Friday, November 17, 2017

Judging your knitting by the right standards

In the knitting world, WIPS can be a dirty word. Is it for you?

For me, fiber is my job. I knit and crochet often. But there are days, weeks even, when I have nothing to show for all my knitting, between swatching, sketching, tinking, and ripping back. It’s those times when I look at my ever-growing stash and think, “I haven’t knit anything” or “I don’t have time to knit proper”. But it’s all in my own head, isn’t it? I look at the couple rounds I put in on the latest sock while waiting in the pickup line at school, or the few rows on the cowl while I wait for the pot to boil to put in the spaghetti in. THAT is not nothing. There are a lot of those little moments of knitting and crocheting that do add up to progress and shouldn’t be discounted.
The fact is, particularly us women, we beat ourselves up too much. We want to present that outward facing side of perfection to the world. We expect everything to be done now. All tasks must be done in 24-hours. We’re all on this 24-hour cycle where if we didn’t get it done today, take a perfect picture, and post it perfectly filter on Instagram, we didn’t check off the list, we are not good enough. To that I say, so what? Okay, sure I didn’t knit for 5 straight hours today – that probably would be too healthy anyway. When you add it all up, I might get more than 5-hours of knitting and crochet by the end of the week. And that is something to be proud of and cherish.

We make time for the things that are really important. If it is a priority, make space for it. But don’t judge your success by what you have accomplished over short periods of time. Look back on the span of a week, a month, a year, and take stock of what you have accomplished. The holidays are coming and we will be under tight deadlines. Set realistic goals and celebrate, with everything you have going on, that you were able to accomplish what you did.


“Perfectionism is not a prerequisite for anything but pain.”
Danna Faulds
Happy Thanksgiving

Until next time... Stitch on!
Tian

A rising tide lifts all boats!
Tian Connaughton
KnitDesigns by Tian
Crochet & Knit Designer & Tech Editor
{Simple Designs, Beautiful Results You Will Love To Wear!}
Normal Work Hours: Monday-Friday 8am-4:30pm EST


**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 


P.S. I just wanted to share real quick a massive sale Knit Picks is having. Make sure you don't miss it and get going on those Holiday knits and crochets!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

I Like Knitting magazine, December 2017 issue review


First impression is elegant. This issue has a romantic theme that carries from the patterns to the photography styling.

Let’s start with the basics of the magazine.

This issue has 30+ beautiful knit designs around a central theme of Gift-Worthy knits, which are broken up into smaller focused sections. Each issue also includes a note from the editor, which is always well crafted and sets the tone for the whole issue. There are also articles, pattern spotlight, a stitch tutorial, and much more.

In this issue is an article, A Yarn for the Ages: Unravel the History of the Harrisville Mill, about my tour of historical fiber mill Harrisville Designs. During the tour, John guided me around the mill while he explained textile manufacturing, the process of turning fiber into yarn, products for weaving, and the vast history of the mill. This was such a great experience, learning about the process of how fiber is spun into yarn. If you’ve wondered where your yarn comes from, check this out and get 2 free fingerless mitt patterns (Silver Mist Fingerless Mitts) on the blog using the Harrisville Designs Shetland Fingering weight.



There is also an article, How to use your skills to help those in need, written by my designer buddy Ashlee Lackovic. In this touching and thoughtfully written piece, Ashlee shares how knitting can be used as a way to give back to the community by donating to causes such as Hospice, NICU, and so much more. “Never underestimate the power that knitting has to make a difference, to give back and to help.”

Featured Pattern
Lavender Tea Cardigan by Corrina Ferguson
This sweater is worked from the bottom up with raglan shaping for the body and sleeves in pieces. It is seamed together (no intarsia just happy stripes on the sleeves!) and a button band is added to the front. Work all waist and raglan decreases and increases 1 st from edge to allow for seaming.
















The issue is separated into fun pattern sections:

The first is section is On Point. These are 5 hat and cowl designs which use stitch patterns that feature arrows, either done using colorwork or textured stitches.


Sugar Plum Shawls features 4 romantic and elegant shawls perfect for any occasion.


Convertible Knitting has 3 patterns that magically converts into something else. It’s like getting a 2 for 1.

Winter Nights are those 8 patterns perfect for cozying up on a cold winter day, to keep you warm and toasty from head to toe.
 

