The last couple of years I've always had something going on the weekend of YarnCon and couldn't attend. Not this time! This year I was able to teach my Lovely Lace Borders class at the event and even had some time for shopping.

I thought the market area was great. Lots of local, indie vendors. You're definitely able to find things here you wouldn't see at a lot of other shows.
I did a little damage on the market floor. You know me, I can't resist the pretties.

First I picked up a couple project bags (because they're kind of like yarn, you can never have too many). I had to have the Blackhawks project bag. And when I found the nerdy bag at Art Institchtute of Chicago I whipped out the debit card faster than you can say, "Lab Nerd."
And then there were the gradients. First stop was Knitcircus. One of my absolute favorites.
I also bought this ball from Mia Bella. I had no idea that the shop was dyeing their own yarn now. I loved this one. I can't wait to see how it knits up!
Teaching my class was also wonderful. I had great students and we had a good time talking about lace borders. I've already blocked off my calendar for YarnCon 2016. I never want to miss this event again.


Needle Review: Knitter's Pride Bamboo Deluxe Interchangeables

A couple months ago I was sent some Knitter's Pride Bamboo Deluxe Interchangeable Needles to try. I'll admit, I'm not much of a bamboo knitting person, so I wasn't sure how I would feel about this set.
I used them for a secret project for a magazine. And you know what? I really liked them!

Just like I reported with the Trendz needles, the join was perfect and they didn't unscrew once. That is probably the most important thing to me when it comes to interchangeable needles and I'm quite pleased that I had no problems in that department.

Like I said, I don't use bamboo needles a lot. I don't like how many yarns can catch on the wood. They are never pointy enough for me. These Knitter's Pride Bamboo needles seemed to be much smoother. I was using a yarn that should have been catching like crazy on a bamboo needle, and it didn't at all. And while they were not as pointy as I like (I like my needles to be so pointy they could cause bodily harm), they are a little more pointy than other bamboo needles I own. I mean, it's wood you can only get so pointy. :)

This deluxe set comes with 10 tips (US 2.5 up to US 11) and 4 cords. I love that this set has a US 2.5 and US 3 in it. Many sets don't include tips that go that low. As a big-time shawl knitter and someone who knits with a ton of sock yarn, that was a very pleasant surprise.

If you are looking for a bamboo set of interchangeables, I would recommend giving this set a try. They were the best bamboo needles I've used and I look forward to using them again on future projects!

Disclaimer: I received these needles for free in order to review them. My review is 100% my honest opinion. I did not receive any payment for this review nor did I agree to publish a positive review. You can read my full disclosure policy here.


What I'm Reading/Watching: April 2015

You may recall that last month I read....nothing. This month I did a little better on the reading front.

I listened to Attachments by Rainbow Rowell.
I really liked this book. It was a cute, quick read/listen. I'm a little sad because now I'm through all the Rainbow Rowell books and have to wait to the new one to come out to read more!

I also listened to Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.
I had a very hard time getting into this book. I didn't love it. I felt like it was moving a little slow. I liked the storyline a lot though, and will definitely give future Robin Sloan books a try.

Because I've been knitting a lot on my book deadline, I still haven't finished To Kill A Mockingbird. I'm loving the book, I just haven't been able to give it a lot of time this month. My Kindle tells me I'm 65% of the way through the book. I may get the audiobook so I can finish this one up!

As for watching, I watched the current season of Girls. We ditched HBO a couple of months ago and it was the only thing I really missed. Our cable company had a week of free HBO On-Demand this month and I took that opportunity to watch the entire season. I also watched the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix. I thought it was amazing and will definitely be rewatching it soon!

What did you read/watch this month?

Wonder what I read/watched last month? Check out this blog post.


WIP Wednesday: Andromeda

The Andromeda Peplum Vest is starting to take shape:
I have almost the entire top part done. I just need to do the final edging around the sleeves and then it's on to the bottom. Speaking of sleeves, I mentioned in the last post about this piece that I thought I might have to do something to make the sleeve hole a little bigger. Turns out I was sketching and planning for nothing - my arm fits in the armhole just fine.
Can't wait to finish this up and wear it!

