Print Page   |   Sign In   |   Join
Blog Home All Blogs
TNNANews - News and Notions for Needlearts Professionals


Search all posts for:   


Top tags: TNNANews  Summer Trade Show  education  classes  preview  Business tips  Social media  tips  Ask Social  Design Digest  Designer  dropcloth sampler  embroidery  Facebook  first-time attendee  Industry news and notions  Instagram  Recap  Summer Show  trends 

Contracts That Work For You and Your Business: Part II

Posted By TNNA HQ, Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Updated: Thursday, August 24, 2017

Contracts That Work For You and Your Business: Part II

 By Danielle Chalson

In my previous article, I touched on the collaborative nature of the needlearts industry and concluded that, when two parties want to work together, even a basic contract is a good idea. So how do you draft contract language if you’ve never done it before?

Chances are, you have done it before, simply by exchanging a series of emails with another person in which you both agree to complete a project together. But even if you haven’t done that before, or if you’re interested in a more structured approach, then you can start by answering The Five Ws and One H: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? I’ve provided some simple examples below. 


1. WHO are the parties to the contract?

A designer creating a design for a publisher?  A craft company selling a product to a craft store?  A teacher teaching a class at a TNNA or Stitches show?

This question tends to be more relevant when the contract is more complex or the financial stakes are higher (e.g., as part of a book contract).

2. WHAT is the contract for?

A design?  A series of classes?  A new book or magazine?  A new product? 

Always double-check this answer!  In my experience, a boilerplate contract can be sent with the wrong details for a design if it isn’t updated from one project to the next.

The answer to this question also may include WHAT happens if any of the terms of the contract are violated: if a deadline is missed, if one party fails to hold up its end of the bargain, or if a warranty term (e.g., the designer warrants to the publisher that the design does not infringe another designer’s intellectual property) is breached.  

3. WHEN is the contract in effect?

When is payment due?  When is the class?  When is the sample due?  When will the product hit the market?  What is the publication date?  When will the collaboration between the parties end?

The answer to this question is more complicated when license (e.g., copyright) terms are introduced.

4. WHERE is the contract in effect?

The United States?  Worldwide?  At a specific store, venue, or trade show?

The answer to this question is more complicated when license and venue terms are introduced.  The answers to WHEN and WHERE can be related, especially when license terms are included.

5. WHY make a contract?
Contracts can be useful for many reasons:

 - The parties may have many obligations to each other and a contract may make it easier to keep track of everyone’s responsibilities.

- The details can get confusing—or even be forgotten—if they have to be pieced together from various emails or letters over time.

- Contracts can force the parties to consider forgotten or overlooked details regarding timing and what happens in the event of a breach.

- The answer to this question may overlap with the WHAT question: what is the reason that the two parties want to collaborate?

6. HOW will the contract be fulfilled?

The answer to this question often involves spelling out each party’s responsibilities.  Who will complete the design?  Who will teach the class?  Who will provide the photography for the product?  Who is paying for the project?  How and when will payment be made?

The answers that you generate to these questions (a) should be included in your next contract, whether that “contract” is one paragraph or dozens of pages; and (b) may lead to further questions that the parties need to answer before they begin working together.  Clarifying each party’s expectations and roles up front is one of the greatest benefits to making a contract in the first place! 

In future articles, we will begin to explore terms that can complicate the contract-drafting process.  

About Danielle Chalson

Danielle Chalson is a patent attorney. She’s also an independent knitwear designer who designs for established publications and self-publishes under her own brand, Makewise Designs. You can find her on Ravelry (makewise) and on Instagram (@makewisedesigns). She and her family live in Long Island, New York.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

How to Submit a Design for Publication

Posted By TNNA HQ, Wednesday, August 23, 2017

How to Submit a Design for Publication

 By Anita M. Wheeless

No matter what your needleart, you’ve probably looked through many books and magazines geared toward your craft. At some point, you’ll find yourself coming up with your own designs. Once you do, you’ll want your projects to take their rightful place in the published world! 

Fortunately, there are many craft publishers today, both in print and online, that are seeking submissions all the time. Submission guidelines for individual publications are often available online, as well. 

Submitting a project for publication, however, isn’t as easy as coming up with the original design. Just because you made something incredible doesn’t necessarily mean you can help someone else recreate it.


Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Start with a notebook. Detailed note taking while you’re working on a project is essential. Every piece of information, including precise measurements, specific colors and exact names of the materials you’ve used are vital. Be sure to write everything down. Here’s an example of just how detailed Handwoven magazine expects your submission: “Give complete information about each yarn (yd/lb, color numbers, manufacturer’s name, etc.) and exact amounts required. To calculate warp yardage, multiply the number of warp ends by the warp length. To calculate weft yardage, multiply the number of picks per inch by the woven length in inches, multiply the result by the width in the reed, and add 10% for weft take-up. Include with your article a 6” sample of each yarn used. Include floating selvedges in the total warp ends required by the project.”

