Monday, January 31, 2005

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAXIE!

Max is 7 today. Seven years ago I was at Mountainside Hospital in Glen Ridge watching the 2 hour Homicide while laboring to deliver my little boychik. Finally at 5:20 there was my beautiful 11 lb baby boy (and I had taken no meds, am I insane?) He was such a big and strong baby that he held his head up just a few hours after he was born. Amazing. He still is! Life continues to go one - sailing by so quickly - and my boy is so big.

Respite & Raveling

What a busy weekend - oy!

On Sat I drove out to New Haven, a long trip from South Orange, for 2 great classes! My students were so excited and enthusiastic that the fact I was 30 minutes late was actually a GOOD thing! The amazing class taught three of the new students how to knit while they were waiting for me (stuck in traffic on 95 outside of the GWB) Thanks so much to all of you for your attention and your patience.

On Sun I drove out to Long Island, to the beautiful little town of Northport to visit Three Black Sheep. What a great yarn shop! Like most shops, there's more yarn than space, but since when was that a BAD thing?

Lauren, one of the sheep (she introduced herself as the "middle" sheep) and her mother made me feel so welcomed and loved. The class was inquisitive, questioning but very enthusiastic. I found myself during the lunch period in a back room having a minor breakdown - always lovely - and I have to chalk that up to the energy I've been expending on travel, teaching and especially the deadlines that loom. After a few minutes I washed my face, had a cup of coffee and we returned to the class for part II. Lauren was gracious in her understanding. Knitters are lovely people.

Today I'm getting sketches printed out to send to IK - and, because it's Max's birthday - it's a rather full day! Dunkin' Donuts Munchkins at the school, then swimming and karate for the kids after school. We're going to take Max out for Chinese food for dinner and then if I'm able I'll run by Starbucks for the knitting meeting. I've asked for a day's extension on the IK submissions since I can't really get an extension on Max's birthday! He's only 7 once (and such a happy 7 year old he is!)

I woke him up with a gift on his bed, then after breakfast we all caught the bus. He's just such an unassuming, happy and joyful little boy. I'm becoming verklepmt.
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Friday, January 28, 2005

Psych!
I've received so many emails over the past few days asking, "Is your segment going to be on Knitty Gritty tonight!" or "I thought your segment was going to be on Knitty Gritty!"

Not having cable, I don't really pay attention to listings for non-broadcast channels, but apparently the description of a recently Knitty Gritty segment was that of "my" show. My show number is 308, by the way...

Knitty Gritty didn't seem to have a full-time permanent staff (like so many shows, they staff up during their shooting season, then go back to skeleton staff when they're on hiatus) so I wasn't really expecting a lot of follow up letting me know when my show would air - that's not uncommon. Apparently the description of my show got mixed up with Karen Baumer's segment on socks - which is a real shame for Karen!

As soon as I know when it will air - IF I know when it will air - I'll certainly alert the blogosphere. I have very mixed feelings. I love that I'll be on TV, I hate the thought of looking at myself. I go along thinking I'm one way - not really a gorgeous model or anything, but I have my own mental image of myself. Then I see a moving image of myself, and it's just so freaky! It's like hearing my voice on a recording. It's not that it's bad, it's more that it's jarring because it's not what I believe in my soul to be the true me.

Free Coffee
I am a mystery shopper (there, I'm outed...) and I do shops around the area every now and then. Yesterday I got a call from the company I "work" for (I use this term loosely because my pay consists of free dinners or merchandise, but no real paycheck or anything like that) that they've acquired a new client with a branch near my home, and asked me if I'd do a shop today where I stop by, ask some scripted questions, order a beverage, note the time it takes to process my order, and report back to them. It's very cloak and daggar. The dog barks twice at midnight.

It just so happens that this establishment is on the way to Treasure Island, where I have to go today to pick up some jewelry findings, so it's very convenient. And I get a free coffee. And I also get $5. Maybe I'll buy a muffin. Maybe I should think about how I look on TV.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Booked

It's been so darned cold lately - and you may or may not know that my office is the former breakfast nook of our home, un-insulated - that I can't really stand to be in my office for more than a few hours. My hands freeze, I get all hot and cold and I pile on more cardigans than Fred Rogers.

