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The Adventures – January 2017

Here’s a round-up of what I saw, did, and read this month! Follow my Instagram Stories for in-the-moment photos + videos. You can find years of Adventures here.

The News:

  • My new book, Map Your Business, is now out on Amazon! I've also got several boxes here of the print version and I'm sending out copies to everyone who pre-ordered first, and then I'll have more available. If you want a signed copy, find it here!
  • I'm teaching at a summit for LYS owners with Gwen Bortner in Asheville, NC in April. More info here!
  • I've started a new Friday video series where I talk about the lessons I'm learning while I build my own biz. Find it here!

The View

A photo posted by Tara Swiger (@taraswiger) on

A photo posted by Tara Swiger (@taraswiger) on

A photo posted by Tara Swiger (@taraswiger) on

A photo posted by Tara Swiger (@taraswiger) on

A photo posted by Tara Swiger (@taraswiger) on

A photo posted by Tara Swiger (@taraswiger) on

I am so grateful for…

  • TNNA! Meeting students + hanging out with Starship captains is the best part!
  • The community that has grown around the #ExploreYourEnthusiasm hashtag. I love seeing what you're working on while you watch or listen to the podcast!
  • A series of complex adventures (print book, travel, teaching, webinars, online classes) all going very right, in a very short period of time.

The Finds:

I’m reading:

I'm listening to: 

I'm eating: 

I'm loving:

What did you read, listen to and eat last month? Come tell me on Facebook!

The Adventures

Every week is an adventure and this is the view, the path and the finds that made this one special. You can follow all my adventures here.

The view

Your nightly Andre. #kittyyawn #omgadorbs

Kitty yawn!

My newly-knit hat is a liiiitle more rasta than I had planned. #butperfectlypink
Finished a new hat!

3 hours later...the ginormous   wholesale order is packed!
A finished wholesale order

Snuggled in.
Snuggling with my handmade throw

My first-ever knitting student, now 13 yrs old, brought me llama yarn she spun after borrowing my carder. #awesome
Spun by my 13 year old knitting student (she carded and spun the yarn from a local llama!)

The path

  • This week's email (How to not get bummed about the internet) really struck a chord and the replies have been flooding my inbox in a wave of solidarity. If you've been feeling down in comparison to everyone's apparent success, read it.

 

  • Budgets + Boundaries, my advice-column-y take on the tricky issue of your business money + your family, on OhMyHandmade. It sparked deep + sweet conversations during the live chat. I'm always open to chatting about this, so if you need a sounding board, don't hesitate to write. (I might be the only person in the world that really loves my inbox. Don't be shy!)

 

  • The ladies at Create Hype interviewed me! You can read the truth about fear (uh, yeah, I have it!) here.

 

The finds

“Sometimes we set out to do something, like write a novel, and we fail at writing that particular novel. But in the process of failing at that novel, we can actually succeed at writing another.”

-Wil Wheaton, in this awesome post on failure.  (Thanks to Kim's newsletter for the link!)

(This is doubly true for business. You might start to sell one thing, and have one kind of business and decide to change your mind (500 times). While you've “failed” to do the first business, that process created your better idea)

 

This is a beautifully honest post by Diane. Please read the whole thing.

Thanks to Alex for sharing ReciteThis. With it, I made this in about 30 seconds:

explore. dream. beam

 

What was your adventure this week?

Adventures in Business, with knitwear designer Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark

Today I'm delighted to have Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark, knitwear designer, teacher and Starship captain, sharing what a life (and business) as a knitwear designer is really like. You can take her awesome online class for the lovely Artemisia sweater  or drool over her patterns.

 promo

You're a full-time knitwear designer and teacher , which sounds like you get to spend all day knitting with beautiful yarns…what's a typical work day actually like for you?

Not too many days are typical, exactly. I usually need to fit in some combo of marketing (either by blogging, email, or social media), email, freelance writing (I do craft writing for a few websites, besides my own blog), designing (making up submissions for new work, or doing the technical writing for current projects), and production knitting. The knitting is usually knitting while taking exacting notes, but is usually the more relaxing part of my work. I have a sort of rotating to-do list, where new things get added in and prioritized as old tasks get shuffled around or accomplished as needed. I love the iPhone and online app called Orchestra for this; a fellow designer introduced me to it, and it’s been my fave to-do list app so far because it lets me prioritize well.
For the new year, one of my big goals is to try to make out a weekly schedule to have certain regular tasks assigned to fairly regular weekdays, since the place where I lose the most time and momentum is switching between tasks. That’s one of my Starship goals for this quarter!