Poorly written patterns can be extremely frustrating. In fact, this has become such an issue that the Craft Yarn Council actually established basic guidelines for project submissions. And, while these guidelines (available on the Craft Yarn Council’s website) were compiled specifically for knit and crochet designers, many of the suggestions are best practices for all needle-art project submissions. The Craft Yarn Council also has a list of designer pitfalls, which is a must-read!

Other points to keep in mind:

Follow the submission guidelines closely. If the editors only want one page, make sure your submission is only one page, and make sure that it contains all the elements they are seeking. 

Check for an editorial calendar. Many publications have editorial calendars that provide deadlines for future issues. Some offer themes and mood boards to help you visualize exactly what they want. Take the time to study these. If a publisher is looking for fall colors, don’t be disappointed if your beautiful, spring-garden motif gets rejected.

Don’t use discontinued colors or unidentifiable scraps from your stash for your project. How can your exact project be duplicated if the materials are not available?

Take clear, vivid photographs. This is critical. Set up a simple photo shoot. Find a clean, uncluttered place with great lighting. Avoid shadows. The best light is often found outside in the early morning or early evening hours. Add props that show off your piece to its greatest advantage. For instance, a beautifully textured sock looks best on a foot form (or real foot), rather than lying on a table. 

Do not post your project photos on social media. After all the hard work you’ve put into your project, you might be tempted to post the photographs all over, but don’t do it! Publications, in general, want an exclusive, never-before-seen-anywhere design. So don’t share your piece in public! 

Be professional. Read over your work before you send it off. Make sure to check your spelling, grammar and punctuation. 

Submit your project to one publisher at a time. It takes patience, but most publishers frown on simultaneous submissions. After all, how can your project be exclusive if you’ve sent it out to different editors at the same time? Wait until you get a negative response before you send it off again. And here’s hoping it won’t be negative!

Don’t get discouraged. Craft publishers need designs! Leisure Arts, Inc., a major craft publisher, has this to say, “We currently publish books and leaflets in virtually all craft categories. Since our beginning in 1971, we have depended on free-lance designers to create designs for these publications. If you have original, fresh, and trendy designs, patterns, or ideas, we would be interested in hearing from you “

Sources and Further Reading:


About Anita M. Wheeless

Anita Mumm Wheeless has been a member of TNNA since 2012, and has been certified as a knitting instructor by the Craft Yarn Council. A former newspaper writer/editor, she designs knitting patterns for toys and novelties. Leisure Arts published her book, “Storybook Dolls to Knit” in 2011. Her patterns are also featured on, and You can find her on and Love Knitting. She maintains a website: and a blog: Connect with Anita on Twitter @AnitaPatternBox or by email:

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (3)

Engaging a New Generation of Stitchers

Posted By TNNA HQ, Thursday, August 10, 2017
Updated: Thursday, August 10, 2017

Engaging a New Generation of Stitchers

 By Beth Woolbright

A significant part of our mission at San Francisco School of Needlework and Design (SNAD) is to ensure hand embroidery’s future, which logically includes attracting new generations to this heritage craft.  Some people are under the impression that embroidery is old-fashioned, but one merely needs to look at fashion trends to see that stitch embellishment is en trend, and on a resurgence.  DIY-ers may start with YouTube videos; they often yearn to learn more.

Since SNAD opened its doors to the public last year, we have had some success in reaching younger adult audiences outside the traditional needlework world.  We use Facebook and Instagram often, as well as online community calendars and vibrant needlework examples on our website to generate excitement.  

For the students new to embroidery, we offer a three-hour Bite-size Embroidery for Beginner class with a choice of eight patterns, including a cat, cactus, sugar skull or owl.  To target the young and hip for these classes, SNAD CEO Ellice Sperber says, we have “simple silhouettes and shapes that fit into today’s social context.”  Studen
ts are given freedom to stitch however they like with the basic stitches they learn in the class.  As Ellice puts it, these fun, modern designs “give them the confidence to take the daylong classes in SNAD’s introductory series,” where they have a choice of a traditional or a contemporary pattern on a particular subject.  (SNAD’s contemporary giraffe design has over 800 followers on Facebook!)

Bringing guest instructors from the fashion industry is also a draw.  Our evening classes with Brooklyn-based artist Marie-Sophie Lockhart sold out.  For these events, the mostly millennial students sipped wine and stitched denim patches—or their own jeans—with her straightforward yet spirited—even tattoo-influenced—designs.  On her next visit, students can design with her to embellish other pieces of their wardrobe such as a hat or sneakers. 

