Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Last night at 6:35 I dropped the last two months of the Crochet Calendar (on disk) into the FedEx box and drove home happy.

Now to start on 2007.

I knit all day - what a luxury - and with a few deadlines looming, it's a necessity, too. But on a snowy, sleety, rainy day like today it's a wonderful pleasure to sit and knit while listening to Jim Dale read Harry Potter (my favorite speed knitting soundtrack!)

Further Crochet
I heard back on the definite items that IK Crochet wants for their next issue - very exciting! I'm doing a coat (among other things) which makes me happy! Woohoo!

I spoke at the Westchester Knitting Guild up in Chappequa on Monday evening. What a terrific group that is! I really admire the folks they bring in for their workshops, it's such an active and lively group. I always have a great time when I teach or lecture for them, and this was no exception!

I arrived up in Chappequa early to beat the rush hour traffic, so I took the opportunity to get a manicure and pedicure (pink on the fingers, bright red on the toes) and I felt exceptionally chic!

Other Teaching
Last night's knitting class here at my home was great - a new knitter did her first lace (woohoo!) and we have a few new sweaters under way. It was a good class (but we missed Betsy & Penny!)

This Thursday class is cancelled due to the religious holiday, so I have a nice break in my obligations to tie up loose ends and KNIT for the next few days. Bliss.
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Monday, March 21, 2005

Last night felt so good - I got home, did a little knitting, and then slept like a sinless child. Nice. On these evenings that are chilly Atticus (now that he has his Spring haircut) wiggles his way under the covers between Gerry and me as we're sleeping, and I'll awake in the middle of the night to find a little doggie head on the pillow next to mine. Very odd (sweet, but odd...)

Classes this weekend were exceptional!

Yarnivore is a great shop - stop by if you're in the Bklyn Heights / Metrotech area of Bklyn - wonderful! The class went beatifully - Rose's students were a delight! What a burst of positive energy I felt as I drove home from that class! Thanks Rose, for having me!

Three Black Sheep is one of the best stocked (intelligently stocked) small shops I've visited! They don't have the room of one of the bigger yarn stores, but they make up for it by having really exceptional yarns and excellent tools. The knitting with wire class there is always a bit of a marathon (a combination of a large class, a small venue and a lot of squeezing myself between tables & shelves takes it's toll) but - as usual - a very enjoyable class! As an extra lovely touch, they always give me some lavendar as I leave, which makes my car smell like a spa!

Tonight I drive up to Westchester for a lecture at the Chappequa library for the Westchester Knitting Guild. I love this group so much, I always enjoy my time with them! Then I have almost 2 weeks off while I prepare for TKGA and California. I'm looking forward to this - a chance to rewrite sections of my class booklets, re-name some classes and do some administrative house cleaning!
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Saturday, March 19, 2005

Pattern Copy Editor Found!
Thanks to those of you who've written - I've passed your email addresses on to Accord, and they've told me that they've contracted with one of the applicants to edit the calendar. Woohoo. This is heaven for me, because we all know how detial oriented I am!

It's a gorgeous day today - not least of which because I finished the Vogue sweater last night and it will be in the mail this morning (when my wonderful hubby takes it to the post office!) I'm also sending in the penultimate months of the calendar, leaving on Nov & Dec to finish up on Monday and send out. Sigh. Breathe.

Speaking of breathing, after a trip to the doctor last week because my bronchitis STILL hadn't abated after one round of antibiotics, I was given some extra heavy stuff and some good asthma medicine. Drug samples are the beacon light of the uninsured, sadly. I could go off on this, but I feel to darned good and I'm heading out the door to go to Yarnivore in Brooklyn to teach a knitting with wire class.

Tomorrow is Long Island, Monday is Westchester knitting guild - then a bit of a break to collect myself and prepare for TKGA & California.

Management Training
I told my husband, not really jokingly, that I need a manager. I'm getting a lot of folks writing to invite me to teach at various locations, but if it's a far distance it only makes sense if I can arrange several teaching venues in the same area. That's where the management thing comes in.

