5.23.2017

Stunning Stitches: The Potrero Hill Set

Fitting. I just returned from a trip to San Francisco last week. The Potrero Hill set is a nod to the city - with hilly roads, a few of which zig zag like crazy!
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The patterns in this set all feature a seed stitch and lace pattern. A fun and addicting combination.

First up is the stole.
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Like many of the patterns in the book, this piece is simple to adjust in size. Make is a scarf, get creative and make it super wide and then seam it up like a poncho - there's lots of possibilities!

The Potrero Hill cowl is the quick and easy project in this set. You'll only need about a half a skein of sock yarn to get this one done!
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Finally, there's the shawl. I couldn't do a book without a half-pi shawl. I love them, you love them, we all love them!
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I'm tickled by the way the zig zag of the lace flows from each section of this shawl!

Want to see more of the patterns from the book? Check out the Ravelry pattern page for the book.

Images from Stunning Stitches by Jen Lucas, Martingale, 2017; used with permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

5.19.2017

Stunning Stitches: The Glarus Set

Now that all the patterns for Stunning Stitches have been added to Ravelry, I've been enjoying hearing from all of you about which ones are your favorites. The patterns in the Glarus Set seem to be among the favorites in my new book!
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This set was built around a lace panel I found in one of my stitch dictionaries. I immediately thought of the shawl, which is featured on the cover of the book. The panel screamed knitted-on border to me!

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I picked a lace pattern for the body of the shawl that I thought would compliment the border. I'm so pleased with the results.
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And then I got crazy. I'd been wanting to jump on the poncho craze for awhile. It seemed like the right time. The Glarus Poncho is a nice combination of easy Stockinette stitch, with the lace panel running along one side. I can't wait to wear this poncho this fall!

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The set is finished off with the scarf. The panel is worked twice, creating sort of a cool, super-wide lace ribbing. You could definitely add another repeat of two to make it into a stole. I think it would be beautiful!
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I used Anzula yarns for these pieces, and it was definitely the right choice. I think their yarns really are perfect for lace. The stitch definition is awesome and the colors are simply amazing.

Want to see more of the patterns from the book? Check out the Ravelry pattern page for the book.

Images from Stunning Stitches by Jen Lucas, Martingale, 2017; used with permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

5.18.2017

Design Your Biz: A Workflow That Works

Working from home as a knit & crochet designer is full of challenges. There's always housework staring me in the face, as well as my bed, begging me for a mid-day nap. Being the only employee here at Jen Lucas Designs means everything falls on me (or I have to take the time to find the people to help me). Recently, I went to my husband, a project manager at a large corporation, for help.

Project Manage Me!!!!!!! I yelled.

I'm always feeling a little behind and overwhelmed these days, so I was looking for a few tips or systems I could put in place to help me get it all done. Alex's guidance has helped me so much over the last couple months, I thought I'd talk a little bit about my workflow today.
I've started using a Kanban board and working in two-week sprints.

Every two weeks, I evaluate what went well or not so well on the last two-week sprint, look at all my deadlines coming up and decide what I'm going to work on in the next two-week sprint. I make post-it notes for everything I need to do in the two week time period and add it to the "to-do" section of my board. When I work on it, it goes to what I call the "in progress" section. I've limited myself to no more than 6 items in the "in progress" section. When I first started this system, I found myself having a hard time sticking to that. But, now that a couple months have gone by, I rarely have more than two or three things in there at a time. This system has really forced me to look at the work and stick to a plan, and not start a million things at once. When the item is done, to the "done" section it goes!

When I get a new project to work on (for example, a magazine pattern), I'll write a post-it note for it, and stick it to my wall to the left of my board. That way, when I'm planning a future two-week sprint, I know that it's something I need to complete.

