Designing A Rainbow

 

Designing is easy. When you play it safe, that is.

When you kick things up a notch and challenge yourself (or someone else challenges you) it becomes instantly harder.

Confession time…

I’m not going even try and lie, I’ve been playing it safe for quite some time now. My knit designs are simple; not too much shaping, totally in my comfort zone. Quick fun knits that don’t require tons of effort and perfect for the beginner knitter. When I first designed them many years ago, it was scary and new to me. But, then I got okay with myself being out there in the Ravelry world and just kept designing, hats and boot cuffs. Which isn’t a bad thing but, I wasn’t growing anymore. It was comfortable. To be honest, this was all I thought I was “allowed” to do. I know how to knit a lot of things, I study knitting for fun, it’s my passion. My love and my third child (or fourth if you count Mr.Smashlee). But, there’s also so much about knitting I don’t know and haven’t yet learned. So I told myself I wasn’t worthy of stepping outside that comfortable designing space.

I’m no Elizabeth Zimmerman or Yarn Harlot. I haven’t been knitting for 25 years. I look at all these amazing designs on Ravelry, twitter, and Instagram and just think. WOW, they are the “lucky” ones. They have talent. Me? well… I design hats. I’m not worthy to be called a “designer”. I’m not as talented.

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The soon to be released Jacqueline Hat

I listen to enough personal develop books and podcasts to know that the paragraph I just wrote is just my inner critic talking. yes, those “expert” designers worked their butts off but, in the end, they aren’t any different than me. They are people too, who knit, ALOT. Just like me. Talent is developed and in most cases, you AREN’T just born with it. I don’t know of a single person who just knew how to knit. They learned.  They were either self-taught or someone showed them.
One person may start off which the “natural” ability to cast on stitches properly and another person may struggle, drop the needles and take 3 weeks to learn the same cast on ( I’m the latter). But, in both scenarios they have the ability and the potential to become amazing knitters; as long as the practice and they don’t give up.

So If I apply this belief to myself vs. the “talented knitters.” Is there a difference? are they better than me? The answer is yes and no. No, they aren’t better than me. Yes, there is a difference. I let fear of judgment and criticism stop me from going out of my comfort zone. The “talented” designers probably have felt at some point, EXACTLY how I feel. They too were probably afraid of criticism and judgment. They felt the fear and did it anyway. Me? well, I’m working on it .

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The Isabella Lacy Beanie

 

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not trying to diminish anything I have accomplished. I am a self-published designer. My patterns are available to purchase and download. And people do purchase and download them. That’s something and trust me, I am very proud of the fact I’ve come as far as I have. I love designing hats, boot cuffs and tutus. I will never stop designing these things. But, I have these patterns in my head that I actively have chosen not to write because I didn’t feel worthy.

This is where my tech editor , Tian, and comes in. God Bless her. She always stops me in my tracks with this sort of thinking. She pushes me in that right direction and challenges me to do all the things I’m too scared to do. She calls me out on my negative self-talk. As an example, Today, I e-mailed her asking about a hat pattern I was designing. I used the phrase “it’s just a hat pattern.” And her e-mail back to me was ” Ashlee, it’s not just a hat. Don’t minimize what you create.” See what I mean? Everyone needs a Tian.

A few weeks back she challenged me to was to design something with a little more shaping. It took a little convincing but, I eventually thought you know what? WHY NOT? Remember those patterns I mentioned earlier that live in my head waiting to be written down? Well, I let one of them free. It’s a rainbow sweater dress for the mini-me. For now, I’m telling myself, all I gotta do is knit one for my daughter. I don’t have to publish it. It’s less scary that way but, truth is, I probably will publish it one day.

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It’s still in the sketching/schematic stage. But,The mini-me is in love. And I am too. So, it’s a go. Next week I’ll be choosing my yarn and swatching. so, this is really happening people. Buh-bye comfort zone.

Happy Knitting!!!