For instance, I'll be in Ohio the first week in June after teaching at the Great Lakes Fiber Show. My family's coming out and we're taking a house on Lake Erie for a week as our vacation (mmmmm, mercury fish!) so I can introduce the kids to Cedar Point. And yes, I know ALL the words to the Cedar Point song from the ads in the early 70's*.

So while I'm back to Ohio, I'd love to set up some teaching gigs in Toledo, perhaps in Cleveland (we'll be mid-point between the two) and perhaps as high up as Michigan. I know I want to do this, but have I? No. Not yet. Laziness? Not really - business. I'm hoping this week to do just that - finally get back in touch with Rob at Threadbear - etc. Oy. Coffee. Did you know that this morning a little packet of coffee came with our New York Times? Could you tell that from my blog? I don't usually drink coffee in the morning. This is fun. Bzzzzzz.

Of course, the downside to the business is the breakdown. I'm glad that this busy time is passing for the time being. I'm a personality type that gets juiced by having deadlines, but also - as a freelancer - well, we tend to have Ado Annie disease. We just can't say "no". There's a fear that if I say no to a job, I won't be asked to dance again. And all of the jobs come at the same time. Yesterday I found myself on the phone in tears with an editor because - well, because I'm overextended and took something the wrong way. My mother was right - always try to assume the best, it's really the best course of action.

Everything is fine, feelings are mended, but this is the downside of an imperfect schedule. I strive for equanimity, balance is vital, but there are moments when the balance is lost. Much, much, much fewer moments than when I was younger (and unmedicated, and didn't knit as much to calm my mind) but there they are. We are all beautifully imperfect.

Pretend THIS
The Pretenders FINALLY are in the R&R Hall of Fame. 'bout time, that's all I can say. Mwa, Chrissie!

*Cedar Point is better than snow
Better than clowns on a TV show
Better than a birthday or trip to the zoo
Better than going to school with you
'Cause the very best thing is being with yoooooou
at Ceee-Daaaar Point!
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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Pattern Copy Editor Wanted

The folks at Accord Publishing have asked me if I know of any good crochet copy editors, so I thought I'd send a shout out asking if any of you detail minded and pattern savvy crocheters are interested!

My part of the job is (almost) over - compiling, editing and formatting all of the patterns. Now they need someone to look over the patterns for small discrepancies in style, number differences and copy editing things (like widows and orphans - very Dickensian)

So if you're interested and think you'd be good, drop me a line!
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Sunday, March 13, 2005

Light At The End!

I'm 4 months away from being finished with the calendar - hallelujah!

I think I can polish this off by mid-week, which would be lovely, because I have a really cool sweater that is due on Friday (and it's a kick to knit up!)

Next weekend:
3/19 - I'm teaching at Yarnivore in Brooklyn on Saturday (Knitting with Wire),
3/20 - I'll be at 3 Black Sheep on Sunday (Knitting with Wire again...)
3/21 - Monday evening I'll be at the Westchester Knitting Guild (Edges and Borders) - (contact Nanette for information on attending.)

Then Easter weekend, hippity hop.

After that I'm at the TKGA/Fiber Arts Market for the weekend, and then off to California for some fun in a convertible (not that, kind of fun, folks...) and some excellent classes.

I really look forward to meeting any of you who care to meet me at any of these venues - just tell me, "I read your blog..." and I'll know that you know more about me than my husband does!

On the horizon (although not THAT far away) is a retreat weekend in Connecticut that will be LOADS of fun: Connecticut Knits Spring Retreat, June 17 - 19. I'll have more up about this at my retreat webpage in the next week - Calendar comes first!
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Wednesday, March 09, 2005


I'm in a good place - I've been on TV, lots of folks are writing to say they enjoyed the segment, but not having cable I haven't actually had to witness myself on the tiny screen.