A few months ago, I was constantly scrambling to get things done. I'd let myself get distracted by whatever I felt like working on (rather than what actually needs to get done). Of course, as a designer, I have to give myself permission to occasionally ditch the plan when an idea strikes, but this system of using my board and giving myself basically self-imposed deadlines has made a huge difference. I still have to scramble sometimes to meet a deadline, but it's slowly becoming easier and easier.

I'm so glad that Alex introduced me to this project management system! Want to know more about it? Leave a comment below and maybe I'll get Alex to write a little guest blog post in the coming weeks going into more detail.

Happy planning!

5.16.2017

Stunning Stitches: The Violetear Set

While I was working on Stunning Stitches, I became slightly obsessed with feather-and-fan stitch patterns. Feather-and-fan is so fun to knit, isn't it? I included it in the Bampton Set too (more on that next week), but today let's talk about Violetear. 

First up, it's the Violetear Infinity Scarf. A simple cowl, written for two sizes. The larger one is shown here.
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Then there is the Violetear Cowl. It's worked just like my new Vauhti pattern. It's worked flat and then a small seam is added to turn it into a cowl. I love that you can wear it in such a way that is almost looks like a shawl!
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And then there is the Violetear Shawl. My favorite pattern in the book. I love everything about this bottom-up short row shawl. I might need to knit another one (or 12).
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Seriously. I started this shawl and couldn't put it down. You all know garter stitch and lace is one of my all-time favorite combinations. There's just something about this particular combination with the feather-and-fan stitches that makes me so happy.
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Want to see more of the patterns from the book? Check out the Ravelry pattern page for the book!

Images from Stunning Stitches by Jen Lucas, Martingale, 2017; used with permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

5.12.2017

Stunning Stitches: The Cyprus Set

Knit & purls. Simple texture can be so much fun, can't it? While I tend to go to the more complicated lace or cabled stitch patterns, sometimes it can be nice to get back to the basics. And that's exactly what I did with the Cyprus set in Stunning Stitches.
The Cyprus set features a stole, a cowl and a dickey, all knit in Lorna's Laces yarn

This set all started with an idea I had. I love the look of a scarf tucked into a jacket, but, honestly, I kind of hate the bulkiness the scarf can provide when tucked into a jacket. I don't need anything helping me to look extra bulky, you know? ;) So, the Cyprus dickey was born.
The piece is started with a provisional cast on, and worked flat. Once finished you put the two right sides facing the same way (to get a true faux-scarf kind of look) and Kitchener stitch it together!
The dickey is definitely the more difficult project in this set. The other two projects are very easy, and perfect for the adventurous beginner or someone looking for some good "tv-time knitting."

The stole is so cozy! You can easily adjust the pattern to make it more like a traditional scarf if you like.
The cowl is knit out of a bulky yarn. It's super quick to knit. Just knits and purls in the round, and you'll have yours done in no time. The pattern is also written for a smaller close-to-the-neck cowl too.
I think any of these projects would be great for a gift for a friend or family member. Quick, easy, and beautiful!

Want to see more of the patterns from the book? Check out the Ravelry pattern page for the book!

Images from Stunning Stitches by Jen Lucas, Martingale, 2017; used with permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

5.11.2017

Stunning Stitches: The Kelsey Set

On Tuesday, Stunning Stitches officially entered the world. This book has been an absolute blast to work on, and I'm excited to tell you all about the patterns. For the next few weeks, I'll be posting about the patterns here on the blog, sharing what I love about each one.

To start, this book was born from the idea that some stitch patterns are too pretty to use just once. So, why not use them more than once on accessories we all love? Sounds like a plan to me!

The book contains 7 sets, each set has 3 patterns. Every set focuses on a stitch pattern I truly adore. The stitch pattern might be used in slightly different ways in some of the accessories, which made for a fun challenge for me.

First up, is the Kelsey Set.
This set was the first one I completed for the book. And, it's probably my favorite set in the book (yeah, yeah, I know I'm not supposed to have a favorite, but I totally do). :)

The Kelsey set highlights a beautiful garter stitch cable pattern. I used it on a shawl, a cowl, and a hooded scarf.