We also take projects into the community as well as host community events here at the school.  For World Embroidery Day, on July 30, local park visitors were encouraged to celebrate by adding their own vibe to a giant 10 x 10 foot peace symbol, constructed entirely from repurposed jean pant legs. SNAD staff and volunteers were around to hand out needles, colored thread and applique shapes as well as to share embroidery wisdom.  Delighting us all, many young girls and boys were particularly smitten with adding their stitching to the project.  After learning a few basics, like running stitch and back stitch, they were thrilled to be able to add to their own designs.  

We regularly stay engaged with our audience on social media and with our students who come into SNAD. Building relationships and learning what matters to our community helps drive the programs we develop to offer content that appeals to students both new to the needle and experienced with the needle, as well as creating a context that is ageless for a time-honored craft.


About SNAD

San Francisco School of Needlework and Design was founded in 2015 by passionate embroiderers, Lucy Barter and Ellice Sperber. Ms. Barter was trained as an apprentice at the Royal School of Needlework in England and ran their courses in the United States for eight years. Ms. Sperber earned her Diploma at the Royal School of Needlework. The two met during the US-based courses and began envisioning a school of needlework that was not only based in the United States, but would bring a fresh and modern creativity to the art form.

The organization's goal is to inspire the next generation of hand-embroidery artisans, building on traditional knowledge with updated skill sets, expanded technical abilities and a fluent understanding of the vast methods.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Reaching Teens Through Needlepoint

Posted By TNNA HQ, Thursday, August 10, 2017
Updated: Thursday, August 10, 2017

Reaching Teens Through Needlepoint

 By Janet M. Perry

Needlework is often associated with math; there are even books and websites on mathematical knitting. A project developed by a math professor has been one of the most popular Internet needlepoint projects ever. However, few of us think of that connection as a way to reach teens.

In 2015, Jenny Huff, a math teacher in Los Angeles, decided to share her love of needlepoint with her students by starting a needlepoint club in a school where 75% of the students qualify for lunch subsidies. Here is how she described her goals: “By introducing Needlepoint to my students it would create a new type of environment for them to relax and de-stress.”

Today the club has over 70 enthusiastic students who stitch, talk to each other and share their successes, including pictures and posts on Facebook. Yamile Morales Perez, the Vice President of the club for next year, recently shared pictures of a Jack O’Lantern she’s stitching this summer using a donated canvas. 

“It has made my summer more enjoyable and I am going more places with it looking for a quiet spot to do it,” she said. Her comments are typical of the club members.

The students have an enthusiasm for needlepoint that is infectious. The projects they stitch and share are beautiful, and everyone in the club is excited by the possibilities and grateful for the donations.

The club has spawned a Facebook group, Needlepoint Millennials. Its mission is “to bring the art of Needlepoint to the youth nationwide.” Adult members of the group are often looking for ways to create similar clubs in their areas.

The needlepoint industry has taken the club to their hearts. Local shops donate supplies. Stitchers and designers who are decluttering donate lovely hand-painted canvases. Others donate finds that are used to pay for finishing. One shop, The Wool & the Floss is Grosse Pointe, MI. had a garage sale and donated the proceeds to the group.
The generous donations allow these students to work with materials and designs that are out of their price range while, often, encouraging them to try new stitches, threads and customization.

Not only do the students have fun stitching the needlepoint, the results often become gifts as well. Last year a donation of Stitch & Zip coin purses were stitched and donated to the school’s annual toy drive.

If you’re interested in getting involved with Needlepoint Millennials and encouraging needlepoint to grow among the younger generations find them on their Facebook page. 

Please note: Because the school is closed until September, they will not be accepting donations until school reopens.


About the Author

Janet M. Perry is a needlepoint educator, creating print books, ebooks, on-line classes, stitch guides, and blogs that provide great information for stitchers at all levels. She has 13 books in print currently including Bargello Revisited, the most comprehensive Bargello book in print. Her Nuts about Needlepoint blog,, is the leading needlepoint blog. Her Needlepoint News blog provides news to all stitchers. She welcomes folks to contact her (and contribute news) at

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Ask Social: Instagram's New Features

Posted By TNNA HQ, Thursday, July 27, 2017
Updated: Thursday, July 27, 2017

Ask Social: Instagram's New Features

By Mari Chiba Luke and Vickie Howell

Ask Social is a collaboration between Mari Chiba Luke (@mariknits), business integration manager and design director of Stitchcraft Marketing, and Vickie Howell (@vickiehowell), executive producer and host of The Knit Show with Vickie Howell.

Dear Ask Social,


With all the live video options, I’m overwhelmed! I just read an article about Instagram Live, but why would I do Instagram Live instead of Facebook Live? How is it different?