The email response to my appearance has been amazing - thank you to everyone who's written or posted that you liked my segment. If you feel so inclined and would like to let Screen Door Entertainment (producers of Knitty Gritty) know that you enjoyed me on the show, drop them a line at and maybe they'll have me back. I'm sure it's too soon for me to do anything with them while I'm out in LA in April (I'm not even sure if they're taping then) but I think it would be very mind-opening to have a segment (or show) on Combination Knitting. Just a thought...

I sent off Knitting Millinery to the printer yesterday. I don't feel 100% great about it - I wish I weren't so rushed - I'll be sending the cover images separately. The Vogue sweater is coming along beautifully (it's a pretty cool concept) and, of course, the IK sweaters are close to my heart because they're for my kids. I can't wait to see them on Maxie and Hannah.

Which brings me to another facet of my career that I have to face. I keep resisting this for a variety of reasons, but I think I've reached the point where I do have to start using knitters to work up my samples.

On a design level, I enjoy having the chance to knit up the design myself because it gives me an opportunity to find shortcuts and allows me to experience what the knitter will experience when they knit up the design. But it's a luxury I don't think I can continue.

Also, I hate the fact that I'd have to pay less than I feel the work is worth, this whole angle of the knit design world sticks in my craw. But if I'd pay a decent amount to a knitter, I'd basically be turning over my entire paycheck (little secret, designers don't make a ton of money...)

I have used knitters before with varying degrees of success - my favorite way to work with a knitter is to have the magazine or yarn company buy the design outright and just take the pattern I supply to them and find a knitter for it. That takes me out of the equation.

Back to work. Brownies today - yahoo!
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Tuesday, March 08, 2005


But I will never drink Diet Pepsi again.

After a lot of green tea, water, and pretzels I'm feeling much like myself again. Amazing how dizzy I became (and stayed!) over the past day or so. Who would have thought? I don't really drink much (maybe a glass of wine a month) and don't smoke so I might be extra sensitive to such a large intake of the stuff. Ick. Eeeewwwwww. It's over.

Here's something I've been working on for IK I did the multi colored sleeves while at Camp Wellstone. I have several other sweaters that are due at the enc of next week along with the calendar (oy) and a book that I MUST get to the printer. The distributors are restless.

I found out last week that several of my crocheted items will be in the next IK Crochet issue - I'm very happy! I loved the last issue and I'm thrilled to see really exciting patterns out there for crocheters.

Thanks so much to EVERYONE who wrote with their own nauseating experiences. The absolute winner was the woman who was (somehow) peed in the eye by a squirrel. I laughed and laughed when I read that - it sounds like some old, strange Transylvanian curse - May your children be peed in the eye by a rabid squirrel!

And thanks to everyone who wrote about seeing me on Knitty Gritty! Your comments are so nice - even better since I haven't seen it myself. As ill as I was it would have been a VERY bad idea. The book sales have taken a definite upswing in the past few days - so that's good, too!
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Sunday, March 06, 2005

Nicotine Poisoning

Here's another one for the Oh, look, another stupid thing has happened to Annie file.

Today at Camp Wellstone we were working in our small groups (ironically, as you will see, on a proposed children's health initiative) and each group was called one by one out of the room to meet with other staffers to present our proposals.

My partner ran to get a diet pepsi as we were working, he saw mine and he wanted one of his own. As we got up to leave our workspace we both grabbed our Pepsi's and just before I walked into the meeting I took a giant swig of mine.

But it wasn't diet pepsi, it was tobacco juice.

Some... person had been chewing (oh, lord, I'm going to be sick again) and had been using a diet pepsi bottle as his spittoon. He set it down right next to mine just as we were leaving the room - and I picked it up - the rest is disgusting history. And it's mostly my fault for being so stupid as to not look (although it DID look a lot like pepsi) and I am ultimately the one responsible.

However, I ingested a great deal of nicotine, and I've been sick as a dog, jittery, ill, the whole goya beanery. I was useless for the rest of the conference, spending most of the time in the bathroom, then I recovered enough to drive myself home and collapsed.

