Submission: Hat and Sweater to Knitscene

Last month was the deadline for Knitscene’s Spring 2016 issue.

They had only two stories:

Checks and Balances – Gingham, checks, and plaids. Imagine ways to work with the season’s most popular fabric in texture and color for simple but fun garments and accessories.

Retro Fashion – Sweet details make the difference in retro-inspired knitwear. We’re seeking garments and accessories that could have come from the 1940s or 1950s—or have been inspired by those classic looks.

I ignored the first one because plaids usually involves the intarsia knitting technique, which makes my eyeballs itch.

The second one for retro-inspired knitwear, however, could be done. I threw myself into the briar patch of Pinterest, researching looks for both decades, and found a 50s dress design by Anne Fogarty that could be translated into a sweater.

Fabulous photo, too.

Knitscene hasn’t followed in their sister magazine‘s footsteps and switched to online proposals, so I mailed a swatch for the sweater and also sent them a hat with a design that could be from any era.

Wish me luck, eh?

To Ponder: Successful people form the habit of doing what failures don’t like to do. They like the results they get by doing what they don’t necessarily enjoy. |-Earl Nightingale-|


Submission: The Sweater to Knitscene

No, The Sweater isn’t finished, but it’s close enough to make me confident that I can finish it for Knitscene if they want it.

This is for their Winter 2015 issue, and their call had a very simple description:

That first nip of cold weather is a signal to knitters everywhere to break out the woolens and warm layers. We’re seeking submissions for our Winter Essentials collection—perfect items to knit for women and men that play on the traditional winter wardrobe staples. Use texture, color, and clever twists on basic silhouettes in must-knit garment and accessory designs.

There’s no specific colorwork or cable or style icon story, so it seems like anything goes.

Knitscene is part of Interweave Press, so they want you to send an actual knitted swatch via snail mail. I thought I was going to submit something else, but that didn’t come together in time, which means that by the time I decided to submit The Sweater, it was almost the last minute.

My sweater is probably a wee bit advanced for Knitscene’s target knitters, which are beginner to intermediate, but they’ve published a few challenging patterns:

Skill builders.                                                                                                |Photos (c)Knitscene|

If you must know, I almost didn’t submit this sweater for the silliest reason. If they accept your proposal, they keep the swatch, presumably to compare it to your finished item to make sure you didn’t pull a switcheroo. I had knit a serious swatch for this sweater, and, well, I wanted to keep it.*

A new take on a traditional staple.

But Knitscene can’t accept what I don’t send, so I packaged it up and mailed it off.

*I told you it was a silly reason.

To Ponder: A successful individual typically sets his next goal somewhat but not too much above his last achievement. |-Kurt Lewin-|

Decision: Sweater by Knitscene

Way back in October I submitted a sweater to Knitscene Fall 2015 for their Style Icons story.

On Saturday, my one and only piece of mail was the swatch. It wasn’t a surprise, really. Within a month of the deadline, they email if they want it, so I knew it wasn’t happening by Thanksgiving.

But it still kind of sucks to get the swatch back.

On the bright side:

  • The swatch can be used as a cowl, which means I can sell it.
  • I won’t have to put The Sweater on hold while I design this one.
  • It’s not like I’ve never been published by Knitscene.

Just so I can have a picture in this post, here’s a Pinterest mashup showing a yoke design that looks like wooden switch plates.

The cardigan is by one of my favorite designers, Marie Wallin, who has no trouble getting published.

Of course, she probably doesn’t screw around all day on Pinterest.

To Ponder: To embark on the journey toward your goals and dreams requires bravery. To remain on that path requires courage. The bridge that merges the two is commitment. |-Steve Maraboli-|

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 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-|

Decision: Pillow by Knitscene

I got my swatch in the mail yesterday—nine weeks after the submission deadline.

With all the deadlines for various publications coming up around the same time, I do wish they would send rejections by email, or at least adhere to their guidelines and return swatches for rejected items in four to six weeks so I can submit them elsewhere.

When I’m made empress of North America, things will be very different in the knitting world.

On the bright side:

  • I had submitted a mini-pillow as a swatch, so I can add a strap to it and turn it into a purse.
  • A cold front is due to arrive today!
  • I got an acceptance by an elsewhere publication. More on that tomorrow.

To Ponder: Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. |Melody Beattie|

Submission: Sweater to Knitscene

Last month, I also submitted a sweater proposal to Knitscene for their Fall 2015 issue.

One of the stories is for Style Icons for which they gave this description:

“Look to your favorite style icons for inspiration for wearable, fashionable pieces. Any icon, any era, we’re looking for designs that would feel at home in the closets of these iconic ladies (or men) while being easy and interesting to knit.”

Their Pinterest inspiration board looked like this:

Ah…Grace, Audrey, Jackie, Bridget—women I’ve pinned on my own style inspiration board.

Which one do you think I based my proposal on?

