Hat for a Good Cause

Tomorrow I head to Wall of Yarn in Freeport, IL for the Halos of Hope-A-Thon. With me, I'll be bringing lots of copies of my new hat pattern, Spero.
($2.50 of purchase goes to Halos of Hope thru August 6th)

Spero is knit out of Stitch Sprouts Yellowstone - an amazing sport-weight yarn. It's one of my favorites! It takes 130 - 150 yards of yarn to make one. If you make the small size, you can get two hats out of one skein of Yellowstone - one for yourself, and one to donate to a local cancer center or give to a friend.

If you'd like to purchase the pattern, awesome! But, if you'd like to get the pattern for free - you can!

Just send me a chemo cap to donate to my local cancer center between now and September 15th, and I'll gift you the pattern on Ravelry. You just need to include your Ravelry name or email address in your shipment so I know who to give the pattern to. You can find all the shipping information here
($2.50 of purchase goes to Halos of Hope thru August 6th)
And, if you're at the Hope-A-Thon this weekend and make a donation, Spero will be one of the patterns for you to choose from as a thank you!

I hope you enjoy this new pattern. And I hope you'll consider joining my Summer Hat-A-Long to get it for free! ;)


Stunning Stitches Trunk Shows

Now that Stunning Stitches has been out for a couple of months, it's time to pack up some of the pieces and send them out to yarn shops all over the country. Let your LYS know that you'd like to see the Stunning Stitches trunk show at the shop, and have them email me at jenlucasdesigns[AT]gmail[DOT]com to get on the list. I have two trunk shows for the book.

The first one features the Bampton Set & the Kelsey Set.

The second trunk show features the Glarus Set (which includes the shawl on the cover of the book) and the Violetear Set.
It's always a little hard to ship off my book samples. They're often traveling around for a year or more and I miss them. I want to wear them all! :)

Disclaimer: This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links.


Design Your Biz: Networking

Ah, networking.


My worst nightmare as total introvert. :)

But, networking is an important part of building a knitwear design business and something I'd like to talk more about today.

There are lots of ways you can go about building your network as a designer. I've built some great relationships online that have led to working relationships. Sure, going to TNNA helps with networking, but for many people, that is a big expense. It took many years before I was able to afford a trip to TNNA as a business expense. It's a great experience and if you can make it happen, you should go, but the point I'm trying to make is that it's not the only way to build your network.

Here are some ways you can build your network online:

1. An obvious one - Ravelry. Join the Designers and/or the Budding Designers group if you're a designer. Engage. If you know the answer to someone's question, don't be afraid to answer it. Once I started actually chatting a little bit in these groups on Ravelry, I started to get to know people. And eventually we started helping each other out with things like finding a good tech editor or getting on a submission call list we've been dying to get on. Networking in sweatpants! A win for me. :)

2. Facebook. There are a growing number of groups on Facebook dedicated to fiber folks that work in this industry. I particularly like the FiberBoss Collective group. I just joined recently and have already made some good connections.

3. Submit to that magazine call. I get asked a lot how I started working so much with Done Roving Yarns. It's simple - I was assigned to use their yarn for a pattern in Love of Knitting magazine. Paula, the owner of Done Roving Yarns, and I developed an amazing working relationship that's lasted for years now. Had I not submitted to that magazine call years ago, I don't know that we would have formed the working relationship we have today. You never know when the networking opportunities are going to present themselves.

4. Tara Swiger's Starship. I know I bring up Tara all the time, but her classes and Starship program have helped me immensely over the last few years. You do have to pay for the Starship and it only opens at certain times of the year, but it's been an amazing resource for me. It's designed for all kind of makers so you'll find designers, yarn dyers, jewelry-makers, finished knit & crochet item makers all in one place. It's been a great place to make connections and bounce ideas off of people who truly understand what you're trying to do.

It's amazing once you put yourself out there and start networking how many connections you can make!
Are you a knit or crochet designer working in this industry? What other ways do you like to network?


Stash Diving

I've decided that I'll be doing another eBook collection this year. Be on the lookout for Nifty Gifty 2: Deck Your Neck coming in the late Fall!

I did some stash diving and picked out the yarn for the collection. Lots of beauties in there.
If you want to see how the eBook comes together, hop on over to my Patreon and become a patron! You get a 50% off coupon code when you join and become my patron.

I'm super excited about this collection. I think it might be my best eBook yet! :)


Briargate & Garter Love Now on Ravelry!

I have some exciting news: two of the most popular patterns from Sock-Yarn Shawls are now available for individual download on Ravelry! I know that many of you already have the book, but if you don't and are looking to just try a pattern or two from the book, now you can.