This puts a crick in my calendar work, which is 99% computer related. Hence, I haven't really been posting on my blog so much, either! Maxie's been home with a bad croupy cough and fever, but the doc says he doesn't have strep (yay!) and that it's just a bad cold he has to get through. I love our doc, she's so non-medication if it's not warranted. I've spent an inordinate amount of time playing games with Maxie in the past 3 days, but that's an amazing blessing. And today work will be cut short with the Brownie meeting. Life is full, that's for sure!

I'm not terribly worried about my calendar deadline, but I am feeling under pressure. Oddly, too, there have been SO MANY submissions for the calendar in the past few days. This is great - I can use a lot of them for 2007 - but everyone has to be answered. If you've submitted and I haven't been back to you right away, I apologize! I'll be with you as soon as I can!

This influx of submissions also means that mail is bounced from my server when I get loads of images all sent at the same time. If this happens to you, I'm sorry - please resend!

So I've booked my flight to LA for April! I'm flying out 4/4 and will be returning 4/12. While there I'm teaching a series of workshops and classes for the North Coast Knitters in San Diego as well as at Black Sheep in Hollywood, CA in the morning and afternoon on 4/8 and at Unwind in Burbank on 4/8-10 for a very full weekend of classes. If you're in the LA area and you're interested in any of these classes, you can either email me directly, or contact the yarn shops:

Black Sheep, 6324 Yucca St (near Vine), Hollywood, 90028 CA 323-464-2253
Unwind, 818 N. Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA 91505 - 818-840-0800

I still have some time open on Monday 4/9 in case anyone wants to set up an impromptu group class. If not, I'll be driving to the beach...

I actually rented a CONVERTIBLE this time - wahooo! I threatened to do it on my last visit to LA, but didn't because I just couldn't see spending the extra $$$. However, this time I have a discount coupon from Enterprise and that brought the price up $50 for the week over a regular rental. How could I say no? My mother used to say that owning a convertible was something everyone had to do at least once (until they got tired of having their hair blown around...)

Speaking of hair, I got mine chopped. I don't think I've ever had such a severe haircut that I thought less about! I got it cut a week ago, from my shoulder length bob to boy-length (Republican boy no less...) and last night as I was showering I was stunned again that hey! my hair is missing! I also got the color touched up so I'm a redhead again, not a sugar-and-cinnamon as I am quickly becoming!

I'm also about to go to press with the book once again. This makes 6 times, and I'm just stunned. I have 40 copies left out of my last print order of 1,000 and I'm selling very well at Amazon. I've also had a big boost lately in my own personal sales, which I sort of chalk up to some buzz about the calendar on certain boards and the fact that the book is being passed around to knitting folks who generally aren't internet surfers. It's nice, though, that it's a sort of slow and consistent growth. It makes me feel like parts of the book may be entering the general knitting psyche in some way (I am flattering myself here).

Recently an editor commented to me in some corrections on a pattern, "We tend to only reflect the Western method in our instructions, not Eastern or Combination." - but instead of making me feel bad, I felt so elated that Combination is actually getting into the dialogue! I cannot for a moment pretend that this is because of me alone, I'm late to the whole thing when one considers Mary Walker Phillips, Anna Zilboorg and Priscilla Gibson Roberts, but I'm happy to be part of the process!
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Saturday, January 22, 2005

15 Inches?

They are telling us that we'll be getting 15" of snow today where I live. Up to 3" per hour.

Maxie has a birthday party in the later afternoon - it's local, just downtown near the supermarket - but if the snow starts in the late morning and we get 3" per hour by the time the party starts we'll have 9+"

I'm hoping that the party will still be able to happen - he's really been looking forward to it, it's one of his best buddies (a train friend!) and we got the little birthday boy a serious book of train identification. Gerry got it, he's good at picking out these kinds of gifts! Bear in mind that this is a kid who, at 7, already has many parts of our train schedule memorized. No wonder Max likes him!

