4.28.2016

Sometimes You Need Something New

Since finishing the Green Bay socks, I've been itching for a new pair of socks. I'm still working on the Emerald City socks, but I needed something new. I felt like I'd been knitting on the same two pairs of socks for a year (which I pretty much was). So, I dug deep into the sock-yarn stash, and got to work.
 The yarn is Patons Kroy Socks FX in the lovely color 57210/Cascade Colors.

I'm knitting these socks in my typical manner - toe up with fish lips kiss heel.
Sock #1 is almost done. Based on my current rate of sock knitting, you'll probably be seeing the pair finished in mid-2017. :)

4.26.2016

Regolith

Last week I released another pattern using Done Roving Yarns' Frolicking Feet Transitions. Say hello to Regolith:

I know how many of you love this shawl shape. It uses the same shaping as some of my other popular patterns:

(from left to right: Saffron, Savanna, and Sparrow)

It really is a great shawl shape! Lots of options on how to wear it, and very easy to adjust the size.

I'm especially tickled with the lace in this new pattern. I love the chevron action and how it affects the color changes in the transitions. Those peaks and valleys are my favorite part of the shawl.

$1.50 off with coupon code 'roadtrip' at checkout thru May 7th.

 I hope you enjoy this new pattern. Happy shawl knitting!

4.25.2016

What's in my notions bag?

I recently switched over to using a MayBeaCrafted bag as my notions bag. I thought it'd be fun to share with you everything that's inside!
 I can really cram a lot of stuff into this bag:
I've got a notebook, which I use for taking notes. Even when I'm making simple socks, I like to jot some notes about stitch count and length to starting heel and stuff. These days it takes me a long time to finish personal knitting and crochet projects, so the notebook is crucial. This one above I got at the Madison Knit-In last month. It has little post-it notes and page flags inside too!

I have a random variety of double-pointed needles (usually there's a bunch of crochet hooks in there too, but I cleaned them out recently). I also have a stitch holder. Not really sure why....I think I was using it for a sweater or something.

There's a pair of scissors, some pens and a pencil, a tape measure and a couple of those ruler/needle gauge things. Again, not really sure how I ended up with two needle gauge things, but I know I'll lose one eventually so I've left both of them in there.

Finally, I have a small hard-shelled notions case from FreshStitches:
That's where all the tiny stuff goes. What's inside:

  • Stitch markers
  • Nail clippers (can be used to cut yarn if your scissors get taken away while flying and/or get lost)
  • Some bobby pins (you can use them for Japanese short rows...or your hair)
  • A magnet pattern thing
  • Stylus
  • Cute little octopus snips from Hiya Hiya
  • Tapestry needles
  • The key thingy for the Knit Picks interchangeable needles 
  • Point protectors, which I never, ever use
That's it! I'm so glad I've started using a little bit of a larger notions bag. I like knowing that everything is in one location.

What's in your notions bag? Anything I should add?

4.21.2016

Design Your Biz: Online Personality

It's time for another Design Your Biz segment here at Knitting Like Crazy. Today I want to talk a little bit about online personality.
What to share? How much to share? How to portray yourself while sharing it? So many questions go into considering your online personality.

You have to decide what's going to work for you. Everyone has a different take on what they want to share, and that's completely fine. Here's how I've been looking at online personality these days:

My online personality has shifted some over the years. For example, when I first started this blog it was really about what I'm making and what was going on in my life. Now, as I've transitioned into a full-time design and teaching career, the tone of the blog has changed a little bit. While I work hard to keep things fun and light on the blog, I also want to share things that let people know that I know what I'm talking about it when it comes to knitting.

I make occasional tutorials. I share where I'm teaching. I blog about all my new books and patterns.

I want people to think - "Hey! That Jen knows what she's talking about when it comes to knitting! She sure loves yarn!"

While the majority of the things I blog, tweet, Facebook, Instagram, and Ravel about are directly related to my business, it's not going to be all business all the time. I'm going to share a picture of the delicious beer I'm drinking on Instagram from time to time. Went to a Barry Manilow concert with my mom? I'm going to tweet about it!

I know that people like seeing a glimpse into my everyday life, and it's fun to share that stuff. But that doesn't mean I have to share everything. I try to think about like "how much would I share with my old coworkers?" So, I'm not going to start tweeting every other tweet about my candidate for President. I'm not going to comment on the vast majority of news articles and events.

