New Pattern: Reedy Creek (and Giveaway)

Last Tuesday, not only did my new shawl pattern, Fortis, get released, but Fall with Sweet Georgia, Volume 3 was also released into the knitting world.
 Fall with Sweet Georgia Volume 3
 My new cowl pattern, Reedy Creek, is part of the new collection!
Reedy Creek by Jen Lucas
This was a very quick cowl to work up. It's just knits and purls creating a fun pattern on the piece. I knit the larger infinity scarf for the sample, but the pattern includes instructions on how to make a smaller one, if you like.

Reedy Creek by Jen Lucas
Seriously, that texture - and in Sweet Georgia Superwash DK? It's an amazing pairing. The twist on the yarn really allows those stitches to pop.

You can get the individual pattern on Ravelry for $8CAD (that's around $6.80US), or you can get the Fall with Sweet Georgia, Volume 3 eBook for $30CAD (that's around $25.50US)!


You can win a PDF copy of Reedy Creek! Leave a comment on this blog post (or reply to this email if you get the blog posts sent to your inbox) letting me know your favorite thing about fall. Be sure to include your Ravelry name so I can get the pattern gifted to you if you win. Leave a comment by Sunday, September 30th. I'll use a random number generator to determine the winner.

Good luck and enjoy the new pattern!

All photo credits: Sweet Georgia & Josh Yong


The Annual Shawl MKAL is Here!

It's my favorite time of year - mystery shawl knit-a-long time!

Mystery Shawl 2017

$4 thru 10/13, no coupon code needed!

The MKAL officially starts Friday, but you can purchase the pattern now, and start chatting about yarn choices and the like in the Jen Lucas Designs Ravelry group. I've been doing these mystery shawl knit-a-longs for several years now, and we always have a ton of fun!

Here's some general info (you'll get an FAQ/information PDF when you download the pattern with more information):

  • Shawl shape: top-down crescent
  • Written instructions included for the charts!
  • Pattern is easily adjustable
  • 800 yards of fingering weight yarn needed
  • Yarn used for shawl sample: Stunning String Studio, Stunning Superwash in the Dutch Coral colorway
So join in the fun and knit-a-long with us!

$4 thru 10/13, no coupon code needed!


I'm Michigan-Bound!

Next Thursday, I'll be taking a trip up to Michigan to teach at Yarn Garden in Charlotte, MI. It's my last teaching trip of 2017 (probably) and I'm excited to head to Lindsay's shop for a few days of yarn and fun!

On Thursday night (September 21), we'll kick off the fun with a party and book signing. I'll be bringing lots of samples in addition to the trunk show that's currently at the shop - lots of pretty accessories to try on!

On Friday, I'll be teaching a variety of lace and technique classes. You can read all about them on the Yarn Garden blog.

Finally, on Saturday, it'll be a full day of Design Your Own Sock-Yarn Shawl. This is a super fun class and probably my favorite one to teach. I love making sock-yarn shawl designers!

If you're in the area, I hope to see you there!

P.S. If you're not in the area, have your LYS owner shoot me a message at jenlucasdesigns[AT]gmail[COM] and I can send them information on coming to teach at a shop near you!


New Pattern: Fortis

Yesterday I released a new shawl pattern. Hooray! I feel like it's been a little bit. But fall is nearly here and that means it's shawl time.

This is Fortis:

$4 with coupon code "gertygoodness" at checkout thru September 24th
Fortis is a top-down crescent shawl with a cable and lace border. I think this pattern really highlights the squishy-ness of the new Anzula Gerty yarn, which I used in the sample. It's delicious.
Whether you've been reading this blog for a month or for years, you know one thing remains the same: garter stitch and lace is my jam. Pair it with a simple cable? Now I'm totally in love.

$4 with coupon code "gertygoodness" at checkout thru September 24th

I hope you enjoy this pattern as much as I do! It's just the beginning of all the fun accessories I have planned for this fall.


