Thursday, April 29, 2004

Tea, anyone?

This was one of my favorite projects - and now it's up online at IK (It will be in the Summer issue, on sale May 18th)

In answer to Janice's question, no - I didn't use any stiffner. These were knit on size 2 & 3 needles (generally the yarn calls for size 6 -8) so they're rather like cardboard!

I suppose you could stiffen them with some kind of starch, lacquer or spray on clear coat, but I like the fact that you can roll them up in a little bag and use them during a long car trip to keep the kids happy in the back seat!
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Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Staying Put

I was going to go down to Texas today - after speaking with my mom yesterday I got a little concerned. She sounded much better later in the day, and in the evening my sister in law phoned to reassure me that mom is actually doing much better and I should wait and come down as planned after the middle of the month.

Yesterday was an odd day - one of the few times when I've sort of given myself over to the sadness. Actually, I didn't so much give myself over to it as feel paralyzed by it. I'm glad to be here for the next week or so - there's so much to do, stuff I've promised to get done, marketing stuff - but obviously my hearts not 100% in it.

In June I'm planning on having Tuesday evening knitting sessions at my home - I'll put a button up about it tomorrow.
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Tuesday, April 27, 2004


Yesterday was a LONG one - oy!

I had to be at the car dealership at 8:30 for a brake job, which took until 1:30... Then I drove home and had an hour to check email, get some work done, before I had to leave at 3:30 for Irvington, NY where I visited Flying Fingers Yarn Shop and had a chance to visit with the owner, play with her beautiful grandson and drop off a wholesale order of books. What a cool shop it is - I really liked the feeling and the great selection of yarns they had there!

Then on to Chappaqua for dinner with the prez. President of the Westchester Knitting Guild, that is... And a great class in knitting with wire with the most enthusiastic group of knitters to meet in a library! I was so proud to see one of the guild members wearing a linen hat she'd made from one of my kits - there really is nothing in the world that is as wonderful to a designer than seeing someone who has made (and loves) an item they've designed! A long day, but a great day!

The drive home was wet - rainy - but not as long as I might have thought. I crawled into bed at 11:00 and slept like a rock.
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Sunday, April 25, 2004

Mixed Day

Yesterday I taught a day-long class in Crocheting with Wire at the NY Crochet Guild - it was such a great class! The particpants were not just talented, they were enthusiastic and very willing to try new things - what a great day!

I took the train in and cabbed it down to the class, such a beautiful day, then took a cab pack to Penn station and traveled out to Long Island to meet up with Gerry and the kids at my mother in law's for a little visit and to take her out to dinner for her birthday. It was a long day, and carrying the heavy teaching materials took a toll on my back. We finally got home around 10:30 and I had a message and email waiting for me from my sister in law.

My mother is back in the hospital. Apparently she's had a bad reaction to the latest chemo treatment and she was also pretty dehydrated. She's been in a lot of pain the past few weeks, but she's so brave and tries not to complain much (at least to me). I spoke with her this morning - she sounds weak but in good spirits. Her blood pressure and blood sugar are both good, but she's lost so much weight in the past few weeks. I was glad that Karen was finally able to convince her to go into the hospital.

I want to get down there as soon as I can - I may drive down on Tuesday after I get things squared away here. I was planning on driving down after my teaching gigs in NC and VA in late May, I have a few weeks there when nothing is on my plate. She wants me to send her copies of my book so she can give them to her nurses (who always fall in love with her, she's such a sweet woman) She'll be 85 on May 25th.
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Thursday, April 22, 2004

The Space Between...

I'm in between sweaters right now - waiting for yarn to arrive for the next project, just finished up the last one...

I do have stuff to do - wire knitting kits to make up for my classes this weekend, booklets on crocheting with wire to put together for Saturday, book marketing stuff - but I'm between sweaters and I feel like there's a sweater spaced hole in my brain that's waiting to be filled with a project...

