Wednesday, March 31, 2004

so po'd I could spit!

Oh man, what a day.

On Monday Gerry parked his car on the driveway in front of our house (instead of back behind the house by the garage where we usually park...) The next morning he discovered that some annoying vandals had opened the passenger door, riffled through our glove compartment and took the plastic booklet/pouch with the car handbook, etc. There was a lot of this going on last Spring - kids stealing booklets of various cars, and to be honest we didn't really think twice about it.

Today he was driving to Newark and had just crossed the city line out of South Orange when he was pulled over by a police officer for speeding. He admits he was speeding (going 43 in a 35 MPH zone, which switched to a 25 MPH zone at the city line) The officer asked for his insurance card and that's when he realized that he didn't have it.

He explained the situation to the officer, but she wasn't buying it. He called me at home (literally 6 blocks away) and I rushed over with our policy - proving that we have insurance on both of our cars. The officer wouldn't even look at the policy. Gerry called Amica and the officer wouldn't talk to the agent. She kept saying, "Things are tough all over, I need to see your insurance card..." I rushed home, called the insurance agency and had them FAX a copy of the card to us. Rushed back and they were just loading Gerry's car on the truck. She looked at the fax and said, scornfully, 'It's a FAX!" Duh.

So we spent 5 hours driving back and forth between downtown Newark to get a release, then back to the precinct because she hadn't turned in the paperwork yet (the officers made it clear that they were letting us have a copy of the paperwork as a COURTESY) then back to downtown to get the release AGAIN. Then out to some horrible place where the turnpike meets the Soprano's secret burial yard where the car was towed. Of course, they lost the car. Then they found the car and lost the keys.

Did I mention as the guy was driving off with our car he ran a red light?

Total for the day - $173 fine for not having the insurance card plus $150 for the tow fee. Gerry doesn't dispute the speeding ticket, but this is absolutely nuts. Anyone know anything we can do about this?
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Tuesday, March 30, 2004


Mommio posted her finished ballet neck cardigan - oh baby does that make me proud!

When I design a sweater and it's published, I always wonder about the 'afterlife' of a pattern. Sometimes knitters will tell me they've knit up something I've designed, and at times I even run into folks wearing one of "my" sweaters - that makes me feel so good. But seeing what a delicious job Mommio did on the sweater (SET!) makes me kvell [go ask Debela]

...and more pride!

Michelle at Fibernation has also finished the ballet neck cardi - but this time in a handspun wool of many lovely colors! It's worth a checkout (and it looks great!) Wow, maybe a knit-along is in order?

Also, apparently my comments aren't showing up. I'm seeing them, but I'm on IE and maybe that's why I can see them..? If you're a visitor to my blog and my comments link isn't showing up, drop me a line and let me know.

Book sales have topped 100 and I have a few shops/catalogs interested in carrying the book - very exciting! I'm working on a
Large Type Version for the segment of the knitting population who want to prop the book up at a distance and read it while knitting! I think I'll make the large type version wire bound and see what folks like better...
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Saturday, March 27, 2004

My First Review!

Emma is the first to review the book - and I think her comments are right on the money. Her criticism is valid and very helpful, and her comments are overall quite positive (which I love, of course!)

An errata page will be up later today - and, beauty of publishing on demand, I can take comments about errata, typos, layout problems to heart and fix them right away for new copies of the book. Changing the fonts for the heading was a 'bright idea' that I had right at the end of the design process, and I can see that it wasn't the best one I had...

Her comments about 'who is the audience for the book' are on the money, too - as I wrote to her this morning, it's one of the problems I had when approaching publishers about the book. I think I was writing the book for myself, just 10 years ago, before I figured out a new way to look at some basic knitting problems.

I guess the book is not really for a raw beginner (although a new knitter with enthusiasm will grasp what I'm saying). It's probably too basic for a very advanced knitter - I'm hoping that the essays and reflections will be worth the price of admission (and perhaps change some attitudes about knitting and how we view ourselves as knitters!)

