Decision: Tee by Louet

I have a lace-and-ribbing tee in my submission queue that I really love. It started as the Padre Island Tee when I submitted it to Knit Picks and Knitscene. Then it was called Island Tee when PomPom Quarterly rejected it.

And when I submitted it to the yarn company Louet in mid-July, I called it Long Island Tee.* The call said they were looking for tees, for lace, and for designs that use 2–6 skeins of yarn. It’s not often that an existing design hits a trifecta, but it is often that I’m rejected.


Whether because of the name change or that this design’s time has finally come:


I proposed it their Gems Sport yarn, a 100% merino wool. Admittedly a ridiculous fiber for a spring garment in central Texas, but I have to remember that a significant population of the world doesn’t start wearing shorts and flip-flops** in March, and may still appreciate the warmth of wool.

But when they accepted it, the editor asked me to use their Euroflax Sport, a 100% linen yarn. I agreed, partly because this design could be knit out of anything, even kitchen twine, but mostly because who am I to demand no brown M&Ms in my dressing room?

The yarn arrived yesterday.

Swatching begins today.

George Gently began last night.

*Thanks to my accountability partner, Melinda, for the joke that polished into a jewel.

**Not me. Not flip-flops. Not ever.

To Ponder: The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it. |-Chinese Proverb-|


Decision: Atomic Mitts by Knitty

My very first submission to the free online magazine Knitty was in 2009 with a mock turtleneck pullover. Interesting photos are important to them, and I did a fun photo shoot at my friend Liz’s horse farm.

One of the official photos taken with Shy Ann.

A couple of outtakes with Gabriel—nibbling my hand on the left and looking innocent on the right.

Knitty rejected that sweater, but I was writing books at the time, and didn’t submit again until 2012 when I got serious about designing knitwear.

Knitty is a king maker. It’s only a slight exaggeration to say that every knitter in the world reads them, and millions of us have watched several indie designers who have been published by them go full-time and big time. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve said, “I have to get into Knitty.”

I’ve submitted to just about every one of their calls for submission, and have been rejected every single time. I’d like to say that I’ve never given up on being published by them, but I can’t. I would submit to three or four calls in a row, then get frustrated and skip one or two, then try again and get rejected again.

But this time?




I didn’t even know I’d gotten in until Knitty’s tech editor asked me to review my edited pattern. Apparently my acceptance email had been sitting in the editor’s Drafts folder for a month.

However it happened, I’m just grateful that it did.


To Ponder: Success is on the same road as failure. Success is just a little further down the road. |-Jack Hyles-|

Decision: City Cowl by Knit Picks

A month or so ago, Knit Picks put out call for submissions for accessories patterns for certain of their yarn lines. One of them is one of my favorites—Andean Treasure.

As with my Snowman Draft Stopper, they’re going to offer these patterns for free, hoping, of course, to sell the yarn the pattern calls for.

They don’t pay as much for these free patterns as they do for their regular collections, but they do pay something. And they usually want easy/beginner-type patterns, so designing, knitting, and writing the pattern usually go pretty quickly. In fact, for this design, I just knit the whole thing and sent them a photo of the finished cowl.

I like a lot of things about designing for Knit Picks, especially how quickly they get back to you with a decision—usually within a week, and they stick to that deadline whether it’s an acceptance or a rejection. For this call, submissions were due by November 2nd and they said they would decide by November 7th. That’s five blessed days compared to nine bleepin’ weeks.

Except I didn’t hear anything on Friday. I figured they didn’t want my cowl, but was hoping they were just behind on their emails. Happily, it was the latter.




The contract has been signed and returned to them, and my hard-working mailman, Charles, will be delivering two skeins of Andean Treasure in Embers Heather very soon.

I do love a good red.

To Ponder: It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. |Krishnamurti|

Decision: Happy Hat by Little One-Skein Wonders

Yesterday afternoon, after spending the morning listening to different auto mechanics give me convincing but conflicting opinions about the exact same thing, and realizing that the reason my car is vibrating while driving is not even remotely related to the diagnosis another auto shop gave me and charged me $998.16 to fix*, I came home to an email from the editors of 101 Little One-Skein Wonders that my Happy Hat was accepted for publication.




