history

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?

KNITTY WANTS MY ATOMIC MITTS FOR FIRST FALL 2015!

Ahem,

KNITTY WANTS MY ATOMIC MITTS FOR FIRST FALL 2015!

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.

Finally!

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

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Inspired by Art

Jared Flood recently posted about the inspiration for his Agnes pullover.

(c) Jared Flood

He says that this design was influenced by and named after the artist Agnes Martin, and he goes into how and why he chose the neutral color palette and how the color palette of other artists inspired the high-contrast version.

I like a little Mondrian here and there, but I’m mostly not into Modernist art because of its self-conscious aspect, which is what makes it (and people) boring. Sort of like a tire wrapped around an Angora goat that I learned about in an art survey class I took as an adult a few years ago.

Robert Rauschenburg – Monogram – 1955-1959

After rolling my eyes at that pollution, the art world was redeemed by the work of Adolf Wölfli, one of the most famous Art Brut artists, if not the most famous, in the world.

You may not like his style, but you can’t deny his genius.

He worked with colored pencils and any piece of paper he could get his digits on. Mostly newspaper because he spent much of his adult life in the Waldau Mental Asylum in Bern, Switzerland, where he died in 1930 of intestinal cancer.

Inspired and inspiring.

The detail, the color, the raw exposure. There is so much going on in his pieces.* What must his thoughts have been like?

Jared’s post reminded me that I once had an idea to design something** based on Wölfli’s art.

The idea scared me then, and it sort of scares me now, but as I was recently reminded by a friend while discussing another project: all you have to do is take the next step.

Okay, next step is to pull out my collection of Wölfli books.

I can do that.


*They remind me of another small obsession I have with Joan Steiner’s Look-a-Like books. She does a much better job than Robert Rauschenberg of using found objects to create intricate dioramas where nothing is what it appears to be. Look closely and you’ll see that sourdough bread loaves are mountains, a grenade is a pot-bellied stove, playing cards and cinnamon sticks make kitchen chairs, and a dollar bill is grandma’s apron.

Not just for kids.

I have spent many an hour marveling at her creativity, patience, and precision.

**Whatever I create, you can be sure I’ll name it something more vigorous than Agnes.

To Ponder: Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray. |-Rumi-|

Inspired to Knit: Simple Shawls

The other day at the farmer’s market, a woman who came up to my stand was wearing one of my knitted scarves. She had bought it last year and was looking for something similar. “I just love it,” she said. “I wear it all the time.”

When someone gives me a compliment like that, I think I should be knitting more of whatever it is that earned it. I didn’t recognize it, though, because she had it tucked into her jacket. She took it off to show me, and I was surprised for the second time by that little thing.

It was a prototype shawlette I had knit up to propose to Knit Picks for one of their calls for submission. It had an architectural stair-step design in both the pattern stitch:

and the construction:

And I had knit it in KP’s Comfy Fingering, a cotton/acrylic blend, in Blackberry.

Sounds cool, right?

But Knit Picks didn’t think so, and the design eventually became my Fallingwater Scarf.

I do love fringe.

So, getting back to the surprises. Last year was the first time I had a stand at the farmer’s market, and the prototype thing got scooped up with all the fully formed hats, fingerless mitts, and scarves I could affix a pricetag to.

This beloved scarf wasn’t even a finished object as far as I was concerned. The yarn was too drapey for the sharp angles of the construction, and it wasn’t a full-sized anything. I had stopped knitting when I understood the pattern enough to propose it to KP, so it was really just a big swatch.

The first surprise was that someone bought it, and the second was to hear that the buyer loved it so much she wanted another one.

Now, do you think I came home and started knitting one?

Pshaw.

I got a hankering to knit a shawl for myself, even though I never wear them. I also don’t enjoy knitting them because they’re usually made with laceweight or cobweb weight yarn on needles the girth of bicycle spokes, and have intricate lace designs that are easy to mess up. They have their own subset of knitting techniques, like nupps and garter tab cast-on, advise you to “block aggressively,” and have instructions like this:

540 stitches! 11 times!