Dear Over-grammed,

There are many social media platforms, and I totally understand that it’s overwhelming trying to figure out where to spend your precious time and resources. When it comes to Facebook vs. Instagram, quite simply that you most likely have different audiences on each channel. Although you’re likely to have some overlap, many people who are following you on Instagram probably aren’t on Facebook, and vice versa. Even if they are, depending on how much they’ve interacted with your account on each platform, the algorithms may or may not be showing your posts to them. By engaging on both platforms, you increase the chances you’ll reach your target audience.


Instagram Live is similar to Facebook Live: it will let followers know that you are currently live, allow for comments and live interaction, and you can save the video once you’re done broadcasting. Thus, many of the strategies you are using/considering for Facebook Live will also carry over to Instagram.


Here are some content ideas for your Instagram Live videos:

1.    Announcements - just as you announce a new product launch to your team; host a live video kick-off meeting with all your loyal followers.

2.    Early Access - to a sale or coupon code, reward your followers and let them know you value them.

3.    Behind the scenes tour - show your followers your studio, a new shipment coming in, a peek behind the curtain to how the magic is made.

4.    Host a live tutorial/lesson - teach your users something! Advice on using your products, crafting, or anything else that’s related to your brand, letting your expertise can shine.

Remember that your video should reward users for watching your video, provide something of value and incentivize them to watch again in the future.


Here are a few tips for getting the most bang for your buck with Instagram Live:

1.    Before you go live: post images on your feed and use Instagram Stories to tell your followers when you will be live with a teaser to what you’ll be talking about.

2.    Capture emails: ask users to submit a question to a specific email before you go live, or direct them to a link for the special offer you announce in your video. Now you’ve captured emails and you can incorporate these followers into your future marketing plans.


Happy Gramming!


Dear Ask Social,

I’ve been hearing a lot about Instagram Stories lately, but I don’t really get what the benefits of using it are. Can you please explain how Stories is any different than my regular feed, and why I should be using it to promote my business?





Dear Unclear,

Stories was created as Instagram’s response to the popularity of SnapChat. For those unfamiliar with the format, both of these app functions offer a form of micro-communication via low-quality, quick (15 second) videos, photos and GIFs which may or may not be doodled over with text, location tags, or silly overlays. These bits of content are only “live” for 24 hours, and then disappear into the web ether. The former means taking a lighthearted approach to content creation, the latter means that followers will want to check your feed regularly for fear of missing these little, insider’s nuggets!


The simple way to think about the differing purposes of Instagram streams versus stories is like this: whereas the smart approach for your Instagram photo feed is to be inspirational, the benefit of using Instagram Stories is to create a relatable face for your brand. What that means is that although the strategy for your feed might involve posting an ongoing series of beautifully curated and styled photos, your stories can be somewhat off-the-cuff, and with very little attention paid to aesthetic. Your stories can either be a direct extension of the activity on your feed, or a slight departure (as long as it’s still relatively on-topic.) This is a business owners' chance to let followers know that in addition to being an impressive brand, it’s also run by real people who are as passionate about needlearts as their fans. Stories can humanize your company, which opens the doors for consumers/followers to feel like your business is more than that — it’s also composed of virtual friends. When people feel like you’re accessible and authentic, it creates loyalty, which not only feels good — it’s also smart marketing!


Here are 3 post ideas you might play with for your business’ Instagram Stories:

1.       Behind the scenes photo of your messy warehouse or studio during a hectic time, with accompanying text like, “It may not be pretty here, right now but your new Brand X yarn will be GORGEOUS!”

2.       Quick video (you’ll need a friend to hold the camera for you) of your hands stitching with a link (just click the link icon at the top of the screen) to a corresponding pattern or blog tutorial.

3.       Use the Boomerang option to create a GIF of a product order going in and out of a mailbox so customers know their stuff is on their way!


Have fun — we can’t wait to see YOUR Stories!


About the Author

Ask Social is a collaboration between Mari Chiba Luke (@mariknits), business integration manager and design director of Stitchcraft Marketing, and Vickie Howell (@vickiehowell), executive producer and host of The Knit Show with Vickie Howell.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

TEN Award Winner: Q&A with Stu Berg

Posted By TNNA HQ, Thursday, July 27, 2017
Updated: Thursday, July 27, 2017

TEN Award Winner: Q&A with Stu Berg

The Tribute to Excellence in Needlearts (TEN) Award is given to an individual each year who represents, or has represented, the finest in the needlearts industry and who personifies and upholds TNNA's mission statement. This year, Stu Berg was presented the TEN Award. Read about his decades in the needleart industry.

TNNA: How did you get into the needlearts industry?


