knit picks

Travel Food

After more years than I want to count, I’m finally taking a true and proper vacation. Going Greyhound to Arizona to see my BFF, Tina. She of the life scarf.

Friends since the 5th grade.

If my readership is like most people I’ve told about this trip, about 3/4 of you will make a polite face and wonder why I’m taking the bus instead of a plane, and about 1/4 of you will think it sounds cool and fun.

For the dissenting majority, here’s why I’m taking the bus:

  1. I have more time than money. A bus trip is more than half the price of a flight, including the ticket and any shuttles I’d have to take.
  2. I don’t like to fly. I ain’t skeered; just not interested.
  3. One of my favorite bloggers, James Altucher, says that he wants his life to resemble a book of stories rather than a textbook. That’s how I’ve always thought, but his description puts it best. A long bus trip is going to create many more stories than a boring old plane ride.
  4. When I think about escaping the relentless Texas heat and moving somewhere that supports my wooly wardrobe, I look west. This trip will turn the map into the territory.
  5. And this quote, which I wrote in one of my journals many years ago (and which explains why I’ll do just about anything to earn money, save getting a 9-5):

It is easy to make life and career decisions based solely on financial concerns and to conform your life to the contours of whatever job will pay the most money. That is what most of us Americans are culturally programmed to do. However, if you put the money factor aside, shift your mental frame of reference, and instead analyze your life in terms of the plot of a novel, the results of your analysis will most likely change. Imagine that you are on a long train ride and must choose one of two books to read in order to pass the time: the first is a novel whose main character is an office worker who is essentially working to pay his monthly cable bill; the second is about someone who decides to travel in South America (and of course encounters various setbacks in the process), but who pushes beyond the boundaries of conventional American life. Which book would you pick up to read? Indeed, which of the two characters would you rather be? |-Mark Thompson-|

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get onto the subject of this post, which is travel food, which for a knitter is: knitting.

The trip out there is 25+ hours and the trip back home is 28+, assuming, of course, that the buses run according to schedule.

I waited until the second-to-last minute to figure out what to take, and came up with two projects that are portable, almost mindless, and will be easy to pick up and put down in case I need to stop knitting to take photos of jackrabbits in the desert, or in case Keanu Reeves boards the bus in El Paso and he wants to talk.

The first is the Baby Kimono by Kristin Spurkland from Interweave Knits Summer 2005.

(c)Interweave Knits

It calls for DK weight yarn, which I’m always sorry I don’t have more of in my stash. So I’m using worsted weight yarn, some Berocco Comfort of which I have just enough* for this little jacket done entirely in garter stitch.

I cast on last night and knit a few rows to get started. My gauge doesn’t match, but eh, if I finish it, and if a baby ever wears it, it probably won’t matter.

No baby will be harmed in the making of this kimono.

If I tire of knitting every row, I can throw in some purling with my second project—Citron by Hilary Smith Callis from Knitty Winter 2009.

(c)Hilary Smith Callis

The pattern calls for lace weight yarn, but I’m using a fingering weight like I did the first time I knit it. I used Knit Picks Comfort in blackberry.

I loved it the first time.

This time, it’s hollyberry.

The stockinette adventure begins.

Catch y’all on the flip side.


*I should have just enough yarn, but with the way my luck goes sometimes…

To Ponder: See above.

WIP: Hermosita Tee

Soon after my Hermosa Tee came out, I had lunch with my brother and sister-in-law.

Aw.

I wore my prototype of the t-shirt and brought along my copy of Vogue Knitting’s Spring 2016 issue in which Louet had placed an ad for the pattern collection that included my design.

It’s just an ad, but probably the only time my name will appear as a designer in Vogue Knitting.

My SIL really liked* my new design, and my brother asked me to knit one for her.

In my stash is every color of yarn in the known universe (even lime green)—except, of course, the particular shade of purple she wanted, so I had to order some.

I knew that Knit Picks had lots of shades of purple in the fiber I wanted to use (cotton blend) and yarn weight I needed (sport), so I sent them three to choose from.

Three strikes.

What other purples are there, they wanted to know.

Nope, nope, and nope.

Not quite what they had in mind, they said. Anything else?