The car's sounding wonky. It was sounding that way before I did my little run up the curb this week, but I have to get it addressed before my month of travel! I just made an appt for Monday morning at 8:45 - yikes - in Denville. When I turn to the right it makes a rubbing noise, which stops when the brake is engaged, so I'm hoping it's basically something that's just hanging funny and rubbing against something. At any rate, we're still covered by warrenty (I hope - sometimes they find some pretty amazing loopholes...).

The book sales continue, and I've received a few orders from yarn shops based on the cards I sent out (woohoo!) I'm going through a 2nd printing of the cards because I realized (too late) that I'd rather have my cell phone number as a contact than my home number (yes, it's probably time for a 2nd phone line - we used to have one but we got rid of it when we got dsl!)

Next week is school vacation - heaven help us.
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Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Thanks Gerry!

Yesterday I had a very minor incident in my car (I ran up on the curb and flattened two tires) and Gerry showed up about 10 minutes after I called him (okay, I was just down the street...) and changed my tires. This morning he got up and took the car to pep boys and had 4 new tires put on (we were due, to be honest, for at least two tires...)

Anyway, he was such a mensch about it - he didn't have to be so great, but he made me feel as if I hadn't been such a fool. Thanks Gerry!

I'm putting together a booklet of my hat patterns - it will probably take me a while, but it's nice to get them all under "one roof" - maybe I'll be able to add some basic millinery tips and make it a nice workbook for hat makers!
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Friday, April 16, 2004

Big Day For UPS!

Today I got a huge delivery from UPS - Books from CafePress (I'm sending these out until the ones I'm having printed privately are ready) so I was able to fill the orders that I've received in the past week! I also received some Knitting Heretic mugs I've promised to friends as gifts (and also to sell at a few events). Fortuitously I also received my cardboard mailers to ship the books and my packing tape! I also got my box of 1,000 postcards I had printed up to send to yarn shops.

So far I have 300 addressed and ready to be stamped. I'm realizing I was a fool not to let the postcard publisher send these out, which they would have done for roughly the price of postage in addition to the print fee, but we live and learn - right?

I have a list (I sound like McCarthy) of 1,300 yarn shops, and all of them will get postcards before I'm finished! In trying to design a marketing strategy I'm concentrating on yarn shops, guilds, internet word-of-mouse and my speaking/teaching engagements. I'd love to get an ad in FCEK or Vogue (or even Interweave) but it's just beyond my current budget. But I hope it won't be forever! The knitting community is huge in scope - if any of you have great marketing tips, I'd love to hear them!

What an experience this whole thing has been - amazing! Such a wonderful learning experience. Writing a book and putting it together would be a great project for my Brownie troop (in a small way, of course...) Maybe we'll do that before the end of the year.

The throat continues to be very sore - so sore in fact that I just don't feel much like eating (can this be me writing?) but I feel so much better - thanks for the good thoughts and kind emails! It's just lovely outside today and the kids are loud and happy!
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Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Truth in Advertising

Man, if I could have another kid I'd name it Nyquil!! with the trademark sign and everything - very caLifoRnia

I took Nyquil
last night and got the best nights sleep I've had in months - yahoo! Still have a sore throat (in fact, I can't really speak at all) and still feel blah, but well rested!

Writing crochet patterns is so much different than writing knitting patterns - wow, am I in over my head with this stuff! I'll fight through it, and will get much assistance from the editors at IK I'm sure, but man - you crocheters must be noo-Q-ler engineers! The sweater is looking cute - I hope Pam likes it (I sort of took the ideas we hashed around and ran with them...) But I need to dedicate a good portion of today to refiguring my math to make sure I'm correct. Hate this part (well, sort of love it, but hate it when my head is pounding...)

