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!


It's A Hat Parade!

My Summer Hat-A-Long is in full swing. The first few hats have started to arrive (and many of you have told me that more are on the way)!
Summer Hat-A-Long Hats
I've gifted the generous knitters who made the hats a copy of my pattern Spero
 Spero Hat by Jen Lucas
Anyone who sends me hats to donate before September 15th will receive a copy of my new pattern for free! You can read all about the Summer Hat-A-Long (including where to ship the hats) in this Ravelry thread.

The knitters and crocheters - you continue to give me all the feels. Thank you.


Design Your Biz: Selling at Craft Shows (Or Not)

Ah, the constant requests on Facebook....

Can you make me one? How much to make me that shawl? Do you sell this online or at craft shows?

My answers: No, nothing because I'm not making you one, and nope. :)

I've said it many times before in the Design Your Biz Blog Series, everyone navigates through this industry differently. I sell patterns online, write books and teach. Other people knit or crochet and sell finished items. Some might start selling kits, yarn and the like. There's no right way. Everyone should do what feels right to them.

Today I'd like to talk a little bit about why I don't sell finished items.

Design Your Biz: Craft Shows or Not
Can I Get Paid Fairly? I think you can find the right market to get paid fairly for selling your finished hand-knits, but it's hard to find. I'm a math kind of gal, so let's get straight to the numbers. It probably takes me 16 hours on average to knit a small-ish 500 yard shawl. Ok, so let's say I charge $10 an hour for my time, that's $160. Then the yarn might cost another $40 or something. Am I really going to find someone to pay $200 for a shawl? Maybe, but it's going to take a lot of work to find that customer. You may be thinking - now, Jen, come on, $10/hour for knitting? Yep, this is my full-time job. And, honestly, $10/hour is pretty low.

It's Not Just the Cost Of The Finished Items! If you're selling your finished items at craft shows or online, there's a lot of work that goes into those things. You have to write up listings and take photos for your online shop. Organize everything for your craft show booth. There's all the marketing and social media that you need to do to help your business grow. Thinking about getting paid to get these non-making things done needs to be taken into consideration when pricing your items.

What About The Old Samples? I have been considering selling off some of my old samples, like some of the shawls I made when I first started designing. Why? I've already made my money off of them with the sale of the patterns on Ravelry. I'm willing to price them a little bit lower, because I've already covered my costs of knitting them (and all the other costs that go into producing a pattern). It's a great way to make room for new samples! I find myself wanting to keep the majority of my samples though - I constantly take them with me when I'm teaching.

There are lots of people who are successfully selling their finished items online and at craft shows. Good for them! I'm so happy that they figured out a way to make that work. For me, it's just not something I'm willing to put the time and effort into to find the right customer, grow that part of my business, etc. And that's ok!

Do you sell online or at craft shows? I'd love to hear about your experiences!


Stitches Midwest 2017

Last week, I made my annual visit to Stitches Midwest in Schaumburg, IL. The fun began on Thursday night when Alex and I made a little date night out of hearing Franklin's new talk.
Stitches Midwest 2017

Stitches Midwest 2017
On Friday I went back and met up with some of knitting buddies for shopping and fun. My plan was to come home only with the new Knitter's Pride interchangeable set. That, I did, plus a little extra too. :)
Stitches Midwest 2017 Haul
The yarn is from Sun Valley Fibers and is for a Wonder Woman Wrap. If you read this blog regularly you know that I rarely get "selfish knitting" in these days. But I really want that shawl. No, I really NEED that shawl.

I also picked up some stitch markers and a sheep infinity scarf from Stunning String. Those were most definitely impulse purchases. I regret nothing.

If you were at Stitches Midwest, what did you pick up? If you shared on your blog or Instagram, let me know in the comments. I'd love to see your Stitches hauls!


FO Friday: Liberty Hat

It's rare these days that I get to knit or crochet something that isn't my own design - the one drawback to my job. But, while I was at the Hope-A-Thon last month, I made a point to only knit or crochet patterns that weren't my own. It was the perfect opportunity to have a weekend where yarn crafting was my hobby and not my job. :)

Today I thought I'd share with you the Liberty Hat I made. It's a crochet pattern by my dear friend Laura Krzak. The pattern is available on Ravelry.
Liberty Hat by Laura Krzak
She sold me with the color combo and that starting star motif. Laura was so kind and shared her leftover yarn from her sample with me, so I could make one exactly the same as hers. The yarn is Lion Brand Heartland. It was very nice to work with!
Liberty Hat by Laura Krzak

I hope this hat will brighten someone's day. I love it and I plan to make a couple more for my Summer Hat-A-Long!


(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday

It's a kind-of rainbow of yarn. :)
A Rainbow of Yarn

My $5+ patrons on Patreon got the scoop on what's happening with all this yarn. Join the fun: www.patreon.com/jenlucasdesigns

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