Believe it or not, it took a while for Lauren Tran to accept that she shouldn't be embarrassed about her love for knitting. She originally picked up the hobby in high school, and rekindled her practice during college, as a stress reliever. Being a 20-something and having a hobby that is generally associated with older people made it hard to connect with others her age.
With encouragement and growing self confidence, Lauren decided to create her own business on Etsy to sell her knit items. Continue on to read more about her fiber arts journey, and to download her exclusive Calla Cowl Pattern!
I started knitting first and crocheting after. My sophomore year in high school, I bought a loom-knitting kit at Walmart and eventually wanted to attempt actual knitting. I taught myself by watching Youtube videos and had so much fun! Little did I know I had no real idea what I was doing—I wasn’t paying attention to gauge, recommended needle sizes, or any of that stuff. My love for knitting was rekindled in college as a stress-reliever and I began really learning the ins and outs. As for crochet, I only learned it so I could teach my younger cousin how to crochet her boyfriend a scarf. I didn’t expect to love it so much!
My favorite memory involving knitting and crocheting must be was in the yarn aisles at Michaels this past year. I happened to make friends with three other ladies—all different ages and from different walks of life. We talked for what seemed like at least an hour! It was amazing to see how a hobby could bring strangers together and serves as a continual reminder of this wonderful community.
I never intended for my little hobby to become a small business. It initially started when people (friends/family/strangers online) would ask me if I was selling (insert whatever project I was currently working on). These requests and custom orders happened more sporadically until my boyfriend prodded me to post more pictures of my knitting. After that, I became more exposed to the making community and all of the wonderful people in it. They inspired me to create my own small business. Requests came in more frequently to sell my stuff and to ask about buying my handmade items, so I eventually took the plunge, having gained courage from my fellow makers.
The biggest challenge I’ve faced thus far must have been accepting my hobby. I used to feel a bit embarrassed taking my WIPS in public. I also felt so alone in my fiber-related interests, since it seemed like I had nobody I could talk to who also knew how to knit/crochet. I truly felt like I couldn’t relate to any of my friends and likely vice a versa. I used to long for a local knitting group or anything of the sort so that I could bond with others about my crafts! I think that finding this making community has helped me so much with feeling like I wasn’t some weird
teenager with a hobby traditionally associated with older people. The support, encouragement, and friendships I’ve forged through this hobby have definitely helped me overcome this isolation and shyness I used to feel.
Don’t be afraid to showcase new ideas and move forward with confidence in your abilities! Personally, designing patterns was a rather tentative step for me, but I found that I really loved it. I had no idea what I was doing at first—and still feel that way sometimes—but I was very real and honest about how I was just venturing out and testing the waters. It’s always difficult stepping into new territory, but I had wonderful friends and makers who helped support and reassure me. Nobody starts out perfect, whether it be learning a new technique, designing patterns for the first time, or even opening up a shop. It can be really scary taking your hobby to the next level, but making mistakes is perfectly normal and I think it’s really important to keep that in mind. You are your own harshest critic! Take it easy on yourself and have fun.
I plan on trying to broaden my horizons by selling more patterns. I love the design process! I think that working on more pattern designs will force me to step out of my comfort zone because I mainly only work with stitches/techniques that I am familiar with.