knitty

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.

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Decision: Scarf by Knitty

Remember how Knitty published my Atomic Fingerless Mitts a couple of months ago?

Well, as anyone who has anything to do with stock market investments always reminds you, “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.”

I don’t know why Amy Singer doesn’t want my cool, reversible, cabled Shire scarf, but, dingdang it, she doesn’t.

On the bright side:

  • Knitty wants you to submit a publish-ready pattern, so it’s a go for my own indie launch.
  • I paid off my mortgage in June, so the honorarium payment would have been used for something silly, like yarn or an Achiever t-shirt.*
  • It’s not like I have to go out and get a proper job because of it.

*Yes, I’m aware of the irony of advertising myself as an achiever, when I have clearly failed in the modest task that was my charge.

To Ponder: It’s easier to learn to do without some of the things that money can buy than to earn the money to buy them. |-Dolly Freed-|

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-|

Decisions: Stuff by Publications

I’ve sent out so many proposals lately, I had to create a spreadsheet to keep track of them all. Keeping track of the rejections is easy, though, because that’s mostly what I get.

In case you’re keeping track:

I received no response about the vest and pillow I submitted to Knit Now, so am assuming they don’t want them.

Knit Picks doesn’t want either of the hats I submitted for their 2016 Stashbusting Collection.

And Lisa Shroyer sent emails letting me know that she doesn’t want either of the sweaters I proposed to Interweave Knits Winter 2016.

I didn’t blog about submitting the same cabled capelet to the yarn company Louet and then to Pom Pom Quarterly. Both rejected it.

And you know what? I don’t care because KNITTY WANTS MY ATOMIC MITTS FOR FIRST FALL 2015!

To Ponder: Before you begin a thing, remind yourself that difficulties and delays quite impossible to foresee are ahead… You can only see one thing clearly, and that is your goal. Form a mental vision of that and cling to it through thick and thin. |-Kathleen Norris-|

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-|

Submission: Fingerless Mitts to Knitty

It’s way past the acceptance deadline for some fingerless mitts I submitted to Interweave Knits (which I didn’t blog about), so I submitted them to Knitty.

I usually take my own photos in my backyard, but Knitty would be publishing these photos, so they had to be good and interesting.

These mitts have a 1950s Atomic Era feel to them, and my sweet friend Angie just so happens to have Atomic-inspired home décor, so I took my camera and tripod over to her house last week and we got to work.*

I can’t show you the mitts, but I can show you parts of our fun photo shoot.

We started out in her kitchen, looking for creative ways to display the mitts.

Grabbing a pack of Dan Dare cards from a shelf.

Pouring nothing into a shot glass.

Then we moved outside where the light was better, and where her two dogs totally behaved themselves and didn’t try to sneak into the frame even once.**

A cool drink of blue food coloring with Live Oaks and paper towels in the background.

All the blood rushing to my head.

After I checked and rechecked my pattern, charts, and photos, and made sure I didn’t miss anything***, I uploaded my submission package—a week early!

I think this is my 527th submission to them, so please send up 527 prayers and good thoughts that this is my first acceptance.


*After we drank some coffee while she cleaned her kitchen.

**Not even the littlest bit true.

***I forgot to include my headshot. Grr.

To Ponder: Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. |-Thomas Edison-|

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: Christmas Ornaments to Creative Knitting, and a Kerfuffle

A couple o’ weeks ago, I submitted a proposal to Creative Knitting magazine for their 60+ Christmas Knit Ornaments issue that’s scheduled for publication in August 2015.

That’s not a magazine I normally buy, mostly because I’m never excited enough about a design to give an issue shelf space in my collection.

Although if that were a strict rule, I would cancel my subscription to Vogue Knitting.

These sweaters are so sedate, VK had to shoot them on city streets just to give them life.

But as I’ve said before, I don’t have to love a magazine to design for it. And this special issue sounded interesting (in spite of all the exclamation points in their call for submissions).

There was, however, a kerfuffle in the Ravelry Designers forum about this call because Creative Knitting buys all rights, meaning they own the pattern forever and you won’t get the rights back after a year or two so you can sell it yourself, which is fairly standard in the industry. Some designers also thought that the pay range of $35–$75 per ornament (depending on complexity) was rather low, especially in light of the unfair rights situation.

Oh brother.

First*, even if you did get the rights back, there are so many free and adorable ornament patterns out there, you would have to be the Yarn Harlot or Jared Flood to get any money for yours.

See? Cute and free.

And unless you’re the Yarn Harlot or Jared Flood, you probably wouldn’t be able to charge more than $1.00 for the pattern. And unless you’re the Yarn Harlot or Jared Flood^, you would be lucky to find 35 people to buy it.