Cancellation

The impending nor'easter, though, has prompted the cancelling of my knitting with wire class out in Long Island. Wise choice! I, of course, was all for it, "I can drive out - no big deal!" That was when I though we'd be getting 8" at the most. The shop, 3 Black Sheep, is looking into rescheduling for March.

This leaves me with a wonderful day I hadn't expected to have - I can get SO MUCH done on the calendar - yippee!! I've been feeling under the wire - pressure I'm putting on myself - but I look forward to the weekends as long, unbroken lengths of time when Gerry's with the kids and I can edit to my heart's content. I may set myself up with my computer in the living room so I can do it warmly (my office is friggin' freezing!) I need to work up a pair of fingerless gloves for ME!

I apologize for not crochet calendar changing the pattern of the week - it's gotten away from me as I barrel through pattern after pattern, trying to match each of them to the same style and editing the photos. Perhaps I'll get to THAT this weekend, too!

Once nice thing is that, if anything, the level of submissions has RISEN. This gives me a head start on the 2007 Calendar.
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Thursday, January 20, 2005

Check yer bucks

I was listening to Morning Sedition this morning and when I checked their blog I read about a movement to write notes on US currency to protest Bush's policies. Folks were checking their wallets and finding these bills - I, myself, found 2 dollars with BBM written on them (Bush's Blood Money) Interesting...

I actually called in to make a comparison. Folks who don't completely understand their knitting tend to be the most dogmatic about the right way to knit.

I made the connection that folks who don't have a firm, well-informed knowledge of their own religion, it's history and place in the realm of world religions, tend to be the staunchest fanatics who insist that theirs is the only path to peace and enlightenment. There is more than one road to Toledo.

This is, of course, different from those who are passionate about their religious choice and don't mock others for making a different choice. Passion is not fanaticism. For example, a Catholic can be passionate about her faith and still hold respect for the Hindu or Muslim - or non believer - who has found a way to create a good and useful life working for peace and understanding.

Ignorance is truly the fastest path to chaos.

I'm ignoring mainstream media today. I'm going to write, edit, knit and watch Angels In America (from Netflix) Later there may be sledding for the kids.


Bronchitis Redux

I went to the doc last week and discovered that the hacking cough I've had for months is Bronchitis (which I should have known) so after a week of antibiotics I'm coughing harder than ever. Cough. I wanted to go to Meetup last night, but I was so feverish (I get fevers between 4 - 7 pm) that I thought it best to stay home and under my quilt. Sorry Athena!

This week I'm going out to Long Island to Three Black Sheep for a knitting with wire class. It'll be a blast - they always are - and we'll make lovely things and have a great time! If you're in the area, join us! I promise not to cough on anyone.
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Monday, January 17, 2005

Everyone's a Critic

Yesterday I was up in Scarsdale teaching and Gerry was out with the kids, leaving the cats alone in the house. Unforuntately, the litter box got pushed up against the wall so it was inaccessible. Yes, you guessed it, one cat (Butkis, we think...) was compelled to relieve himself outside of his normal field of litter. Right on one of my designs which I left out on the floor by my chair. Fabulous.

What was even better was that I didn't realize this until a friend came over and I reached down to pick up the design. Oy. Just when you get past this phase with the kids, now the animals start in...

It was a funny if relatively unpleasant end to a great day!

The classes at Sticks and String (45 Spencer in Scarsdale - by the train station) went really well! It's a beautiful shop with a really exceptional selection of luxury yarns. They tend to specialize in high quality yarns that create good stitch definition - which is a relief from the all-novelty-all-the-time fever of the past few years. They do have some lovely novelty yarns, too, but it's clear that they concentrate on knitting as an art and skill and not something to 'get through quickly' in order to get yet another boa scarf finished!

