Rachel Nash Law
Rachel Nash Law was destined to become knitter. She learned from her father’s mother, who knitted bedspreads in a Victorian style using tiny needles. Her own mother, now 90, is an incredible knitter who is well known for crafting hats for charity. Last year she produced 120 of them.
Rachel grew up in Alderson, West Virginia, in a family of do-it-yourself types. In high school she traveled to Norway as an exchange student and learned how to knit traditional Norwegian patterns.
She left Alderson at 18 and she and her husband lived in Tennessee, Kentucky and Elkins and Fayetteville, West Virginia before settling in Abingdon, Virginia. During those years maintained an interest in traditional handcraft and raised two daughters.
Through her Greenbrier County connections she got to know Appalachian Baby Design founder Diane Browning and joined a network of home-based machine knitters who crafted high quality garments that were marketed and sold through a social enterprise founded by Diane in the 1990s. Diane remembered a Christmas stocking Rachel designed at that time and in 2018 she invited her to create Christmas stocking designs for ABD. Diane credits Rachel’s solid design sensibilities and skill as a knitter for the success of her patterns.
Rachel admits that as a novice in the world of knitting design, she has had a big learning curve since her previous knitting had just been for her kids and grandkids. She jokes that she would rather just “take up the yarn and knit.” However, these days she finds herself using a computer program—which she says is basically just electronic graph paper—to design patterns. She prefers it to actual graph paper because she don’t have to deal with eraser dust, and she can get an accurate representation of colors so she can see how a design will look.
She doesn’t have a favorite among her designs. “Whichever I’m working on at the time is my favorite. It has to be right or I don’t send it on to Diane.” She also takes her time developing new patterns. “I’m slow. I do everything three times, and my husband says I tear out as much as I knit.” As she designs she keeps in mind ABD’s customers, making the designs simple enough to be accessible to a large population of knitters.
Although Rachel always has knitting projects perking, she is not necessarily working on them continually. “I always have something on the needle,” she says. She enjoys trying out other designers’ patterns, comparing it to a chef who likes to sample the creations of others. Her most recent ABD stocking project is a Possum and Pine design inspired by her daughters’ fascination with o’possums.