Design Your Biz: Software

Designing is a super creative job. And, for me, it's also very paper-based. I'm constantly sketching things out and taking notes on paper all over my office. But using the computer is also a critical part of the job too. Today I'd like to talk about software I use in my business.

Like all of my Design Your Biz posts, this is just what I use. It works for me. Another designer might use some or none of the things I use. Everyone's different. Everyone finds what works for them.It's the beauty of having your own business. You get to do what you want and use the things you want to use. :)

Charting Software
Some/many designers create their charts with Adobe Illustrator. Good for them, not for me. While I do occasionally break it out if I need some super weird stitch, I'm charting with Stitchmastery. You can easily make all kinds of charts, it gives you the written instructions for the charts (a nice feature for me since I like to include them in all my self-published patterns), and you can save your charts as hi-resolution photos. There's a few different charting software options out there, this is the one that I've been using for several years and I really love it.

Microsoft Excel (or whatever spreadsheet program you like)
As a mostly shawl designer, there's not too much grading needed in my designs. But, I do use Excel for all kinds of math on accessories. It's a great tool to have. And I use it to track all my business financials too.

Microsoft Word (or whatever word processing program you like)
I still use Microsoft Word quite a bit. When I'm working up my pattern to send to my tech editors, I always write it up in Word first. It's easy for them to check everything and make changes and notes with the "Track Changes" feature. And, once I get the pattern back, it's easy copying and pasting to get it into my pattern layout. Which brings me to my next crucial software....

Adobe InDesign
I recently talked about my pattern layouts here on the blog. A couple years ago I switched to using Adobe InDesign to layout my patterns and haven't looked back. I really like it and I think once you watch a couple of tutorials on YouTube you'll find it's actually pretty easy to use.

And Speaking of Adobe....
I use Photoshop too. When I first started designing, paying for things like Adobe products was out of the realm of possibility. I'm here to tell you don't need these things to get started. But, maybe you'll be like me, and as your business grows you'll decide you'd like to have them. Or maybe you won't.

Again, it's whatever works for you!

We could talk about software for your business all day. But these are the main things I'm using on a daily basis. How about you? If you're a designer, what other software do you use for your business?


The Pile - It's Growing!

The pile of hats for my Summer Hat-A-Long is growing and I've been alerted that more are on the way. :)

There's still time to add to the pile and help a nearby cancer center with their chemo cap needs. You can find all the details in my Ravelry group!


Throwback Thursday: Passerine

There's a weird thing that happens sometimes when you're a designer. Suddenly a kind of old pattern that hasn't been selling lately suddenly starts selling again. Recently, this happened with Passerine.


I'm not sure if it's because it was hanging in a prominent spot in my booth at TNNA and therefore got on the radar of the yarn stores. Maybe someone somewhere is hosting a knit-a-long. Whatever the reason, I'm so pleased that it's getting some love again.

Passerine is worked on the bias in a cool, geometric pattern that only becomes more interesting by knitting it on an angle. Paired with a gradient yarn like Knitcircus, you can't go wrong.

I might need to design another one of these on-the-bias stoles. They're so fun!


New Crochet Pattern Kits from Herrschners

A few months ago I did a couple more crochet designs for Herrschners that recently hit their website. Both of these shawls were so fun to stitch!
The Gradient Long Shawl is worked in the Herrschners 2-Ply Afghan yarn. The yarn is held doubled and you're able to create a bit of a gradient effect by how you change to each color. The shawl is huge - it's like a blanket. So warm and cozy! You can get the kit on the Herrschners website.

The second crochet shawl is the Lighthouse Homestead Sideways Shawl:
As the name of the shawl suggests, it's worked sideways. :) I added a fun detail along the edge to make the stripes a little more interesting. You can get the kit from Herrschners too!

Hope you enjoy the new crochet shawls! :)

Photos courtesy of Herrschners.


