Creative Knitting Magazine has a Brand Spankin’ New Home on Instagram. Let’s Celebrate with a Two-Week Knitalong!

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For two exciting weeks, July 29-August 12, Creative Knitting invites Lena Skvagerson, the ultra-talented lead designer of Annie’s Signature Designs so we can all join together and make her shawl design, Undulating Waves, which will be featured in the autumn 2016 issue, which will soon be available for free for as long as the autumn 2016 issue is on sale!

Join us for a new knitalong!

Join us for a new knitalong on Instagram! Click here to see what we’re up to!

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Undulating Waves, by Lena Skvagerson

Undulating Waves, by Lena Skvagerson

As we move closer to the knitalong, we’ll share more information here on the blog and on Instagram so you have plenty of time to gather your materials and purchase enough yarn on Annie’s Yarn Shop so you can get started.

Click here to visit the Creative Knitting Instagram page to see what we’re up to because you’ll see things you don’t get in the magazine such as a candid look at what happens behind-the-scenes at photo shoots and how the issues come to life… and of course lots of eye candy for you to enjoy 🙂

See you the knitalong!

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The Editor Wants to Know! How Do you De-Stress with Your Knitting + 6 Tips from Kara!

Editor Wants to Know!

In this edition of The Editor Wants to Know! I asked you in my Facebook Live video:

How does your knitting help you de-stress?

What a great conversation it was! You can check out the video here and leave your comments below the video to keep the convo going!

In the video, I share 6 these really useful ways that knitting can help us feel calmer and happier. I talked about these in detail in the video, but here’s a handy list for you as well:

  1. You become more patient – when you’re standing in line, or sitting in a doctor’s office. No worries… you’ve got your knitting!  I know that ever since knitting came into my life, times that used to make me impatient are now opportunities.
  2. You feel calmer – all we need to do is sit for a few minutes and we can see how the act of knitting does this.
  3. It’s good for your brain – studies have shown that as we age, if we keep ourselves busy with actives such as knitting this will really help us to stay sharp.
  4. Helps you work out a problem – I know for myself, my knitting has been my refuge during times of crisis or pain because it brings me a sense of joy and comfort.
  5. Helps you be more mindful – because knitting is like my form of meditation. I knit the first thing every morning while I listen to inspiring podcasts or audio books, and it is like brain candy for me. It really sets the tone for the day.
  6. It can help you overcome an addiction or bad habit – if you’re trying to stop smoking, snacking or you want to tame a bad habit, picking up knitting needles can be very instrumental to your success.

I also take things a step further and love to express my love for knitting through creating collages with knitting-inspired elements. When I have time to do this, I really get lost in the activity.

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So how about you? Do you use any of these methods, or can you share some inventive ways you use your knitting to de-stress? Maybe bring it into a journal writing practice perhaps?

Join me on the Creative Knitting Facebook Page and to watch the video now!

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The Editor Wants to Know! Ask Me Anything!

Editor Wants to Know!

Hey everyone! The tables are turned this week, and now it’s your turn to ask me your BURNING questions. Ask me anything about the magazine, techniques, yarn, etc. Even if it’s silly and you think it has nothing to do with knitting, no problem, go for it! I believe knitting often dictates life, and life can dictate our knitting, so nothing is off the table.

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Here’s your chance to ask me anything! Now it’s your turn to ask your BURNING question. Over the past few years since I started this blog feature, I’ve asked many questions, but perhaps there’s one question that you have that I haven’t addressed. Go for it!

I can’t wait to hear from you!

Join me on the Creative Knitting Facebook Page and to watch the video!

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Creative Spaces: Meet Lena Skvagerson, Lead Designer of Annie’s Signature Designs and Associate Producer of Knit and Crochet Now!

I’m so excited because I’m reviving a special blog series, called Creative Spaces! Today I’m chatting with Lena Skvagerson about what it’s like working on the Annie’s Signature Designs collection and also her experience as Associate Producer and expert on the Annie’s PBS television show, Knit and Crochet Now! 