The Art Deco section has 3 designs featuring geometric shapes which is reminiscent of the style of 1920s and 1930s.


The final section is Peppermint Merri-mint which features 4 patterns perfect for the holiday season.



Take a look at the full issue and let me know. What is one (or two) pattern you want to get on the needles right now? I love hearing from you. Please leave a comment below to share.



Until next time... Stitch on!
Tian

A rising tide lifts all boats!
Tian Connaughton
KnitDesigns by Tian
Crochet & Knit Designer & Tech Editor
{Simple Designs, Beautiful Results You Will Love To Wear!}
Ravelry: KnitDesigns by Tian
Normal Work Hours: Monday-Friday 8am-4:30pm EST

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

What is a good investment in your design business



When you are first starting out, it daunting to think of all the things to write and publish a polished and professional looking design. In the beginning, it’s hard to decide on what to invest in. In this post, Simple tools to write and self-publish your patterns, I talk about practical tools to write and publish your next pattern. There are so many different points along the writing and publishing process that you can invest in professional help. But should you and how do you know which services you need? How do you know which service to pay for and how much?

As mentioned above, there are many aspects to the designing and publishing process. When you are just starting out, you will doubt that you can do any of it and well. There are many professionals you can invest in to help you along the way. There are technical editors to help smooth out the pattern so it clear to understand, as well as check for errors. There are layout designers to format your pattern template. This is helpful to have a highly stylized and professional template that can help you stand out. There are photographers to take beautiful and professional looking photos of your sample piece to showcase it to its best. You might wonder about getting help with making the samples in the form of a paid sample knitter/crocheter. Then once the pattern is published, there is the marketing and promotion aspect. How do you get the word out about your design? Do you advertise? Where? How much to spend?

So here is the list (which is by no means complete, but a good start):
·      Technical editor
·      Layout designer
·      Photographer
·      Sample knitter/crocheter
·      Advertising

The truth is, many times these questions are delay tactics. If you are worried about hiring a professional without having published a single pattern, you need to take a good look at what is really holding you back, because it’s not the investing. You are scared to hit publish and using these questions to delay moving forward. We all get scared to try new things; to put ourselves out there. It’s hard to know if you will knock it out of the park with that design or if it will flop. But you will never know, you will always wonder, if you don’t give it a try. And even if it’s not received 100%, that’s okay, you will have gain valuable information for the next time. The key is to feel the fear, but do it anyways!



If you are just starting out, there is very little you need to invest in up front. In the beginning, you are in the test and change process. In this phase you are testing the waters to get a feel for your style and the process. This early stage is important because it’s where you are testing to see what you like, what works and what does works, to determine what to change and what to do more of.

When you are just starting out, all those professionals might sound like must-haves, but the truth is, you are not ready. You need to go through the test and change process to really hone in on what you like and dislike to develop your voice. At this phase, all you need is a good technical editor. And this is a must-have because she will help you find your writing voice, check your pattern for errors, pattern grading , and ensure it’s clearly written. Looking for a tech editor for your next project? Get more information here.  

Who you don’t need when you are starting out?
  • You don’t need a layout designer. Unless you have a clear idea of what your brand should look like (and if I’ve confused you by talking about your brand), you’re not ready yet. Use a simple and clean format in Word (MS) or Pages (Mac), with standard fonts in black and white (please, no crazy colors or curly fonts, they are hard to read and print).
  • A photographer could be helpful, but many well-loved designs available are done by the designer. Maybe your teenage daughter loves to take photos and post them on Instagram. Have her give you some pointers on the how-to's. Maybe even use her as model.
  • A sample knitter/crocheter is definitely not needed at this stage. Instead, you can look into getting testers to work through the pattern to make sure everything makes sense. Get a friend who knits to help you out and/or post in the free tester groups on Ravelry.
  • Paid advertising when you are just starting out isn’t very effective. You won’t know where your audience is and what language to use to best reach them. If this talk about audience is confusing, then you are not ready. Check out my e-course, Get noticed on Ravelry. To be honest, there are plenty of free options to get the word about your designs in which out to test the waters before paying. Build you base with social media, blog posts, etc. When it comes to marketing and promotion, there is a lot of trial and error. Start small, create a strategy, see what works, then add money behind those that are effective instead of paying money to test.