When I talk to new designers, who have just one pattern on Ravelry, it seems like a ginormous leap to go from there to an actual, regular income. What was that leap actually like?

My path to full-time designer was so circuitous! I went from being a dedicated knitting hobbyist with a degree in fiber arts (Savannah College of Art and Design, 1999), to owning a local yarn shop, to designing part-time for magazines and yarn companies, to being a yarn dyer selling online and at fiber events, to designing full-time. At any point in that path I would usually be juggling more than one career goal. Even now, when planning toward 2013, I would have thought I’d have been more focused on moving to selling my self-published patterns wholesale, but instead I’ve found myself picking up increasing income from freelance writing and teaching. When I developed the Artemisia Seamless Sweater class with Craftsy, it was an unfamiliar experience, and a little scary, but it’s been a great step forward for my indie biz!
Hands knitting
I think you have to plan your path up to a point, but not get your focus so honed in on one thing that you miss other opportunities. I’ve gotten to a place in my business where flexibility is key to my success. I say no to some projects, but more often I say yes, because it’s worth exploring and extending past my boundaries.

What's surprised you most about life as a full-time designer?

How many different business models there can be! As I’ve talked to other designers, our ways of planning for our businesses are so different and individual. While some friends make most of their income through their self-published patterns, others make more of their income via traveling and teaching, while others work for yarn companies for their main income source. It’s all based on full-time design work, but the business goals are incredibly tailored to the individual and his or her needs. We get great ideas from each other, but there is no one “right” answer for everyone.

What's the next destination you're working towards?

I just signed on with Interweave Press out of Loveland, CO, to write a book to be published (tentatively) in 2014 (it’s all super top secret for now). Most of this year will be dedicated to the project, with tons of designing, knitting, and writing to be accomplished. It’s exhilarating and terrifying, all at once! While that’s going on, it will be hard to juggle too many other projects, but by the end of the year I’d really like to revamp my pattern collection to get it ready to wholesale to indie yarn companies and local yarn shops.

What new thing are you exploring?

Better organization and planning. From using spreadsheets to organize my projects for the book, to utilizing better apps for my to-do list, to planning out dedicated personal time so that I don’t burn out. I tend to be pretty laid back and just wing it most of the time, but as my schedule gets busier, the chance of missing sight of a long-term goal or dropping the ball on an important task increases. It’s one of the reasons I signed up for the Starship, so that I could begin to put some better planning habits into place, and check in with other indie biz owners for ideas and support.

What's your definition of success for your business?

For me, it’s partially about income goals, like knowing I’ll have enough money every month to pay for my health insurance and build a nest egg, but also having a truly healthy balance of doing the work that I enjoy and having personal time to spend with friends and loved ones (and my dog, Leelu). I’ve been through burnout and health problems that have followed it in the past, so having enough time to take care of myself is a huge goal for me.

What's a recent lesson that you're now applying?

Ask for help when you need it! It doesn’t make me (or any other indie biz owner) less independent or successful. We really do need to take advantage of community, both emotional/moral support and making it clear how people can support us through our business. Make it clear that buying those $5 patterns or signing up for a class really does help us keep producing great work.
On the other side of it, getting together with other biz owners is important, too! My word for 2013 is “collaborate,” meaning not only actual collaborative efforts, like a joint design project or a project with a yarn company, but meeting up with other creative business owners to bounce ideas around and use each other as sounding boards as we plan and grow. The Starship has been a great place for this! I’m finding that as I make an active effort to extend outward and make connections rather than being overly independent, my business has been better for it, and I’m less sabotaged by feelings of self-doubt as I work.

Thanks so much Mercedes!

I love Merecedces' focus on flexibility and collaboration! How do you stay flexible in your planning?

Laila’s crafting a community-lovin’ business

The concept of “creating community” can be tricky. I asked Laila, who is the creative genius of LaiGrai to give us her insights, because the Ravelry group for fans of her work is seriously fun place. Unlike a lot of other groups based on a shared passion for an artist's yarn (even mine), hers is filled with fun, sillyness and non-stop interaction.

Long before I knew I was going to create my own little community of craftybiz'ers (the super-awesome gathering place is coming in just! 4! weeks!), I was curious about Laila's and so I shot her these questions.

 

(because I find everything about Laila completely adorable, I'm keeping her answers in her own voice + style of writing. I know you're going to fall in love with her!)