Smashlee

 

Back To School Y’all

Ah! The first day of school… The most wonderful time of the year .

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1 out of 2 is happy its school time.

 

I’m not going to lie I have been waiting for this day. It’s not that I don’t love my kids.. ..but…seriously guys, mama needs some peaceful, non-kid related alone time.

Today, the mini-me started grade 1. In one week the mini-he starts his first year of preschool. Yes,  I’m a little bit ” getting the feels “and yes, they grow up really fast. However, mama feelings aside,this means 5 hours of kid free time a week where I plan to knit my heart out.

It might be very very selfish but, for 2 out of 7 days I will get 2.5 hours  TO MYSELF. I will not be cleaning, working out,  babysitting, or doing laundry. Probably won’t even answer the phone or respond to any messages. This is my time.  I will come home from lovingly dropping the Minis off at their appropriate schools. Change  back into my pjs and knitting all the things. YES! ALL THE THINGS. My hope is that I can finally get some headway on those goals I always go on about.

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Knitting in the car well I wait for the end of the day.

 

For the rest of week, when I only have one kid around will hopefully be a breeze. I mean he’s pretty good as long as he’s had 4 breakfasts , 3 lunches and permissions to play with his sister’s toys. He’ll leave me alone if I bribe him with pizza and paw patrol. I got this.

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After school smiles

 

 

I can taste the freedom already… And you know what? I kinda, almost, sorta don’t feel guilty about being this happy about it.

Smashlee

 

Ashlee Lackovic ( aka Smashlee) is a knit wear designer, pattern writer, blogger and Etsy shop owner. She’s a Mommy to 2 minis. She hasn’t slept properly is 6 years.

For more smashlee head on over to instgram, twitter and Facebook.

What Rejection Feels Like….

Yup, you read that right. Rejection. I got my first “sorry, your pattern is not for our magazine” e-mail last week.  It was the first pattern I ever submitted to a magazine.

So, what does it feel like to get that e-mail? Well, I think its best to first  talk about what it doesn’t feel like.

It doesn’t feel like I want to quit knitting. It doesn’t feel like I want quit designing. I didn’t cry my eyes out, in fact I didn’t even get a sniffle. ( I cry a lot so this is a big deal.) I didn’t get mad or angry. To be honest, I read the e-mail, felt nothing and went on with my day.

Denial? No, I don’t think so. I was prepared for rejection and of course I would have loved if they accepted it. It would have made a cool blog post about how my first design I ever submitted was accepted. However, this was not what the universe had in store for me.

If I’m really honest, I kinda wanted it to get rejected. As I was designing and knitting the sample, I kept picturing this sample being part of bigger collection.  I could see like 4-5 items that would cooridnate well with it.  Basically, I  kinda wanted to keep the design for myself so I could do more with it. Before, I even submitted the proposal, I had a back up plan for IF it got rejected. Maybe, that’s why I felt nothing and the whole thing really wasn’t that scary.

So, that’s the plan folks. Coming early next year or maybe around christmas time… there will be the first ever Smashlee Stitches pattern collection. Its bright, its colourful and its full of LOVE.

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Betcha wondering what the design was I submitted was…To be honest, I don’t know how much i’m allowed to reveal about it. As a newbie, I’m not sure what the protocol is about rejected designs.  Are they mine to share and do with whatever I please?  If other designers could clarify this for me,I would be so grateful! Please comment if you have any insight on this!

As, far as the my goal for 100 rejected designs goes.. well 1 done. 99 more to go!

Happy Knitting and designing!

Smashlee

 

 

 

 

Smashlee Stitches Patterns

So, over the past month or so I’ve been working on a few pattern designs. I learned so much when I took the course Pattern Writing 101 ( you can read my review on the course here.)

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In that course we got to design a pattern with the intention of publishing. I am so proud to say I finally finished the pattern I wrote for that class and I LOVE how it turned out.

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How did the mini-me get so big???