My only disappointment was that I wish the inc/dec class had been better attended. It really IS a great class, but the title isn't very sexy (I have to work on that...) so it doesn't draw the crowds it deserves. At any rate, both classes were really terrific - the students were engaged and full of good questions and ideas - everyone cabled like an Irish fisherman and we had some horizontal icord going by the end of the 2nd class. More than anything else, I feel like I empowered some knitters to feel that they can do ANYTHING that they have a passion to do (with yarn, that is... - or in other things, too!)

Today I'm veging - crocheting swatches and getting design submissions together for Classic Elite Yarns - but most especially I'm playing around with yarns from Art Yarns.

After my class Iris Schreier, the designer behind Art Yarns, graciously met me at her office to load me up with inspiring yarns and fibers. Tremendous! I'll be using some of it for some designs which have already sold, and swatching with the rest. Her yarns are just exceptional, and have very individual and identifiable colorways.

I've also been living in yarn heaven when a super box arrived from Goddess Yarns. I hadn't really played with these yarns much, but what I'd seen I loved! They sent yarns for me to use for some final projects for the calendar, and the selection and quality of the yarns is amazing! I'm especially in love with Emanuella - the merino yarn that has the most amazing spring. It's a bit finer than other springy merinos I've seen, which makes it better for crochet.

Now I need to really buckle down on the crochet calendar. I've been editing patterns and revising photos as they have come in, so now that I'm at the point of formatting each pattern in Quark it should go relatively quickly. I also have everything in a related database so I can just export the info in the order that I need, so that there's a nice uniformity. But it's still going to be a haul.
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Friday, January 14, 2005

Just Desserts

A good friend sent me this link: HannahMax Baking What a riot - my kids will love this!

Hack, Cough, Wheeze

I finally went to the doctor and I have Bronchitis. So I'm on antibiotics and they're sapping my energy and making me queasy, but I am feeling better and stronger and my chest doesn't hurt any more. Bronchitis is a way of life for asthmatics, but for the past few weeks I've been so physically drained that it was an effort to get up and get a glass of water. I'm getting more oxygen, so I don't feel that way anymore (thank goodness!)

The Things I Do

Another blog reader wrote with questions about Combination Knitting and my book, which I answered by sending her some info on decreasing (one of the clearest ways to see the difference between Western and Combination or Eastern Knitting.) It's true that I do have decreasing pages up within my website, but I thought for those who just cruise the blogs and prefer not to dig too deeply into one specific URL, I'd post a decreasing mini tutorial. I'm also still resting. Brrrrr.

DECREASING MINI TUTORIAL

Left Slanting Decrease
When Combination Knitters knit 2 together, we insert our right hand needle into the first stitch on the left hand needle, THEN into the second stitch on the left hand needle, and work them together so we get a decrease that slants this way
\\\


This decrease can be worked in different ways, and is generally described in Western instructions as:
K2tog-TBL (knit 2 together through the back loop)
s1 k1 psso (slip 1 st to the rh needle, knit 1 st, pass the slipped stitch over the knit stitch)
ssk (slip, slip, knit - slip the first 2 sts so they're facing toward the tip of the needle, k them together - this is, in effect, the way that Combination knitters work 2 sts tog.)

However, in my own instructions I prefer to call this decrease:
K2tog-LS (knit 2 together with a left slant)

Therefore I leave it to the individual knitter to get to that decrease however they like. Part of the journey of knitting is discovering many different ways to do things, and that you may favor one method with one yarn, and another method with a different fiber. For instance, quite often I k2tog-LS, but sometimes I s1 k1 psso, depending on the yarn and the way it twists.

Right Slanting Decrease
When the Western knitter knits two together, they insert their RH needle into the SECOND stitch on the left hand needle, then into the first stitch on the left hand needle, so their decrease looks like this

///


This decrease is generally described in Western instructions as:
K2tog (knit 2 sts together, starting with the 2nd stitch in from the point of the needle)

In my own instructions I call this decrease:
K2tog-RS (knit 2 together with a right slant)

Once again I leave it to the knitter to determine how they'd like to make the decrease. My favorite way with this decrease is to slip the first 2 sts off of the LH needle, one at a time, then turn them and slip them back on the needle so they're facing in the opposite direction (away from the point of the needle) Then I knit them together.