Thanks to Emma for taking the time to write her thoughts on the book so clearly! I look forward to hearing from all of you who bought the book. If you feel more comfortable emailing me, please do!

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Friday, March 26, 2004

Small Press Fair

This weekend in NYC there is the Small Press Book Fair - what timing! I'm going to hear Fern Reiss speak on Little-Known Tips on Finding a Literary Agent, Successfully Self-Publishing and Creating a Bestseller. This is especially coincidental, as Deb Robson of Nomad Press (founded by P.G. Roberts) just recommended Ms. Reiss's book as a good primer on self publishing!

I've just signed my kids up for some of the Saturday activities at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Fest - can't wait! Anyone want to meet up there on Sat for a late lunch?
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Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Pure Design

The next few months I have a lot of teaching gigs coming up, and I took the plunge and ordered (ahem) $400 worth of product to make knitting with wire kits to hawk at aforementioned teaching gigs. Oh, and the book. I can easily see myself becoming (becoming?) tiresome - I have to swallow hard and find the beauty in face to face retail!

I'm finishing up Jen's sweater for Spirit Trail (this is going to be an amazing kit!) and worked up a nice i-cord button loop (knit directly onto the front as a combination placket/buttonloop/seam binding to cover the steeked front edge) Here's a photo of it:

I-Cord Button Loop
Row 1 (RS) Pick up sts along front edge.
Row 2 (WS) Knit all sts
Row 3 (RS) Cast on 4 sts using cable cast on method. [Slip 4 sts from RH needle to LH needle, m1, k2, k2tog-LS] until there are 7 sts on the RH needle (including the 4 icord sts.)

Icord button loop - Slip 4 sts to a double pointed needle, working with two dpns only on these 4 sts, work icord for 10 rows (k4, slip these 4 sts to right end of dpn, repeat) When 10 rows have been worked, slip 4 icord sts to the left hand needle and continue edging to next buttonloop placement.

When all loops have been worked and you're at the end of the row, turn work and purl back. K one row, p one row, then bind off all sts. Fold icord button loop band so loops pop out from edge and stitch bound off edge in place along wrong side of front.

Thought you'd enjoy a taste of one of the details - this is pretty fun to work up, and I can envision a lot of wonderful enhancements! It wouldn't be appropriate for this jacket, but wouldn't it be cool to work the icord loop on the other front edge until it was very, very long then tie it in a knot to create a button to match the loop?
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Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Reality Check

I had a brief thought yesterday afternoon that maybe I rushed the publication of the book - what's the hurry, after all...

Then on my way out to the Dancing Goat last night for my Monday evening knitting, I tripped over a box from Knitters with all of my submissions returned. Actually, I think this is the first time I've submitted to them and they didn't take one thing. Oh, well.

Then this morning Gerry just found out that he did not get the job - they went with someone who has more PR experience (nuts). So, all things considered, I'm so GLAD that I published the book when I did or I might have wallowed into a funk and not have published it for a few more weeks.

On the bright side, I'm blown away with the number of books that are selling - too amazing! I hope they keep up this pace after folks start reading them - I'm relying heavily on word of mouth for this endeavor (although I may take out an ad in the knitting mags when I actually get my ISBN number!)

There was a glitch (mine) whereby I selected the wrong manuscript for publishing for the first few copies. There's nothing wrong with the manuscript that printed, it's complete, there are about 8 typos through the book that I had neglected to fix, though (not pattern related, stupid spelling word related...) If you get one of these, I apologize. Hey - look at it this way - it can be a collectors edition!

Thanks to Eklectica for the groovy button she made for me. Glad the cats are fine!

Steal it if you like, I love it, myself!
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Monday, March 22, 2004

Say my name, say my name...

Andrea wrote in comments: ...this is the dumbest question ever, but how do you pronounce your last name? mode-sit or mo-de-sit? Sorry.