For the Kelsey shawl, I used the cable pattern as a panel, worked along the edge of a sideways shawl. I added little bobble details along the edge, maximizing the knitting fun!
The cowl is a traditional cowl, knit in the round. Knit in Stitch Sprouts Crater Lake makes it a super quick knit. I love bulky yarn with cables. And the Crater Lake is amazing and really makes those stitches pop! Instructions are included on how to make a larger infinity scarf if you like.
And then there is the hooded scarf. I've been wanting to design one of these for a long time. It's the first one I've made, but it certainly won't be the last. Like the shawl, this is knit in Stitch Sprouts Yellowstone. The stitch definition of this yarn is incredible. Seriously, I need to make all the cable things with this yarn.
The scarf is worked in one piece, with a seam added at the end to form the hood. it was surprisingly easy to make!
Cables and garter stitch - a match made in stitch pattern heaven!

Want to see more from the book? You can see all of the patterns on Ravelry here. Or, stay tuned to the blog for more!

Images from Stunning Stitches by Jen Lucas, Martingale, 2017; used with permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.


5.10.2017

Knit Noro Accessories 2 Winner

Thanks to everyone who left a comment or replied to my blog post via email for the Knit Noro Accessories 2 book giveaway. I've used a random number generator and the winner of the book is....

Katie Marsh! Here's what Katie had to say:

I love noro yarn. I love knitting all kinds of accessories, but shawls are at the top of the list.

Katie, it sounds like we would get along just great! Shawls are my favorite too. Congrats! I've sent you a Ravelry message. :)

If you missed the giveaway, you'll still want to check out my original blog post. There's a great interview with designer Angela Tong, who has a few designs in the book. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

5.09.2017

Stunning Stitches is Here!


The day has finally arrived. Stunning Stitches officially starts shipping today!
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Writing a knitting book is full of its ups and downs. One minute I'll be completely in love with the book, the next I'll ask myself 'What have I gotten myself into? Again!?' But, at the end of it, I'm always so pleased with the results, and thrilled to have another book out there for everyone to enjoy. Stunning Stitches is no different. I'm head-over-heels in love with this book!

I think you'll really enjoy the book. It's full of accessories I know you'll love, and it's all based around stitch patterns that are just too pretty to use in a single design.
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From the publisher:

Best-selling designer Jen Lucas puts her special spin on a unique collection of knitwear. Discover seven eye-catching stitch patterns, each used to create three distinctive accessories, such as a sensational scarf, a cozy cowl, and a spectacular shawl.

  • You’ll be amazed by how the stitch patterns add that special something to each project--knit all 21 designs
  • Close-up photos of all seven stitch patterns are included
  • This all-new collection includes projects for a range of skill level
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So, to celebrate, let's have a book giveaway! What's your favorite pattern in the book? You can see all the patterns on Ravelry. Leave a comment on this blog post before Sunday, May 21 at 11:59pm central time. Be sure to leave your Ravelry name or email so I can contact you should you win. I'll pick 2 (TWO!!!) winners using a random number generator. Good luck! I can't wait to hear which pattern you want to knit first!

Images from Stunning Stitches by Jen Lucas, Martingale, 2017; used with permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

5.05.2017

Streambank

Earlier this week I released a new shawl pattern. Hooray for more shawls! Say hello to Streambank:

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$6.50

The shawl is a top-down wedge shawl with a knitted-on border. It's the kind of shawl I feel like I'm known for, and hopefully the kind of shawl you love as much as I do! Streambank is worked in Malabrigo Dos Tierras - a DK weight yarn. The shawl comes out pretty big. I love big shawls these days! But, you could definitely work it in a different weight yarn if you wanted. This shawl will look great at any size.

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$6.50




Written instructions are included with the charts, as always. 