So after you deduct all the fees to Ravelry and PayPal, you won’t even have enough money to buy yourself a small bottle of Crown Royal.

Only on the rocks.

One designer commented on the low compensation, and the editor who had posted the call said it’s because ‘on small items, there is less time spent on creating/designing/pattern writing compared to designing a garment, and only one size is required which means grading the pattern (i.e., doing brain-frying maths for all the sizes) isn’t necessary.’

Well, yes and no. It’s true that grading a pattern requires a lot more time and effort, which takes a lot of time and is therefore worth a lot more money, but writing a pattern for a small item is the same amount of trouble whether it’s a hat, a shawl, or a Christmas ornament—especially if the item has shaping or uses multiple colors or needs to be charted, which are all pretty much givens for an ornament—and Creative Knitting probably pays a lot more money for a hat.

Another complaint was about their contract procedures, but this post is getting too long (and possibly boring for my non-knitting readers), so I won’t go into it except to say that it does kind of suck, but Creative Knitting has been publishing 4–5 magazines a year since 2007, so everyone should stop acting like you have to promise your first-born to them.

So, after two weeks of ignoring daily reminders fired at me by my online calendar, I ignored the good opinions of other knitters, and through the magic of editing, turned some rejected lavender sachets into colorful Christmas ornaments and submitted them in the nick of time.

The way I see it, Creative Knitting needs 60+ patterns for this issue, so I have a decent chance of being accepted, made even better by the fact that at least three designers have no intention of submitting their ideas to these lowballing, rights-hoarding, secretive dirtbags who are going to send them free yarn and a check for the full amount; professionally photograph their ornament; and then publish it in an international magazine.

Pretty much the only thing no one complained about is that they don’t let you know if you’ve been rejected. The way it works is that if you don’t hear from them after 45 days, you just assume they don’t want your pattern.

That sucks.


Plus, I like that they’re calling it a Christmas issue rather than a Holiday issue.

*There is no second.

^And if you’re the Yarn Harlot or Jared Flood, you probably didn’t even read this call for submissions (or this blog post).

Knitty’s pay range is $75–$100 per item and your pattern is available to everyone in the world—including those Russian websites that have no respect for intellectual property—for free until the end of time. And I bet most of those complainers have responded to every single one of their calls for submission with nary a whimper about rights or compensation.

To Ponder: If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise. |-Anais Nin-|

Finito: Blackberry Citron Shawlette

Last week, I told you about casting on for a shawl. It’s the Citron shawlette, a free non-lace pattern on Knitty.

After many hours and many episodes of CSI, it’s done.

You do a garter tab cast-on (new to me), that starts with three stitches and increases to nine right away.

About one-third done.

In each section there are plain rows followed by an increase row, then more plain rows, then another increase row, then a brutal increase row, then plain rows, then a brutal decrease row, then more plain rows. Then you start all over with a new section that’s got umpteen more stitches in it.

Fresh off the needles.

Until you have 540 stitches that you knit 11 times to create the bottom ruffle. I didn’t track my time on this until the end when I was sure that each row of the ruffle took an hour to knit, but really took “only” 16 minutes. Sheesh.

After blocking.

The thing isn’t designed to be all that big, and some Ravellers (much hardier than I), added more sections, and therefore more stitches, to make it bigger. I don’t like to do math, but I do like to exaggerate, so they probably eventually had 1,000 stitches on the needles for the ruffle (times 11).

Overlit selfie.

I have other things to do, so I bound off as soon as the pattern said I could.

I got to wear my little Blackberry Citron for about five minutes before my friend Angela offered me $1,000 for it.

To Ponder: The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it. |-David W. Orr-|

Decision: Thing by Knitty

Yesterday, I received an email from Amy Singer, the editor of Knitty, about the thing I submitted to them eons ago.

It started:

“Thanks so much for your submission. It’s a clever thing! I especially like the photos, and think you’ve done a great job.”

Finally! My first acceptance by them!

But that is not how my life goes, and the next sentence was:

“We receive many more submissions than we are able to publish at Knitty, and that means we must make some hard choices.  Unfortunately, that means we won’t be able to use your submission this time.”

Maybe, when the world goes Mad Max, and Amy and I are the only two knitters left on planet earth, she’ll still reject my submissions.

On the bright side:

  • A hat prototype I’ve been working on for another submission turned out better than I hoped.
  • I finally ordered yarn to knit my own Inspira Cowl.
  • My crazy neighbor has been quiet the past couple of weeks.

To Ponder: To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize. |Voltaire|