(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. :)


Spring Hat-a-Long

For the last couple of years, I've been hosting a hat KAL/CAL in the summer to collect hats for cancer patients. That one will be starting again in late June/early July, but I thought it would be fun to run a quick, casual hat-a-long this Spring.

Knitting Like Crazy: Spring 2016 Hat-A-Long

I'll be collecting hats through April 30th and donating them to Cancer Treatment Center of America in Zion, IL. You can get all the details of the KAL/CAL here.

Hope you can join in the fun. If you can't participate this round - no worries! The next hat-a-long will be starting towards the end of June.

Happy hat making!


Triangle Trio Shawl

I'm pleased to announce that my Triangle Trio Shawl is now available for Ravelry download.
Triangle Trio Shawl by Jen Lucas
A trio of fun! This top-down wedge shawl features three lace triangle sections, each containing three lace patterns. The piece is super simple to modify - each chart can be worked for as long as you like. Knit out of a beautiful merino and cashmere sock yarn, you not only end up with a fun shawl to knit, but a soft, light-weight piece to wear all day long.

Triangle Trio Shawl by Jen Lucas
 Triangle Trio Shawl by Jen Lucas
The pattern was originally seen in the Summer 2015 Issue of Love of Knitting magazine (my Castine Pi Shawl was in that issue too). Since getting the shawl back from the magazine, it's been one of my absolute favorites to wear. I really love this shawl shape.
Triangle Trio Shawl by Jen Lucas
The pattern calls for 700 yards of fingering weight yarn and you definitely end up with a large comfy shawl. The charts can be repeated as many times as you like though - your shawl can be whatever size you want.

I see more shawls with this shape in my future. I love this style of shawl!


Design Your Biz: Oh the Social Media

It's time for another Design Your Biz segment. Today I want to talk about social media.
Oh the social media.

Where to post? How much to post? How to get more followers? It can be so overwhelming.

There's tons of information out there about how to optimize your social media, which can also be extremely overwhelming too.

Here's my recommendation: try out a few of them and then pick the ones you like the best. You don't have to be posting on Pinterest if you don't want to. Hate Twitter? That's cool, don't use it!

I think it's also important to try to figure out where your customers are. If you're feeling the social media overwhelm, it may help you to know where your customers are in order to make the decisions on where to post. If you're selling patterns on Ravelry, you can go to the Purchases section in your RavelryPro and check out the "Referred By" column. While the majority of my sales come directly from Ravelry, I've found that I do get a fair number of sales coming in through my posts on Facebook. While Facebook isn't my favorite social media, it's worthwhile to focus some effort there. I know that's where my customers are!

Once you've figured out where you're going to post, you have to decide how to keep it all organized. Here's some different ways you can organize your social media online:

  • IFTTT.com (If This Then That) allows you to set up rules for a whole bunch of sites. For example, you can set up a rule that if you post a photo to Instagram, then it will also go to Twitter. 
  • Buffer allows you to schedule a variety of social media posts. You can schedule a few at a time with a free account, or for a monthly fee you can schedule up to 100 posts. 
  • CoSchedule is another site you can use for scheduling posts. There's an article on Buffer vs. CoSchedule here.
So what do I do?

I use a good old paper calendar. It's the one inside my paper planner (I've recently switched to using an Erin Condren planner as I've become obsessed with planner decorating, but that's a whole other post).
I use the monthly calendar in the planner to track anything "social" - blog posts, email blasts (I send them twice a month, sign up if you haven't already), Facebook posts, and Twitter. The vast majority of my Twitter and Instagram posts are on the fly, so I don't really track those. When I have a new pattern out, I do have a specific social media plan. You can see my post on my new pattern checklist here.

For me, this is the easiest way to track everything. I've been considering trying Buffer, but I'm a total paper planner person, and this system currently works pretty good for me. I think what I like the best about my system is that it feels a little more personal. My opinion is when you start scheduling too many things to push from one social media to another, you can start to sound a little like a robot. I mean, robots are cool, but maybe not the exact tone you're going for in your social media posting.

I'd love to hear from you! If you have a business, I'd love to know how you track and organize your social media. And, because this is a social media post, here's all mine:


Woolly Trot 5K

Last year, Sarah started something new and awesome: the Woolly Trot 5K

I really love the idea of the Woolly Trot. It's all about getting up and moving, not about how fast you go. You do a 5K (that's 3.1 miles) distance on your own and then record your time in the Ravelry group.

I'm really excited to be a sponsor for this event again this year!

Here are all the specifics:

Between May 15th and May 31st do a 5K. This can be outside or on a treadmill. You can run, run/walk, or walk. It's all about getting out and moving. Remember, it doesn't matter how fast you go, you're lapping everyone sitting on the couch knitting!

You post your time in the
Woolly Trot Group on Ravelry to be eligible for prizes. That's it! The prizes are based on participation, not on your time.

There's two ways to sign up for this 5K.

  • If you would like swag (hello race t-shirt with a sheep on it), you can get those here. Be sure to use the coupon code "JLWTSP16" at checkout to get 10% off your order! Purchasing swag automatically registers you, there's no additional sign up fee.
  • Don't need/want 5K goodies? No problem! You can sign up here for just $5.

Be sure to join the Woolly Trot 5K group on Ravelry too. That's where all the fun happens!