I personally feel like sharing those things don't add value to my social media/online personality. So I don't do them.

If you're a designer who loves sharing those things - that's great! Again, everybody has to decide what works for them.

When you get down to it, for me, my online personality is about being true to myself while also being professional (or as professional as possible - it's hard to be totally professional when you're totally fan-girling at a Barry Manilow concert and tweeting about it). :)

I hope you're enjoying my random musings on life as a designer. If you have an online business, I'd love to hear your thoughts on online personality!

4.14.2016

Throwback Thursday: Baby Hats

Last month, my brother and sister-in-law welcomed their second child, Myles. He's the first grandson for my mom and we are all ready in love with him!
Knitting Like Crazy: Baby Hats to Knit

I'm working on a few little things for him and that got me thinking about all the wee things I've made for babies over the years.

So many baby hats!

There have been a lot of Upside-Down Daisy Hats. My Ravelry notebook shows 6 of them, but I'm pretty sure I've made more than that. It's my favorite baby hat pattern ever. It's so adorable!
Knitting Like Crazy: Baby Hats to Knit
Another baby hat I've made is the Aviatrix hat. I made this when my air traffic controller friend had his first child. It was the perfect hand-made gift! I look forward to making another one. It's a fun pattern.
Knitting Like Crazy: Baby Hats to Knit
Then there's the dragon bonnet (aka baby monstaa's very scary bonnet). I made this for a coworker who was very into role-playing games and made chainmail as his hobby. He was super excited about this hat....and who wouldn't be? It's so cute!
Knitting Like Crazy: Baby Hats to Knit
 Finally, there's Corwith. This is one of my favorite pictures of my niece, Miss L. Such attitude. :)
Knitting Like Crazy: Baby Hats to Knit
I'm sure there will be many more baby hats in the future. They really are the perfect, quick gift for babies!

Do you have a favorite go-to pattern for baby knitting or crocheting? I'd love to hear about it!

4.11.2016

Lokum

Last week I released a new pattern. This is Lokum:

Knitting Like Crazy: Lokum Shawl

This shawl was such an enjoyable knit. I love the texture that I was able to create in the lace. I think it helps break up some of "wildness" in this particular yarn. It's lovely.
Knitting Like Crazy: Lokum Shawl
 Knitting Like Crazy: Lokum Shawl
The beauty of this pattern is that it's designed to knit until you're going to run out of yarn. Perfect for the Done Roving Yarns Frolicking Feet Transitions that I used to knit the sample. It's so easy to make your shawl the size you want for the yarn you have!

Knitting Like Crazy: Lokum Shawl
I hope you enjoy the new pattern!

4.08.2016

Happy Little Thoughts...

I've been spending a lot of time watching YouTube videos lately.

I'm getting really into decorating my paper planner and looking for fun little craft projects I can do when I have some downtime. These days I've been spending a lot of my work knitting time watching every crafty YouTube video out there.

I can't remember now where I saw this project, but I loved this idea - a jar of memories.


All I needed was some kind of bottle/jar/bowl, some post-it notes, and a pen. As things happen throughout the year, I'm jotting them down on the post-it note with the date, folding it up and putting it in the jar. Some things in there are events (like concerts, hockey games, etc) and other things are just happy little things that happened here and there in life.
 Knitting Like Crazy: Memories Jar
I received this cute little bottle from an old coworker. She gave it to me on my last day in the lab two years ago. I'd been storing random paper clips and stuff in it, but this is a way better use for it.

I really love this memory jar idea for a couple reasons. First, it will be fun to go through it at the end of the year and see all the great things that happened in 2016. Second, it's kind of nice to write down random happy things when they happen. Even when they are things like having a good workout or finishing a really awesome book - it's nice to focus on the happy little everyday things in life!

I'm not exactly sure what I'll do with the post-it notes at the end of the year. I used to be really into scrapbooking, so maybe I'll try to incorporate them into some new scrapbook project. Who knows! :)

4.07.2016

The Life of a Knitwear Designer

"What did you do today?"

This is a question I get asked a lot.

So, I decided to document what a typical day for me is like. Every day can be a little different - it just depends on deadlines, teaching events and what I feel like working on.

Here's what I did on Tuesday....

I started my day getting up and going to boot camp at 7am. I've found that working out in the morning has been so amazing for me. I'm way more motivated to work, I'm feeling better overall and it's nice to have some interaction with real, live people.
Knitting Like Crazy: The Life of a Knitwear Designer
That was a lot of burpees. Yikes.