Another way to make this decrease is to reach over the 1st st on the LH needle and pass the 2nd stitch over it., then knit the 1st st.

A third way is to work the decrease on the private (wrong) side of the fabric by purling 2 sts together. This will give the decrease a right slant when viewed from the public (right) side of the fabric.
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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Bribes

I used to hate the thought of bribes and kids. I guess bribe is a harsh word, though...

I don't like it when parents pay kids money to be 'nice' to relatives (I've seen this...) or kids come to expect $$ for pulling their weight around a house (cleaning their rooms, making beds, brushing teeth - all things that they need to do whether they get allowance or not) But this morning I discovered an incentive program that conquered one of my daily headaches.

Han and Max are great kids - but they can be S L O W getting ready to go out the door to the bus. I walk them to the bus stop and schmooze with Tomm, my fellow parent-in-crime whose daily insights I will miss when his son goes to Middle School next year!

Anyway, we're late out to the bus quite a bit. And when we get there the kids are cold. This morning I had the brainstorm to make a small thermos of hot chocolate & milk (soy) that the kids could share AT THE BUS STOP.

They've never been coated, back-packed, shoe-tied and out the door faster! (And I get to finish what they didn't drink on my way home.)

On a knitting front - I was gratified that IK took 3 of my designs (1 for Fall 2005, 2 for future issues) and I'm pretty excited to submit some more stuff for another crochet issue. I love that magazine - and not just because they take my stuff! And love doesn't mean that I think it's perfect, nothing in this life is, but it always makes me think, and makes me dream!

Speaking of dreaming, I've got another historically inspired garment to share (BTW, thank you SO MUCH Cher for your great title suggestions - I will ponder them in my heart and may use one, they're quite good!)

I could write an entire book of designs inspired by Ancient Egypt! (and, yes, Cathy, I loved Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times by Elizabeth Wayland Barberis an EXCEPTIONAL BOOK - and I see she has another out about Myths! I love her Mummies of Urumchi and I just ordered The Bog People: Iron-Age Man Preserved)

I plan to have several Egytian inspired garments, but here is the first one I've designed so far. Check out the hips on that statuette! Now THAT was a woman, and different from the stick thin figures one finds in so many of the beautiful wall paintings. Maybe Egyptian women were 'real' after all!?
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Monday, January 10, 2005

Fun With Snakes

No, this isn't a reference to my Fundamentalist WV family (non of whom have EVER handled a snake, thank you very much...) but a nod to the Minoan Snake Goddess from Crete.

She's inspirational to me - and she's one of the first designs that I've worked up for Historic Knitting (egads I need to find a better title - that is totally inappropriate and misleading... Any suggestions...?)

At any rate, I've been Gaya-awful busy for the past week and sorry not to be blogging more. Where ARE my manners? The emails from guys interested in knitting for MEN WHO KNIT (yada yada yada) are coming in - it's gratifying to see so many men eager to get some free yarn!

But as soon as I decide to back-burner something, it keeps popping into my head with ideas, ideas, ideas - thus the Minoan outfit, in Plymouth Yarns, that I'll post here for a brief time!


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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Swatch Day

This cold, grey, awful, wintery, wonderful day I will sit by my fireplace and knit swatches! I'll swatch for the history book, I'll swatch for the men knitting book, and I'll swatch for some new submissions. And I'll sketch, too. With a cup of tea and a book on CD, I will retire from the world for the day. See you tomorrow! In the mean time, here are a few answers to earlier comments:

Man & Superman

Thanks to Jerry for his welcome to the Male Knitters Ring (I'm a friend!) and for his kind, supportive comments. (FYI - I've moved my ring link to the lower right side - near the other ring links.)

In regards to the whole you are not a man non-issue "controversy" - I'm 6' tall and take testosterone (& estrogen) as part of my recovery from Ovarian Cancer, so I'm partly there... Just joking. I'm all woman, natch!

