charging for it, so I went home and upped the price to $3.50. I was in business! And 587 people have purchased it! I also reshaped it as Downtown Chicago and 782 have bought it!
The short answer is that I was motivated to design because if I invest in wondrous yarn and put in a bunch of time, I want to create something I truly love!
What is your favorite part of the creative process?
I love researching. That should have been my day job. So, I spend a lot of time researching which patterns work well with a specific yarn, what size anything is best, what range of needles seem to work. My research skills actually interfere with my knitting, too. While knitting away while watching tv, I will suddenly need to look something up. For example, there was a jeopardy champion wearing a cowl I was certain she had knit! I googled her and indeed she had knit it, along with her sweater the next day. Yes, I friended her on Ravelry!
The Thursday afternoon String Theory knitters know I will always look up whatever they need, whether a Ravelry pattern or a yarn or a recipe or anything else. For my designs, I usually start with something I want to incorporate into a project, a specific yarn, a bit of lace, a specific size of a cowl, or a combination of colors. And, then I create it!
The Wrigley Cowl
What is the most unusual thing that has inspired a design?
I knit two cowls watching Cubs games in 2016 and the Cubs won the World Series. So, I named one The Wrigley Cowl and one Waveland Avenue. We went to the Cubs victory parade and wrote on the wall and took a few photos of Wrigley Field and the Waveland Avenue street sign to include on the pattern! Besides Cubs inspired names, I have named patterns after a beer in Seattle, a waterfall in Canada, and local parks.
Tamolitch Falls Shawl
What is your best knitting tip?
Asking me my favorite anything makes me feel like choosing a favorite child. That is impossible. But, I will share a few.
- When knitting 2 socks at the same time cuff down on one circular needle, the casting on and getting set up is very precise and challenging and time consuming for me. I prefer casting on and knitting a few rows of ribbing for each of the 2 socks and then knowing they aren't twisted and where i am at, it is so easy to transfer them over to the one magic loop.
- When knitting a heel flap, I slip the first stitch knit wise on the knit side and end with a knit stitch. Then on the purl side, I slip the first stitch purlwise and end with a purl stitch. This make is easy to remember what i am doing and gives a great edge for picking up stitches.
- As a person who just ripped back almost the complete second sleeve of a fingering weight sweater, it really is worth the time to put a pin in your decreases as you knit the first sleeve and occasionally measure the two sleeves together to be sure you have not talked your way past a decrease or two.
Christy modeling the Great Lakes
How do your values impact your business?
Preparing a pattern to publish is no easy feat! I have some great test knitters and proof readers and a wonderful graphic designed who is also my son-in-law. I don't want to provide a pattern that isn't perfect or as close to perfect as humanly possible. So, I put in a lot of extra time trying to explain everything I can. Part of this is because I strive to make the day brighter for anyone I touch. Part of it is that I have thin skin and don't want anyone to be unhappy with me. After I publish a pattern, I keep thinking of ways to adjust and modify and update it.
What are two interesting things you do that aren't fiber related?
- I love road trips. My husband drives and I knit. We love museums, historic sites, zoos, hikes, architectural tours and interesting restaurants and breweries. Have you been to the History Museum and gardens in Orlando? Our last trip was to Detroit. I knit through their incredible art museum, African American History Museum, zoo and much more. Have you had Detroit Pizza? I do record every beer I taste on the app called Untapped! I'm Knitterchristy, just like on Ravelry where I wish I recorded every skein of yarn I purchase with a photo as soon as I acquire it!
- I like legos! I am lucky to have grandsons who love them, too. I especially love coming into a big bin of legos and discovering what sets they had been originally and then sorting the pieces and purchasing the missing ones. I have a closet for my yarn stash and legos! I can always use more of both!
What question are you never asked, but would like to answer?
I am stuck on this question ...maybe it would be things like
- Why do you think climate change is real?
- Why to you think science is important?
- Why should there be a Muslim prayer room and a hallal food cart at Wrigley Field?
- Why do you support athletes taking a knee during the national anthem?
But, that's probably not what you are looking for. Also,
- How do you stay so slim? or
- How are you always so kind and thoughtful? and
- How do you fit in so much time to volunteer and babysit all your grandsons, keep your house clear of clutter and multiple knitting projects and cook wondrous dinners every night?
I think you might need to try a different question on me.