The Isabella Lacy Beanie can be found for purchase on Ravelry, Craftsy and Etsy.

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It is knit circularly and uses 2 strands of fingering weight yarn ( knit picks palette.) It is sized from toddler to adult.

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In other Smashlee Pattern news, I also re-wrote my knitting tutu pattern. The updated version can be found on Ravelry, Craftsy and Etsy.

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It now includes sizes from baby to 6 years old. Your gonna need some ruffle yarn and some worsted weight yarn to knit up this tutu.

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Throwback to when the mini-me was really a mini.

I’ve got so many more design ideas in my head that its hard to sleep at night! Stayed tuned to see more Smashlee Patterns coming your way!

Happy Knitting!

Smashlee

Ashlee Lackovic ( aka Smashlee) is a knit wear designer, pattern writer, blogger and Etsy shop owner. She swears she’s not crazy…She just knits ALOT!

Knittin’ Little Summer 2016 Collection – Review

Its review time!!! A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to get a copy of  Knittin’ Little Summer 2016 Pattern collection. I had randomly come across the website while browsing twitter one day and I am so glad our virtual paths crossed.

If you’ve never heard of Knittin’ Little I strongly urge you check out their website. It is so cheerful! They specialize in patterns for your littles ( aka kids) and I’m not going to lie, I was hooked at first glance. There is so many adorable patterns that range from newborn to child sizes. Something that really caught my eye was that there is such a good mixture of patterns for boys and for girls. As I am a mom of two littles (or as I like to call them, the mini-me and the mini-he) I can appreciate the options that Knittin’ Little brings.

The summer collection  has 7 stunning and unique patterns . They feature some great talent from designers like Rachel Borello Carroll, Kristen TenDyke, and Knittin’ Little’s editor Andrea Sanchez, just to name a few.

The patterns feature a variety of yarns perfect for summer knitting. You can expect to see  cotton, fingering weight and sport yarn choices.

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Costal Local Hat

The first pattern that stood out from the collection for me was the Costal Local Hat By Rachel Borello Carroll. Using Cascade 220 Fingering yarn this hat is sized from newborn to child.  I love this pattern so much I think the mini- he will be sporting this very soon!

 

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Summer Showers Romper

The Summer Showers Romper designed by Andrea Sanchez is equally adorable. This pattern has sizes from 0-18 months and uses The Fiber Seed Sprout and Sprout Seedlings yarn.   Since I’m done having littles.. I can’t help but think, that this make the best baby gift.

 

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Little Sweet Pea

Little Sweet Pea by  Jessica Anderson would also make a wonderful heirloom baby gift. Using Oink! Pigments Helix yarn, this blanket  is quite stunning . To be honest though, I probably would end up knitting it and keeping it as a shawl for myself.

 

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Horizon Pullover

The Horizon Pullover by Nadya Stallings uses Spud and Chloe Fine yarn and knits up in sizes 2-12. I can picture my mini-he wearing this and looking beyond cute. And he’s way over due for some hand knit wear.

 

 

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Currituck

Currituck is a sweater vest that is knit with Knit Picks Sport. Designed by Joan Beebe this would be the perfect additional to that summer semi-formal outfit. Think of how cute it would be to have your little rock this vest at a wedding. The pattern is available in sizes 6m to size 14.

 

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The Summer Sunset

The Summer Sunset by Helen Rose is knit in Destination Yarn Letter Fingering Weight yarn. Its available in sizes from 0-3 months to 10 years.  This beautiful tank top has a some cute buttons and lace pattern that would make it such a fun knit.

 

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Little Joy Dress

The Little Joy Dress is probably my favourite pattern. Designed by Kristen TenDyke and knit in Knit Picks Simply Cotton Sport.  The pattern is written for sizes 6m to size 12. My Mini-Me is really into dresses right now and this is exactly something she would wear. I can’t help but feel the need to cast this one on first. I can even see the dress carrying on into the fall season, just pair with some leggings and a cute sweater.