Happy Friday! I hope you have a marvelous weekend of shawl knitting. :)

5.04.2017

Design Your Biz: Working with Sample Knitters

Before I became a knit designer, I used to think about how cool it would be to be a knit designer. Knit all day? That sounds great! Yes, yes it does. But, now that I am a knit designer, I can tell you, while, yes, it is a lot of knitting, there's also A LOT of other things you have to do that aren't knitting.

Sample knitters to the rescue!
In the above graphic, you'll see some of the pieces knit by sample knitters in my new book, Stunning Stitches. That's the Violetear Cowl (top-left), Glarus Shawl (top-right) and the Cyprus Stole (bottom). 

We've talked about it before. Sample knitters are different than test knitters. You're paying them to knit a finished sample for you. One that you, as a designer, are probably planning to keep or send to a third-party for them to keep.

Pretty much every designer has a horror story about a sample knitter. Or two. Or three. But, if you set a few ground rules up front, you'll have sample knitting success! While they may change a bit from project to project, here are my general guidelines:

  1. You must return the completed sample back by the specified date to get paid. One row short (except, in some cases, the bind off, see rule 2), you don't get paid.

    Does this seem a little harsh? Really - one row short and you don't get paid? Yep, but I'm on a deadline too. If my sample knitter is doing a a giant lace shawl for me, one last row takes time. Time I didn't work into the already tight schedule.
  2. I'll bind off that shawl, thank you very much.

    I might be one of the few designers with this rule. I'm not really sure. I'm kind of picky about my shawl bind off. I like a certain looseness to them for blocking. I've found that everyone, no matter what you ask for, binds off at a different level of loose/tight. And, I kind of like binding off. Also, I plan for this in my schedule. :)
  3. Gauge Matters!

    I'm happy to have a gauge discussion with my sample knitters to make sure we get something we both like. Now that I work with the same few sample knitters, I pretty much know who has to go up a needle size and down a needle size, so I've gotten a lot better at saying "you'll probably need to knit this on a US 6" or whatever.
  4. If you find a mistake in the pattern, please don't guess, message me.

    Since these are finished samples, we can't take any chances on having some weird thing going on because of a small error in the pattern.
  5. If you aren't going to make the deadline, message me as soon as possible.

    When a sample knitter lets me know early on something has come up to prevent her from finishing on time, maybe I can adjust the deadline. Once in awhile there is wiggle room. 
Those are the main guidelines I have. Sometimes there might be more added in depending on the project.

Now that I'm down to a core of very trust-worthy sample knitters, I never have problems. Everyone does great work, meets the deadlines, and everyone is getting paid.

So, how much does a sample knitter make anyway? It really depends on the designer. And, also, the design. I think most designers (me included) pay per yard knit.  The average is around 20 to 25-cents per yard knit. I pay on the high end of that. ;)

Are you a sample knitter? Do you use sample knitters? I'd love to hear about your experiences and guidelines!

Images from Stunning Stitches by Jen Lucas, Martingale, 2017; used with permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

5.01.2017

A Month of Stunning Stitches

I can't believe I'm about to say/type this - Stunning Stitches, my fifth (!!!!!) knitting book will be released a week from tomorrow. I'm so excited for this book to be out in the knitting world. To celebrate, I've decided to host another little Instagram photo-a-day challenge. Each day I'll be sharing something about the new book on Instagram, and I'd love for you to play along too.

Let's make May a month of celebrating beautiful stitches!
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It's super easy to join in the fun. If you are on Instagram, just post a picture each day featuring the theme for that day. Tag your photo with the hashtag #stunningstitches. That's it!

Like everything I do around here, this is just for fun. So, if you want to skip a day - no problem. Just pick the ones that speak to you. Whatever you like!

Even if you are not a regular Instagram poster, you can follow the fun by checking out the #stunningstitches hashtag.
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This month you'll be seeing a lot of Stunning Stitches here on the blog too. So stay tuned!

Disclaimer: This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links.


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