Granted, not all shawls are lace, and some are knit on reasonably sized needles. Por ejemplo:

Not a yarn-over in sight.

1. Eyre of Romance Jane Shawl by Kay Meadors

2. #13 Ruffled Edge Wrap by Lisa Daehlin

3. Twisted Edge Shawlette by Cayenne DaBell

4. Citron by Hilary Smith Callis, which is what I cast on.

201 stitches on the needles.

To Ponder: Who begins too much accomplishes little. |-German Proverb-|

Crochet Crush: Sophie Digard

First, let’s be clear that I am not a hooker. I am exclusively a knitter. I use two needles with points on the ends to knit and purl skeins of wool into something wearable. When I use more than one color, I don’t have a squillion ends to weave in, and nothing I make can be started at breakfast and worn at lunch.

It’s not that I don’t like to crochet, it’s that I don’t grok it. What do you do with your other hand? How can anything be made with only one loop in action? (If I’m down to one loop, I’m at the end of the bind-off row which means the thing is done.) And charts without gridlines? Sheesh.

Like Walter Sobchak dabbling in pacifism (not in ‘Nam, of course), I have dabbled in crochet. Knitting sometimes benefits from a crochet edge or reinforcement, so I’m not completely useless with a hook. I can make a chain, single crochet, double crochet, and even triple crochet, but I’ve never made anything wearable. Never really wanted to.

And then along came Sophie Digard.

A talent like hers makes you want to know everything about her so you can do what she does. Where was she born? Did she study poetry and architecture in school, because her scarves have elements of both. Was she an only child given every opportunity by indulgent parents, or did she wake up from a coma one day at the orphanage asking for a skein of yarn and a size G hook?

But she’s the J.D. Salinger of the fiber arts—a rather enigmatic French genius who doesn’t have a website or blog, or any online presence, really. I could find no interviews with her and very few details about her and her art—and this is art, not craft—except that she lives in Madagascar with her family and employs hundreds of local women to produce these masterpieces. Mostly accessories like scarves, necklaces, and purses.

A Sophie Digard scarf costs more than my monthly mortgage payment, so I figured I could learn how to crochet those little puffy flowers and make my own. (Yes, I know…but a master makes everything look easy. What writer doesn’t read The Catcher in the Rye and think they could write another one?)

My crochet vocabulary is limited, so that’s what I searched for—puffy crochet flowers. Naturally, it took forever to find instructions for them because they’re called Mollie flowers. And they’re not easy to make.

Plus, if you’re not Sophie Digard, they look like this:

I didn’t even try.

And even if I did carve out a month’s worth of time to figure them out, I couldn’t duplicate the colors. Sophie works with merino wool, linen, and velvet, using up to 60 hues in a single color palette that is hand-dyed to her specifications.

Her scarves are made from several strands of laceweight yarn held together, so creating just the right color and fiber combination is something only Sophie Digard can do. (Well, Sophie and a bunch of hookers living on an island off the coast of southeast Africa.)

Just so you’re clear about the majesty of her color sense, I believed myself to be a genius when I combined these two yarns together on a hat.

Ironheart Hat by Robin Allen - A Texas Girl Knits

“People always clap for the wrong things.”

In a future post, I’ll tell you how I came to own a Sophie Digard scarf.

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-|

Pretend Interview with Pam MacKenzie | Part 2

In May, I posted the first part of my pretend interview with Pam MacKenzie who writes the In Stitches knitting column for MyCentralJersey.com. She had interviewed one of my favorite designers, Angela Hahn, and I looked and looked for the second part, but could never find it.

I figured it never happened, but no…Angela’s name was misspelled as Anglea. Oy.

Here’s the original second part of Pam’s interview with Angela Hahn.

And here are my answers to Pam’s (edited to suit me) questions.

Q: Some designers have said that published designs in magazines are often a collaboration between the designer and the magazine editor. Do you find this to be true in your career? If so, can you describe how one of your designs evolved to meet the needs of a magazine editor?

A: I’ve published only two designs in magazines. My Voussoir Hat in Interweave Knits Gifts 2014 and my Paros Hat in Knitscene Winter 2014.