I will be knitting up some of these patterns in the next month or so and of course, I will be blogging about my progress. First up, will be the Little Joy dress for my mini- me and then the horizon pullover for the mini-he.  They will be so cute , I cannot wait to get started. First thought, I must go yarn shopping!

I would like to Andrea from Knittin’ Little for allowing me to do this review and preview the patterns. Don’t forget to check out the Knittin’ Little website. All the patterns mentioned above can be found here and also on Ravelry.

Happy Knitting!!

Smashlee

 

Vacation Goals

This week is vacation week. Since school is now out, the Smashlee family has set out on a road trip and will be crashing at the in-laws for the next week.


It’s so pretty and relaxing here. The mini’s have tons of room to run around, which means mama’s got lots of knitting time. I’m not going lie though, I am on vacation,and I didn’t bring that much yarn with me.  So I’m taking it easy and only have a few goals this week.

  1. Send in my pattern to be submitted.
  2. Blog twice this week.
  3. Knit two moss stitch slouchy hats.

 

That’s it.  Simple. Easy. Doable.

Before I get back to sitting outside and chillin’ let me just give you a brief rundown on last weeks progress.

I did finish my hat, I did not finish my craftsy class, I didn’t knit on the Dr. Who blanket,  I did buy yarn for the design I’m submitting and I didn’t knit any swatches for my 400 stitches project.

So, 2/5 for last week. It’s all good though, cause I did celebrate Canada Day and  I did clean and organize my entire house. Yay me!

Hope you all have a great week!!

Smashlee

Ashlee Lackovic ( aka Smashlee) is a knit wear designer, pattern writer, blogger and Etsy shop owner.  Obsessed with knitting and often tangled yarn, she loves diet pepsi,  hot pink short and peace & quiet.

 

5 Reasons to love Canadian knitters

1. We are experts in cold weather!

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In my almost 32 years of existence I have seen snow in every month of the year.  So, if you need cold weather apparel ask a Canadian, we know best.

2. Speaking of cold weather, let me introduce you to the toque. 

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Know simply as a winter hat to the rest of the world, the Canadian version is just just a little bit more awesome. It has magical powers that keep your ears and head warm.  Wearing one will make you automatically Canadian, you will acquire random knowledge about beavers and start to smell like maple syrup. Bonus super powers such as expert skills in snow shovelling and zamboni driving will be awarded if your toque has a big pom pom on top of it. To acquire now of these amazing hats,  just find an overly friendly Canadian knitter, they usually have them stashed in their knitting bags.

3. Our national brand of coffee recognizes the importance of knitting. 

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Not only did all Tim hortons have knitting motifs on all their coffee cups, but they also yarn bombed a store. Check it out  here.  That’s a lot of knitting!

 

4.  We are just really nice people….

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5. And if we don’t knit fast enough… we really are sorry.

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Happy Canada Day!!

Smashlee

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Ashlee Lackovic ( aka Smashlee) is a knit wear designer, pattern writer, blogger and Etsy shop owner. Obsessed with knitting and often tangled yarn, she survives on poutine, apologizes for everything and like her tim hortons coffee, iced and with whip cream. We are  very happy to report that currently  she does not smell like maple syrup.

 

this week in my etsy shop… Beanies!!!

Featured in my Etsy shop this week are three beanies that I absolutely adore.

Designed and knit by me, these hats come in two sizes, slouchy and regular.

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The light brown hat is  9″ in length, the cream is 11′ and blue hat is a little more slouchy at  11.5″. They are sized to fit the average adult head.ap4-16-18

 The story behind the design….

Last October my aunt asked me to make her a  brown slouchy hat. I was really excited to make her a present but, I wanted to design it myself. I already had a few slouchy hat design patterns done but, I wanted something new.

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Almost immediately I could see the design in my head. I wanted the stitches to pop, and have an interesting rib for the bottom of the hat. The way the hat turned out is exactly how I pictured it in my head, and to be honest that doesn’t happen very often. Although, the design is technically nameless right now, on my etsy shop, the hats I have for sale knit with this pattern are called “moss stitch beanies.”