Jeez.

“One more,” I wrote, “but it’s 100% acrylic. It will be soft, but not as soft as the other two that are cotton blends.”

Knit Picks Brava Sport in freesia.

Soft shmoft, acrylic shmacrylic. That’s the color she wanted.

When the yarn arrived, I was in the midst of swatching for a new design, and I ended up knitting an entirely different this-exact-color-purple t-shirt for my SIL.

But the skeins of Brava Sport are so generous and my SIL is so tiny that I had enough yarn left over to knit her a this-exact-color-purple Hermosa Tee.

The back.

Well, almost enough yarn.

Uh-oh.


*By “really liked” I mean that she saw it and said, “That’s nice.” She’s not one to gush.

To Ponder: Character is woven quietly from the threads of hundreds of correct decisions. When strengthened by obedience and worthy acts, correct decisions form a fabric of character that brings victory in time of great need. |-Richard G. Scott-|

Decision: Garter Scarf by Knit Picks

Last night I got an email from Knit Picks about my garter stitch submission.

It was a day early, which often means acceptance.

Not this time.

In the email, the editor wrote: “This was easily the largest amount of submissions we have received for a collection and the decision was incredibly difficult.”

Her rejection emails always say “the decision was incredibly difficult,” and I imagine her and the acquisition team staying awake from the submission deadline to the decision deadline, drinking urns of coffee and eating their collective weight in donuts, finally emerging from their war room in need of a bath, a hairbrush, and a detox.

More likely, one of them sends a group text with, “I like this,” and a someone else responds, “Me too. Where are we going for lunch?”

Since everyone and their yoga instructor are knitting garter stitch these days, I’ll keep submitting.

For the nonce, let’s comfort ourselves with a little Keanu.

To Ponder: It is the studying that you do after your school days that really counts. Otherwise, you know only that which everyone else knows. |-Henry Doherty-|

Submission: Garter Scarf to Knit Picks

For various and sundry reasons, I haven’t been knitting or designing much lately, but thanks to gentle prompts by my accountability partner I’ve only mostly been neglecting knitting rather than completely neglecting it.

Part of that neglect has been ignoring all the recent calls for submissions, but on Valentine’s Day, I looked at two calls that Knit Picks put out a few weeks ago. One was for items that take less than 200 grams of yarn, the other for garter stitch items.

Since the deadline was the next day and I wasn’t sure I could come up with one idea, never mind two, and since I’m always all about doing the easiest thing and with garter stitch you knit every row, I started knitting every row.

Garter stitch isn’t the most exciting stitch on the books, and it always manages to scream “new knitter,” but it seems like the knitting world is in love with it all of a sudden.

From the call:

“Celebrate it with garments and accessories in weights from fingering to super bulky and a neutral palette with pops of color. Garter stitch is the main point of interest, and clever, engaging construction is a must! Bonus points for unusual shapes or if the project is knit entirely in garter.”

I found a lot of that to be oxymoronic as it applies to garter stitch, but I gave it a shot.

I tried this and that, which is hard to do when you can’t even purl, and nothing was happening for a couple of hours. But then I added a second color and a little bit of magic, and blimey, I had something that looked like checks on one side and stripes on the other. And it had clever, engaging construction and pops of color, and was knit entirely in garter. And it hardly even looked like garter stitch (read: not ugly).

The next day, Monday, deadline day, I knit up a swatch using colors from the call, wrote up the proposal, and sent ‘er in.

Knit Picks doesn’t drag their feet when it comes to decisions so I’ll get a yay or nay on Friday. Send up some prayers for me, yeah?

To Ponder: When the solution is simple, God is answering. |-Albert Einstein-|

Voilà: Atomic Fingerless Mitts

I’ve waited six long years to see one of my designs on the pages of Knitty. I’ve told you about the submission and the acceptance, and now it’s time for the big reveal of my Atomic fingerless mitts.

Atomic Fingerless Mitts by Robin Allen | A Texas Girl Knits

This pattern is free for everyone throughout the land.

