Meet Elli!

Today I want to introduce you to my sister Elli, who works as Director of Pattern Production here at Made By Rae Enterprises. Doesn’t that sound official? We enjoy making up pompous titles around here.


Elli worked for many years making geologic maps as a cartographer for a geological survey, while her husband Joe worked on his PhD. Then two years ago Joe got a job as a history professor at Baylor, and they moved to Texas, and she needed a job. So now she puts all of those map-making graphics skills to good use for me instead! Elli is the person who takes my pattern pieces, scribbled sketches, and instructions and turns them into beautiful patterns. I used to do all of that myself, but I gotta tell you, the quality of the finished product has really increased since she started working here. It was interesting at first, figuring out how to work together cross-country, but we patched together a system of communication using Skype, chat, email, Drive, and Dropbox (and it must have worked OK, because now I have two other employees, Jessica and Michelle, who also work remotely).


One funny thing about us working together is that we used to fight ALL THE TIME as kids, and this is embarrassing to even admit, but we even had trouble getting along as adults. We used to drive each other CRAAAAAZY. When we started working together my mom thought it would never work out. But somehow we made it work, and now we have a great relationship (at least I think so, haha!) and I really enjoy being able to talk to her throughout the week, even if it’s work-related most of the time.

Elli also has the distinction of being the first person to introduce me to blogging. Long ago, when she was a big knitting blogger (she’s since given up blogging), she pulled me over to her computer and said “HEY. There’re these new things, called BLOGS? I think you would like them.” She also linked over to my blog and sent the very first visitors here, way back when. Isn’t that cool?

herringbone mittens

Herringbone Mittens, knitted and photographed by Elli, imageΒ via

Last fall I went to visit her in Texas (and tacked on a trip to Quilt Market in Houston). She has a fun house that she’s working on fixing up and decorating, bit by bit. I took a few pictures so you can see her awesome design sense.


Love the mix of prints and textiles in the living room. Elli has a knack for finding cool textiles and prints that go together really well.


Fun little curios in the kitchen…


and dining room.


The bedroom. Notice the awesome waterfall vanity that I want to steal.



I love the way she hung up all of her colorful jewelry on little nails around the top of the mirror.


Aren’t these fun little hooks?


So that’s a little about my awesome seester Elli and a peek at her cool house. Want to ask her a question? I’m sure she’ll answer them in comments.

50 thoughts on “Meet Elli!

  1. so cool that your sister works with you now. funny story–i read Elli’s blog ‘elliphantom’ wayyyy back in the day when i was still knitting all the time. she was one of the very first blogs i found. i was blown away by her knitting skills! now i mostly sew i am spending my time here πŸ™‚ two wonderfully creative sisters in one family–amazing!

      • you’re totally welcome. it really was a while ago–i think i was googling images of the sweater ‘demi’ from the Rowan Vintage Knits and your sweater was to die for. i was hooked after that! and now you help rae create patterns. is there anything you can’t do?!

  2. Hi Elli!! You make awesome patterns, your house is way cool, and you’re pretty darn cute too! Nice to meet you officially. πŸ˜‰

  3. Love this retrospective! I was an Elliphantom reader of old who started reading Made By Rae from that first referral! So sad Elli isn’t blogging anymore. Is she still knitting?

    • Hey Helen! Since I moved to Texas the knitting has fallen by the wayside (life, work, fixing up this heap of a house…also, this town has NO YARN STORES). There is still one book (Fair Isle Style) with two of my mitten patterns that comes out this fall so I can pretend I’m still active in the knitting world…but really I’m just spending all my knitting time happily weeding and resurfacing walls.

      • Hi Elli! Well, the knitting will always be there! Clearly, you have no shortage of creative output, from the look of your beautiful house and the amazing work you do for Rae. Maybe you should take up sewing??? πŸ™‚ So nice to read about lovely sisters making it work across the miles. My own are 5000 miles+ away but I should take a cue from you guys and DO something with them!

    • Good question, Erin! Rae is two years older than I am, but I am taller. I used to think I could take her in a fight but lately with all the yoga she’s been doing…I’m not so sure anymore.

  4. My sister and I fought when we were younger too AND as adults. I think it is the long distance thing that helps sibling relations.

    • Thanks, Sherri! The rug is the Castleberry from Home Decorators Collection. It’s huge and loud and insane and absolutely my favorite rug in the universe.

  5. So fun!
    Elli! Hi! I need to meet you some time. For reals.
    We love the Waco zoo and go there a few times a year.
    What a cute post Rae. And Elli, you have an adorable house and fabulous Illustrator skillz!

    • Hey Cara! The hooks were a long-ago Urban Outfitters purchase. I’m pretty sure they don’t carry them any longer. Sorry!

  6. Love your house and that rug is amazing. Wish I could narrow down the things I liked into a cohesive style. I tend to like too much, need to focus on what I LOVE.

  7. Elli, I found your blog when I was in college and your Demi and Rae’s Chicago were major inspirations to me (though I never actually made either of those patterns. Demi is still in the queue though! Moving from Michigan to hot-ass Las Vegas really puts a damper on wooly sweater knitting motivation). And I have a pair of Snowbird Mittens on the needles right now (early Christmas knitting for the win!) and didn’t even realize it was one of your patterns lol. I’m really observant sometimes…
    Anyways, just wanted to let you know that I love both of your blogs. I’ve been sewing more lately (i have an almost one year old and significantly less crafting time so faster finished products are a must) but knitting will always have my heart.