It's WIP Wednesday, what are you working on?


Look! Spinning!

I always do it. I finish one spinning project and immediately start another. And then don't work on it for many months. After finishing up the Sweet Georgia BFL last July, I started working on some pretty roving from KnittyandColor.
I ended up with about 190 yards/3.5 oz of a 3-ply. I call this my "sweet spot." I always end up with around the same amount every time I spin! I spin so infrequently I haven't been too worried about trying to get thinner singles. I just spin when I feel like spinning and what I get, I get. :)
As is it is the cycle, I started something new on the wheel! Hopefully it won't be almost a year before I'm posting photos on the blog (but I wouldn't be surprised if it was).



I've released the final pattern in the Gradient Shawl Collection. The final pattern is Ochiba, a large, half-pi shawl.

I really like the idea of combining classic stitch patterns with a classic shawl shape. It makes for one classy shawl!
For this shawl I used the Luxe Fingering (XL) from Apple Tree Knits. Yet another Stitches Midwest purchase from last year. With 1000 yards in the ball, you definitely end up with a nice-sized piece that can be worn many different ways.
I really loved putting this whole collection together. So much so that I have plans to do another shawl collection like this next year!  I really loved designing shawls with yarn I was so excited about, so that's my plan for early 2016. I'm not sure if it will be with gradients or something new, but I look forward to the challenge.

Like all the other shawls in the collection, Ochiba can be purchased as an individual pattern or as part of the Gradient ebook, which is at its final price of $12.50.


I hope you enjoy this final pattern in the collection! Did you have a favorite?


Needle Organization

It's been quite some time since my needles have been in any kind of order. Over the weekend I decided that something had to be done about it. I couldn't take the needle disaster any longer!

I started by taking my two Namaste circular cases (I have a regular one and a double wide) and separating my circulars. I use circulars for just about everything. And, I have a ton of them. Now I can locate the one I need easily.
Then I went through all my KnitPicks Interchangeables. I have a ton of those too! Thanks to the Erin Lane Bags needle case I bought at Stitches Midwest a couple years ago, I'm nice and organized on the interchangeable front too.
I love the way the case folds up!
So now the drawer that once contained a giant tangle o' needles is nice and neat. I hope I can keep it this way.
I threw out some needles too. Anything that was bent or coming apart had to go. I feel better knowing that all the needles in that drawer are in good working order.

Maybe next month I'll tackle the double-pointed needles. Because having them all tossed inside one mason jar isn't really working either.

How do you like to store your needles and hooks?


Shoe Envy

A few weeks ago, my friend Vickie arrived at knit night with some new shoes she had bought that day. Of course we made her model them:
That's right, those are some knit Chuck Taylors. They're so cute!
She found them at a department store (I can't remember which one now). I've found them on a few different websites, including Macy's website here. And you can get them in red too.

Those are definitely some shoes all knitters could use!



Last week, I released the fifth pattern in the Gradient Shawl Collection eBook. This is Passerine:


This lace stole starts in one corner and is worked on the bias to the opposite corner. Working diagonally not only gives an interesting look to the  lace, it also makes the gradient change on an angle. I used Knitcircus Corriedale Sock in the Robin's Nest colorway and I think it looks so beautiful with the lace.

You can wear this piece so many different ways. It's perfect for spring!

You can buy the pattern itself, or get the eBook. If you would like the eBook, you're in luck -  I have a coupon code for you. The EU knitters can now get my eBooks and patterns directly through Ravelry. Since they were unable to get the eBook when it first came out, I wanted to give them the opportunity to get the introductory price. The coupon code works no matter where you live.

$11.50 (until next pattern release)
Get $4 off with coupon code "gradient" thru April 12

I hope you enjoy this pattern. I really loved knitting this one. I found that lace pattern to be quite addicting.