For my Voussoir Hat, IK gave me a choice of three yarns to use, and I picked Valley Yarns Northfield because WEBS promotes the heck out of every pattern that calls for their house yarn by tweeting, blogging, and podcasting. I figured they’d do the same with my pattern, but they haven’t gotten around to it yet.

Voussior Hat by Robin Allen - A Texas Girl Knits

Waiting for WEBS to discover this gem.

For my Paros Hat, Knitscene told me to use Skacel’s HiKoo yarn in 49 Shades of Gray and Kiwi, and I said okay.

Paros Hat by Robin Allen - A Texas Girl Knits

I wanted a hot pink stripe.

Q: You’ve {will} published a few {one} designs in two a books from Tanis Gray. “101 Little One-Skein WondersCozy Knits” {will have} has mittens and a cowl {a hat} from you, and “Knitting Architecture” has a wonderful tote bag from you. What’s it like to design for a book that will include many designers? For example, do the designers communicate with each other or just with the central editor? Are the deadlines longer than the magazines’ deadlines, or are they about the same?

A: My Happy Hat will be published in 101 Little One-Skein Wonders that will come out in early 2015. This will be my first pattern in a book, and so far, it’s exactly like self-publishing. I worked alone in my studio to create the design, write the pattern, and knit the prototype. And now I’m waiting for the money to roll in. I don’t even know the names of the other designers.

Q: Do you have a favorite design of yours? If a publisher told you they would publish any book you wrote/designed, what would you like to design?

A: I love my Ironheart design that I put on a hat and a pullover.

Ironheart by Robin Allen - A Texas Girl Knits

So many color possibilities.

If that publisher was the same one that published my Poppy Markham: Culinary Cop mystery series, I would tell them to jump head first into a frozen Minnesota lake. If it was another, professional publisher with capable editors, honest accountants, and non-diva publicists, I’d like to publish a book of cable designs. However, they would need to give me a deadline for the year 2020 because my first major cabled sweater design is taking forever.

Q: What’s the most fun thing about being a knitwear designer, and what’s the least favorite thing?

A: My ginormous yarn stash, and my ginormous yarn stash.

Q: Do you have children, and is it difficult to balance your knitting and designing with taking care of them? Or do you find that your knitwear career fits in well with the demands of family life?

A: I don’t have kids, but my knitwear career fits in well with having no demands on my time for most hours of the day.

Q: Do you have any advice for knitters who want to break into the professional knitwear design business?

A: I haven’t really broken into it myself, but I just keep designing and submitting and hoping I hit the right note with an editor.

To Ponder: Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. |-Stephen King-|

Rejection: Welligkeit Vest by Twist Collective

Several years ago, I went to Las Vegas for Christmas. I usually play craps, but that time I played Texas Hold ’em. With real live poker players who saw me for what I was: their mortgage payment.

That’s not to say that I didn’t know what I was doing, because I do. And it’s not to say that I didn’t win a few hands, because I did.* But these players lived in Las Vegas and played poker all day, every day.

Watch the movie Rounders for a primer on gambling for a living.

When the same players play together all the time, they come to know the habits of the regular players, and in this one particular weekday game, there was a guy who always raised on the flop. Always.

Unless he and the dealer had developed some sort of supercalifragilistic cheat that the casino had never seen before, the chances were very low that he always had a good hand. The cards just don’t fall that way. (If they did, it would be called winning, not gambling.) So this guy was raising just to raise.†

It’s a way of “buying the pot” by forcing the other players to either call or fold earlier than they would have (because there were still two more cards to be dealt and considered: the turn and the river). Maybe he had a good hand and maybe he didn’t, but no one could read him because he played the same way every time. And if he could get everyone to fold, he would get‡ a little money. It was a solid, if annoying strategy.

To keep this guy from raising and buying the pot, all of the other players ahead of him would check, which means they didn’t bet anything, which means there was nothing for him to see and raise. If he wanted to stay in the game, he would have to bet the amount of the big blind, and then the betting went around the table again allowing the other players who had checked to make the bet they wanted to make in the first place so they could see the next card.

