Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Just go knit something already! How to Deal With Self-Doubt in your knitting (and designing)

Have you ever found that perfect pattern you just have to knit RIGHT NOW!? You know the one. Yeah, that one where you can clearly picture yourself wearing that super lacy hat. 

Photo by Knit Picks
Outwardly, you are thinking how pretty the model looks in the hat. You notice her long, wavy red hair peaking out from under the brim of the hat, and the green variegated yarn perfectly complimenting her eyes.

You imagine yourself in the lifestyle the images represent. You picture yourself in that world. You want the finished project. You want all that THAT hat represents.

Then it starts.

The self-doubt begins to set in the deeper you look at the pattern details. You look at the skill level the designer recommend (Advance: "I've been knitting for only a couple years. I'm not an advance knitter," you say to yourself), the techniques used ("Well, it's not the long-tail cast on. I've never done that particular cast on method before," the negative self-talk continues), the other projects on Ravelry ("wow, so many other knitters made modification that looks amazing, why even bother. My project will never stack up to those other knitters").

You start to talk yourself out of making the hat. Pretty soon your imaginings change to self-doubt about your abilities to make the project, which leads to you thinking you can't compare to the model in the photos.

So, how do you handle self-doubt? I have 3 methods I use that is sure to help you, time and time again, whether it’s  following a pattern, thinking about publishing your own design, or being a human with real world self-doubts. 

  1. Turn the negative feeling into positives.
    1. You might say to yourself: "I can't figure out that new techniques!" Well, turn that statement around and say, "I have never done that technique before, but I can figure out new techniques because of these 3 other times I was able to learn a new technique."
    2. Now, think back to 3 specific times in your knitting life when you had to figure out something new.  An example of this, and the biggest, is when you first learned to knit. Everything was brand new then, but you figured it all out. Remember when you first learned the knit stitch (and how wonky it looked on the needles) or when you finally figured out how to cast-on on your own? Back then you probably thought you would never figure it out. But look at you now.
  1. The swatch makes everything doable
    1. Aquinnah Cliffs Shawlette
    2. When tackling a new techniques, minimize the risk and try it out on a smaller test piece. So, the hat pattern calls for 120 stitches cast-on in fingering weight on US size 2 needles in this new technique. How about working the technique at a larger gauge (heavier yarn and bigger needles) over 20 stitches? Remember, this swatch is just a test piece just for practice, so feel free to make as many mistakes. No one will see it if you don’t want them to. Heck, throw it away. It was just for learning.
  2. Treat is as an opportunity to learn.
    1. Whenever I think of something new as a learning opportunity, it is never a waste or failure. As long as I have learned and grown from the experience it is all a WIN. You never know. Maybe this new cast on will become your go-to cast on method that you use in the future for all hats, regardless of what the pattern calls for. Stretch yourself to experience your full potentials.

So, remember how far you have come and how much more you will learn which will make you a much better knitter in the long run. This goes for you crocheters and designers too. Step outside of easy.

Knitting teaches us many lessons. Every experience pushes us to grow a little more, to reach a bit further.

The truth is: Failure is not a result, it's a feeling. The lesson learned and how you apply it as you move on is the result!

So, stop making excuses. Stop telling yourself all the stories of why you can't and JUST GO KNIT IT!

Now it's your turn. {Leave a comment} What is one pattern you have been putting off trying?

Knit On!


Go, check out KnitDesigns by Tian Pattern Page to get your copy here:

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Knitting Police

There is no place for this!

Do you remember when you were just learning to knit? When you were just beginning to understand how the loops wrapped about your needles form a stitch? I experience that feeling very often. Not in myself, but through the eyes of new knitters when I am teaching a newbie how to knit or helping a seasoned knitter learn a new stitch.

Last week I had that experience again when a friend of mine, a seasoned knitter, asked for my help with a pattern. To me, the pattern was a pretty simple, but for Betsy, I knew some of the stitches were new and a bit beyond her current skill level. When is great. You always want to stretch yourself to things that are new; that's how you grow, right? Also, I knew she was very sensitive to the fact that she didn't understand some of the terminology in patterns, even though she has been knitting for a long time.

Like I said, Betsy is a seasoned knitter. She has been knitting for longer than I have been alive. However, she, like so many knitters like her, she was content to knit simple projects that did not require a pattern for a long time. And that is totally fine!

Now, with Ravelry and all the resources and online communities available, Betsy and many long time knitters like her are venturing out to learning new techniques - which I love.

In my previous life in corporate finance and accounting, I wrote training manuals and trained new hires. So, I have an background in teaching in a way to address the end user's need at the level they are currently at, so after a quick 10-minute lesson, I was able to get Betsy's stitches sorted out and to the point where she understood the pattern and was comfortable to go knit on her own.

But, before we parted, Betsy said something that really got me mad.
mashpee, shawlette, knit, Tian
Mashpee Shawlette

She said she had taken a knitting class for help. It was a paid class, that was not cheap, that knitters could bring in their current project for help. She didn't have a problem paying, but she said she left the class early and in near tears.