When it comes to deciding what to invest in in your design business, the answer is always YOU. Find your unique style to standout. Create the best product you can. You don’t need a bunch of fancy stuff, that will come later. Develop a solid foundation, which is you.

I woke up this morning with this message in my heart. I hope it reach the person it was meant for.

Keep designing, keep sharing.


Until next time... Stitch on!
Tian

A rising tide lifts all boats!
Tian Connaughton
KnitDesigns by Tian
Crochet & Knit Designer & Tech Editor
{Simple Designs, Beautiful Results You Will Love To Wear!}
Ravelry: KnitDesigns by Tian
Normal Work Hours: Monday-Friday 8am-4:30pm EST

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Tour of Harrisville Designs plus 2 free patterns

Yay, it's November, y'all! My birthday month. 

Yep, another year older (insert happy dance).

It’s gotten quite cold around here in the Northeast. This past Sunday into Monday we were hit with a major storm knocking out power (power is restored to parts of my town). It is times like this that I am so glad I have a portable craft like knitting and crocheting to keep me busy as we made the trek to grandma's house.

Of course, we all know the holidays is just around the corner. BUT, I am being stubborn – like every year before – and waiting until it’s impossibly late to start holiday crafting.

What I am knitting on is a pair of socks. Yes, I am a bit late to Socktober. Last week I was wondering through Jo-Ann’s Fabric with a coupon burning a hole in my pocket, so I had to get SOMETHING. I picked up a couple skeins of Patons Kroy Socks FX in the Cascade Colors colorway. These socks are simple toe-up with a heel flap using Liat Gat KnitFreedon’s Toe-up Heel-Flap Sock Pattern, and a purl with eyelet ridge. Note: If you don’t want to join her email list to get the pattern, you can use any Wendy Knit’s (Wendy D. Johnson) toe-up socks with a gusset pattern. I’ve completed the first sock and it fits perfectly. I think this might be my new go to sock. Now I’m on the foot of sock #2. I can’t wait to start on the heel. So far no second syndrome, yay!



Are you a sock knitter? Do you prefer top down or toe-up? What kind of heel do you like?



Before I go I have one more thing to share. Back in June I visited and toured Harrisville Designs Inc. mill in southern New Hampshire. I wrote an article about my adventures which is featured in I Like Knitting magazine December 2017 issue, which is now available here. Please note that you have to be a subscriber to the magazine to read the whole article, but I think it’s great.

In addition to the article I designed 2 fingerless mitt patterns. One is a knit on their blog (Silver Mist Knit Fingerless Mitts Free Pattern) and the other is crochet on the I Like Crochet Blog (Silver Mist Crochet Fingerless Mitts Free Pattern). These simple fingerless mitts work up fast. Make for a gift or to match your wardrobe. The yarn used is Harrisville Designs Shetland Fingering (217 yards per 50 grams skein) in colorway Silver Mist. These mitts use very little yarn. Each pair uses a single skein.

Take a look at the article and patterns. I hope you enjoy them.

One last thing. Wanna do a KAL/CAL for these mitts? Let me know what you think.



Until next time... Stitch on!
Tian

A rising tide lifts all boats!
Tian Connaughton
KnitDesigns by Tian
Crochet & Knit Designer & Tech Editor
{Simple Designs, Beautiful Results You Will Love To Wear!}
Ravelry: KnitDesigns by Tian
Normal Work Hours: Monday-Friday 8am-4:30pm EST

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Introducing Through the Haze Cape



For the Through the Haze Cape, I wanted to share the design process. Continue reading for more details on how I went from idea to pattern. Get 25% OFF the pattern until October 7, 2017.

***

Welcome to this little experiment as I design a cape pattern in collaboration with Artisan Yarns (by Hampden Hills Alpacas). Typically I don't show this part of the process, because it can be messy. It's messy to go from idea, to sketching and swatching, and ripping back, and trying again.

Most knitters want to see the end result, the completed pattern in it's polished glory. But you, brave knitter, want to see what's lurking behind the curtains. You want to see the crazy mess. Great. I got you.

I will do my best to make that mess as clean as possible. But forgive me in advance if it's too cluttered and disjointed. Fortunately, I've been designing for 10 years now, so things tend to go a bit smoother now than it did 5-years, or even 6-months ago. That's a plus, am I right?!