Following an internet rabbit trail, I took the Which Classic Hollywood Actress Are You? quiz. It will come as no surprise to those of you who know me that I’m not perky Audrey or fierce Bridget.

“Remind me to tell you about the time I looked into the heart of an artichoke.”

Bette was also a knitter.

To Ponder: As you move toward a dream, the dream moves toward you. |Julia Cameron|

Go Team!

A recent blog post on Knitting Daily featured my Paros Hat!

The Assistant Project Editor for Interweave Knits and Knitscene found a way to get around the universal manly colors of black, brown, blue, and gray, and made one for her fiancé in his favorite pro football team colors. Then she wrote a blog post about it.

With a fun photo and everything. {via}

What a clever idea to knit this hat in team colors. You could use school colors, too. In Texas, that means either burnt orange and white if you hook ’em or maroon and white if you gig ’em.

This is the second time one of my hats has been featured on Knitting Daily, which is rather incredible to me, considering I’ve had only two hats published by an Interweave Press magazine.

Mostly, though, this is validation. As a designer, you know what you like, but you’re never sure if others will like it. Magazine editors accept and publish things they like or think their readers will like, but it’s possible no one will knit them.

For example:

Seriously, Vogue Knitting Holiday 2014? This wasn’t even an attractive style in the 80s. [Photo (c)SoHo Publishing]

Today, the project page for my Paros Hat on Ravelry shows eight projects, and three of them are mine. But Laura’s fiancé’s hat isn’t on there, so there are at least seven people (I’m counting the editor who published it) besides me who like it.

I’m so thankful for that.

To Ponder: Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up. |Allen Klein|

Voilà: Paros Hat

Happy to announce my second pattern in as many months in an Interweave publication.

The Winter 2014 issue of Knitscene is out.

Get the Marled Look

And my Paros Hat is in it.

Stockinette with garter ridge stripes and a moving swirl.

On page 19.

The Details: Paros Hat by Robin Allen | A Texas Girl Knits

A marled yarn paired with a bright solid makes for an eye-catching effect in this simple unisex pattern. Choose your favorite neon contrast color to make it your own, or pair a more muted solid to make this a gift for anyone to wear.

Sizes: 18 (19½)” circumference and 7¾ (8¾)” tall
Yarn: HiKoo Simpliworsted (55% superwash merino, 28% acrylic, 17% nylon; 140 yd 128 m/100 g): #654 forty nine shades of gray (MC), 1 hank; #007 kiwi (CC), 1 hank
Gauge: 20 sts and 32 rnds = 4″ in Paros Stitch patt on larger needle
• Size 4 (3.5 mm): 16″ circular (cir) needle
• Size 6 (4 mm): 16″ cir needle and set of double-pointed needles (dpn)
• Stitch marker
• Yarn needle
Skills Required: Knitting, purling, decreasing, working in the round, researching techniques you’re unfamiliar with.

NOTE: Pattern calls for Aran weight yarn, but this could easily be knit in a worsted weight yarn with little effect on size.

Lots of texture and visual interest.

To Ponder: There is only one success: to be able to spend your life in your own way. |Christopher Morley|

Submission: Pillow to Knitscene

Every time I knit bulky wool on big needles, my hands hurt for two or three days. And every time my hands hurt for two or three days, I swear I’m never knitting bulky wool on big needles again.

But do you think I listen to myself?

Last week, I mailed my submission to Knitscene for their Accessories 2015 issue.

It’s for a pillow knit in bulky wool on big needles.

Using yarn left over from my Very Blackberry Pullover.

Time heals all wounds, you know.

On another note, I’m starting to list some vintage items for sale in my Etsy shop. I’ve added a Vintage on Etsy page to my blog where you can see them.

To Ponder:  I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes. If there is not a new man, how can the new clothes be made to fit? If you have any enterprise before you, try it in your old clothes. All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be. Perhaps we should never procure a new suit, however ragged or dirty the old, until we have so conducted, so enterprised or sailed in some way, that we feel like new men in the old, and that to retain it would be like keeping new wine in old bottles. |Henry David Thoreau|

Rejection: Tee by Knitscene

Saturday’s mail brought my Padre Island Tee swatch in an envelope from Knitscene.

I’ve had more rejections than acceptances in recent months, so it would be easy to get discouraged, but I know that the competition for these national magazines is intense, and my chances of shining brighter than the well-known designers who are regularly published are practically nil to begin with.

Sometimes I could take or leave some of my designs, but this tee is a good one, so I’m going to keep it in my pocket.

I don’t have pictures of my design, so let’s enjoy this drive-in movie screen my paranoid neighbor erected between our houses.

She’s afraid of my nefarious activities concealed by the backboard.

On the bright side:

  • I can submit the tee for another spring/summer call for submissions.
  • I can knit it in wool and give it long sleeves and turn it into a fall/winter design.
  • I can get a job at the new grocery store coming to town and not worry about any of this ever again.

To Ponder: Paranoia is just another word for ignorance. |Hunter S. Thompson|