Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Are you dry?

If so, consider giving - either through the Salvation Army, the Red Cross or another venue.

It may seem odd that I'm suggesting you give via the Salvation Army. I identify myself most comfortably with the Reform Jewish community, and the name "Salvation Army" seems the antithesis of what I'd be promoting. But I can tell you from personal experience that when the chips are down and a family needs help, the Salvation Army doesn't preach, it doesn't witness, it doesn't try to save you - they just say, "How much do you need and where should we send the check...?"

During WWII my uncle said the same thing. He was hospitalized with severe wounds, and would tell us how the Salvation Army came to visit and brought decks of playing cards - exactly what the guys REALLY wanted - when the Red Cross would give them (in his words) "Stale donuts and bad coffee" I think, however, the Red Cross is a tremendous resource for those in need, too.

Just don't overlook the Salvation Army. After 911, when my husband lost his job, the SA offered to pay our TEMPLE DUES for us - that was really all that I needed to confirm what I'd been told by my Uncle.

Today was a day off! My friend Alison, her daughter and my two maniacs drove to Easton, PA to the Crayola Factory. It was overwhelming - very busy - but the kids had a blast and we ran into one of Max's best friends (small world!) I did knit on the way out and back, but very little time was spent on the computer or writing patterns. I'm trying to average 7 - 10 patterns a week for the next 2 weeks so I can get MWK projects sent out as soon as yarn arrives. I hover between flop-sweat panic, exhillaration and a kind of out-of-body sleep where I dream of details I have to add to the patterns.

And now back to our previously scheduled knitting.

BTW - I will be in LA in Oct - and there's a chance I may come out earlier than anticipated (10/21 instead of 10/23) this means I'll be able to schedule weekend knitting classes, so if you know of a venue that would like to have me, let me know. If I get the interest I'll come on out early!
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Monday, August 29, 2005

Virgos Unite

Is it becauase we're in Virgo now, and I am a Virgo, that I feel the need for organization?

My husband always jokes that I have this NEED for things to change in the Fall - probably leftover from all those years in school, college and grad school - but I do like things to begin in the Fall. Maybe it's the Jewish calendar (my family has always insisted that I was kidnapped by a roving band of Methodists and raised as one of their own, that somehow I didn't quite 'fit')

Whatever the reason, I spent a very large portion of the weekend - to the dismay of my family - working out tables for the wire book and the men who knit book, organizing the material lists, skill levels, breakout how-to images required - all sorts of stuff that one doesn't think of when they say, "Yes! I'd LOVE to do that book!"

It is the most calming thing - to organize - at least it is for me. I love to arrange information so that I can access it and understand it easily. One of my favorite books is Envisioning Information by Edward Tufte Not only is it a beautiful book, it helps me understand how to lay out my own information so I can comprehend it more easily. I have learned a great deal from this book, and someday I would love to take a class with Mr. Tufte.

In between the organization I've done a bit of designing this weekend - what a break from the other stuff! I've also been working up swatches for the men who knit book (necessary so I can establish a gauge - then the knitters have to match it!) and had a WONDERFUL phone conversation with the managing editor at Lark books on Thursday which really put so much of the men's knitting book in perspective.

Of course, when she called I had these RIte-Aid foam rubber teeth whitening strips in my mouth so I sounded like I'd been to the dentist. She was so kind, and called me back a few minutes later. Of course, I'd become immersed in a worksheet and hadn't removed the darned strips, so while she was on the phone I took them off and brushed my teeth with her listening. That's bound to be a bonding experience. She said she felt like a dentist. Perhaps because of the unusual beginning, it was one of the best phone conversations I've had in months, and I actually felt as though she WANTED to talk to me, wanted to hear my ideas, and didn't just want to tell me what she wanted and get off the phone as quickly as possible. Wonderful.
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Saturday, August 27, 2005

We Get Mail

Or, rather, I get mail. I don't know why I said, "we" - perhaps I'm feeling rather queenlike tonight.

I get a lot of mail. A LOT of mail. I try to answer each piece completely (not just a "Hey, thanks for writing!" but something more substantial) It's not always possible, but I try.

Today I got a letter asking me to work up the corset as a crochet pattern (good idea), asking me to explain combination knitting (I directed them to the website). I got two letters asking me to explain stitches from patterns by other designers (wha?) but the stitches were pretty easy to explain. I received several letters from someone who wants to order lots of "my products" for a client in Nigera. It sounds like a great business proposition, but it may not matter because according to another email, I'm rich (I won the lottery - please don't be jealous!)