  8. I love everything Elli! You are very multi-dimensional and it comes through in such a rich, engagine, invigorating appeal. Your home looks like something from a home decor magazine, but the praying mantis plate especially caught my eye. Where did you get that?

    • Thanks, Brenda! Luckily Rae didn’t photograph the entire house…there’s still a ton to do. The mantis plate was from Anthropologie a year or so ago, but I think they still carry them!

  9. I too remember Elli’s knitting blog! I used to crack up at the funny captions for her photos. I never made the connection that you two were sisters until I read a post about it here when Rae mentioned her knitterly sister. So good to see you again, Elli! Love your home, you do indeed have fabulous taste and a knack for mixing awesome patterns. Everything looks awesome and I can’t wait to see more photos. Maybe you’ll start a home renovations/decorating blog?

    I have too many questions, thank goodness others asked a few. But I’d also like to know about those striped knick-knacks in the kitchen. And did you paint the design on the paper lantern in your bedroom? And is that a Squid and the Whale poster from the Noah Baumbach movie?


  10. Hello again Jean! The ceramics in the kitchen are mostly Camila Prada, a British ceramicist who does fabulously quirky work. The two tall bird egg cups are old school Ikea, but fit right in! The Squid and Whale poster is by Charley Harper and has no link to the movie of almost the same name, as far as I know. And nope, I didn’t paint the lanterns. As for starting a house blog, I would be lying if I said I hadn’t been toying the the idea for a while. We’ll see what happens πŸ™‚

  11. What a fantastic place! Thanks for sharing- this is good inspiration to add some house projects in with my kid clothes sewing. And how fun to work with your sister on projects!

  12. Oh, thank you for a post about Elli! I, too was a long time Elliphantom reader and I always wish for a little “where are they now” with so many of the lovely knit bloggers that faded away when Ravelry and Flickr came along and everything changed. It’s very very nice to know that she is happy and doing well!

  13. No one has asked this yet, but what program do you use to create the pattern layouts and is it separate for the instruction pages? I love how organized, readable, and well prepared Rae’s patterns have been made from the both of you!

    I have a very loved sister, too, but I would love someone to take my patterns and make them into marketable copies as well. Do you, or would you, do that for others?

    • Thanks! We work really hard to make sure the patterns are user-friendly. We use Illustrator for the pattern pieces (digitizing, grading, tiling, etc.) and InDesign for the instructions.

      Rae keeps me super-busy as it is, so I’m not currently taking on outside work!

  14. somewhere along the way, i came across elli’s blog, too… must have been long ago!! what fabulous style, definately! i love that you two have this collaboration b/w you. there is nothing like a sister… in the best possible way!

  15. Unlurking to say YAY! Elliphantom!! Elli was one of the first knit blogs I read, it’s still listing in my blog reader. I think my love for mittens started on her blog. I came over to Made by Rae via Elli.

    Now the question…are you still knitting Elli? If so update your Ravelry!

    • Hey Jennifer! Not knitting much any longer. It’s like my knitting switch got flipped to “off” when I moved to Texas. Side note…it’s 100 DEGREES OUT RIGHT NOW.

  16. Hello, Elli. It’s nice to meet you! Hey, I’m the youngest sister too. Now that we’ve met, can I have everything in your house? Also your necklace, please. Thanks in advance! (Hey, Rae! Thanks for introducing your sister so I can ask for everything in her house. *fingers crossed*)

    • Thanks…I think! Note to self: up homeowners insurance to cover Covetous MBR Readers πŸ™‚

  17. Hello Rae and Elli! I love seeing a bit of your house, Elli. It is really beautiful and coming along. And what a lifestyle change for you! I just made my first 2 Geranium dresses for my daughters in May. This is the first sewing I have done since I was a teenager! Apart from curtains. The sewing machine is new, from May too. So these were the first things made! Awesome pattern! I’m not much of a sewer. Not yet. I mostly knit. Er… quite a lot… I went through a mitten phase and made a couple of Elli’s. It is nice to see you around again!

    • Thanks, Em! They sell adhesive discs in the framing section at the craft store (I found mine at Hobby Lobby) that are a water-activated adhesive circle with a little hanger on the top. They come in different sizes and you can cut them to fit. Hope that helps!

  18. Aww, cool! I was actually one of those readers who found your blog via your sister’s. I’m a knitter and was (still am!) a HUGE fan of your sister’s knitting skills and her style. Thanks for sharing the photos of her awesome home!

    Also — how talented is your family?!?!

  19. OMG I totally remember your sister’s blog! I had no idea that was your sister! Now you are both internet celebrities πŸ™‚ and I totally get the fighting thing. My twin sister and I are so so close but we do best if we don’t live in the same city πŸ˜‰

    • Note from Elli: Thanks, Greg! The frame was off the shelf (poster size from Hobby Lobby) and I had them do a custom mat in silver for me. So half and half!

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