Now, why would a knitter be so upset by a knitting class? As a retiree, Betsy felt the instructor spoke down to her, belittlingly for her lack of experience, and told her she "knitted wrong" so she (the instructor) couldn't help her anymore.

You knit wrong?! What the...? ok, just breath.

I thought those days of knit shaming was over! It's hard to believe there are still some people out there making others feel awful at their craft because they do things a bit different or are not as advance as some others.

Betsy experience made me think, "What if Betsy was a brand new knitter? Would she continue to knit or just quit because of how she was treated by this knitting instructor?"

KNitDesigns by Tian

Lets be clear. There are no knitting police, even though some people like to think their way IS the way. Be conscious of how you treat other knitters. Take that time to put yourself in their place because how you act, how you make them feel, will impact their future fiber life and leave a lasting impression, a negative one at that, on the whole craft and the community.

Luckily, I was able to talk Betsy of the yarn cliff before she went back to only knitting scarves. There is nothing wrong with knitting only scarves your whole life, if that is what you want. But Betsy want to do more and for that I encourage to try. Make mistakes. After all, it's only yarn. And, now she knows that whenever she has a problem, she can just call me up.

Now it's your turn. {Leave a comment} Tell me about your experience with the knitting police! Have you every had the knitting police after you or know someone who was told they knit wrong?

Knit On!


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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Magazine Review: I Like Crochet, February 2016

Do you remember when you use to stay up waiting for your favorite online magazines to release their newest issue? When you use to stalk your local yarn store for your favorite magazine? Yes, I hear ya. I use to be there right with you.
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photo by I Like Crochet magazine
Lately though, I have found knitting and crochet magazines to be a bit meh. You might be like me, where you had a bunch of go-to magazines you were super excited at their release every few months because you knew they would contain a great majority of patterns you will want to make, now! However, those magazines have gradually became a boring pile of papers that you want to crochet or knit very few, if any, of the designs.

It's not that the patterns aren't good. You're just not excited anymore. Maybe its that the photo styling have changed to show more of the model and the landscape rather than the pattern details, constructions, and the stitch. Because, you know, that's what I am getting the magazine for… the pretty stitch pictures and not the crazy poses and overwhelming stylings.

Now, I'm only subscribed to ONE craft magazine and it's I Like Crochet by Prime Publishing. Late last year I discovered the magazines while scrolling through Ravelry's recently added patterns. There are many great designs listing every day on Ravelry. It was completely by chance I that found I Like Crochet magazine. So, what was so attractive about these magazines?
Winding Honeycomb Scarf 
Photo by I Like Crochet magazine
The first things that caught my eye were the photography, the models, and the designs.  The patterns are cute, functions, and has a wide range of skill level. Of course that is what is expected of knitting and crochet magazine; great patterns. Beyond the wonderful patterns, the models are relatable. They are people of a diverse age and race. In a lot of other magazines, you will see the same type of models and a lot of crocheters don't see themselves represented in the images. Finally, the photography, which is simple and clean. The focus is not on the model or funky styling, but rather on the crochet piece; the stitch details and construction.
Puffed Lines Beanie and Scarf Set
Photo by I Like Crochet magazine

Of course, immediately after completely falling in love with the magazine and buying a year-long subscription, I had to check out their designer call for submissions.

Luckily, they felt my designs fit their aesthetics and I am so thrilled to be a part of this amazing team!

So, if you have not familiar with this publication, please go check them out. The designs are fabulous! 

Are you subscribed to any craft magazines (knit, crochet, etc.)? Which one(s)? Leave a comment below to share your favorites and why.

Happy Crocheting,


Go, check out KnitDesigns by Tian Pattern Page to get your copy here:

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

#CommuniK/CAL: A year long adventure for knitters and crocheters

12 months, 4 Quarters, 1 Year. Join the #CommuniK/CAL. 2016 really seem to have snuck up on a lot of us. Is it just me or does it seem the older I get, the fast time fly by?! AS a kid, I couldn't wait for time to pass, now I can't seem to keep up with the pace of time.

2015 was a great year. I started a newsletter that I took from monthly to weekly, and ran my very first mystery KAL/Design-A-Long in the Fall (Thank You to all who participated. It was a ton of fun and hope to do another one Fall 2016. How does a Shawl Design-A-Long sound? Let me know).

I look back at all I have accomplished, all I have shared on the blog and in the newsletter, and all the correspondences we have had together. I feel like I know some of you so well and want to get to know the rest of you.

In 2015, what I have learned is that I really love the community that is building on my blog and newsletter, around my designs, the articles and tips I share. I look forward to hearing from you - your comments on my blog post, replies to the newsletter to chat, and when you share the newsletter and blog posts with your friends.

In 2016, I have plans to take the newsletter and blog to a whole news level. So stay tuned. You won't want to miss!

I am blessed and grateful for this community we have built together, even though you are miles and miles away. To build the community even further and to have more conversations, for 2016, I am running what I am calling a #CommuniK/CAL. This will be a fun, year long Knit-A-Long and Crochet-A-Long with prizes each month, bigger prizes each quarter, and a mega prize drawing at the end of the year.