I also got an email from someone who's making a pattern that was published in a magazine a few years ago - she wasn't very happy with me because apparently when the magazine extrapolated the yardage required down to the smaller sizes and up to the larger sizes, the amounts didn't jive with what she ended up using.

This isn't an uncommon problem - it's VERY hard to figure yarn estimates. She wasn't happy, though. She had to buy more balls than she'd originally budgeted for.

I wouldn't be happy, either (but I don't think I'd send an email that was - well - not nice. Or maybe I would. Who knows? Never say never!) For the record - designers usually don't figure the yardages in magazines, we tell them how much yarn we used in the sample and the magazines figure the yardages for the other sizes.

Ironically, last week I got a letter from another woman about the exact same pattern, except this woman was really upset because she bought exactly the yardage listed in the pattern (same size as my friend who wrote today) and she had several balls left over.

Friends, we all knit differently - sometimes Helen may use a lot more yarn than Brenda, even though they bought the same pattern and are using the same needle size. Don't ask my why, I don't entirely understand the yardage black hole. I know that the discrepancies tend to pop up more frequently with novelty yarns.

I'd like to hook these ladies up - maybe they could share the leftovers - but I'm sure there'd be dye lot problems ...

... and I just couldn't handle the guilt.
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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Egg Salad

My mother always said not to be good at making the egg salad if you don't want to be the one making it for every reunion. Folks get it into their head that you're Mrs. Egg Salad and you'll be stuck forever boiling eggs and mashing mayonaise together with celery.

My mother was the family chicken fryer. I even have a wonderful video of her cutting up a chicken and frying it - all showing her from the neck down. My Aunt Wanda was a beautician (Beauty Operator) and would give my mom a perm when we'd visit. During the chicken cutting up and frying my mom's hair was in various stages of perm-dom.

The last shot on the video is a beautiful medium shot of a platter of chicken which opened up into a long shot of mom holding the platter with her new perm. It cracks me up every time I see it.

My own private egg salad these days is the corset. I've been contacted by a few venues who'd like me to 'create a corset for THEM!' as well as a magazine and - of course - that's what I'll be doing on Knitty Gritty. Believe me, I'm not complaining - it's a fun pattern and I love thinking up variations on a theme. But I also have to keep an eye on the fact that it IS a theme, and if I go around singing it too much I'll become Johnny One Note.

So, I'm glad I'm good at the egg salad, but I have to be sure that they know what a mean chicken I can fry up, too!
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Tuesday, August 23, 2005


I did so badly in French in college (and in High School for that matter - WHY did I keep tormenting myself...?) but I do remember that August was aołut - Oooo.

Everyone seems to be on vacation, or working harder than ever (hmmmm, I guess that equation DOES make sense...) so I find myself either speeding like a maniac through miles of work, or waiting (impatiently) for folks to get back to me. Hurry up and wait, indeed.

I've been gratified by the response to my cry for sample kntters. Please know that if I'm not able to use you for this Men who Knit book, I will ALWAYS be looking for folks to test knit patterns (and you'll get to keep the item!) so I'll keep your name on file!

Test knitters don't have to be expert, they just have to be careful.

Sample knitters have to be able to produce a professional quality garment.

Both knitters have to love what they're doing - or else it's no fun!

Cheaper Than Therapy is at the printers! Releases are in (or on their way....) pages are proofed, cover is finished and orders are already coming in.

I'm going for a small print run to start (and because I have limited resources - this is all out of my bank account!) and I'm hoping that the demand will grow. I'll be very happy to break even because I feel that there's a bigger reason to do this (although I can't quite put into words what it is - I feel compelled to for some reason.)

... and the wire book moves on... It's now a knitting and crochet with wire book, which is good on many more levels than it is a pain. I've been away from the wire book for 2 weeks and now walking back into it feels odd. I need a day or two to acclimate myself again, but any day now I should be receiving some thinner wire from Artistic Wire which is much better for crochet. Here are a few of the recent knit with wire items that I've finished (but haven't sent into the publisher yet...) A Rose Pin and an Autum Leaf Necklace. Neither of these pieces has any beads on it.

My revised contract arrived today, it specifies 20 projects, broken into an equal number of necklace, bracelet and earrings. I've sent them 16 pieces so far, 7 bracelets, 8 necklaces and 1 pin. As I have very few earrings worked up, and none sent in, I'd better get cracking...

Geez, I could use that very fine wire right about now...
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Monday, August 22, 2005

Critical to Evolution

I mean, women's social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy. We hope they're there. I think they will be there. But I think we need to put this into perspective.