Betting goes clockwise around the table, and this guy was sitting to the left of me, so after everyone checked, I would bet, and this guy would raise, and everyone else would fold, and I would lose my bet.

After about four or five hands, I got wise and started checking, too. And this guy would say, “The check’s at the bank,” and he’d toss his chips into the center of the table. Every single time. “The check’s at the bank.” “The check’s at the bank.” I can still hear his grating, derisive tone of voice. “The check’s at the bank.”

The check’s at the bank.

He wasn’t there to win big or to make a name for himself, but he took a fair amount of my money before I caught on to his game—and probably a lot of other people’s money, too.

In the gambling parlance of our times, these types of low-stakes gamblers are called grinders because they’re just grinding out a living a little at a time. His method wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t popular, but it got the job done. If he played all day, every day, I imagine he earned his mortgage payment in a week or maybe even in a day.

This is how I approach my knitting submissions.

I haven’t yet made a name for myself as a designer, so I knew it was a long shot that my Welligkeit Vest would be accepted by Twist Collective, but I didn’t let my low chance of success deter me from throwing some chips out there and hoping for the best.

The more I play the submitting game, the more acceptances I’ll have, and the more I’ll be saying, “The check’s at the bank.”


*For the Christmas Day poker tournament, which was a couple of days after this story took place, we started with 10 tables of eight players, and I was one of five players at the last table.

†And probably to get attention.

‡I hestitate to say he would win a little money because winning comes from besting another player with skill, not through bravado or bullying. (Also, this would not be considered bluffing because of the way he did it.)

Pretend Interview with Pam MacKenzie | Part 1

Pam MacKenzie, who blogs and writes a column about knitting that gets posted on MyCentralJersey.com, interviewed one of my favorite knitwear designers, Angela Hahn.

I first became aware of Angela when I saw her #30 Aran Wrap Cardigan in Vogue Knitting Fall 2008 that combines two of my favorite things—tons of cables and minimal shaping and finishing.

As usual, VK’s styling is about as helpful as their pattern names.

Who wears a slinky floral slip dress and chunky jeweled necklaces with a heavily cabled casual cardigan unless you’re running out to check your mail and forget that a) it’s 45 degrees outside and b) you’re not Madonna?

It wasn’t until Angela blogged about her design, modeling it herself with khakis and a chunky belt and showing it from every angle, that knitters began to knit it.

I’m one of those knitters.

So anyway, back to the interview. If you squint at Pam’s questions and edit them slightly, they can be applied to me and my designs, and since Pam hasn’t asked to interview me yet*, why not pretend that she did?


Q. I first became aware of your designs when someone recommended the Aran wrap you designed for the 2008 Fall issue of Vogue Knitting. She said it was a design that would work for women of all ages. I would add that it would work for women of most body types. I bought alpaca yarn for it and plan to make it one of these days. When did you actually start design knitwear? And what inspired you to do it?

A. I’ve been a serious knitter since high school, but back then, I knit patterns to the letter. As my skills and confidence grew, I started designing my own things. I still have one of my first designs that I made up as I went along—a navy blue vest with vertical pink stripes knit up in Sugar ‘n’ Cream cotton.

My first officially official design is one I self-published in 2009, my River Road Fingerless Mitts.

Holding my favorite book.

Q. You have two pages {half a page} of designs on Ravelry. They range from hats and cowls to sweaters, from shawls to mittens and even a tote bag {hot water bottle cozy}.  And you use all the techniques, from lace to cables to stranded knitting. Your designs are symmetrical and asymmetrical. As the designer, do you see unifying principles or qualities in your work? I see you reinterpreting classics in original ways.

A. I love designing things that are simpler than they look. My aforementioned River Road Fingerless Mitts are a good example. They look cabled, but there are no cable crossings—only knits, purls, increases, and decreases. All four of those happen every other round, but if you can do those things, you can turn out a very nice pair of mitts.

Every design starts with the idea to do something a little different, so I focus on the details. I’m also a perfectionist and will spend hours figuring out a way to make sweater ribbing flow into a cabled design or I’ll knit several versions of the same thing, trying this thing or that.  And I’m always thinking about the knitter, looking for ways to make the knitting of a thing easier.