First up is Garter Love. It's is a simple top-down triangle shawl with a garter stitch body and lace edge. If you're new to shawl knitting, this is the perfect place to start.

Briargate is my favorite shawl from Sock-Yarn Shawls. (Yeah, whatever, I say it all the time....I'm probably not supposed to admit I have a favorite. But I do. In every book. Lol). It's a fun shape with a little more challenging lace and a cool decorative faux-crochet bind off. I know you'll love it as much as I do!

I get lots of emails from knitters looking for the individual patterns from my books. So, here you go! It's a start, right? :) Enjoy!

Disclaimer: This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links.


Join Me at the Hope-A-Thon!

A few months ago, I blogged about the Hope-A-Thon coming in July. Well, July is here and the Hope-A-Thon is just a couple weeks away!

Wall of Yarn in Freeport, IL is hosting the Halos of Hope-A-Thon - it's 24-hours of hat-making fun with lots of great events happening throughout the weekend. I'll be there all weekend helping out the Halos of Hope crew!

The event starts on Friday, July start on Friday, July 21 at 7 pm with a free lecture from Franklin Habit

After the lecture, we'll head over to the yarn shop (it's about two blocks from where the lecture is being held), where the knitting and crochet fun begins. Stay for a few hours, stay all night, it's up to you! On Saturday, July 22, the Hope-A-Thon continues with more hat-making. Franklin will be teaching classes, with a portion of the class fee going directly to Halos of Hope. You'll need to sign up for those by calling 1-815-616-8402. You can read about Franklin's classes here

Not taking classes with Franklin? Come hang with me at the shop and knit & crochet some hats! We'll be giving away prizes and have lots of other fun stuff going on. We'll be at the shop until 6pm working on our hats.

You all know that Halos of Hope and donating chemo caps is a cause close to my heart. I hope if you're in the area, you'll consider joining in the fun! 

For more information, visit the Hope-A-Thon website or check out the event page on Facebook. Hope to see you there!


Design Your Biz: Uh Oh, Can't Make a Deadline!

So, you got your design accepted to a magazine. Yay! But now you can't make the deadline. Uh oh. What do you do?
Missing a Deadline as a Knitwear Designer

Sometimes, it happens, you miss a deadline. It's very rare this happens to me, but it has happened.  One time it was my book deadline for Cozy Stash-Busting Knits - my dad passed away. Another time it was a pattern for a yarn company - I wrote down the wrong due date in my planner. Whether you have a good excuse (death in the family) or a bad excuse (I apparently can't read/transcribe correctly), missing a deadline it never feels good. 

The best thing you can do in this situation, is contact the company as soon as you realize that you are going to miss the deadline. It's better to be upfront and honest instead of saying nothing and waiting to see what happens. In my case with the yarn company, as soon as I realized my error, I apologized and admitted my mistake, and they were ok with me sending in my pattern about a week later (which was what was written in my planner). I've worked with them since then, it didn't burn the bridge.

Just like I try to build in a little extra time to get things done a little before the due date, many companies have also built in a little extra time for the patterns to get to them. This does not mean that you can always be late though! It just means if you are apologetic and admit your error, they might be OK with you turning it in slightly late just this once.

To avoid these situations completely, it try your best to plan your work around your deadlines and what you can handle. For example, right now, I'm working on another book (yay!). While I've seen lots of good submission calls for magazines and yarn companies coming into my inbox, I know that right now I can't submit to all of them. Here and there I can squeeze something in, but if I was submitting to all the things like I do when I'm not working on a book, I know that I would be in a real jam rather quickly. I'm finally learning what kind of workload I can take on, and I do my best not to overload it. That way I'm not missing deadlines!

Also, and I've talked about it before - if you do get accepted for a magazine or something and you receive the contract and know that deadline won't work for you, you can sometimes negotiate it. I've successfully negotiated a deadline getting moved back a week with no problem. Being upfront is always best!

Are you a designer who missed a deadline? How did you handle it? I'd love to hear about your experience - it's nice to know that I'm not alone in having missed a deadline. :)


A TNNA Recap

Last weekend, I was at the summer TNNA (The National Needlearts Association) trade show. I had another great year having a booth with the Stitch Sprouts crew! Here are just a few of the pictures I took throughout the weekend.