On the home front Maxie is really pissed at me. He wants to watch "Sonic Underground" - for those of you without 5 or 6 year olds, it's a cartoon based on the Sonic the Hedgehog character where the aforementioned Sonic, along with his sister and brother (who were abandoned by their mother because there was some danger of a prophecy coming true - it's all in the opening song, but I'm darned if I can figure the whole thing out...) are rock musicians and crime fighters. You have to understand that so far this is the only non-PBS tv stuff we've let him watch (aside from the Simpsons) and lately he's been acting out - hitting his sister pretty hard, slugging the neighbor's kid (who has been known to slug Max himself). His punishment for the last crime was no Sonic for a week. He is very sad. He tries to slip by me, "Mom, I'm going downstairs [to the playroom with a TV] and eat my breakfast, okay?" "No. And you're not watching Sonic." "Awwwwww." [head bows, he carries his waffle and milk back to his little green table]

I'm a mean, mean mom.
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Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Flu - again...

Body aches, fever, chills, headach and nausea. Yep, it's the flu!

I'm going to have to cancel my class tonight, which is so disappointing (I love that class!)

It's this friggin' changing weather, I tells ya! However, we did plant a mimosa tree this weekend and I have an elm tree that I need to plant in the next few days - the rain is terrific for that!

On the knitting front, I will have two items in Melanie Falick's new Holiday Book, which is really great - one project is a knit wire menorah, the other a tablecloth. I also got confirmation that a sweater I really love will be in IK winter - now I just have to knit this stuff up!

Finishing up the crocheted girl's sweater and finishing another sweater for Spirit Trail Fibers (blue boucle - mmmmm!)
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Monday, April 12, 2004

Mmmmmm, creamy...

I woke up with a killer sore throat today - not surprising considering the weather (cold/hot/cold/wet/dry/hot/cold) and incredible body aches. I also woke up with a little red-headed girl in my bed complaining of a sore throat and that she "hurt all over" - so the Hannah-miester is home today from school. Upstairs eating cream of wheat and watching the Card Captor's movie with her little brother (who doesn't go to school until noon). Of course, I'm finishing up the cream of wheat. Nothing better when the throat is sore than tea and a nice smooth, hot cereal!

This weekend I moved the spiral bound book sales to my website (see box at right). I can't afford at this time to print both perfect and spiral bound in any kind of quantity, so I'm going to press with the spiral bound and those who want to get the perfect bound book can buy it at cafe press.

When I did the numbers I realized that - with the first class postage I'm charging ($1.76 vs. $4.00 Cafepress charges) - the spiral book is actually a trifle cheaper than the perfect bound. Go figure.

I'm repeating the offer for anyone who's purchased a book at cafe press - if you'd like to get a spiral bound version at half price ($9.50) click on the "wholesale order" link and follow the instructions. I figure it's the least I can do for the wonderful support I've been shown in the first few weeks of this book's printing! And you can always give away the first book to a friend and keep the spiral bound for yourself!

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Friday, April 09, 2004


Well, enough gloating over the book (I know you're all a bit tired of it!) and back to my knitting!

Actually, today it's crochet... I'm working on a piece for IK's Crochet special issue - a child's sweater - and I think Hannah will be the model for it (woohoo!) She loves that. She got to model one of my hats in an earlier issue (it was a fluke, the photos of the original model didn't turn out well, and Hannah was modeling a different child's sweater so they plopped the hat on her and she got to be the teeny tiny square on the cover)

At any rate, it's mighty handy to have your fit model living in your house!

Here's a sample of how it's looking
it's worked from the yoke down:
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Thursday, April 08, 2004


Talk about your great mornings! I stopped by Wendy's blog during breakfast and found this amazing review waiting for me - this has made my year!

Knowing (and loving) the blogging community as I do, Wendy's comments mean so much to me. I have tremendous respect for her as a knitter and as a writer, and her positive review is more precious than I can say.

Thanks Wendy - and thanks to everyone who's purchased the book!

In other great book news, I've heard from several editors that they really like the book and intend to review it in their knitting magazines - lovely - I think I can let my breath out now. I'm sending the manuscript to the printer to day to print my own run of the book (which I'll be selling from my website, in book & yarn stores and at my lectures & workshops.)

The book will be wire-O bound and subsequently I've had to raise the price. However, the book will also be bigger (not more content, just more SPACE between the words - bigger & more detailed pictures, etc.) which makes the higher price a bit easier to bear!