I know that I'm not overreaching, patronizing or being presumtious. I simply want to publish some of my better men's designs (since they're not being published elsewhere) and add a few dog sweaters. If I can pay a few months of the mortgage, so much the better!

I figured as long as I was going ahead with the book, why not use male knitters to work up as many samples as possible, to add a more realistic angle to the project!

Social Insecurity?

In an earlier post I talked about the widening gap between rich and poor (Gilded Age) and received a comment regarding Social Security.

I certainly don't blame the commentor for being afraid about the future of Social Security. The current administration is doing their level best to instill a false sense of insecurity in each of us. Once we're terrified that we'll be 70 year old papers, the neo-cons can do whatever they will with the most successful social program ever in the history of the US.

Paul Krugman writes an excellent piece in the New York times about the actual future of social security. Here's a quote:

Today let's focus on one piece of those scare tactics: the claim that Social Security faces an imminent crisis.

That claim is simply false. Yet much of the press has reported the falsehood as a fact. For example, The Washington Post recently described 2018, when benefit payments are projected to exceed payroll tax revenues, as a "day of reckoning."

Here's the truth: by law, Social Security has a budget independent of the rest of the U.S. government. That budget is currently running a surplus, thanks to an increase in the payroll tax two decades ago. As a result, Social Security has a large and growing trust fund.

When benefit payments start to exceed payroll tax revenues, Social Security will be able to draw on that trust fund. And the trust fund will last for a long time: until 2042, says the Social Security Administration; until 2052, says the Congressional Budget Office; quite possibly forever, say many economists, who point out that these projections assume that the economy will grow much more slowly in the future than it has in the past.


The truth is that the neo conservatives hate the program, hate what they label as a 'government handout' and want to end it. They also want to guarantee a HUGE payday for Wall Street when all of those fees for all of those accounts are paid to brokers. What a windfall THAT will be! Of course, we'll still have the administrative costs for the social security program because not all of the money will go to Wall Street, In effect, Bush will have once again increased the size of government AND will have given a good portion of OUR taxes to a private sector.

The truth is that Bush, et al, have been BORROWING from the Social Security fund (remember all of Bush's jokes about Gore's earnestness in saying he'd put the SS funds in a "lockbox" during the 2000 election? In essence reducing this very important point to a running gag?) Well, the SS funds are NOT safe - not from Bush and his profligate spending.

The truth is that SS is like a ship on the sea that needs to make a small correction in it's course to arrive at the shore. Bush would like to have everyone abandon ship and try to make it in lifeboats. What we need to realize is that Bush et all have motorized yachts as their lifeboats, and the rest of us will have to make do. Many of us won't make it.

Want to contact your congressperson? PLEASE DO!

Click here to find out who your Senator is and how to contact them.

Click here to find out who your Representative is and how to contact them.

Now get writing & calling!
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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Committed

The response has been so great for the Men Who Knit & the dogs who love them - it's gratifying! I've even had a few yarn companies contact me because they like the idea and would like to participate. Happy news indeed!

I've posted a page outlining what I'm looking for. I'll have this book and Historic Knitting going concurrently, with Cheaper Than Therapy simmering over the summer so I can include profiles of knitters I meet on my wanderings when the weather warms up.

I'm not just looking for male knitters, but they are primarily my focus. Each sweater in the book will be sized from xxs to xxl so that anyone can work up one of them for their favorite man (or woman) The dog sweaters will also be sized widely, but some styles will only be appropriate for large or small dogs.

The calendar is doing wonderfully. I'm sure the Accord folks are wondering a bit because I haven't actually sent anything to THEM, but they've also told me that they'd rather get things in bunches (3 months at a time). I'm still taking some submissions on a person to peson basis, so if you're inclined to submit and haven't yet, please email me! If I can't use your piece in this calendar, there's always 2007!
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Sunday, January 02, 2005

Deadline-apalooza

This is the time of year when several knitting magazines have their deadlines, all within two weeks of each other, and corresponding to several yarn company deadlines, too.