Lena certainly is one busy lady and she says her secret is actually being able to multi-task. I think she is just so crazy-passionate about what she does, and this is what keeps her going. The lines between business and play blend because she loves every bit of what she does and if you ever get a chance to meet Lena, you’ll see what I mean. She jumps into everything she does with a sense of wonder and newness.

Lena Skvagerson in her design studio.

Lena Skvagerson in her design studio.

To experience this excitement for yourself, you can listen to my chat with her on Power Purls Podcast, episode 025. We talk about the Annie’s Summer Love Collection, launched earlier this month and everything that went into developing this upscale collection. It’s like nothing Annie’s has done before and it’s worth a look. You can check out the latest patterns here at AnniesSignatureDesigns.com

The Annie's Signature Designs Summer Love Lookbook. Click image to view!

Check out the Annie’s Signature Designs Summer Love Lookbook. Click image to view!

Now let’s jump in to this candid and inspiring look into Lena’s world!

KGW: What’s it like being on Knit and Crochet Now! And also working on Annie’s Signature Designs? 

LS: I divide my busy work weeks between Knit and Crochet Now! (KCN) and Annie’s. I love the variety this provides because I’m able to switch gears often, which makes things fresh! Being the Associate Producer of KCN requires lots of organization, as well as communication and planning with the people at the studio, our experts and host on the show. I also work on all the social media for the TV show, and participate in the planning of marketing events and advertising. On the flip side, I’m also in front of the camera as on of the experts and it’s so exciting to design and demonstrate several of the show projects as well. There’s never a dull moment in this fast-paced environment!

Lena with the cast of Knit and Crochet Now!

Lena with the cast of Knit and Crochet Now!

I am also so excited to be the Lead Designer of Annie’s Signature Designs. This means continuously making new knit and crochet designs for the collection, Creative Knitting, Crochet! and Crochet World. I communicate often with the editors to come up with exclusive Annie’s designs based on trends, themes and our customer’s wishes.

KGW: What is a typical shoot like for the TV show?

LS: A typical day can start really early, and also end quite late depending on how efficiently we move through the taping process. As soon as we arrive, we hit the ground running! We get dressed, then we the fun begins and get our hair and makeup done.

Off set, I arrange the step-outs and projects in taping order, and then rehearse with our experts so that they’re familiar with the techniques used in the projects. The experts then take turns all day in the recording studio. When it’s my turn I grab a tray with the next project and hurry into the studio, as there is not a minute to waste.

I have about five cameras in front of me, and a crew of at least ten people in the control room watching every move I make (no pressure!). Boy, those lights are hot too… and right before we start recording, it’s so quiet, you could hear a needle drop.

On air!

On air!

Once the camera starts rolling, it’s intense! It’s all about 100% focus, remembering to say everything you have planned, hoping your hands don’t start shaking, LOL. When they say “cut”, it’s time to take a deep and relaxing breath, and then recharge for the next project… Whew!

KGW: What is a typical day in the office like for you?

LS: As I am located on the Central Coast of California, and Annie’s is located in Indiana, I work remotely. I have a small office in a crafty building that also hosts a fabric store as well as a yarn store. My office has a desk, a couple shelves for yarn and projects, a designated area to tape tutorial videos, and a space for my dear knitting machine.

Every Monday through Friday I get to my office in the morning, make a large cup of coffee and start my day going through emails and social media. Many times I have phone meetings and organize until lunchtime. Then, in the afternoon I am deeply focused on writing patterns and coming up with new creative ideas.

KGW: What does your ideal day look like?

LS: My ideal day starts of at the gym in the early morning, then getting lots of projects finished during the day in the office, and getting some great response on things we have published. If it’s sunny outside, I like to go on a long walk with my dog after work, then enjoy a nice dinner made by someone else than me, then some knitting or crocheting on the couch in the evening.