To everyone who's purchased a book at cafe press - thanks! I'll be moving the sales of the spiral bound book ($18.99) to my own website in the next few days and would like to offer a copy at 50% off the retail price for anyone who's already purchased a book at cafepress as a way of showing my appreciation for your support!
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Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Beautiful Day!

Max and I practically skipped to the bus stop today, it was so beautiful! Oh, man, it's about time!

I reworked the pages for the book - I really opened up the text, spread out the content. I figured as long as I had to redo much of it to send to the printer, I'd go ahead and let a little air in. This means the book has more pages (200) and therefore is more expensive to print. I'm sorry that I've had to raise the price of the spiral bound book - I'm hopeful that when this prints up it will allow me to offer both books at the same price (hint - if you're thinking of getting the book wait and buy it from my site in a few weeks, or ask your local yarn/yarn catalog to stock it!)

However, if someone is just DYING to get the spiral bound version immediately, it's up online, but it's $2 more than the perfect bound one - for the time being!
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Monday, April 05, 2004

Great Quote!

I'm still pricing out my book to smaller publishers (POD publishers and digital publishers) but I got a really nice email from a designer/writer I've admired for a long time with a different kind of great quote which she will allow me to use a lovely quote in my pr and on the book cover - woohoo!! Here it is:

The less orthodoxy we have in knitting the better! I enjoyed the essays and was really happy to see the 'I-bobble' At last a knit-side bobble that is good looking.

Anna Zilboorg, Author, Knitting for Anarchists

I'm so psyched! It means a lot - and hopefully will lead to more quotes that I can use - how great!
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Sunday, April 04, 2004

Happy Birthday...

Yesterday Jim would have been 45 - Happy Birthday Jimmy!


I've heard back from a few readers who would rather have the wire spiral bound version of the book (with the latest corrections) than the perfect bound. Well, folks, cafepress has a 30-day return policy, so it's 100% fine with me if you want to 'trade up' and get a spiral bound copy (the cost is the same for both books...)

I'm debating whether I should just go with a wire spiral bound when I print with a small printer - hmmmm. What do you guys think? You're the best market research I could get! Perfect bound looks more professional and you can read the name from a bookshelf, but wire bound allows the reader to lay the book flat.

Also, as promised, I'm finishing up my Large Type Version and it should be up for sale by Tuesday.

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Friday, April 02, 2004

First Wholesale Order

Well, I just sent out my first wholesale order of the book. I've been getting some really wonderful comments - positive and very helpful! Here are some notes I should let you in on:

As per Emma's review, the heading and subhead fonts have been changed from Typo (script-y) to SchoolText Font. I hope this makes them more readable!

The book is really packed with information, so I've added more space between lines of type. I've also added a few pages so I could spread out some of the image-heavy pages and make the book easier on the eyes.

The felted vest pattern now has all sizes listed - it's written for sizes XS - XXL.

Due to an oversight on my part, I uploaded the wrong text file into Quark (twice - duh!) Therefore some typos weren't corrected until the revision uploaded two days ago. I apologize for the typos, I know how annoying they can be. Perhaps we could consider them an exercise in embracing the beautiful imperfection of Annie... [slap me]

I think I've found a printer to produce larger (ha!) quantities, so very shortly I should be able to ship books directly from my home and also supply yarn shops & catalogs with bulk orders much more cheaply than I'd be able to do at Cafepress. It's amazing - I've been getting a lot of requests for bulk copies from catalogs & yarn shops - wonderful!

Once again - thanks to everyone for your kind support and criticism (both good and bad!) I will try to keep making the book better and better.

Due to popular demand, I have recently added a wire-ring-bound edition, to lay flat. I'll also be adding a large-type edition, but these last two versions will only be available through cafepress.

Dont' forget: If you like the book, or if you just want to help me out, please do tell your local yarn shop (or email your local online yarn catalog or bookstore) about my book. I have an ISBN number (0-9754219-0-5) and hope to get this up via Amazon and B& shortly! Requests for the book can't hurt!
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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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