I really hope that you will join in if you can. If you've been interested in doing a 5K but haven't done one before, this is the perfect one for you! Everyone in the group is so supportive. You'll get lots of virtual cheers without having to worry about your time. It's definitely the perfect 5K for me. :)


FO Friday: I'm a Traitor

Finally! Thanks to a couple knit nights I managed to finish Angela's Green Bay Packers socks!
 Gradient Stripe Socks: Lambeau Leaps
I knit the socks toe-up with a Fish Lips Kiss Heel (my preferred heel for socks these days).
Gradient Stripe Socks: Lambeau Leaps
Knitcircus definitely knows how to do stripes. They are so perfect (even if this Bears fan isn't in love with the color combo).
Gradient Stripe Socks: Lambeau Leaps
The colorway is Lambeau Leap and I know Ang is going to love them. She's lived in Illinois for a long time now, but she still bleeds green and gold.

It's Friday! Did you finish up anything this week?


Throwback Thursday: Favorite Socks

Since I've been digging out some of old sock WIPs, I thought today's Throwback Thursday should be all about the socks.

I've knit a lot of socks over the years. My current sock knitting involves self-striping yarn and plain stockinette socks. They're perfect for travel and for knit nights. But just a few short years ago, I was into more complicated socks. Here are some of my favorites:

Leyburn Socks (Free Pattern on Ravelry), knit out of Socks That Rock Mediumweight in color Purple Rain. I knit them in 2008 as part of a KAL on Ravelry.
Knitting Like Crazy Blog: Leyburn Socks
Flicker Socks by Cookie A, knit out of (the now discontinued) Louet Gems Pearl. I made them in July of 2007, which was the same time I opened my Ravelry account (anybody else remember having to get on the Ravelry waiting list!?)
Knitting Like Crazy Blog: Flicker Socks
And here are my favorite socks of all time. It's Mingus (also by Cookie A.). I was so sad the day these socks got a hole in them. They are knit out of Socks That Rock Lightweight in the Turquoise colorway. Such beautiful socks. These were knit in the summer of 2008 - in the height of my sock knitting obsession. :)
Knitting Like Crazy Blog: Mingus Socks
Hmm, maybe I need to dig out some of the older patterns and knit them again. I would love another pair of Mingus socks!


Design Your Biz: Defining My Brand

Now that I've been working at Jen Lucas Designs full-time for almost two years, I thought I'd start sharing some of my tips, tricks and thoughts about being a professional designer. There's so much information out there when it comes to small business (including specific information to the needlearts industry). I thought it would be fun to share some of the things I've picked up along the way.

Hopefully, it will make your life a little bit easier if you're diving into knit and/or crochet design!

I'll be posting about once a month on this stuff. Don't worry, there's still going to be lots of socks and shawls on the blog (you'll probably get to see some soon, if I ever knit the last few rows on those Green Bay socks)! :)

So welcome to my new blog series....

Today I'd like to talk about defining my brand.

When I first started designing, I had no real idea what I was doing. The one thing that I did know is that I love to knit shawls.

So I started there.

Over time, I was able to build up a pretty good catalog of shawl patterns. I love sneaking other accessories into the mix like cowls, hats and socks, but the majority of the patterns I put out there are shawls.

When it came time to get serious about this as business, it made sense to me to pick a logo that had a shawl in it. I've been using it for years and I still love it!

 Logo was created by Knitterella.

I think the shawl logo (in case you're curious the logo is based off my Wallingford shawl, one of my favorites and most popular patterns) was a smart choice for me. People see my logo and they know 'Hey! That's a shawl designer!'

There's still lots more for me to work on with my branding (hello, I can't bring myself to move my blog from Knitting Like Crazy over to my website. I've been here forever). Every year it gets a little more cohesive, but it's definitely a work in progress.

What's important is if you're not sure how to define your brand, start with the things you love and go from there. You can build upon it as you go!

If you're looking to define your brand, there's some great resources out there. Here are some of my favorites:


WIP Wednesday: More Socks

While the Packers socks are not quite done yet, I found myself picking up these pretties, which I've been working on for almost a year now. My sock-knitting mojo isn't what it used to be.
They're so pretty and the perfect colors for this month. I'm hoping to have them done to wear on St. Patrick's Day!
The yarn is Knitcircus' Gradient Stripe Set in color Emerald City. Those stripes....I just love them.
I'm knitting the socks until I run out of yarn (the yarn is split into two 50-gram balls that match perfectly). I'm doing a little bit of increasing in the calf area. My feet are so big (Women's US 11) that I can't make these full knee socks, but they'll still be pretty tall.

I've had these on the needles for so long I'm getting excited at the thought of digging through my bin of self-striping yarn to start another pair.

It's WIP Wednesday! What are you working on?


Yarn Tassel Planner Clip

I'm kind of a planner nerd these days. I also have a lot of yarn. So now I've gone completely over the edge and made myself a clip for my planner made of yarn. :)

This is the easiest less than 5 minute craft ever. If you have a planner, you probably need one of these too!

I started by digging through this:

I picked a bunch of green yarn because it's March. I cut the yarn into 12-inch pieces. I had about 25 in the bunch.

I found myself a kind of big paper clip (also green!).

I took the yarn and looped it through the end all at once. I pulled everything nice and tight.

I cut off several inches of yarn. I wanted my tassel to be pretty small.

Then I stuck it in my planner (I'm currently using a Get To Work Book).
That's it! It turned out pretty cute I think. I'll make another one when I feel like changing colors. It's such a quick project, I could make one every week if I wanted! :)

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