Pattern Details: Atomic by Robin Allen | A Texas Girl Knits

Ah, the 1950s—they gave us Velcro, Hula Hoops, Saran Wrap, Scotchgard, Liquid Paper, Mr. Potato Head, McDonald’s, and credit cards. Did all of that make the Atomic Era the best in recent history? Who knows. But its art and architecture are the bomb!

I constructed these mitts around a Scandinavian snowflake motif that looks both futuristic and modern. I chose the popular Atomic combination of blue and green for an outdoor cocktail party, but you might pair aqua with orange and enjoy a dinner of fried clams at Howard Johnson. Or switch out the green for red and hang out at the Tastee-Freez. Or Google the word Googie and let the results inspire your colors and venue.

Wherever you wear these, you’ll be coolest cat around.

Atomic Fingerless Mitts by Robin Allen | A Texas Girl Knits

Not Neil Gaiman’s* hands.

Features:
* Knit in the round
* Seamless
* Minimal finishing
* Charted and written instructions

Skills: Knitting, purling, stranded knitting, working in the round, working from a chart, researching techniques you’re unfamiliar with.

Finished Measurements:
Hand circumference, excluding thumb: 8″/20.25cm, stretches to 8.5″/21.5cm
Cuff edge to top of mitt: 10″/25.5 cm

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport (100% Peruvian Highland wool; 137yd/125m per 50g skein); MC Avocado, 1 skein; CC Winter Night, 1 skein.

Needles: US 4/3.5mm needles for small circumference knitting in the round, either DPNs, 1 long circular, or 2 short circulars

Notions: Stich markers, yarn needle

Gauge: 24 sts/31 rnds = 4″ in stranded stockinette stitch in the round, blocked
22 sts/30 rnds = 4″ in stockinette stitch in the round, blocked

Atomic Fingerless Mitts by Robin Allen | A Texas Girl Knits

*I kind of, sort of, maybe hoped I might make the cover of Knitty, but was prepared to see someone else’s design. I wasn’t, however, prepared to see Neil Gaiman. Wow. I’m in the issue with Neil Gaiman on the cover!

To Ponder: If you care enough for a result, you will most certainly attain it. |-William James-|

Voilà: City Cowl

My City Cowl that was accepted by Knit Picks eons ago is now available on their website—and it’s free.

(c) Knit Picks

I do wish they had taken more time to style their photos (and maybe brush the model’s hair), but the cowl is worn the way it’s supposed to be.

Pattern Details: City Cowl by Robin Allen | A Texas Girl Knits

Soft and warm, this close-fitting cowl uses an easy stitch pattern to create an interesting textured rib. A rectangle is knit flat, then the edges are sewn off-center to create a cowl with a fold-over half collar that can be worn many ways—in the city and the suburbs.

(c) Knit Picks

Features:

  • No shaping
  • Knit flat, then seamed
  • Gauge not critical
  • Quick knit

Skills: Knitting, purling, seaming, researching techniques you’re unfamiliar with.

Finished Measurements: 8″ (20.5 cm) high x 18″ (45.5 cm) circumference.

Yarn: Knit Picks Andean Treasure (100% Baby Alpaca 110 yds/50 gm balls): Embers Heather 23486, 2 balls.

Needles: US 5 (3.75mm) straight or short circular needles, or size to obtain gauge.

Notions: Yarn needle, 2 split ring or other removable stitch markers.

Gauge: 26 sts and 28 rows = 4″ (10 cm) in ribbing pattern, lightly steam blocked.

To Ponder: Learning to separate “happiness” from “spending money” is the quickest and most reliable way to a better life. |-Mr. Money Mustache-|

Submission: Hats to Knit Picks

Magazines and yarn companies are thinking about next spring, which means that I am thinking about next spring.

Knit Picks put out a call for submissions for their Spring 2016 Stashbusting collection. From the call:

Small, cute, fun and quick to knit, these projects are purposefully made with stashbusting in mind! Colorwork, pom-poms, stripes, and colorblocking are perfect ways to use up those last few bits of yarn to make something warm and cozy. Clever and whimsical details make these projects must knit. The collection will be divided by weight into sections featuring 50g, 100g, and 150g of yarn.

I had the perfect thing for them. When designing the Icelandic sweater I submitted to Interweave Knits a couple of weeks ago, I had taken a day trip into Norwegian territory. I used a hat to test the design, and it looked pretty good, so I knit a couple more hats to tweak the particulars.

