Beth Michon is Shortrounds, a blogger, knitwear designer and all round good egg. Beth has the knack of creating a beautiful website that includes so much more than just her own work, making it incredibly compelling and interesting to read. We caught up with Beth to chat about the pattern she designed for our Heart of Glass box plus her plans for the coming year. And of course, crotch knitting.
“I’ve got a weird hybrid style of English knitting”, explains Beth when she describes exactly what crotch-knitting is, “I’m left handed so where people will armpit knit – sit with the needles anchored in their armpits and work the yarn around – I need to anchor with my legs and do the yarn movement with my left hand because I still knit English-style.”
Beth is teaching her first workshop at Debbie Bryan in Nottingham, UK later this month and while she is confident at public speaking from her day-job, ensuring she teaches the beginners class a more recognised technique is something she has been working on for the event.
“I have to consciously lift my other needle up and steer,” says Beth, “and not teach them the ‘Shortrounds style’ because it isn’t necessarily attractive. I don’t think anyone wants that to catch on. But one of the things I want to learn this year is continental knitting but because I already knit quite fast, I get frustrated that it isn’t as quick at the moment. I need to commit the time to getting my continental speed up.”
The workshop at Debbie Bryan came up by chance when Beth was shopping there one day. Beth had already attended a couple of workshops at the store and discovered they were struggling to find a reliable knitting workshop teacher. Beth, who often wears her own designs, was asked about her hand knit that she was wearing that day and then approached by the shop to take on the workshop.
Beth explains about what people can expect from the day: “there are two workshops taking place. The morning session is a techniques-based workshop for beginners. It is done on nice big needles and with chunky yarn because this is how I learned. They will learn to cast on, cast off, stockinette stitch and if there is time, the seed stitch. Although it is difficult to gauge as you don’t know if someone has never sat in front of needles in their life or if they might have dabbled a bit so will get the hang of it quicker.
“Then in the afternoon it is a more of a knit-along and we are making a seed stitch cowl. I have developed a few options depending on their skill level if they want to instead use a twisted stitch or add a second colour. By then end they should come away with a finished item.”
The workshop includes all materials in the price and Debbie has sourced some notebooks for the students to make notes as they go. Beth explains that the shop is very relaxed and the workshops take place in an area that doubles as a tea room.
One of the inspiring things that Beth does is always ensure she keeps her techniques up to date. Learning from others is a part of her being able to teach others too, whether through the workshops or her own pattern design. Beth recently planned a London visit around a workshop by Melanie Berg, which took place at Loop, Islington.
“I saw the workshop advertised last year and at the time I really wanted to shape up my shawl knitting ready for some pattern ideas I am working on. It is so rare that someone like Melanie Berg would do a workshop in the UK that I jumped at it. Some of the people in the group had done the whole series of workshops with her. It was absolutely worth it and I got so much out of it. Because I am self-taught it felt like a nice bit of reinforcement that I what I am doing is right.”
When thinking about the theme for our February box the Heart Mittens pattern by Beth seemed like a no-brainer to go in with the theme. Beth’s patterns really suit hand-dyed yarns and she told us about the inspiration for the pattern.
“One of the guys in my office had a friend who wanted a pair mitts that included a heart. I really love the bee stitch and the texture it creates so I had a play around. Then I spotted someone who had embroidered their knitting and I thought that could work. It gives real flexibility to the knitter to make it their own,” says Beth.
Beth is looking forward to seeing the completed mitts on social media from February’s box. If you knit up a pair, please make sure to tag @shortrounds so she can see what you’ve made.
If you missed out on this pattern and want to get hold of our February box, we’ve a couple left here.