KGW: Do you have a special daily routine that you feel contributes to your success?

LS: Each day is always a bit different depending on what deadlines I have.
I make sure to check my calendar first thing every day, so that I always know what needs to be the day’s main focus.  At the end of the day, I make sure not to leave any emails unanswered and I clean up on and around my desk so that it will look welcoming and creative when I get there next day.

KGW: What kinds of things excite you when you spend time designing and knitting in this space?

LS: What excites me most when designing, is when things turn out exactly as I have pictured them in my mind. I also love being alone in my small office without any distraction.

KGW: How do you organize your yarn stash and knitting needles? Do you have an innovative method?

LS: I do not really have a yarn stash because I work with the yarn that the yarn companies send me for each unique pattern I design. I make sure not to request more than I need so usually there are no leftovers. Many times, I let the stitchers keep the remaining yarns, or I will give them to my crafty friends.

I also have several big buckets on my desk were I keep knitting needles and crochet hooks, with large ones in one bucket and smaller ones in another. I always keep an interchangeable needle set in my craft bag, and I also have a set at home, and buckets there too. I would have to say my method is to have a lot of needles so I’m never without wherever I am, and I even keep some in my car just in case!

KGW: Can you share a productivity tool that you like and how does it help you get things done?

LS: My absolute favorite tool is my iPhone. I snap pictures, take notes, calculate, follow Pinterest and other social media. I also answer emails on the go, and schedule important meetings and events on my calendar. I don’t know what I would do without it.

I also have a favorite crafting bag that follows me everywhere, which contains a couple on works-in-progress, plus accessories I can’t be without, such as: darning and cable needles, markers, a needle set, a couple crochet hooks, a tape measure and scissors. If I at anytime and anywhere I have more than a couple minutes without action, then that bag opens up and I get crafty!

KGW: Aside from knitting, what other things set you on fire and make you want to jump out of bed each morning?

LS: People that know me, can attest to the fact that I never jump out of bed. I always end up staying up too late (“one more row”-syndrome). I snooze many times until I finally get up. I usually wake up once I am at the gym, where I start many of my days. So maybe I can say that the gym sets me on fire and makes me jump over to my office excited for what the new day will offer. Coffee also plays a big role 🙂

Well, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed my lively interview with Lena, and for even more, hop on over Power Purls Podcast to listen to my inspiring audio interview with Lena, episode 025.

Enjoy!

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Mindful Monday: 4 Ways Knitting Can Increase Your Peace

Happy Monday! I wanted to help jump start your week with a few ways that knitting can increase your peace and make you more mindful!

4 Ways Knitting Can Increase Your Peace

Let’s jump into to these 4 ways that you can increase your peace right NOW!

#1. Practice giving giving material things is not the only way to give. The next time you knit, think of those in your life that may be struggling or in pain and dedicate this good feeling to them with the intention that it will powerfully help them.

#2. Do something free form every day – even if it’s just for 10 minutes, just let go completely! Forget about following a pattern. Start knitting for the sake of knitting. This act is also known as scrumbling. This way of spontaneous knitting is very liberating and can give you that dose of confidence you need if you happen to be struggling with a pattern.

#3. Start a morning routine – I’m big on the morning as prime time for getting your best work done. Right after I wake up, I include about 30 minutes of knitting while listening to an audio book or podcast. I think of this time like a bubble bath and I can’t wait to jump out of bed each morning to do this! Knitting first thing in the morning is quite different than knitting after a long busy day when your energy level decreases.

#4. Begin a stillness practice – one of the most meditative ways to knit in my opinion is in the round, and this repetitive motion can almost be trance-like. Here’s how to create your own stillness practice:

  • With your knitting in hand, sit in a quiet place where you will not be distracted.
  • As you begin to knit, hold a positive intention, or simply follow your breath.
  • Hold your intention for a few rounds and over time you’ll be amazed at how you’ll begin to notice subtle changes to your Monday mindset!

Enjoy the week ahead!

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