FO Friday: Tensfield

When I arrived home from the Hope-A-Thon last month, I had an almost finished Tensfield hat. It only took a few rows to finish it up.
Tensfield Hat

The yarn is Cascade Tangier and was leftover from the Wildflowers Shawl I crocheted a couple years ago. It was the perfect yarn for this pattern.

Tensfield is so clever. You start by working back and forth, knitting a triangle. The piece is then joined in the round, but you keep working in rows (short rows to be exact) to shape the hat. It was super fun and quick to knit and I think it's going to be my go-to hat pattern for chemo cap knitting.
Tensfield Hat

I've added this hat to the growing collection of hats I've received for my Summer Hat-A-Long. If you haven't knit a hat yet, you can read more about my chemo cap collection project in my Ravelry group! I'd love to send a whole bunch of Tensfield hats (or whatever hat you want to knit or crochet) to the nearby cancer center!


Design Your Biz: Pattern Layout

In today's Design Your Biz segment, let's talk about one of my favorite parts of my job - pattern layout!*
Design Your Biz: Pattern Layouts

When I first started designing, I didn't think much about pattern layout.

Get all the info in the pattern, it doesn't have to be pretty.

But, as the design career went from hobby to part-time job to full-time job, pattern layout started to become more important to me. I wanted to have beautiful patterns. When I was first ready to make the next step to having a nice pattern layout, I hired someone to create a template in Microsoft Word for me, as that was what I was using at the time to produce my patterns. Lots of designers use Word or other Microsoft products to create beautiful patterns. I made the switch to Adobe InDesign for one simple reason - I wanted to learn how to use it. As a former lab lady, I can use Microsoft Word and Excel all day long with no problem, but I had no idea about Adobe products. I liked the idea of a challenge to learn something new. Simple as that.

So, the first take away here is use whatever software you want and are comfortable with to make your patterns. There are lots of options and they all work just fine.

Ok, so you have your software choice made, now what? There are an unlimited number of ways to layout your knitting or crochet pattern. Here are just a few things that I think are important when choosing a layout:
  • Be Consistent
    Once you've determined everything that needs to go into your pattern, make sure you have it in your pattern - every time. I suggest making a style sheet to help you (and your tech editor) be sure you have all the relevant information. I'd also recommend that you keep your layout similar from pattern to pattern. You may have to move things around a little bit in order to get everything to fit the way you want it to, but having patterns that look the same really help your fans find what they need in your pattern quickly!
    Sognare by Jen Lucas
Streambank by Jen Lucas

  • White Space is Your Friend
    Patterns have a lot of words and instructions. I include the written instructions for all the charts in my patterns. That's a lot of text. By paying attention to the white space in the pattern, you make things easier to read. But, you also have to be careful not to have a single line of text going onto the final page of your pattern. Which brings me to my next point...
  • Watch the Page Count
    In the digital age we live in, it may seem like you can make your patterns as lengthy as you want. The reality is many knitters and crocheters still prefer to print their patterns (I know I do). Also, because I have a pattern distributor, I take into account page requirements for mass printing. Most of my patterns are 3-4 pages. Also, as you can see above, the first page of my pattern has the materials list, a photo, gauge, etc. No actual instructions to make the shawls. I made this choice on purpose - if a knitter wants to skip printing the first page to save ink/paper, they can. Unless there's an unusual abbreviation in a pattern, which they could just write on the first page they print, they don't technically need that first page to make the shawl. Let's be honest - very few knitters pay attention to the gauge listed in a shawl pattern anyway, right? :)
  • Photo Quality
    This was honestly something I didn't think much about until I started working with Stitch Sprouts. Make sure those photos in your pattern are acceptable print quality. No one wants to print a pattern with a super fuzzy photo on it.
I could go on and on about pattern layout, but I think this is a good start.

What makes you look at a pattern and say: that's a good pattern layout! I'd love to know. 

*That is not a joke, I've grown to really love it. It's like a fun puzzle!

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