So, this cape pattern along isn't going to be my typical weekly email. I'm not trying to get you to eventually buy something. During this short series, I want to share as much, or as little as you want to see. If you are an aspiring designer, maybe you will pick up a few tricks. If you are just a knitter wanting to see the process, maybe you'll appreciate a bit more the amount of work that goes into creating a single pattern.

***

How a design is born varies from design to design and from designer to designer. There is no one-size-fits all formula. Sometimes a design stems from a stitch pattern. Sometimes it starts with the yarn – the color, fiber content, construction, weight, etc. Other times the project category comes first, you decide you want to make an accessory, clothing, home d├ęcor, toy, etc., and then you fill in the holes with the stitch pattern and construction to make the idea come to life.



In the case of the Through the Haze Cape (tentative name), the yarn came first, then brainstorming with Erica, the owner and dyer behind Artisan Yarns by Hampden Hills Alpacas for what item she envisioned for the yarn. We decided on a cape in order to take advantage of the color change and top-down to maximize the total yardage of one skein.

Once we decided on the cape, then there was the stitch detail. We talked about cables and laces, but after working with the yarn, a bit of lace really added drama to the magic of the yarn and colors, without using up too much of the precious single skein like cables would.

So, we have the rough idea. Now it’s time to find a lacy stitch pattern, do the swatch to see how the lace stitch pattern would work up, not necessarily for gauge since I’ve worked with the yarn many times before and am familiar with the yarn’s characteristics.

Then, there are the sketches, some not so great but still effective to see how the idea will flow. And the schematic to figure out the measurements.

Elements are added. Some element is kept, some others removed. A stitch pattern down the raglan shaping points (keep), the same lace stitch pattern down the center and back (remove), extending the lace pattern along the bottom edge then bind off (nope), rolled collar (meh!), a ribbed high collar (yes).

There, the beginning of the design.

Here are a couple super rough sketches. I already know it will be a cape, worked top-down. Now I am trying to figure roughly what it will look like and dig a bit deeper into construction (I did warn you it wasn't pretty, hehe!).
 





Until next time... Stitch on!
Tian

A rising tide lifts all boats!
Tian Connaughton
KnitDesigns by Tian
Crochet & Knit Designer & Tech Editor
{Simple Designs, Beautiful Results You Will Love To Wear!}
Ravelry: KnitDesigns by Tian
Normal Work Hours: Monday-Friday 8am-4:30pm EST

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

In Motion Vest and Brightwood Hat & Mitts


In Motion Vest and Brightwood Hat & Mitts, first published with Knit Picks last September is now available for individual purchase from my Ravelry store.

In Motions is knit vest perfect for those cool days when you need a little extra warmth. Whether you’re off for a run or just running errands, the In Motion Vest will keep you comfortable and warm. You can even add a bit of flair with colorful novelty buttons!

The vest is worked in pieces from the bottom up with a curved hem at the back. How would I describe this detail? Sexy and playful. Because working out shouldn't have to be boring.


 

 >>>Get In Motions Vest Now for $4.99 until Sept 17, 2017<<<

The Brightwood Hat & Mitts are colorful and comfortable accessory set is perfect for cool weather activities. Lined with a contrasting color in fingering weight yarn, the hat will keep you warm and toasty, while the fingerless mitts can be worn all the way up the forearm or folded down inside the cuff as you warm up.

 

 >>>Get Brightwood Hat & Mitts Now for $4.99 until Sept 17, 2017<<<

After September 17th, the price on both patterns will increase to $6 for the In Motion Vest and $7 for the Brightwood Hat & Mitts.




Until next time... Stitch on!
Tian
A rising tide lifts all boats
Tian Connaughton is a knit and crochet designer, technical editor, and coach. Her mission is to help aspiring designers to develop their ideas, build confidence, and live the life they've always dreamt. 







Are you an aspiring knit and crochet designer needing more help figuring our where to start?



Click here to get your printable PDF copy of Unlock Your Inner Designer: How to start designing (course + workbook)  





Need more 1:1 help than the course + workbook, email me to talk. I'll help you get it! 







I am dedicated to giving you the tools and confidence to knit and crochet what you want on your terms.



Join

{The Weekly Yarn} from KnitDesigns by Tian


* indicates required





I am interested in Crochet and Knit...
Email Format


This blog post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.