Laila, your Ravelry group, which celebrates your handmade yarn and spinning fiber is seriously rocking.
Has it always been like this?

In short, yes and no.

Let's start from the beginning.

Businesses aren't islands- we all help each other. so from the very start, i had the aid and wonderful support of my first yarn mentor rachel-marie. rachel marie wanted to help me get my newly formed group going.

we kicked it off with a big shared knit-along … bringing in a THIRD person,  melissa of yearofthegoat, by deciding to use her “the medium is the message” tunic sweater as our knit-along pattern.

it was completely unintentional- it wasn't like, i'll do this KAL and people will flock to me- or anything. it started that rachel & i were going to work through the pattern together and people saw our photos on flickr and wanted to make it too- so we put up a thread and more and more people joined… it felt SO great!! many people came out of lurking + rachel marie brought her base + melissa helped point people our way with mentioning our KAL & my group in a magazine… so that was the start of my group becoming “active”!

next, a knit-along-er who made the sweater with us, { & who would later become one of my close yarn friends}, drucilla pettibone, suggested that i host/participate in the tour de fleece in 2009, something i had never really heard about… so just like that, we started a tour thread seeing if anyone was interested in doing this crazy thing? the tour  team was born – that is sort of how i reached my core group of fiber friends,

the first team had a full pirate theme and i custom made over 20 ravatars (avatars for Ravelry) in photoshop- everyone picked monikers like “marooned hot pants”  – it was a hilarious good time and that was the first thread that reached over 1000 posts!!

now i host a team annually, this july will be our 3rd year.

there is a lot of silliness that happens in the group and we sort of feed off each other with that- nothing is too silly for us.

as a way to pay it forward with all the help i received, i keep my group super super OPEN to any and all fiberistas looking for a place where members are already active & looking to host a KAL {maybe as a way to test a pattern, or just for fun}

last year, rachel-marie was hosting a handspun sock-along (one of the owner's of webs was participating!) and rachel was hosting a sweater-along. this year- currently dani is hosting a shawl-a-month-along

The  KALs (knitalongs) are open-ended so the most recent couple are STICKIED to the top of the board but the others are not archived so anyone can pop in & use all our past comments as helpful bits on how to get past a tricky spot that had the rest of us stumped (or  more like, just me ;)) or to revive a KAL that petered out.

it is more fun that way- no deadlines to stress over, make what you want..when you want it!!  we also have a thread dedicated to just SUGGESTING what we want to make next called “future fun-alongs

Do you think a lot about “building community” or has it happened organically?

so yes, it has happened organically- but also because i realized that what makes me most happy about being a fiberista is the community. and that is beyond etsy, beyond ravelry even, i spend every day corresponding and emailing the friendliest (!!) knitters and spinners and chatting about fibers. i love talking about yarns and wool breeds and even just seeing what people are creating.. another thing that keeps it open and friendly is that i never force anyone to use only my fibers- b/c that's not the point.  so despite it having the most like ME-ME-ME name ever “i love lai grai” – it is really way way way way more than that! it should be called- “i love talking to like minded spinners, knitters, crocheters, who are funny and witty and just want to be able share jokes and humor and recent projects and new fiber acquisitions and of course, gab about the latest fiber club shipment, or show what just came out of your dyepots!”

i don't ever want it to feel like- THIS IS ME BEING PROMOTIONAL. b/c it was never about that- i love that it stays true to what the rav boards are… FORUMS! anyone can start a topic- i love that there are definitely ancient threads, showing my history- i love that threads can get buried and pop! back to the top after a long hiatus and i'm like, oh i totally forgot we had a “what are you watching?” tv thread! i love the IT crowd, it's great to see that my friend dani's kids do too! haha, and we are ALL true blood fans! tara- you and i discussed our love for HIMYM! 🙂  (we also have a what are you reading thread + a what are you listening to music thread!)

it's just a place to come and chat and sometimes bitch and always laugh and be super super friendly!