When I got home from boot camp, I read blogs and scheduled some social media while eating breakfast (delicious protein smoothie). I caught up on Ravelry forums and messages at this time too.
Knitting Like Crazy: The Life of a Knitwear Designer

After breakfast/blogs/social media-ing, I took a shower and promptly put on my uniform of sweatpants, tank top and hoodie.

At 9:30 am, I'm ready to tackle my actual to do list for the day. I was working on releasing Lokum for Wednesday, so I was getting everything ready for that.

I double checked my pattern yet again. It's already been checked by me and professionally tech edited, but I like to give it one more close look, just to make sure everything is as perfect as it can be. At this point any changes are usually things like changing the size of a photo or something. On rare occasion I'll find a little typo or something isn't italicized.
 Knitting Like Crazy: The Life of a Knitwear DesignerKnitting Like Crazy: The Life of a Knitwear Designer

After that, it was time to design. My next book is due soon and I'm working on the last few designs for it. Of course, I can't reveal too much about the book, but here's an idea of what I did....

I knew what type of thing I needed to design and the yarn I needed to use. Time to hit the stitch dictionaries!
Knitting Like Crazy: The Life of a Knitwear Designer

Knitting Like Crazy: The Life of a Knitwear Designer

Then I did some math, wrote up a quick rough draft of the pattern and made some charts (I use Stitchmastery to make my charts).

Knitting Like Crazy: The Life of a Knitwear Designer
Time to start knitting!

I knit and watched YouTube videos until I got hungry. So I ate lunch.

After lunch I answered emails. I didn't have too many to reply to on Tuesday, so it's mostly deleting the junk email and sorting emails into the proper folders. I typically only look at my email once a day on my computer. My email does go to my iPhone too, so if I see something come in on my phone that needs immediate attention, I'll deal with it, but usually the once a day replying works pretty good.

Then I knit a little bit more.

And then I got tired of knitting.

I knew that one thing I have coming up is that I have to get all my new patterns to Stitch Sprouts next week, who distributes my patterns. So I made myself a little to-do list for that. I also used my knitting break to make an ad for the new Lokum pattern - last week I had reserved a featured pattern ad on Ravelry for May.
Knitting Like Crazy: The Life of a Knitwear Designer

After that it was back to knitting! I knit until it was time to leave to meet up with my knit & crochet group. I continued knitting on my book project there too.

I got back home around 8:30pm and watched the end of the Blackhawks game and knit on the book project some more. I made some serious book knitting progress on Tuesday!

And that was my day. Like I said at the beginning of this mega-post, every day can be a little different. Sometimes I'm prepping for an upcoming teaching event. Some days it's all about working on submissions for magazines. No matter what I'm working on, I'm happy to have a job I absolutely love.

4.05.2016

New Project Bags

Over the weekend I went to YarnCon in Chicago. It's one of my very favorite knitting events - the shopping there is so good. There's lots of little indie dyers and shops and you can find lots of stuff that you don't see at a lot of the other conventions and events around town.

I headed down on Saturday afternoon to meet up with Corrina, who was teaching there. We spent a couple hours chatting and knitting. It was so much fun! I only get to see Corrina in person once or twice a year, and it's always nice to catch up.

I did a pretty good job keeping myself in check on the shopping front...I only came home with two new projects bags. There was a ton of beautiful yarn and of course I wanted all of it, but I'm trying to finish up my next book. I knew if I bought yarn I'd end up knitting with it immediately. I have no self control when it comes to starting new projects with brand new shiny yarn. :)

Anyway, here's my small haul:
 Knitting LIke Crazy: New Project Bags from MayBeaCrafted
 Knitting LIke Crazy: New Project Bags from MayBeaCrafted
The smaller blue one I bought to use as a notions bag. I'd been thinking about how I wanted a slightly larger notions bag, one that could fit a small notebook. That small bag fits the bill, everything fits in there perfectly! The larger bag with the owls will be perfect for larger shawl projects.

I purchased both of these bags from MayBeaCrafted. So cute! I'm sure I'll be visiting her Etsy site in the future for more project bags.

There were lots of events going on over all around the country last weekend! Were you at any of them? If so, what kind of goodies did you get?

3.30.2016

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday

I love finding books like this.
You Can Knit Better
 You Can Knit Better

Can't wait to read it and improve my knitting. :)


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