Creation has always been something that Jazmin Brock, better known as @thatknitlife, has felt driven to do.Trained in graphic design, Jaz has been knitting since 2015, when she wanted to start designing her own clothing and accessories. She now has her own Etsy shop, where she creates ready made knitwear and home decor, along with selling patterns.
Learn more about her fiber arts (yes, Jaz also knows how to crochet!) journey, and click here to get her Ash Cave Beanie Pattern, designed exclusively for Darn Good Yarn.
I started knitting in the Fall of 2015. A good friend of mine had just learned how to knit and I was super jealous of all the great beanies and scarves she was making! I had learned to crochet when I was 12, but knitting just seemed like this unattainable goal. As my husband likes to say, “I just don’t understand how you can tie knots with sticks and it turns into a hat.” But still...I really wanted to design my own accessories. About the time I learned to crochet, I had also really wanted to become a fashion designer, so learning how to make my own accessories and clothes was literally like a dream come true. I went over to my friends house and she taught me the basic stitches in a night and I was hooked *pun intended*. My first project was a red and gray fold-over cowl that was a mix-match of purl rows and knit rows because I couldn’t keep track of how many rows of which stitch I had done!
My favorite memory has got to be when I released my first pattern on Etsy, which was actually a crochet pattern! It was a bulky-weight crochet cowl. I remember searching for pattern testers on Instagram and I was so incredibly nervous the whole time. I checked my email with one eye open, scared of what someone was going to say. I remember in my first email to my testers I was SO nervous and so apologetic for any mistake they might find...I guess I didn’t realize that’s what testers are for! But the results were fantastic! I learned a lot and made some good friends. To this day, that cowl is my go-to accessory!
Really, I’d always WANTED to be my own boss. My parents have always been self-employed and they always encouraged me to do what I love. I’ve always been a super artsy person. I went to a Career and Technical School for Graphic Design hoping that I could support myself in that way, but when I actually tried to find a job in that field, I was always turned away because of lack of experience. Eventually, I’d had enough of trying to appease other people. I created That Knit Life for ME.
FUN FACT: My original name was That Knit LYFE, with a “Y” instead of “I”. Why, you ask? I don’t even
know! That was a pain trying to explain to people every time they asked for me Etsy!
Finding MY style. Somedays, I still feel like I haven’t truly found my style yet. When a lot of us are first learning, we look to others for inspiration and it’s hard not to be influenced by them. That’s not always a bad thing! We all have to start somewhere. But evolving your style into something more unique to YOU is absolutely crucial. Not only will you enjoy your craft more, but you’ll attract the type of buyers that really believe in you and your brand! I’ve spent the last year really trying to zone in on my personal style and designing things I would want to wear. I’ve never been happier with the projects I’ve been creating!
Don’t stop challenging yourself. This is something I still have to remind myself of as well. For example, intricate cable knitting makes me super anxious just looking at it! But this year, it’s one of my goals to incorporate some into a sweater pattern. You’ll never improve if you don’t challenge yourself! We learn from our mistakes, after all. In fact, the pattern I just made for Darn Good Yarn is a good example of this. I restarted this project AT LEAST 10 times. I have pages and pages of notes for this pattern that would make no sense to anyone but me. But it’s because I was challenging myself to get it right. This is by far my most unique pattern I’ve created and required a lot more attention to detail. So go ahead; start that project that you’ve been putting off for a year or that idea you’ve had in your head for months! I bet you’ll surprise yourself.
For the last 2 years I focused on selling handknit products, which I’ve really enjoyed even with the many ups-and- downs. Last year, I released 4 patterns while also trying to offer new products. This year, I want to double the amount of patterns I release! Recently, I’ve never been more happy than when I’m designing a pattern. I suppose that makes sense knowing that I always wanted to be a fashion designer or graphic designer. Honestly, I can’t believe it took me this long to figure that out!