Stu: I used to be a life insurance salesperson, which I did not like in the slightest. My wife worked for a large company a textile company that owned five or six subsidiaries and Bucilla was one of them. It was a young needlepoint stitchery with a big showroom in NYC at the time. We saw an ad in the paper and I sent a resume. I got the job and transcribed orders for salesmen who were doing business with department stores. Department stores were very involved in the industry at that time. I learned the craft of selling by sitting in a showroom in those early years. Eventually a territory opened up in the Southeast, we moved to Jacksonville, Florida, and I went on the road in the yarn business.

TNNA: How did it progress from there?

Stu: I then transferred to New York and worked for Paragon Needleworks. After that, I received a call for a better deal from Brunswick Worsted Mills and I covered the Northeast territory, including New York for 25 years. I broke a million dollars in sales during that time. Following Brunswick, we moved to Colorado Springs from Long Island to take a vice president role at Pinguoin Yarns. I also began carrying Unique Colors (Collinette) in 2001, Muench Yarns, Prism Yarns in 2009, Malabrigo in 2006 and others. Now I am currently with Trendsetter Yarns, Prism Yarns, Malabrigo Yarns and Knitting Needles Plus.

TNNA: What’s one of the most memorable moments from your career?

Stu: Winning the TEN Award is definitely top of the list. No sales rep has ever won in the past. Other memorable moments include just getting to know owners from all over the world. I do knitting cruises with Trendsetter, and I’ve gotten to know the owners of some mills in Italy. The people I’ve met over the years is the best part. Every day is a possibility of meeting someone new.

TNNA: What was the hardest thing to overcome in terms of the yarn industry throughout your career?

Stu: Being away from my family was always a major challenge over the years. I unfortunately missed things due to traveling, but now if there are major things I am home.

TNNA: Since you have been in the industry for decades, do you have any predictions about where the industry may be heading?

Stu: The online market is huge today, but that’s the frightening part for many owners today. I think yarn shops should have an internet presence even if they have a brick and mortar shop. The industry also always seems to do fabulously when there is a trend like a specific yarn, color or style. Whenever there was a big trend, it always boosted sales. Now, if something exciting is going on in the industry we need to be able to draw the younger generation in. Some yarn shops are not marketing to younger people, but the ones that are more innovative and have different types of styling and displays will come out ahead.  

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Fashion Forward: Needlearts on the Runway

Posted By TNNA HQ, Thursday, July 27, 2017
Updated: Thursday, July 27, 2017

Fashion Forward: Needlearts on the Runway

By: Ellen Lewis

As part of the fashion industry, couture and ready-to-wear designers and their shows heavily influence the yarn and hand knitting industry. The most recent London show for Autumn/Winter 2017 was an early peek at what will be trending in stores as runway looks trickle down to ready to wear.  


Trend 1: Deconstructed Knitwear

Some looks are unlikely to make it to most knitters' needles such as deconstructed knitwear like this three-sleeved sweater from Christopher Kane.


This pullover-cardigan hybrid from Burberry available at Saks Fifth Avenue is also an example of something that many needlearts professionals may use only for inspiration.



Though many of us may not knit these garments, look for designs that feature mismatched button bands, half collars, and asymmetrical styling from the more avant-garde hand-knitting designers.


Trend 2: Oversized Knits

Another trends we are likely to see include oversized cozy knits with plenty of ease and generous sleeves.  Acne Studios, Prada, and Chloe, are all showing exaggerated sleeves, dropped shoulders, and thigh-length pullovers.  




Trend 3: Chunky and Textured Fabrics

Another look we're likely to see reflected in yarns available and designs created are chunky fabrics that focus on texture.   Some fashion critics have referred to this style as Soft Armor, with gently padded shoulder lines and thick bold cables, bobble, and honeycomb stitches that create a feeling of safety inside the clothes.  This pink and white pullover from Aldo Martins is a perfect example.

Part of this whole over-sized and heavily textured look is related to Hygge, the Danish concept of getting cozy.  Especially nice for yarn store owners, as these giant garments take lots of yarn, and fit is not an issue!  


Trend 4: Sleeves and Peplums

Some of the more subtle trends include bell sleeves and peplums, shown her in a design by Cinq a Sept and Altuzarra.



What trends in knitwear have you seen on the runways?  Share what you're seeing and how you plan to feature it in your shop with us by posting on Facebook and tagging @TNNAORG.


About the Author

Ellen Lewis is the owner of Crazy for Ewe in Leonardtown, Maryland. Ellen opened Crazy for Ewe in 2004 after a career in management consulting for the Department of Defense. She is vice president of her local business association, leading the organization's Mastermind Group, chairing the First Friday Committee, and supporting the Marketing Committee. Ellen has four children and a big fluffy Old English Sheepdog Dorey.  