New Needles

I have a lot of knitting needles. And yet I continue to buy more.
It's no secret around here that I've been knitting a lot of plain self-striping socks these days. I'm currently obsessed with knitting them via magic loop and I have exactly one needle that works for socks. I don't really need to have more than one pair going at a time, but I would like the option of switching needle sizes.

I bought a Knitter's Pride Karbonz circular needle at Stitches Midwest (last year I think) and I love it. I use it for shawls all the time. So I decided to pick up a couple of smaller needles in the Karbonz to try on socks. I love the tips of these needles.

I've had to set aside the current sock in progress as I have a couple of deadlines looming, but when I pick it back up, I'll switch to these needles. I'm excited to give them a try!

Do you knit a lot of socks? What needles do you like to use (DPNs or circulars, brand, etc. I always like reading about what other knitters like!)?


One Year

Over the last few days, I've been reflecting on the last year. It was one year ago that I hung up my lab coat and walked out of the lab for the last time and started working in my design business full-time. As I said on Twitter, it's been giving me feelings.

Good feelings.

I'll be honest, some days I miss working in lab terribly. I mean, testing wastewater for boron using old school, "dirty chemistry" is fun. And even though I would definitely maybe cry in the field sampling van when it was -20 windchill and I had snow in my boot, I still loved being at the wastewater treatment plant.
Last time field sampling!

It's so interesting! But there were lots of reasons to move on too. I won't get into the details, but it comes down to this: You can love what you do, but sometimes the politics of work life ruin that. So, Alex and I talked it over, waited for the time to be right (it took almost two years from the time I decided I wanted my next full-time job to be working in my business to the time I quit), and I left.

And, guess what?
Me and Alex out drinking with my lab buddies on my last day!

I'm so unbelievably happy with that decision! I didn't realize what a hold my job had on my life. I was so unhappy. I knew it, but I didn't realize how bad it was. I was, like, never sleeping. I got angry and/or upset at the most trivial things. The littlest thing would completely set me off. Now? Not so much. I sleep at night. I have a job I love, I find challenging, and I like and respect the people I work with* (and I have a lot more control over who those people are).

I know this is kind of a cheesy post, but I really am saying all this to say thank you for being here as Jen Lucas Designs has grown and changed over the last year. When I first started this full-time, I was worried I'd be here, a year later, looking for a new lab job because it wasn't working. It's because of all the awesome support I'm getting from all of you that's making it work. Thank you so much! I look forward to many more years of knitting and crocheting** fun with all of you!

*There were lots of people I enjoyed working with the lab. Most of the people I worked with were perfectly lovely. :)

**That's right. It still might be awhile but there needs to be some crochet shawl patterns around here.


FO Friday: Flower Power

The baby blanket I started a few weeks back is finally done. Hooray!
The pattern is the Pastel Petals Afghan from Modern Baby Crochet by Stacey Trock. I had so much working on this blanket. Simple yet beautiful, just what I like to make for babies.
I used a super bulky yarn (Bernat Softee Chunky) instead of the bulky weight the pattern called for and decided to eliminate the final color of the blanket. The blanket is pretty huge even leaving one color off. Definitely big enough for baby and momma to snuggle under.
The blanket was all wrapped up and shipped off to the new mom and baby earlier this week. I hope they both love it for a long time to come.

Now all I need is another wave of friends getting pregnant so I can make another one of these lovely blankets. :)


WIP Wednesday: Socks

On Monday I mentioned that I went stash diving into the self-striping yarn stash and picked some yarn for a new pair of socks. Big surprise, they are kind of rainbow-y. :)
I've had this Kroy Socks in the stash for quite some time. I've had friends in my knit and crochet group knit with this colorway and I've seen it a bunch on Ravelry and Instagram too. It's my turn to knit some lovely sock with it. I'm really enjoying these stripes:
I'm knitting these like all my socks lately. Toe-up on magic loop, there will be a fish lips kiss heel. Most likely 3x1 ribbing at the top. I'm a consistent, boring sock knitter.

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