A hat called Norge.

I submitted that hat a week early, and since I was flush with extra time, I worked on another hat design, this one using a cable that didn’t make the final cut for The Sweater.

I spent quite a few hours perfecting, what else?—the crown decreases. And I have three more hats to sell at the farmer’s market next fall.

And please don’t worry that my position as a procrastination super star is in jeopardy. I submitted the hat very late the night of the deadline.

A hat called Othello.

A hat called Othello.

Knit Picks sends out yays and nays by this Friday, so won’t you please send up prayers that they both earn a yay?

To Ponder: I am telling you to make a choice based on your passions and interests, not what everyone else is telling you to do. It doesn’t work that way. You wind up living a life for the wrong reasons, and you never get the most out of it. Just always think about why you are doing what you are doing. |-Jeff Hoffman-|

Voilà: Kettenglied Fingerless Mitts

Knit Picks released their 2015 Spring Accessories Collection.

And my Kettenglied Fingerless Mitts are in it. Second of 26 patterns, page 11.

What color will yours be?

One of their test knitters knit the final version, and Knit Picks photographed them on a darling gal who looks very happy to be wearing them.

Fingers are free so you can fix your hair.

More, please.

If there’s one thing I can design, it’s fingerless mitts.

Pattern Details: Kettenglied Fingerless Mitts Pattern by Robin Allen | A Texas Girl Knits

These fingerless mitts use an easy series of twisted knit stitches and regular purl stitches to create a highly textured ribbing that looks like square chain links (Kettenglied is the German word for chain link). Knit in the round from the bottom up, a few stitches are bound off and then cast on to form the thumb hole.

Pattern includes both written and charted instructions.

Skills: Knitting through the back loop, purling, working in the round, working from a chart, binding off and casting on in the middle of a round; researching techniques you’re unfamiliar with.

Finished Measurements: 5.5″/14cm long; 6.75″/17cm circumference, relaxed; stretches to 9″/23cm circumference.

Yarn: Knit Picks Galileo (50% Merino, 50% Bamboo; 131 yards/50g): Firefly 26101, 1 skein.

Needles: US 5 (3.75mm) DPNs, or size to obtain gauge.

Notions: Yarn needle, stitch markers.

Gauge: 28 sts and 32 rnds = 4″ over Stitch Pattern in the round, blocked.

To Ponder: Care what other people think and you will always be their prisoner. |-Lao Tzu-|

 

Decision: Fingerless Mitts by Knit Picks

Remember those whimsical fingerless mitts I submitted to Knit Picks a couple of weeks ago?

I heard from them one day ahead of schedule, which gave me an ecstatic moment of hope before I opened their short email.

nope

On the bright side:

  • I’m glad these mitts weren’t whimsical enough.
  • I can submit them to Knitty.
  • If Knitty rejects them, I can self-publish my desgin and get it into Knit Picks Independent Designer Program.

To Ponder: Start each week by examining where personal health is on your “to do” list. If it’s always on the bottom, rest assured you will never get to it. |-Andrea Holwegner-|

Submission: Fingerless Mitts to Knit Picks

Sunday was the deadline for submissions to Knit Picks for their Fall Accessories 2015 collection, so that’s when I sent my proposal.

From the call:

Quirky and fun accessories for fall. Colorful with some colorwork, the emphasis is on clever and whimsical little things to wear: hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, cowls and bags. Animals, food, bikes, birds, flowers, small mythical creatures like gnomes are all good ideas for motifs. Make it cute!

I proposed some fingerless mitts that I had designed as a sanity project while working on The Sweater.

Here’s a peek at the top of the mitts.

Graphic and textured.

There are no animals, food, bikes, birds, flowers, or gnomes in this design (nor will there ever be), but they are clever and could be considered whimsical.

The call says they notify by January 30th, two weeks after the deadline rather than their usual one week, which tells me that they’re starting to get a lot more submissions to their calls, which means more competition, which means I need extra prayers and good thoughts, okay?

To Ponder: People only get really interesting when they start to rattle the bars of their cages. |-Alain de Bottom-|