Most everyone you listed here, the most active community members, actually sell what you sell (as do I!)…but there's no hint of competition in your description.

sure, technically we are all in “competition” with one another, but i just DON'T see them as that- they are truly my friends.  some of us talk every day. we try to plan fun things to share together. lacey dished how she works in those awesome knitted icords, and dani shared her awesome triloom photos, and faun shows peeks at some of the awesome flea market finds she digs up (for crazy cheap too!!) and despite them having their OWN ravelry groups- i like that we are able to cross over without being like … oh gawd, stop pushing your fiber in my group (well they never do that anyway, and certainly aren't PUSHY) but still, i would LOVE if one of my customers bought from them- i support all their shops – why shouldn't my customers?

i feel like there is plenty of fiber-love to go around! the more you give, the more you receive. b/c i have their backs- they have mine & we never planned that- we just became pals and WANTED to spin-along together or knit-along together. but then, i have to step back and remember that each of these gals are ROCK STARS, i am honored that we get to be pals and i love that my ravelry group makes it even easier to connect with even more yarnies like them- b/c i am ALWAYS open to making more fiber friends! 🙂

It seems (from your explanation), that the steps to growing your community were:

1. Partner with others in the community
2. Create a space where everyone (even “competitors”) are welcome
3. encourage sillyness, inside jokes and fun!

yes!

partnering with others & embracing competitors are kinda the same! they go hand in hand.

plus, yes- silliness, inside jokes, fun are crucial. start with a core group of 5-10 participants that are really active + good friends.

reach out to include others- that means -ALONGS! spin alongs, knit alongs, hug alongs, laugh alongs! those are really the cornerstone foundations of a fun group.

try to create some base rules, but keep it loose. by not demanding that everyone only use my fiber- it made more people feel able to be included without financial pressure.
also, create some threads that are not about fiber/yarn/knitting/spinning. yes we all love those things- but what ELSE do we have in common?
a love for true blood? AWESOME!
a hankering for british comedians? yes please!
coffee addicts not-so-anonymous? yes, yes, we are all that too!

and like you always say, tara, let YOU shine through and they will come & want to hang!

 

A huge thanks to laila for giving us a look into how she's done it.

Even though she's a knitter + talked about knit-alongs, I'm certain you can adapt them to fit your own craftybiz.

What bit of community-lovin' can you apply today?
Tell us about in the comments!

 

(all images courtesy of LaiGrai.com)

November is National Do Lots of Stuff Month

Happy November!
November is the month of turkey, gratitude and crazy big group projects. Something about all that impending time with extended family seems to draw us to gathering online to accomplish ridiculous goals.

Today I'm embarking on two (um, three?) big projects:

  • NaNoWriMo
  • NaKniSweMo
  • Holiday Sanity

I'm hoping I can convince some of you to join me in the craziness, let me know if you're also doing any of these in the comments!

NaNoWriMo

For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is a yearly endeavor to write 50,000 words (or, a small novel) in the month of November. Thousands of writers, the world over, participate and it is a beautiful thing. You can read more about it here.
I'm not writing a novel, but I am challenging myself to write 50,000 words this month (these right here count!), in the hopes of giving you what you've been asking for: more CraftyBiz written material to go with the classes.

Gettting it done

I'm using 750words.com to keep track of my daily words. My goal is to write 2,000/day every day that I can, since I'll be traveling a lot in November and I'm sure there will be several days when I can't write at all.
I'm still a little sketchy about WHAT exactly I'll be writing about, so if there's something in particular about crafting a business you'd like to read about, let me know.

NaKniSweMo

As if 50,000 words weren't enough, I'm also attempting to knit 50,000 stitches.  Or, a whole sweater. This is a knitter's version or NaNoWriMo, NAtional KNIt a SWEaterMOnth, in it's 4th  year and is organized by the inimitable KnitGrrl, Shannon Oakey.

Gettting it done

I'm knitting the Featherweight Cardigan by Helen Fettig. I spent, oh, an embarrassing amount of time thinking about what yarn I would make this in, before settling on the designer's own kit. It comes with the fabulously squooshy Malabrigo laceweight, which I got it in Pearl.
No special stitch-counting or knit-progress-tracking with this, I just plan to work on it All. The. Time. All the time I'm not working or writing or crocheting cute amigurumi.
first amigurumi

(Not a knitter? Check out Art Every Day, a sort of NaNoWriMo for artists.)

Holiday Sanity

Unlike the other two projects, this has no big goal line.
It's simply an accountability and planning group project that I put together to help myself get through the holidays. It's my hope that it'll help you do the same.

Tools

I'm creating all sorts of (optional) worksheets to help me (and you) figure out what, exactly, has to be done (and by when) in order to have a great holiday season, both in my business and in my life!
To figure out what to include, I put together all the tools and tricks I know help me get stuff done and I talked to other crafty people about what's worked for them.
What we came up with is simple and not too time-consuming (the goal is to focus on our work, not on the planning.)