Ś Reuel Marc Gerecht, former Middle East specialist for the CIA, speaking on Meet The Press 8/21/05

For the past few months as I go to sleep each night an image of an Iraqi woman - I don't know who she is - comes into my mind. She's probably a figment of my imagination, born of the massive amount of news I consume, but there she is.

I imagine her having lost a child - and perhaps her husband is missing - there are between 23 - 26 THOUSAND dead and missing civilians in Iraq.

In my imagination she's very much like me - college educated, life-loving, funny, and invisible to our mainstream media here in the US.

Perhaps she even knits.

And now her social rights aren't critical to the evolution of democracy.

In my mind, she became violently angry when she heard Mr. Gerecht speak on Meet The Press yesterday.

I became angry when David Gregory didn't challenge or question Mr. Gerecht's remark, but simply raised his eyebrows a bit as he said,

"All right. We're going to have to leave it there. Gentlemen, thank you."

Sorry - not much knitting content today.
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Thursday, August 18, 2005


For Grumperina's general eddification, here is my current worksheet. Just looking at this bad boy gives me a headache. Did I mention that I really, REALLY, like math?

I have it set up so that by typing in one (ONE!) number and adjusting the fields at the top it will pretty much fill in the other numbers. The bright orange columns are where I tweak neckline, armhole and cap shaping. I can't figure out how to database this without taking about a month off, so the quick and dirty spreadsheet is my friend!

(my favorite feature is the formula I wrote that outputs all of the info in each column as, X (Y, Z, A, B, C, D)" / P (Q, R, S, T, U V) cm)
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Meet My Good Friend...

... Ann Budd's Handy Book Of Sweater Patterns

I knew it was a good book and I'd used it before, but I've been practically sleeping with it as I set up pattern templates for the Men Who Knit book.

Being on a Mac, much of the sweater wizard type software isn't available for me. Besides, I know it's useful for the knitter who wants to design their own sweaters - and I think that's great - but every time I've used it I find that I can't really get the unique shaping that I require for many of my garments.

So I set up my own worksheets to output figures. Generally this works pretty well, but moving into an entire of sweaters for a whole book I wanted to set up a worksheet template that I could use for several different styles of sweater. Ann's book has been incredibly helpful! My only improvement would be to have larger type on the schematics and perhaps add a section on estimating yarn amounts. But that's an incredibly difficult thing to do, so I can't really blame Interweave Press for not putting that in!

It's Raining Yarn!
I remember begging yarn companies for just ten yards of a yarn to use in swatching for a magazine. Who can blame the yarn companies for not sending out yarn to every aspiring designer who asks - they must get DOZENS of request every day. Now I find myself recieving boxes of yarn every week - the Vogue cover has really made my presence known to the folks who mail out the yarn, and it's so inspiring. There are NOT enough hours in the day.

Desparately Seeking Kniters
So if you put these two things together - lots of yarn coming in and lots of patterns escaping from my brain - you can easily come to the conclusion that I'm seeking knitters. I've doggedly kept on knitting my own samples for most of my designs (and it's been very helpful when folks write in with practical questions...) but I really do need to start using more knitters.

When I used to knit for designers my fee varied widely. At first I thought this was due to the whim of the designers, but I've since learned that editors can pay wildly different fees for sweaters, and this is reflected when a designer hires a knitter. I will pay for knitting, but in my heart of hearts, as a former knitter, I have a queasy feeling that I'll never be able to pay enough. I think that's part of why I haven't hired a lot of knitters yet - once I divide my fee and figure a percentage for a knitter, it seems so low (for the hours involved) that I'd rather just knit it up quickly than pay someone what may be way, way, way below minimum wage for the same work.

So, if after reading that paragraph you're still interested in knitting up some samples, I'd be VERY interested in hearing from you. When you write I'll ask you a few things:

1) Can I see some pictures of finished projects?
2) What type of knitting do you prefer (what do you love - cables, colorwork, simple St st, etc.)
3) What do you hate about knitting a sweater
4) Are you comfortable finishing? (it's okay if you're not, I'm happy to finish pieces, but I need to know up front - be honest!)
5) Have you knit for other designers? (you don't have to tell tales or anything, but it would be good to know if you've done this and what you liked and didn't like about the procedure)
6. How long does it take you to complete a standard size 42 man's pullover with 1 design element (cables, colorwork, shaping). Be honest - speed is NOT the most important thing, good communication is!