How I Design
When I receive the design packets from the editors, which are meant to give an idea of the thrust of the editorial for the issue in question and to give suggestions (sometimes more forceful than mere suggestions) of what the magazine or yarn company is looking for, I spread them out in front of me on the table.

I look for differences between the packets - I look for certain elements that X magazine wants and Y magazine does not. I look for repeated phrases to give me a handle on any hidden message; design a sweater that features THIS and it will be included... I've never been good at hidden messages. I'm the most un-subtle person I know - a regular bull in a yarn shop.

Then I look over my database of 300+ knit designs that I've worked up over the past years, 80% of them with swatches, 60% of them with schematics already drawn, and I see if there are items that fit within the criteria of yarn company C or yarn company P. Then I reswatch them.

Then I turn to my collection of fashion magazines and historic fashion sources and I compile my own collection of tearsheets and scanned images that have details, textures and silhouettes that I'd like to mimic in yarn.

THEN I sketch. And erase. And sketch. And swatch.

Sometimes a swatch will lead me to a sketch, sometimes it's the reverse.

When I'm happy with my sketches, I ink them, then erase the pencil marks. This helps me create firm, cartoony edges that work better when the sketches are electronically manipulated. (I've tried sketching on the computer, but it's never been as successful.)

Then I scan the sketch and swatch.

Then, using photoshop and reducing the size of the swatch images, I isolate the repeating stitch patterns and use them to 'fill in' the areas of the sketch which would make the design more sensible to an editor.

And I get something like this.

It does seem like a lot of work - and it is, considering that I have no guarantee that any of my designs will be accepted. I think of it as investing, though, creating a pool of designs that I can draw from for a future date. I have some lovely things that have NEVER been accepted, not because they're not good, but because they don't fit the editorial framework at the time they're submitted. I resubmit stuff quite often, and quite often it's taken.

One annoyance is that some magazines retain the right to hang onto a design for up to 6 months before they deign to tell the designer if they've chosen it. This means that for 6 months I can't resubmit any of these 'held' designs to any other venue. And then at the end of 6 months they may or may not take anything, I may or may not get my original sketch and swatch back, and often I get someone else's designs back (and can only imagine that my own stuff is off to a different designer...) In this case I've started submitting electronically.

I know it cuts down my chances of being accepted (editors like to feel the swatch) but I have to draw the line somewhere - for my own self respect if for nothing else. They play the tune and we dance, but I can choose whether I'll ruin my best dress and shoes waiting for someone to offer me their hand.

Or I can go dance by myself. I'd rather do this.

To make myself seem like more of a publisher, and on the advice of a great book by Fern Reiss on self-publishing, I listed several potential book titles with Bowker (the entity that assigns ISBN numbers). This makes ModeKnit press look more impressive, as if we have a stock of books just chomping at the bit to be published. And we do. And it worked. On New Years Eve I received a call from a major distributor interested in the publishing of my upcoming book, Men Who Knit And The Dogs Who Love Them

Okay, there's no book. Yet. Oy. I have sketches, but no sweaters worked up. And I may have to change the title to Knitting For Men (and the dogs who love them, not necessarily in that order...) because I'm running into precious few men who knit. Hey - men who knit - want to be part of a book..?

So my New Years Resolutions are:

1) To write the Men & Dog book
2) To compile Cheaper Than Therapy in late summer
3) To write and compile the Historical Knitting book this spring
4) To pitch a TV show that will be a combination of This Old House and The French Chef but for knitting (NOT cutsy, NOT silly, NOT talking down to the audience, but nuts and bolts knitting and lots of information and good humor)

...And to do it loud and proud, in this blog for all of you to read about, because I feel that transparancy is the birth of excellent design.

On a more personal note, another resolution is for our family to join the local JCC so we can kick start the kids' Jewish education and I can use their excellent pool several times a week. Gerry wants to use the exercise room, and I can probably teach a few knitting classes there to help us offset the cost of membership (which really isn't that great!)
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posted by Annie at 0 Comments Links to this post

Alison's Scarf
Link to pdf file of cable/trellis lace scarf


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



Chullo-licious


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