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (1)

Will You Knit That For Me?

Posted By TNNA HQ, Thursday, July 13, 2017
Updated: Friday, July 14, 2017

 Will You Knit That for Me?

By Lee Bernstein

The Needleart Spotlight monthly column will shine a light on various sectors within the needlarts industry including needlepoint, knitting, spinning & weaving and counted thread & embroidery.

In the world of knitters, there are those who think of knitting as a hobby, those who think of knitting as a craft, those who think of knitting as an art, and those who think of knitting as a business.

In the world of non-knitters, the considerations are different. Many people assume knitting is for the meek, elderly, bored, or for those who are too dim to do something significant.

I’ll concede: There are reasons why some non-knitters might feel the way they do. They could have possibly fallen victim to getting a gift from someone who thinks they know how to knit—one of those squeaky-yarn-people who knits miles of irregular garter stitch to produce nothing short of . . .

Well, nothing.

Yes, there are bad knitters. But, there are also engineers who disrespect infrastructure, actors who are worth casting only as bad actors, sculptors who sculpt lumps, writers who don’t know the difference between a comma splice and an apple slice, and sociopaths disguised as business executives and politicians.

However, if you ask a person what she or he does for a living, and she or he replies “I’m a (n) [engineer, actor, sculptor, writer, business executive, or politician],” then people go, “Oooh.” People go all bubbly inside. People go on to assume she or he is brilliant unless proven otherwise.

If someone says, “I’m a knitter,” people go numb.

Unless they want something.

Here’s how it works: A non-knitter falls in love with something that’s hand knit which, all too often, was unearthed in a social media post. The knit is either:

Ridiculous: A hat that looks like a toilet.

Impossible: A barn cozy, knit in lace to illustrate the story of Charlotte’s Web.

Costly and time-consuming: Socks.

Or, it’s crochet.

Take my friend Sophie for example. Over the holidays, she knit a sweater as a gift for her niece. As her niece opened the box, her parents radiated those saccharine grins that only non-knitters can produce. “Oh, well, oh, my gosh! Just look at the sweater Aunt Sophie made. How sweet is that?”

Timeout. Let’s discuss Aunt Sophie. That “sweet” sweater is one of the most beautiful and intricate cable knits you’ll find. It is perfection.

Sophie designed the sweater. Her use of positive and negative ease makes the sweater fit perfectly, and her pattern calls for innovative techniques. Sophie published the pattern and sold an impressive number of copies. She’s even received critical acclaim for it.

This means Sophie is an artist. She is an engineer. She is a sculptor. She is a writer. She is a business woman.

Sophie sells her hand knits at high-end vendor fairs and online.. Her finished pieces are expensive, or at least as much as the market allows. She respects the trade, and while she usually doesn’t get a full return on the knitting time she puts in, she charges enough to make a profit.

Sophie wishes more non-knitters respected her work and she wishes they understood the reason why her prices are high. It doesn’t help when others undercut her by taking a loss on what they knit to sell online, or when they buy mass-produced items and misrepresent them as handmade.

It helps that Sophie’s pattern sales offset making a proper production wage, the amount of which should be . . .

Well, let’s think about it. Whether Sophie knits as a career or as a sideline, what should a person get paid if she’s one of the finest artists, engineers, sculptors, or writers? Whatever the amount, Sophie doesn’t earn it. Some of it is her burden for putting up with it, and she knows it. Yet she fears raising her prices might hinder rather than help.

And then there’s the curse of non-knitters such as her niece, who have fallen in love with a toilet hat and who know Sophie knows how to knit.

“Aunt Sophie, will you knit that for me?”

Sophie loves to knit, but here is what is going through her head:

I don’t want to knit a hat that looks like a toilet, and I have no idea if the pattern is impossible to follow or filled with mistakes. If it is, I’ll need to redesign it, which can be crazy-making and time-consuming.

Yarn is expensive. I don’t like knitting with inferior yarn. It isn’t enjoyable, and I don’t want my name attached to anything but the best.

In addition, I have issues with asking friends and family to pay for my knitting, even if I only ask them to pay for the yarn. HA! They’d choke if they knew how much it costs, and they’d think me a fool for paying it.

Oh, well. Maybe I have enough in my stash to make it, and I’ll not think about the price.

If all goes well, I might finish it in a few weeks, but only if I spend every spare minute on it, which means having to sacrifice knitting something I might have enjoyed or sold. So, not only am I losing time and money on knitting this thing, I’m sacrificing pleasure, income, or both, for every hour I spend.

Oh, am I?

The niece nudges again, “Aunt Sophie, are you listening? WILL YOU KNIT THAT FOR ME?”