It's not the dumbest question ever! It's a really hard name to pronouce if you haven't heard it before, and the anglicization of it doesn't help!


Originally in french it was probably Modiste (MO-deest) but my family first went to the British Isles, then to America to escape religious persecution, and en route the name was changed.

There's a branch of the family that settled in Indiana that spells it Modisett (which is probably closer to the original) My own branch of the family settled in Maryland/Virginia and every Modesitt you meet in the US is somehow related to me from that branch. Pretty cool. When I go "home" to West Virginia it's fun to open up the telephone book and see dozens of Modesitts - a name I seldom see up here in NJ!
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Sunday, March 21, 2004


I know this is probably old hat to many of you who already work in the book publishing industry, or have published a book, but I just took a deep breath, put my head down and registered online for an ISBN #. It's not cheap, let me tell you, but the initial reaction to the book has been so positive that I feel it's a good investment. With an ISBN # I can sell the book at or in bookstores (I also sprang for the bar code - I am now officially part of the 'sign of the beast')

I'm still fuzzy eyed from the past few weeks of intensive proofreading - and so are several others I roped/cajoled/hired into it! But I've heard some really positive things from folks who have actually READ the book, and that is lovely. I have to steele myself to hear some bad things, too - yikes - the hardest part of any endeavor!

BTW - here's Colleen's great sweater on Hannah's doll...
This is her first sweater - do I have amazing students or what!
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Saturday, March 20, 2004


Well, aside from having two phenomenal classes today (I'm so proud of Betsy, Michelle & Colleen! All making amazing sweaters - too cool!) the response to the book has been pretty great! I am blown away when I see how many have sold so far - thanks so much!

I really hope you guys enjoy it - and the beauty part is that since it's self published, as I improve on an illustration or want to clarify a point, I can reprint it quite easily! Woohoo!

It includes a lot of the patterns that I use for class, but that I generally don't sell - if you click here you can see a table of contents for the book - and see the projects that are included!

Now I just have to start on the marketing aspect of the book! Oy!
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Thursday, March 18, 2004

It's heee-eeer...

I've sort of put my life on hold for the past few days to push the book out. It just felt that the momentum was so good that I had to keep moving on it! I've barely knit in 3 days, and it's high time I got back to Jen's cardigan (only finishing to do!) and the top. Both will be kits for Spirit Trail Fibers.

It's 2:00 am, King of the Hill is over and Cops is on. I'm going to bed.
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Wednesday, March 17, 2004


I've spent the last two days barreling through some of the writing and proofing on the book, and I'm amazed at the progress I've made. I hadn't realized how much I'd put together.

With just a few more patterns and some more cleaning up, I'll be finished! I proofed for 9 hours straight today and I'm not sure I'm making sense any more!

Here's the cover that I designed last night.
What do you think of the title of the book?
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Monday, March 15, 2004

Calling All Good Wishes...

Well, Gerry's interview two weeks ago went so well they want him back for a final interview Tuesday (tomorrow). Please send all good thoughts his way at 10:00 am (EST) as he schmoozes with yet another search committee! His suit is pressed and he's ready to roll!
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Saturday, March 13, 2004

Ahhhh, Chai Latte!

Yet another reason to love my scuncii on a Sunday morning...

Yesterday was amazing - two classes (one rather small, one just right) and some beautiful results! First of all - in my Saturday morning class Sandra finished a sock!!! This is a big, beautiful deal and there couldn't be a luckier foot in North America! (we missed you, Betsy & Michelle - hope you're feeling better and the condo is still standing...)

Sock is in Koigu PPPM, heel in Gems Merino Opal

Then, to top things off, the success of the yarn dyeing class was astounding! My only regret about the class was that Alicia had to leave early so I couldn't photograph her yarn - amazing blues & greens. This was my first time teaching this as a formal class and it went very well. I think folks left happy - feeling that they'd learned something. Dyeing is a very hands-on experience and, like most fiber art, it's something you have to do to begin to fully comprehend it.