The knitting pattern will be released this September.

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Custom orders

I love custom orders. If you love the hats but, don’t see your favorite colour or size you can reach out and have one made to order. The best way to request an order is to go to my etsy shop and use the “request custom order” button which is located the left-hand side. You can also e-mail smashleestitches@gmail.com

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If you would like to find out any more info or purchase the hats featured in this blog post, direct links to their Etsy listings are posted below.

Light Brown  Moss Stitch Beanie

Cream Moss Stitch Beanie

Blue Moss Stitch Beanie.

 

Which colours would you like to see the Moss Stitch Beanie knit in next? Comment and let me know!

Much love,

Smashlee

 

Ashlee Lackovic ( aka Smashlee) is a knit wear designer, pattern writer, blogger and Etsy shop owner.  Obsessed with knitting and often tangled yarn, she loves PJS, the colour pink and her iPod.

 

 

 

100 Rejection letters here I come!!!

Last week I wrote about how I was going to be brave and start a 100 rejection email challenge. I love designing but, its scary putting your self out there to essentially be judged by magazine and book editors.

I’m still feeling rather brave so, after I wrote last Wednesday’s blog post , I went on Ravelry and searched the forums and groups for call for  submission posts.

Didn’t take me long to find one, and after briefly reading it. I printed it out and told Mr. Smashlee the plan. After throwing some ideas around we came up with a pretty cool design. I sketched it out and opened up an excel spreadsheet to start on the pattern.

There’s one tiny tiny problem though,  the magazine I’m submitting to doesn’t have yarn support. Meaning  I supply my own yarn. This is good and bad. Good because I get more freedom in the design, since I get to choose the yarn. Bad because, my design is colourful and I don’t have much of yarn stash (by choice). I live in tiny town with no LYS, and there’s not a enough time before the submission deadline to order anything online. This means I have to convince Mr. Smashlee that we need to go on a road trip (4 hours driving round trip ) to get yarn, for a design I may or may not get to publish.

Well guess what? mr. Smashlee deserves a shout out here. Cause I got my yarn yesterday.


Now, I’m knitting away on my gauge swatch. I’m still really excited about this project and can’t wait to finish the swatch.

Only time will tell what the outcome of this all will be but, I do have a back up plan for if the design gets rejected.  And as of right now, Im okay with the possibility of rejection. I suppose that should change though.

Until next week, keep being brave & Thanks for reading!!

Smashlee

Pattern Writing 101

Recently, I completed a design course called “pattern writing 101” from KnitDesigns by Tian.

As many of you already know I’ve designed and sell a few pattern on Ravelry and my etsy shop. For the most part, I was winging it. I studied how other designers wrote their patterns and essentially taught myself how to pattern write. I understand the math, of knitting and  I can look at a garment are figure out how it was  made/knit. This was all I needed, right??

Nope! Tian’s course really gets down to the nitty gritty of pattern writing . Besides the fine tune details, you really get to look in yourself and figure out who you are as a designer. What do you want to achieve?  How far do you want to go?

The best part of course though is the feeling you get when you e-mail back and forth with Tian. It’s almost like she’s there holding your hand though the scary bits and will be your biggest cheerleader.

At the end of the course you will have written a full written pattern, that you have designed yourself! Yay you!!

 

Mine is ready to go and waiting on photography ( and for me to get back from holidays).  I am so excited to release this pattern so, look for coming very very soon!


If you want to dabble in design wether part or full time I strongly suggest her course(s), because more than knowledge of the in and outs of design, I gained the confidence to call myself a designer, take risks and grow out of my knitting comfort zone.  Thank you Tian!
You can find Tian on her website  , twitter and Ravelry .

Thanks for reading! And as Tian always says, You got this!!!

Smashlee

 

 

 

 

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