Q. Where do you get design ideas/inspiration? Do you start with stitch dictionaries or with everyday objects or yarn when you design?

A. Ha. Writers get asked this question a lot, and the answer is: everywhere. But it’s not the idea, it’s the execution.

I can’t get enough of stitch dictionaries. They’re often my bedtime reading. I love paging through them, waiting for something to knock on the door of my design eye. I can pass over the same stitch pattern five hundred times, and one day I see it for the first time.

From writing novels, I’ve learned that the making comes in the doing. I can think about a design, but I must have the needles and yarn in my hand to create anything. A hat I designed for Knitscene came into existence when I started swatching with two different yarns. My head didn’t know what I was doing, but my hands did. After I cast on, it took all of 10 minutes for the design to start taking shape on the needles. (That doesn’t happen often enough.)

I also like to zoom in on elements from other designs and reinterpret them. Or take something minor and make it the main element.

Q. You have two designs in the spring issue of {an upcoming design in the Holiday 2014 issue of Interweave Knits and another in the Fall 2014 issue of Knitscene}, the Plumage Wrap and the Zephirine Cardigan. Although they are very different, they both appear to me to have a sort of rounded yoke around the shoulders {hat-like quality to them}. One is a lacy sweater, the other is a cabled wrap {twisted-stitch hat and the other hat has a colorful swirl}. Did you design them at about the same time? Did designing one of these projects give you ideas about designing the other one?

A. Nope and nope. But, like a lot of designers, I try to get the most out of a single design. I used the cable from my Very Blackberry Pullover on my Irene Adler Pillow. I used the star pattern from my Harts and Stars Cozy on my Starlight Cowl. And of course, there’s my developing Ironheart series that uses the same stranded colorwork heart design on a sweater and a hat.


Okay, that’s the first part of my pretend interview with Pam MacKenzie. The second part of her interview with Angela Hahn will be posted next week, and so will mine.

*Whenever one of my yoga students says “I can’t do it,” I reply, “You can’t do it yet.” Then they keep showing up for class and doing the work and pretty soon, I’m not hearing “I can’t” anymore. The making comes in the doing.

Organizing 134 Knitting Magazines

A couple of years out of college and into my “career” in the 90s, I had lost interest in knitting, so (it still makes me queasy to think about this), I gave away all of the needles, magazines, and yarn I had accumulated since the early 80s.

And it wasn’t even to a knitting friend. I didn’t have any at the time. I threw everything into bags and dumped them at a thrift store. Yes, years’ worth of now-vintage Vogue Knitting.

When I picked up knitting again—on a trip to Monterrey, Mexico of all things—I had to rebuild my stash and library. And since I had money and an eBay account, it happened pretty quickly. According to my Ravelry library, I have 134 magazines, which seems like a low count compared to what I can see on my shelves.

Eventually there came a time that I needed to organize them, which was on January 6th, apparently, because that’s when Amazon says I bought eight of these magazine files—with two-day shipping because I was motivated. But the files have been sitting on the floor of my studio since January 8th because I’m not sure how to go about organizing them.

By publication, in issue order is the obvious answer, but that’s not how I like to use my magazines. Sometimes I’ll grab a bunch of fall and winter issues and look through the designs, or I’ll want to compare Vogue Knitting‘s spring designs with the spring designs of Interweave Knits. (I don’t know why; I just do.)

So, do I break them up into seasons? Or split them into two types: warm weather, which includes the spring and summer issues, and cold weather, which includes fall, winter, and holiday. How do I handle all the different publications I have? I own one or two copies of other magazines, like Knitscene, Knit Simple, Rowan, etc. Do they get their own magazine file or do I mix them in with the big ones? And what about all those kitschy vintage leaflets?

I also have to consider that I’ll have to put them back where they came from after I use them, so I need a system that allows me to do that easily or I won’t do it and I’ll be back to the same mess I have now.