After several hours the heart palpitations, jitters, nausea hadn't abated so I finally called poison control. The very kind woman there suggested the emergency room if I were very dizzy, otherwise there was really nothing that can be done until it passes out of my system.

I feel like a jittery, hepped up and very ill fool.
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Friday, March 04, 2005

Weekend Away!
This weekend I'm taking part in a training session for grassroots activists known as Camp Wellstone in New Jersey. I feel very lucky to be able to go - and since it's nearby I won't have to stay overnight anywhere. Each day when the training ends I'll drag my tired little (!) body back up to South Orange where I'll crash. My dear, dear husband is cool with this - so I get to indulge my fantasy that something I might do in my life might actually help to heal the world. We can all dream.

A few years ago I was one of the organizers of the Million Mom March. Unfortunately a few weeks before the march there was a shakeup where the "head mom" unceremoniously dumped most of the volunteer leaders in favor of professional lobbyists groups and organizers (we were, essentially, Erin Brokovitched out of the way...)

I'd also been labled as the NRA Mom by the march leader because I had the termerity to suggest in a meeting that there were many members of the NRA (my own family included) who enjoyed hunting, but felt sick when they saw the dangerous semi-automatic weapons that their group was protecting with their lobbying efforts. How dare I actually reach across the great divide and try to bring safety minded NRA members into our camp? Very sad. Permanent change generally requires compromise.

Okay back to knitting...

The yarn arrived for the sweater I'm working up for Vogue - it's Lorna's Laces and it's lovely to work with! Extraordinary feel and resilience. I had originally swatched the piece in Art Yarns - and I think it would be exceptional in Iris's gorgeous colorways. This is always such a rough part of designing. So much of a concept is tied up in the harmony of colors, the push-pull of different tones which rest next to each other. It almost feels like I'm knitting someone else's design when a magazine decides that the yarn I've swatched in isn't quite right and sends a different yarn in a very different colorway. The Lorna's Laces yarn is beautiful - and I'm very curious to see how this knits up! I have several inches done and it's very lovely. But I miss the Art Yarns palette let it go ... let it go ...

I'm working up three things for IK right now - the difference in working with these two magazines is amazing. It may be because this is my first thing for Vogue in fifteen years, and I have an established relationship with the editor at IK, but there's such a give and take between designer and IK, it's refreshing. I'm actually asked what I think of the yarn they've selected in lieu of the yarn I swatched, and I was sent a big bag of colors to pick and choose from to create the palette for the final garment. This way of working is a luxury, and not possible for every magazine. It also creates a magazine with less of a solified uni-vision and more eclectism in the design elements.

They're both good and valid ways to work - I can't really say that one is absolutely better than the other - isn't it funny how magazines have such definite personalities!?
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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Breaking the Wall

I've finally broken through and I've sold a sweater to Vogue (mild applause) which is the first I've sold them in almost 15 years. Woohoo! I feel legitimized by my inclusion into another major knitting magazine, I hope that the design and sweater turn out well! The deadline is very soon (March 18th) which happens to be the same deadline for the...


I'm in the final stage of the calendar, I've received comments back from Accord (mostly very good, just minor tweaks to change) and I'm figuring if I complete one month every 2 days I'll be on target. Of course, this is the weekend that I'm going away for grassroots activism training. I hope they don't mind a knitting activist!

City Lights

Today I'm going into the city to attend a taping of the Jane Pauley Show. The show's going to be about knitting and someone who worked on the show knew about me and gave me a call asking if I'd be in the audience. Obviously I don't have the cache of a larger name, but it's nice to know that some subversive staffer is a fan! I don't even think there'll be a mention of Knitting Heretic or anything like that, but it will be fun to be there! Lily Chin is putting together 200 learn to knit kits and will be teaching folks from the audience how to knit. She asked if I'd be a 'ringer' and act like I didn't know how to knit. I'm hopeful that I'm at least slightly enough well known to make that a joke - or maybe I'll play along and then begin knitting in Combination Style and blow everyone's TV mind. Hmmmmmm.
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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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