A spotlight shines inside Sophie’s head, and as her emotional curtain rises, she becomes the finest actor in the world.

“I’d love to.”

Oh, dear. Now Sophie’s gone and done it. You think she’d learn. You think she’d remember the countless times she said yes to someone, only to swear she wouldn’t do it again. But, deep inside, she can’t resist. She knows that after weeks of what she prays will not be knitting torture, she will produce a treasure—a priceless piece of love. And love is what it’s all about, right?

Well, yeah, whatever. A person also deserves to enjoy knitting every stitch and a person needs to eat. A person should be able to relish her knitting without toilet-loving-non-knitters stinking up the place.

Will Sophie’s work be appreciated? Probably not. After all, in the non-knitting world, knitting is just knitting.

Yet, Sophie knits away. It takes her weeks to re-design and sculpt the hat, and when she hands it to her niece, she cringes as she watches the little love crumple it into a backpack and dash off.

Sophie sighs and asks herself why she even tries. For the next few weeks, every time she thinks about the work she put into that stupid project her heart and stomach duel in a battle to see which one aches the most.

Some people might wonder why a person would feel such remorse after doing nothing more than knitting a novelty. Why indeed. Even Sophie would admit that the resentment she feels is unhealthy and a waste of time.

As Sophie vows to never knit anything for anyone again, there’s a knock on her door. It’s her niece. The little love yanks the hat out of the backpack and holds it out to Sophie, as if to return it, but instead asks, “Aunt Sophie, will you teach me how to knit?”

In an instant, that hat becomes Sophie’s tour de force. Sophie smiles because she knows that teaching her niece how to knit spins the promise of becoming a masterwork to live throughout the generations. This time, there’s no acting involved.

“I’d love to.”

And then, there are those who think of knitting as a miracle. 


About the Author

In addition to managing a financial institution, Lee Bernstein loves to knit, design, and write ( Her work has appeared in numerous publications. To some, she is best known for having written “I Love You,” the signature song of the children’s television show Barney & Friends, but to those closest to her, she is best known for loving life, family (including pets, of course), friends, and a good laugh. She is an addicted knitter and intends to stay that way. 

Tags:  TNNANews 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Contracts That Work For You and Your Business

Posted By TNNA HQ, Thursday, July 13, 2017
Updated: Friday, July 14, 2017

Legal Know-How: Contracts That Work for You and Your Business

By Danielle Chalson

The craft and needlearts industry is collaborative by nature. Designers need materials to bring their ideas to life. Needleart companies work with designers to create new designs that promote their product and contract with craft stores to sell their products. Magazines and publishers rely on companies and designers to generate content (and advertising) to fill their latest issues.


Craft and needleart stores rely on companies that provide materials, designers and publishers to attract customers and create products for sale. These are only a few traditional examples. As the needleart industry grows and changes in the digital age so do the number and type of collaborations.

What happens when the collaboration between two people, companies or stores goes wrong? What are the repercussions? Most importantly, how could the situation have been avoided in the first place?

In this series, you’ll learn how to read and understand the most important terms in your existing contracts. You’ll also learn how to create future contracts that aim to maximize the benefits for you and your business. Because that’s essentially what a contract is: An agreement between two entities that want to collaborate.

1. Dispel the notion that “contracts” have to be complicated, expensive and impossible to understand

A contract can be as straightforward as a single page (or even a paragraph) that summarizes the key points of an agreement between two parties that intend to work together. In certain instances, a contract should be longer with additional terms spelled out in more detail. Regardless of what format the contract takes what matters is that:

·         The contract correctly covers the most important points for each party

·         It covers those points clearly so each party understands their rights and obligations.

2. Because contracts can take many forms, we need to consider when it’s helpful to have a contract

The short answer is “almost always!” Designers regularly sign contracts for a design that appears in a publisher’s book or magazine. These formal contracts, which typically have been prepared by the publisher with the input of at least one attorney, are appropriate and necessary because the cost and exposure for both parties is significant. Here are a few more examples of common (and, some might say, “casual”) situations where the two parties should prepare at least a basic contract:

·         A craft store brings in a teacher to teach weekend classes

·         A needlearts company commissions a popular designer to create a design for a promotion such as a knit-a-long

·         A craft store wants to use a published design that they do not own as a teaching tool for a new workshop

3. Where to begin? At the beginning, of course!

We’ll explore how to get to the heart of any agreement, whether it’s a casual one-time collaboration or a more formal, long-term relationship. We’ll ask and answer key questions:

·         Who are the parties?

·         Why do the parties want to work together?

·         What terms are “non-negotiable” for each party?