I looked online to see what other people had done, but it appears that no one but me has this problem. I had a glimmer of hope when I found this post about organizing magazines by month, but these are for home arts magazines that offer seasonal ideas, so in that case, it would be helpful to have every July magazine filed together when it’s time to plan a picinic for the 4th.

After much thinking and mulling, considering and rejecting, and a glass or two of merlot, here’s how I finally decided to file them: by publication, in issue order. Yep, the obvious answer. It’s really the best way, because of how I use them most of the time. I’ll do a pattern search on Ravelry, looking for, say, pullovers with cables in worsted weight yarn, and choose the option to show me patterns in my library. So, chronological order is what’s going to work best when I go hunting for the magazine.

After purging almost every vintage leaflet and several of the magazines that I know I’ll never use, the onsie-twosies are lumped together in one magazine file. Rowan gets its own section because its size demands it. And Vogue Knitting and Interweave Knits each have their own shelf.

On the bottom shelf, notice that Vogue Knitting changed from colored spines to white around the year 2007.

My Ravelry library is now accurate, reflecting 150 magazines. (I hadn’t added absolutely everything to the database, apparently.)

How do you organize your magazines?

A Bit of My Knitting History

I learned to knit in the fifth grade, but it wasn’t until high school in the early 80s that I started serious knitting. I knew and used only three things: Vogue Knitting magazine, straight aluminum knitting needles, and the long-tail cast-on. I didn’t even know there were other ways to cast on.

I didn’t understand anything about gauge or those stupid swatches that were always recommended to obtain the correct one, so I substituted whatever yarn I liked, regardless of weight. I did, however, always use the recommended needle size. Needless to say, I never adjusted the pattern to account for the different raw materials, so sometimes the sweater fit and sometimes it didn’t, and I never really knew why. I just cast on for my size and started knitting.

And they were always sweaters. Not hats or scarves or anything easy. And on top of that, they were designer sweaters that now no one knits because they’re so involved. (Hey, Vogue Knitting—look at the number of projects on Ravelry for these silly designs and get a clue to stop publishing them.) Nothing in plain old stockinette stitch, either. Everything I knit was charted.

I had never heard of stitch counters (or stitch markers, for that matter), so I used tick marks on a piece of paper—usually one of the little subscription cards that came with the magazine—to count the rows. I never thought to use a ruler or other sort of straight edge on a chart, so I was always having to find my place and count stitches. (As I remember and write this, I’m not sure whether to think I was a dummy or the bomb.)

I knitted Perry Ellis’s #27 Theatre Sweater from Vogue Knitting Fall/Winter 1985. In acrylic. (Please, please forgive me.) I knit it in the original primary colors with a bright blue background with mustard faces and red ribbons. I don’t have the sweater anymore because a younger, dumber me donated it to a thrift store.

My knitting formula in the 80s.

I also remember knitting a sweater that was a sort of sampler of bobbles and bells and other complicated stitches. By Adrienne Vittadini, I think. It’s so old vintage, it’s not in the Ravelry pattern database. It was supposed to be a cropped sweater, but I wasn’t paying attention to that part of the pattern, and it ended up tunic length. I used Sugar ‘n’ Cream cotton (a yarn usually reserved for dish rags) in white, and the thing weighed a ton. It was knit in pieces then seamed together, but I didn’t trust myself to execute the seaming (i.e., set-in sleeves) properly, so I took it to a yarn shop and asked the owner to seam it for me. She said it would be a couple of weeks before she could get to it, but called me two or three days later to say it was done. She was anxious to see how it would turn out. I don’t remember how much I paid her, but it was worth it. The sweater was fabulous. I don’t have that one anymore either, because I bleached it one too many times trying to remove a rusty water stain on the left shoulder. It came out of the washing machine in shreds. (I didn’t know anything about doing laundry, either.)

As I’ve matured as a person, I’ve matured as a knitter. I knit with wool or wool blends almost exclusively. I understand the importance of dye lots. I discovered circular needles and knit everything I can in the round. I know a bunch of different cast-ons, the Chinese Waitress Cast-On being my current favorite. And I use proper knitter tools, like stitch counters and magnetic boards for charts.

I still don’t knit swatches, but I think everyone else should.

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.

Image

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.