Yarns by Claudia, Eileen & Harriet - we should open a shop!
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Friday, March 12, 2004


I LOVE surprises, and I got a terrific one yesterday!

This Saturday I have a dyeing class and yarn has been arriving for it on a regular basis. I received a box from Indiana yesterday and was puzzled for a bit- I didn't order any yarn from Indiana...

But it was full of DYE! Beautiful, bright, clear Rit dye - in powder and liquid form! One of my blog readers, Kim, noticed that I was offering a dyeing class and emailed me for more information. One thing led to another and she had some dye samples mailed to me! Maybe Rit will begin offering yarn dyeing kits? I'll send them some of the stuff I work up with this to see if it might be a possibility...

It looks a LOT warmer out there than it is - it's one of those windy, brisk mornings when several sweaters would be good. Instead I strolled to the bus stop in a light jacket and sandals. I'm insane. Hannah and I jumped up and down to stay warm until the bus arrived. Yesterday it got up to 52 - I'm hoping for the same later today and definitely tomorrow so we can take advantage of my backyard and do some of the messier dyeing out there!

Sad Notes
I feel it's incumbent on all of us to take a moment and think about the recent bombing in Madrid. Heaven knows who did it (Hell knows is more like it) but what a terrible tragedy. Odd that it would be on 3/11. We here in the NYC area can definitely understand the shock and horror (awe?) that will permeate the lives of folks in Madrid for a long time to come.

I'm also saddened - and troubled - by the discovery of Spaulding Grey's body. I really liked him as an actor, as a talk show guest and a monologueist. We each have our own demons to face. I think suicide is a terrible way out of this life - even worse is being so depressed that you feel you have no other option. That truly must be hell on earth, and I despair that anyone has to go through that. His mother also committed suicide. There is so much we don't understand about the human mind & soul - it's a good idea to reserve judgement in areas where we, ourselves, haven't ventured.
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Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Sew Excited!

When Hannah was a baby I found a small electric (battery powered) Singer sewing machine at a yard sale. I put it away and almost forgot about it.

This weekend I brought it down and we cleaned it, oiled it, rolled a bobbin, put in a new needle and Hannah learned to use her machine!

She made a very simple "ballroom" skirt for her Kit doll - a couple of long, straight seams and some elastic - you have never seen a more proud child!

The doll looks pretty good, too! I hope this is the start of a lifelong love of designing and making clothes!

Big Class
I never dreamed that I'd have a full house (literally) when I offered my Tuesday classes as drop in, but that's what happened last night! It was great, though - very enjoyable! My only fear is that I wasn't able to give each student the attention they deserved. Aside from the regular 5 attendees, we had 3 other students come by for a total of 8!

Four are in various stages of the Technique Sampler Bag, one student is making a lovely lavender sweater, another student is attempting a tank in ribbon & fisherman's rib that I wouldn't even attempt (but she's amazing!) One of the Bag knitters is also making a lovely tweed sweater for her son, another is making a pink fitted tank in King Tut (quickly becoming my favorite yarn) and one of our new students is making a rectangular poncho in a simple garter rib stitch. What a gratifying class!

If any of my students from the class last night would like to come by for a quick catch-up session before next week, email me! I'll be happy to offer it gratis since I felt that I wasn't able to focus as deeply as I would have liked on any one student!

Back to the King Tut - if you're in the South Orange/ Maplwood area, I highly reccomend that you visit Knit & Stitch at 155 Maplewood Ave (above the Movie Theatre - I have no affiliation, but I like the shop a lot!) Rosemary has some amazing shades of King Tut, and it's perfect for a summer top or any other project. Because it's Egyptian cotton the sheen is quite - but it is true that when you first start working with it the strands can split. I reccomend using a smaller needle than you usually would. The bag at the side (in red) is worked in King Tut.

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Sunday, March 07, 2004

Seeing Progress

I'm beginning to see light at the end of the paper tunnel I call TB the book It's actually begining to come together in a kind of 'call and response' format and I can envision a time when it's finished.

