Designer Interview: Robin Allen

Today we’re featuring an interview with Robin Allen (atexasgirl on Ravelry), designer of the Hermosa Tee from the Louet North America Spring 2016 collection. Robin is a writer, reader, knitter, yoga instructor, and raw vegan living in the Texas Hill Country. She loves designing items that are easier than they look, but also enjoys the challenge and beauty of cables and stranded knitting. See what she’s up to at A Texas Girl Knits.

How long have you been knitting? How long have you been designing?
I was going to say that I’ve been knitting for 30+ years, but that’s a high number! Let’s just say that I learned to knit in the fifth grade, but didn’t start knitting seriously until high school. This was way before the internet (and even before computers), so I’m mostly self-taught. I would knit all of these really complicated intarsia sweaters from Vogue Knitting using kitchen cotton and cheap acrylic yarns. I published my first design, my River Road Fingerless Mitts, in 2009, then took time off to write and publish three novels in my Poppy Markham: Culinary Cop mystery series. The day after I turned in the third manuscript to my publisher in 2012, I returned to designing and have released 24 patterns.

Can you tell us a little about your design, the Hermosa Tee? What was the inspiration? Is this something you would wear?
Sometimes I have an idea of what I want to create, but most of my designs come from sitting down with a stitch dictionary and some yarn and needles, and swatching patterns. The Hermosa Tee came out of this process. My working name for it was the Long Island Tee, and it went through several idea stages, including wide stripes in two colors in a worsted weight nylon and one color in a worsted weight wool, before I settled on a sport weight. I really love it in the Euroflax linen. It has such a nice drape and sheen. I always design for myself, and I love wearing my Hermosa Tee prototype. Have you had any knitting/designing disasters?
Only a couple of thousand!

Any chance you’d be willing to expand on one of your recent knitting disasters? (It helps to remember we ALL make mistakes!)
I have the worst case of Second Sock Syndrome! And because I wait so long to knit the second one, I’m practically a different person. My tension is off, so one sock doesn’t fit. Plus, I always modify everything I knit, so my notes say something like “b to f for rnd 6,” which makes no sense to me when I finally get around to knitting the second one. I have, however, finally learned my lesson and just say no to socks.

What do you find most challenging about designing?
The math.

What do you find most exciting about knitting/designing?
I love that knitting and designing have certain boundaries of shape, raw materials, color, etc., but within those boundaries are infinite ways to express creativity through individual choices and combinations.

You can see the rest of the patterns in the collection and purchase them here on Ravelry: Louet North America Spring 2016. Don’t forget to join our Ravelry group & share your projects with us!