Each week will have a theme to help focus our work and we'll follow up in a (private!) chat room where we'll check in and ask questions.
I'm looking forward to it because I know just the *idea* of checking in with someone pushes me to do better work. I've seen my gentle email accountability do wonders in other crafty businesses on projects as big as starting their first shop to making art on a regular basis.
You can join us right here.

Are you doing any crazy big projects this month?

Tell me about it in the comments.

Shannon is crafting a (publishing) business

This is the second in a series of  interviews with smart people who are crafting a business. Part friendly chat, part case-study, all helpfulness! If you know someone I should interview (even you!) let me know.

Today I'm delighted to be talking to Shannon Okey of KnitGrrl.com. and Cooperative Press.  Designer, author, publisher, editor; Shannon has done it all in the knit-publishing world and generously shares her expertise in her recently released book, KnitGrrl's Guide to Professional Knitwear Design.

Shannon, let's start with how you got into publishing?

I set up my publishing company a few years ago because I had big plans for my own projects, but the first book we actually published was Purls Forever, by the owner of South West Trading Company, whose yarns I really loved. She was getting barraged by publishers who wanted to work with her, yet didn't want to include what she thought made her book idea so unique and valuable. It's that whole “water it down to appeal to a broader audience” conundrum… yes, you MIGHT appeal to more potential readers, but there are so many overly-general books out there already.

I want specificity and personality! I suppose those two things are what have really driven my move into independent publishing.

(Note I say “independent” and not “self” publishing, because my company Cooperative Press is not just doing books by yours truly).

Do you suggest new knitwear designers go the self-publishing route first or build a reputation through other publishers?

I think these days they might not have a choice! The economy has driven many larger publishers to scale back, and it isn't as easy to get a contract as it once was. I know that there's an argument to be made for the PR value of having a big company behind you, but after the initial release, you're pretty much on your own and it either sells or it doesn't. If you're the one in charge of making sure people know about the book (through good social media use, getting out there to events, etc), you're personally invested, and you're more likely to do a good job of it.

Don't get me wrong, you need to allocate a decent amount of time to marketing, but you'd be doing much of the same even if a big publisher put out your book. I'm not going to be quiet about my book on Twitter and Facebook and Ravelry or whatever just because Big Publisher X's PR people are out there promoting it, too.

What about writers?

The craft niche is a unique one — we have a fairly small circle of places for people to find out about things. Print knit magazines, Ravelry, Knitty, the popular knitblogs, etc. If you're a novelist, it's going to be a little more difficult, unless you are already well known or unless you have a very very very specific audience you can target. (See: Debbie Macomber and her knit-related books).

However, it really boils down to quality — if your work is good, and people like it, word will get around! Give them tools to recommend your book to other people, whether it's offering up a sample chapter they can send to their friends (with ordering info at the end, of course! think Kindle and how they offer samples of their books), or planning an interesting online event, or…?

So which comes first: building an audience or self-publishing?

It definitely helps to have SOME kind of audience going in, but as I said, if your work is good and you help people to spread the word on your behalf, you'll GET an audience.

Is this changing as the industry (both yarn industry and publishing industry) changes?

I think so. I think people are more willing to purchase independently-published work now than they once were, and I think that pattern PDFs had a lot to do with it! The convenience coupled with the large selection of items available online (thousands upon thousands more patterns than you could buy in print magazines, for example) influenced purchasing behavior for hundreds of thousands of consumers around the world. I suspect that companies who don't offer digital options will see people moving to the ones who do — it's important to assess what your customers want, after all.

Why did you self-publish your latest book?

It's a topic no big publisher would touch, it's too niche-y. Despite the fact there are 5200+ people in the Designers group on Ravelry (and if every single one of them bought a PDF copy of my book, I think I'd earn more than I've made on my 12 big publisher books combined), there's this assumption that designers — and people who want to be designers — are in the minority. Spend some time on Ravelry and then tell me that's true. (Hint: it isn't).

In addition, this book (ignore the title!) holds plenty of solid information for creative professionals of all kinds, so there's an even bigger potential audience than those 5,200 people. I don't think a book needs to sell 50,000 copies in order to be a success. It's about getting the right information to the people who need it when they need it.

What have you learned from self-publishing (marketing, business skills)?

I know a lot more know about ebook file formats than I ever thought I would! The marketing skills I already had, I was just pushing them into a different direction. My new challenge has been forming the right relationships with distributors so we can get into more of the craft chain stores, etc.