Even better, I'm not feeling compelled to throw EVERYTHING that I have in my bag of tricks into this book, but use it as a starting place for - perhaps - future books. I know - big talk for someone who doesn't even have a publisher, huh?

A good friend, who is also an excellent writer and has published several books of poetry, read through most of my essays and had some very kind things to say about it. I can't lose sight of the fact that she loves me and is one of my biggest cheerleaders, but the kind words were nice to hear. Gerry, my hub, wanted to read through the book, too. He enjoyed what he read, but is more reserved in his enthusiasm.

I'm much more excited about the essays and "knit-fermations" - positive nuggets about knitting and how it applies to daily life - than I am about the technical stuff, although that is exciting in a quieter way. I guess, in my heart of hearts, I'm certain that I'll get a very good amount of, "You're WRONG - this is NOT the way to do X, Y & Z!" from readers, but few will probably take exception to my rambling philosophical journies on the meaning of making a knit stitch.

Having been unable to find a book that emphasized MY way of knitting when I started, I feel compelled to get this out there and support any wavering Combination knitters who may just need a good pep talk to get out of their knitting slump, or take on a new adventure. Legitimization cannot be overrated when an upstart is faced with the wall of tradition.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2004

We're still selling!

I usually don't post twice in one day, but running across this story on the internet really steamed my crumpet.

Why can't they leave the Brownies alone? Those poor kids - confused and now in the middle of a controversy. It's cookies, f'heaven's sake!

In case anyone's interested - we're still taking orders through the end of the week (to be delivered 2 weeks later) We should drop ship some to Crawford.
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Wish Him Luck!

Gerry had a job interview today. He thinks it went well, but you never know how things will end. Send him your good vibes and wishes - they said they'd be making the decision sometime next week...

I sent out the holiday book ideas - they're pretty cool and I hope a few are snapped up! I'm especially happy about an "easy" lace tablecloth idea I had - not a lot of heavy needlework, but a nice bang for the knitting buck!

I did some buying today - ribbon yarn to dye, wire for classes, beads - these spending days are fun (and necessary) but also scary! So far I haven't been stuck with a large amount of some ungodly yarn or bead color, but there's always that fear when I'm stocking up for kits for classes, etc.

I also got a package from Eddie Bauer - how fun is that? Lots of great T-shirts in spring pastels, I'm so excited! EB is the best thing that ever happened to tall, casual wearin' chicks like me! Where else can I find shoes that fit me so well... Okay - Nordstroms.

Tonight is our Yarrn Pirate non-meetup meetup - always a blast and lots of fun - I miss seeing those wenches when I don't make it (and I have cookies to deliver tonight!)

I'll have a piece in the IK Crochet-only issue, which is pretty cool! Even cooler is that it will be a child's piece, so Hannah can model it (that makes it so nice for her, and great for me to have a built in fit model!)

I also have neglected to mention that I'll be teaching an crocheting with wire class in NYC on April 24 - you can check out the New York City Crochet Guild for more information. It should be fun!
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Tuesday, March 02, 2004

New Round of Classes!

My new round of Spring/March Classes begins tonight, and I'm very excited! My April / May / June are filling up with away-classes, so I'm looking forward to a month of teaching pretty much here in my own backyard!

Speaking of backyard, it looks as if the weather for the dyeing class on Sat will be exceptional! I'm keeping the class size down because I don't want to have too much chance for terrible dyeing mishaps, but I still do have some spaces for the 3/6 class. In the class we will cover basics of space dyeing, yarn painting and how to set your colors using superheat (ie, microwave!). It will be messy, but fun, and everyone who attends will take home 50g of worsted weight yarn (85 yds) that they've dyed themselves. It may not be entirely dry, but it will be beautiful!
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Alison's Scarf
Link to pdf file of cable/trellis lace scarf

Hannah's Poncho
Link to pdf file of multi-sized poncho


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