To add to the glory, this is my first acceptance by a book that will be sold in bookstores and, more importantly, on Amazon.

The idea behind these one-skein books is that patterns use only a single skein† or less of yarn, so they’re usually accessories, like hats, scarves, mittens, fingerless mitts, purses, booties, blankies, etc. But the designer gets to choose the skein she uses. Some skeins have less than 50 yards of yarn and some can have more than 450 yards, and you can do lot with that much yarn.

There are several 101 One-Skein books in the series published by Storey Publishing and edited by Judith Durant. The first one has a general mix of patterns and yarns, and then later ones in the series have a specific focus: designer, sock yarn (i.e., fiddley) luxury yarn, (i.e., expensive) and lace. And if anyone is interested, there’s also one for crochet.

(Those are all Ravelry links; click the pic below to see the books on Amazon. )

The company I’ll be keeping.

This Little One-Skein Wonders collection is for babies and toddlers, and their mommies, and while I don’t know anything about any of that, I do know how to make a small hat.

I submitted my pattern way back in February, and they said they would notify everyone by early spring. Seeing as we’re a month into summer in the northern hemisphere, this added a mild shock to the surprise of the acceptance‡.

In the call for submissions, they had asked that you supply an SASE with enough postage to cover the return of your sample if it wasn’t accepted, but I didn’t do that. I told them I didn’t need it returned to me and suggested they donate the hat to a hospital. (Not because I’m altruistic, but because I’m frugal.) Plus, if I decided to self-publish the hat, I would knit it in wool rather than the neon green washable nylon/acrylic blend I used for this submission.

Publications usually email when it’s a yes and return your sample or swatch when it’s a no, so when I first saw the email from them, I figured they made an exception because they, too, were too frugal to spring for return postage.

A taste of Happy.

The best part is that I don’t have to do anything. They wanted you to submit the completed pattern, along with the knitted item for them to photograph, so all the work has been done.

They’re going to get back to me in February with contracts and pattern layout for review.

Let’s hope they photograph it on a baby who is charismatic enough to make the cover.

*You’re welcome, “Christian” Brothers, for my help in earning you another award for profitability from the corporate office. Too bad they don’t issue awards for integrity.

†Yarn also comes in balls and hanks, and those would be acceptable for this collection, but the title One-Ball Wonders can be construed too many other ways and One-Hank Wonders is just silly.

‡There might be one small glitch, however. Remember how I just told you that I combined the stitch pattern for a hat that a book didn’t want with a tank top shape for my proposal to knit.wear? Um, yeah.

p.s. I would have congratulated myself with this, but I need to save up money to get my car fixed properly.

To Ponder: We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself. |Lloyd Alexander|

Acceptance: Holiday Pattern for Knit Picks

Last Thursday, the same day I recieved my swatch in the mail from Knitscene, I came home to an email from Knit Picks that they want one of my holiday thingamabobs for their website.




The acceptance came with a restriction against spoilers (they call it confidentiality), so that’s all I can say. Except for…

And they chose the second easiest one of the four I submitted.

Acceptance: Fingerless Mitts by Knit Picks

Seems like only two days ago you were reading about my proposal to Knit Picks for some fingerless mitts.

The submission deadline was 5/18/14 (Sunday), and they were supposed to let everyone know yay or nay by 5/29/14, but I came home to an email yesterday afternoon (5/20/14) that Knit Picks wants my fingerless mitts for their Accessories 2015 Collection.




As I mentioned in a previous post, I can tell at a glance at the length of the message whether Knit Picks rejected or accepted my submission. This email had exclamation points and bullet points about contracts and colors and confidentiality.

I barely had time to wonder/hope/pray about. If you did all those things for me, thank you!

No Backing Out Now

This week, Interweave Knits sent me a PDF proof that contains my hat pattern they accepted for their 2014 Holiday Gifts issue.