Join the newsletter

I hope you will join and tell your friends about it.

The more people we have participating, the bigger the Year-End Drawing prize will be.

So, think of one person you think should definitely NOT miss out on these drawings. Share this post with them…

Here's what you will get when you join the #CommuniK/CAL:

  1. Monthly Drawing
    1. Finish one of my designs (can be from my Ravelry shop or third-party publisher such as a magazine or yarn company) by the end of each month. You can enter more than 1 project each month to increase your chance of winning.
    2. The pattern doesn't have to be started in the month it was finished.
    3. You must: Create a Project Page, post finished photo(s) on your Project Page, AND the project with that month unique project tag detail.
    4. Tag the project with the unique tag detail I will provide.
    5. SAMPLE: Willington Simple Raglan Shawl
      1. The unique tag detail will be given only in my newsletter (the tag information will NOT be posted on the blog or anywhere else on social media), so only subscriber to my newsletter will get the information in order to be entered in the drawing.
      2. You have to subscribe to the newsletter to get the Tag to use when posting your project to enter the monthly drawing. Just copy and past from the newsletter.
    6. At the end of each month, I will draw from all the finished projects in Ravelry with that month's Tag and photo.
    7. The winner will be draw at random and will receive a FREE pattern of their choice from my Ravelry Store 
  1. Quarterly Drawing
    1. For the Quarterly Drawing, I have teamed up with some fantastic yarn companies to make this drawing GRAND!
    2. EACH MONTH (3) in a Quarter, if you have completed, tagged, and posted a finished project, you will be entered to win a fantastic Pattern Book and/or squishy Yarn.
    3. There is nothing special you have to do to enter, you just have to have had a finished project with the correct monthly tag for each month in the quarter. I do the rest!
    4. For example: To be entered in the Q1 drawing, which will take place early-April, projects are to be completed, photographed, and tagged in January, February, AND March.
    5. You have to complete projects in all 3-months to be entered in the Quarterly Drawing.
    6. Prize details will be posted before the end of the Quarter to get you excited. 
  1. Year-End Drawing
    1. Now this is the fun bit that I am SUPER excited about!
    2. So, if you have been playing along all year, you've completed, photographed, and tagged a project for every month, (meaning that you qualified for EVERY MONTHLY DRAWING) you will be entered for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to an online yarn store such as Knit Picks ( or Webs (
    3. I am working on getting a bigger prize pack for the Year-End Drawing. The more people we get involved through out the year, the more swag I'll be able to acquire, so SHARE WITH ALL YOUR KNIT AND CROCHET FRIENDS!
Post your photos and comments on social media use #CommuniK/CAL and tag me on Twitter @KnitDesigns


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{Bump Sale} Price Structure for Knit & Crochet Patterns

Starting January 2016, I am trying a new pricing structure for newly released crochet and knit patterns on Ravelry.

The idea of Bump Sale is not original to me. I first heard of the idea on the podcast Invisible Office Hours hosted with Jason Zook and Paul Jarvis. The concept immediately intrigued me because I already offered introductory promotional discounts on new release, so this was an interesting twist on something I already had in place.

Frequently Asked Questions {Bump Sale Pricing}

What is Bump Sale Pricing?
Bump Sale Pricing is loosely following the idea of, which is the incremental price increase. model is to incrementally increase price after each sale. However, I am doing things a bit different: Each day, the price on a pattern will increase at a rate of about $1 until the price reaches it's permanent pattern price.

How KnitDesigns by Tian will use Bump Sale Pricing?
Over a particular period of time (from 5 to 7 days), the price of the pattern (newly released designs) will incrementally increase (most likely at a rate of $1 each day) until the price reaches the full/permanent pattern price.

What about Introductory % Discounts?
In the past, I offered 25% or more on new knit and crochet patterns. This was a big saving! However,with the Bump Sale Pricing Structure, you will be able to get the lowest possible price of $1 if you buy the pattern on the FIRST day of the pattern release.

Is there are Discount Code?
Yes, there will be a discount code. The discount code will be listed in the Pattern Notes of the new design in Ravelry. Every 24-hrs, the discount amount will change to reflect the current day's Bump Sale Price.

How do I get notified of the release of new designs?
Join the KnitDesigns by Tian Newsletter Mailing List. The best way to get notified of new pattern release so you can get the pattern of the first day of release to get the lowest price. I will also announce new pattern release on Twitter, but to get the information directly to your inbox is to sign up for the newsletter.

Can I combine and use multiple discount codes?
Unfortunately, you will not be able to combine and use any other coupon code. During the Bump Sale period (5-7 days of a new pattern release) only the Bump Sale Pricing coupon code will be valid. The discount code can only be used after the pattern price reaches it's permanent price.

Any questions, please do not hesitate to email knitdesigns (at) yahoo (dot) com!


Go, check out KnitDesigns by Tian Pattern Page to get your copy here:

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