When we understand the motivation and goals of each party, we’re in a better position to reach a written agreement that can avoid future misunderstanding, financial loss or hurt feelings. This series will be greatly enriched by your own real-world experiences within the craft and needlearts industry. Please write in with your questions and suggestions!

Finally, a disclaimer: The general discussions in this series are not legal advice. If you need specific legal advice about a certain matter, please contact a local attorney!


About the Author

Danielle Chalson is a patent attorney. She’s also an independent knitwear designer who designs for established publications and self-publishes under her own brand, Makewise Designs. You can find her on Ravelry (makewise) and on Instagram (@makewisedesigns). She and her family live in Long Island, New York.

Tags:  Business tips  TNNANews 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Next Steps for Your Blog: Keep Readers Engaged

Posted By TNNA HQ, Thursday, July 13, 2017
Updated: Friday, July 14, 2017

Next Steps for Your Blog: Keep Readers Engaged

By Janet M. Perry and Anita M. Wheeless

You’ve started your blog and successfully pinpointed your audience, but now the challenge is to keep your readers coming back week after week.


 Once blog visitors become subscribers by opting in to receive your updates you’ll be able to send notices of your new blog posts via email. There are useful little plugins and apps you can add to your blog to make getting subscribers easy and completely transparent.

     According to the blog, “... each time you publish a new blog post, it's your subscribers who'll provide you with that initial surge of traffic -- which, in turn, will propel those posts' long-term success. The key to getting more blog traffic (and, eventually, leads and customers) all starts with growing subscribers.”


     Are you willing to update your blog regularly on a set schedule? This is the number one reason why blogs die. It sounds so easy, but you need to commit to the process. Your readers will come to expect the updates on certain days and times. If you miss too many of these days they may not come back. This is the blogging version of the cost of finding new customers. To stay on track, set a schedule and keep to it. Update your blog on the same days and, if at all possible, at about the same time. Doing this consistently allows non-subscribers to visit at specific times and see new content. If you really want to target a specific audience, you can use analytics to see what day and time gets the most visitors and post new content at those times. While there’s no hard and fast rule about how often you should update a blog, the Sumall blog suggests posting new material at least twice per week.


Another area often overlooked is search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. Being found by search engines is important for your business and your blog. Having titles for each blog post is a good start for SEO, but there are plugins you can install to help you improve SEO for each post. The one Janet uses is called Yoast and it even gives an alert status for every post.


 In addition to your blog, posting frequently on a variety of social media networks is another way to connect with potential followers. Many tools and apps are available that actually allow you to schedule various social media posts to become live at the best time of day to reach your audience.


 Here’s a quick glimpse at some of the scheduling tools available: With its free automated marketing tools, MailChimp looks like a great place to start. According to the website, “If you have 2,000 or fewer subscribers, you can send up to 12,000 emails per month absolutely free. No expiring trial, contract, or credit card required.” To help you build that subscriber base, MailChimp also has built-in sign-up forms for many platforms such as, WordPress, Facebook and Twitter. There are other direct email providers available at many different prices. From’s description, the free individual plan allows you to connect one type of social account per network. For example, you can connect one Facebook account, one Twitter account, one LinkedIn account, one Google+ account and one Instagram account, posting the same content or customized content on one or each at scheduled times. Connecting with Pinterest requires an upgrade to $10 a month. 


Hootsuite: If $19 per month suits your budget, Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts to a variety of social media networks using up to 10 social profiles. Real-time analytics help determine the best time to post.


If you’re interested in only scheduling Tweets to your Twitter account, you can do so directly from your Tweet deck. Select “compose Tweet” from the Tweet deck. You simply write your tweet and then click “schedule tweet” to select when you’d like it to post. You can even choose an image to go along with it. 


These tools, tips and ideas can help your blog look its best, but the key to keeping your followers is being active. Make it a priority to post the most interesting content you can on a regular basis.


About the Authors

Janet M. Perry is a needlepoint educator, creating print books, ebooks, on-line classes, stitch guides, and blogs that provide great information for stitchers at all levels. She has 13 books in print currently including Bargello Revisited, the most comprehensive Bargello book in print. Her Nuts about Needlepoint blog,, is the leading needlepoint blog. Her Needlepoint News blog provides news to all stitchers. She welcomes folks to contact her (and contribute news) at 


Anita Mumm Wheeless has been a member of TNNA since 2012 and has been certified as a knitting instructor by the Craft Yarn Council.  A former newspaper writer/editor, she designs knitting patterns for toys and novelties. Leisure Arts published her book, “Storybook Dolls to Knit” in 2011. Her patterns are also featured on, and You can find her on and Love Knitting. She maintains a website: and a blog: Connect with Anita on Twitter @AnitaPatternBox or by email:


Tags:  TNNANews 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
Page 3 of 5
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5
Sign In
Sign In securely