My pattern. In Interweave Knits. On page 100. Laid out and formatted with three professional photos (the actual sample hat knit by me, modeled on a darling girl who looks like Pippa Middleton) and my name and the little note about my design inspiration set off in a box made with squiggly lines.

They sent this document to me so I could review my pattern and make any changes or comments. I found a few errors (I used to be a technical writer and editor, so I know how to review something to within an inch of its life), but mostly I noticed that they published only about half of what I sent them.

The editor, Lisa Shroyer, had asked for a men’s size in addition to the women’s, which I included in my pattern, but they didn’t use it. I gave tips for when to remove stitch markers and specified the exact number of the round on which you should make the crown decreases, both of which they left out. I also provided line-by-line written instructions, but they used only the chart. (Note: I include such helpful info in all of my self-published patterns.)

My writing has been published a few times, so I know that magazines have to shoehorn in as many features and advertisers as they can, but it’s still surprising and disappointing to see how much and what they cut.

As with most things accepted by a reputable publication, whether poetry or short story or recipe or hat pattern, there’s a “kill fee” should they decide not to publish it. It’s a fraction of the original fee they offered, and it’s supposed to be used toward the side dishes served with the crow you’ll have to eat after bragging to friends, family, and countrymen for months about how you’re going to be published in a national—nay international—magazine.

Well, no crows will be digested because of me. (This time.) The PDF they sent contains the entire section that includes all the other designers’ patterns too. What this means is that my pattern is an integral part of the layout and there’s no killing it. Yay!

In all three photos, Pippa isn’t looking at the camera, so I figured my hat didn’t have a chance of making the cover. (Yes, I’m already going there. Why not?) But then I looked at other covers, and…

Please join me in sending up prayers that mine is the first pattern you’ll see.

Accepted: Lazy Sunday Pillow

Last month, I submitted my Lazy Sunday pillow pattern to Made in America Yarns. I wasn’t familiar with them before I read their call for submissions, but I like their local, hand-crafted attitude.

Yesterday I got an email from their marketing director, Beck, that they want my design. Yay! They’re not going to pay me for it, but I’ll benefit from sales of the pattern. They’ll promote it to their customers and fanbase on Ravelry and Facebook, and take knitted samples to big fiber shows, like TNNA. As a new designer, I’ll take any exposure someone offers me.

The only requirement is that the pattern use one of their yarns. I’ve been looking for a reason to put the cable from my Very Blackberry Pullover on a pillow, so that’s what I proposed to them. (I had submitted this design to Knit Picks a couple of months ago for their Creature Comforts collection, but they didn’t want it.)

Here’s a peek at the prototype.

Lazy Sunday pillow prototype. Too tight for this pillow form, and the cabled edge is too floppy.

One of the wonderful things about getting a pattern accepted, whether by a yarn company or a magazine, is that you get free yarn. Some bulky American Lamb in the deep ruby Wine Glass corlorway is on its way to me.

The Second Love of My Life

After a ho-hum career as an amateur sleuth mystery author, I’m finally doing what I love: knitting. All day, every day. It’s as great as it sounds. Infinitely better than writing books because I can knit while I watch the The Rockford Files.

On my computer is a Knitting folder with a sub-folder called My Patterns that has several more sub-folders with the names of patterns I’ve self-published.


A growing list of self-published patterns.

I have to leave my house once in a while to earn money or go grocery shopping, but for the most part, I have all day to knit and knit and knit. I sunbathe when the weather is nice. I go for walks. I meet friends for coffee. Then I go back to my studio and knit.

I’ve sold a few patterns, but not enough to make grocery shopping the only reason I leave my house.

Two of my hat patterns have been accepted by both Interweave Knits and Knitscene, both of which will be released at the end of 2014, and I’m hoping that international exposure will set my sail. More on these hats later.

I have tried many, many times to get into Knitty, but still no joy. I haven’t given up, though. (Well, I have given up, but then I try again.)

On the bright side:

  • I have a computer with which I can write up patterns.
  • I have more ideas than I’ll ever have time to knit.
  • I’m not writing books on deadline for a publisher that has screwed me seven ways from Sunday on everything from promotions to editing to royalties.