I really love how my booth space came together this year:
Knitting Like Crazy Blog
 A blurry photo of my Kelsey Hooded Scarf from Stunning Stitches on the TNNA runway:
Knitting LIke Crazy Blog
I did a couple of book signings. They were some of my favorite parts of the weekend. I love getting to chat with yarn store owners about the new book. I'm happy that they were excited about the book as I am!
Knitting Like Crazy Blog
Knitting Like Crazy Blog
I brought a few of the samples from Stunning Stitches to display in my booth. They got a great response. Yay!
Knitting Like Crazy Blog
I attended the Business Creative Services event on Saturday night. It was great to meet new people who work in the same area of the industry. And, we got a great goodie bag with lots of amazing products from companies that support designers.
Knitting Like Crazy Blog
I walked away from my booth for 5 minutes, and my husband met Vickie Howell. I'm completely jealous. Many of you know that she is my A-Number-One knitting celebrity. Her show, Knitty Gritty, taught me so many things. Alex assured me that he told her that I loved her. Maybe next year I'll be able to go fan girl on her. :)
 Knitting Like Crazy Blog
Part of the fun of being with the Stitch Sprouts designers, was making Facebook Live videos! Here's Heather Zoppetti filming Angela Tong doing a pin loom demo!
Knitting Like Crazy Blog
I had to go check out the new Knitter's Pride needles. Their Dreamz and Karbonz needles are among my favorites. I think I might need to get the new Zing needles. I really liked them!
Knitting Like Crazy Blog
It was such a great weekend. I always come home so inspired and ready to work. And, it was so amazing to have Alex there with me this time. He really knows my business better than anyone else and it was fun to have him there helping me sell patterns and books. He loved hanging out with everyone. I think he'll be volunteering to help in my booth again next year!
Knitting Like Crazy Blog


Design Your Biz: Keeping the Books

Today I'm back with another Design Your Biz post. Let's talk about keeping the books as a full-time knitwear designer!
I'm not an accountant (obviously). So what you need or don't need for your particular business, I can't tell you. I just thought I'd share a little bit about what I do to keep track of things so that when I am going to my accountant with all my business finance stuff at tax time I'm not going insane. Maybe it will help you too!

Track it. REGULARLY. Every Monday (or every other Monday if I'm feeling lazy one week), I track my business finances. That might be way more than you want to track this stuff but, for me, it works. Tracking my business finances means pulling data from PayPal as well as looking at my bank statement online. I have formatted my spreadsheets so that most of my tracking is a simple copy and paste.  If I have a random receipt that I didn't use PayPal or my checking account for (this is a rare situation), I manually add it to my spreadsheet.

Why do I do this so often? There are a few reasons:

  1. It's a good way to track my progress on Ravelry. By looking at the sales coming in every week, I know if I'm having a good month or a bad month. Simple as that. :)
  2. By looking at the numbers every week or two, it's a way smaller set of data to get through. If something is messed up, it's easier to catch it 7 days worth of information, rather than 365 days worth of information. 
  3. I pay myself every week. I have a set percentage of money I pay to myself (i.e. into the household checking account I share with my husband). If I've received a royalties check from my books or payment from a yarn company in the last week, it's on the following Monday that I transfer the money into the joint account. The only exception is Paypal. I pay myself monthly on the Paypal sales, just because some weeks are better than others and I found it easier to look at the total on the first Monday of the next month and pay myself then.
So, yes, I use spreadsheets. Currently no fancy software for me! Since the money in my business comes primarily from PayPal and from checks sent to me from various companies, it's pretty easy to keep track of on a spreadsheet. I'm currently not selling any kind of physical product, so I don't need to worry about inventory or anything. The spreadsheets work great!

If you can, keep the money separate. Even if you are operating as a sole proprietor like I am, it's way easier to keep track of the funds coming and going if you keep the money separate from other money that may be coming into your household. I also like keeping the finances separate because it's easier to keep track of how much I'm actually contributing to the household finances versus what goes back into the business. Again, I get that this might not work for everyone. I had it set up this way when I was working a full-time job, and when I went into business full-time, I just kept doing it the way always did.

The most important thing is to figure out a way that works the best for you!

Also, if you're curious about how to pay yourself, check out Tara Swiger's class, Pay Yourself.* Worth every penny!

* Disclaimer: Tara Swiger has nothing to do with me talking about her class in this blog post. I paid for the class, took it, found it extremely helpful and thought you might too. :)



Earlier this week I released a new shawl pattern. This is Sognare:
Knitting Like Crazy Blog 
So, the way this shawl came to be is a new one for me - I had a dream about it. Crazy, right!? I took a nap one afternoon and had a dream that I designed a shawl with a variegated garter stitch body where I used wrap & turns to add live stitches along one side to be used lady for the solid lace border.
Knitting Like Crazy Blog
I emailed Lindsay at The Fiber Seed to see if she would like to collaborate on the project. I knew her Sprout sock yarn would be the perfect yarn for this shawl. Her color sense is amazing and she does perfect variegated yarns. We messaged back and forth and landed on this beautiful color combo. It's amazing!

This shawl is proof that my mid-day naps are a good idea! I hope you enjoy the new pattern as much as I do. :)

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