Other than the scale of the project, what has been different from publishing your own patterns, to publishing a whole book?

It's much the same — you have a lot of prep work followed by doublechecking everything over ten times, staying in touch with various people (for example, all the people I interviewed in the latter half of the book), designing the layout, figuring out how to optimize the PDF version, etc!

Thanks Shannon, for answering all my questions, I've learned tons!

My favorite bits of Shannon-wisdom, that apply to ANY business:
  • “I want specificity and personality!”
  • “It really boils down to quality — if your work is good, and people like it, word will get around!”
  • “I suspect that companies who don't offer digital options will see people moving to the ones who do — it's important to assess what your customers want, after all.”

If you are a knitwear designer who'd like some help getting published, definitely check out the book and Shannon's Get Published! class.

Teaching Your Craft

I'm super honored to be interviewed by the fabulous Diane of CraftyPod about teaching crafts (and specifically, knitting). We had a great conversation about the experience of teaching and how to get started teaching.

If you've wanted to start teaching your craft, listen to the conversation here.

Diane mentions that my Learn to Knit kit taught her to knit (squee!), you can find the kits here. Even if you know how to knit, these kits are a great way to teach a family member and avoid frustration that comes from not knowing how to describe when-the-loop-does-this-you-do-this.

Have you taught your craft?
Anything you'd add to our conversation?

Fighting the Someday Syndrome & Learning to Knit

Today I'm interviewed on the Someday Syndrome, which is a website dedicated to helping you move past the “somedays” we all have. It's a short interview and I talk a bit about the pity party I had for myself before I started selling yarn.

If you've come here from the Someday Syndrome: Welcome!

If you're not a knitter, but you think you might like to someday start, why don't you sign up for my free Maybe-knitter Mini-course?

Maybe-Knitters FREE Mini-Course

You'll get 5 little tips on finding a local knitting group or teacher, the resources that I used to teach myself to knit and an early-bird discount when my Learn to Knit kit goes on sale.

Path to Yarn – Learning to Knit

This week I’m celebrating the launching into my new life by sharing the path that led me here. Follow along all week!

Yesterday the crafty-ness started at home. Today, I got to college and learn to knit!

I went to a beautiful little University, 8 hours away from home, deep in southeast Tennessee. After a freshman year filled with what-should-I-major-in? torture, I decided on French Literature.

I absolutely loved books and I love language, and I had taken 4 years of French in High School, so it just made sense.  I imagined myself as a French professor, at a small college (perhaps the one I attended), spending my days teaching a few dedicated students the joys of Prevert's poetry, while reading and writing and always learning.

And it wasn't until I was a Teacher's Assistant my senior year, that I ever doubted the plan. During my first day to teach the class, I stood up….and was blank. All those faces staring at me! I started shaking and blushing and stammering (in English!)

While I denied it at first, I knew: I was terrified of standing in front of people – how did I think I was going to be a professor? I didn't really acknowledge that teaching WASN'T for me until a year after graduation, when I started to apply to grad schools.

By this time, I was deep into knitting and dyeing and business-stuff, so moving on from French Lit was a little easier.

But wait, let's go back to college!

All along, I did little crafty things. Making dinners for my roomates, scrapbooking, handwriting letters to my best friend.

But my senior year, I stumbled into the craft section of the bookstore. This was in 2004, when big, gorgeous knitting books were just starting to hit the shelves.

I bought Knitting Pretty, got really hideous mauve acrylic yarn and some metal needles. When I got home, me and my roomate Lindsay sat on my bed and tried to decipher the instructions.

We would read slowly, look at the pictures, look at the yarn in our hands.

Casting on was a breeze (backwards loop cast-on) but the knitting, not so much.

We were completely stuck at the “pull loop on right needle through loop on left needle”. What? Pull what through what? The pictures showed the yarn wrapping around the right needle and in the next picture – bam! The new stitch is made!

Eventually we got it and I knit maybe 50 rows on that scarf before it went in a bag and I focused on gradutation, moving back to Ohio, and planning my wedding.

Tomorrow, I get married (to Jay) & get obsessed (with yarn)!

PS. Don’t forget: I’m answering any and all questions on Twitter, today at pm EST. Just put #AskTheChicken in your tweet (at any time) and I’ll answer at 3! You can follow along and see all the questions and answers here.

PPS. The sale! Don’t forget there’s a yarn sale with discounts for both new and returning customers! Grab your yarn right here: http://blondechicken.etsy.com