I'm looking for knitters for several projects that are upcoming, and I'll also be interested in developing a database of knitters who I can call on in a pinch. I may not call on you right away, but please know that if I need you I WILL call you! (or, rather, email you...)
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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Instant Karma

A friend sent me this the other day. It is a lovely sentiment - excellent lessons to strive for - but it ended with one of those, "Send this to 0-4 friends for a nice day, 5-10 friends for a blender, 11-18 friends for a new car" or some such nonsense.

I've hated chain letters ever since someone gave me one in Jr.high and I threw it away. When I went home that day there was an eviction notice on our door, my parents hadn't told us that we'd lost our house and it was to be sold in a sheriff's auction. Damn that chain letter. If only I'd passed it along to 5 friends I might have sailed through high school with good hair, no zits and 20 pounds lighter. Oh, well, live and learn!

So here's the instant karma. Hmmmm, I wonder what I'll get if thousands see this on my site... A vacation in Paris? A thousand? Who am I kidding...

The email begins, "This is what the Dalai Lama has to say for 2005" [then there's the standard warning that this message must leave your hands within 96 hours...] It sounds more to me like a motivational after dinner speech, but what do I know...

1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three R's - Respect for self, Respect for others and Responsibility for your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly
6. Don't let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
7. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

Somehow I just can't see the Dalai Lama sending this email out - it just feels too - I don't know - Desiderada. Maybe I'm wrong perhaps he's started a line of greeting cards, too? At any rate, the sentiment is nice, and worth working toward.

I Love LA!
Oh - and I just booked my flight - I'll be out in LA from 10/23 - 10/27 to tape another episode of Knitty Gritty. Woohoo! I wonder if I'll be there to attend the famous SnB with Crazy Aunt Purl...?
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Doors & Windows

I screwed up - I double booked. I hadn't done this yet - and it was a mistake. One retreat contacted me for one date, then they emailed to firm up a second date. I, foolishly, didn't read the email clearly and misunderstood. I thought they were cancelling one date in exchange for another date.

The upshot of the whole thing was that I had booked myself for retreats in both CT and DC on the same weekend. Oy.

I am EXTREMELY fortunate that Destination Knits, a group which holds retreats in the DC area, was incredibly graceful and understanding - and we're able to work out our schedules so I will be able to do their retreat (just one week after the first one!) I'll be down in DC for a day long retreat for Destination plus classes on Sunday at Knit Happens in Alexandria, VA.

And the week before I'll be at the Fabric Of Life Retreat in Connecticut.

I am very lucky - and grateful - that Laurie at Destination Knits was so flexible! And even luckier that the way this new schedule falls out my travel time is reduced (I'll hit CT on my way home from Boston, and I'll be in DC already the following weekend for Knit Happens. How lucky am I?!)

The Men & Dog book is really going to happen! Contracts aren't signed yet, but it will be published by Lark Books and I have asked Drew Emborsky - the Crochet Dude to be a co-author on the project. I love his perspective, and I have several other projects going concurrently so it seems quite practical to find a way to share the work. I'm VERY excited!
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Monday, August 15, 2005


Okay. That's just plain weird.

Blogger ate my post. AFTER I'd published it AND had recieved a comment. Hmmmmmm.

Let's see if this one works.

And, lest it go unnoticed, I now have one of those new fangled rss hookups (look up, to the right - there!) for you who like to have your blog delivered to you each morning...
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Sunday, August 14, 2005


I hadn't been to the Cornwall Yarn Shop before yesterday - I wasn't even sure where it was - but after visiting and teaching two classes there I will DEFINITELY go back!

First of all, it's a beautiful shop. Gail, the owner, has recently moved to a much larger space and is using it very well! She's stocked with lots of amazingly dyed yarn as well as solid color staples. And she carries Inox needles. I was in heaven.

The classes were good - and they were exactly what I needed to push some dark doubts away that had been creeping in. When I go weeks and weeks without the real, face-to-face interaction that teaching gives me, I am sometimes in a position to let annoyances trouble me more than they should.

As much as I love the internet - love what it's done for knitting in general and my career in particular - I love personal contact. It's easy to stray from civility when you're not looking someone in the face. Not that it's not just as easy to become rude in person - especially in this heat - but you can't just close the browser window or hit send when you're face to face with another person. You have to deal with this human being in front of you, and this physicality tends to temper most adults' reactions.

So it was with a light (but hot) heart that I drove home from Cornwall yesterday - new Inox needles in my bag and a smile on my face.

Speaking of the internet - Melissa mentioned something on her blog recently that I agree with wholeheartedly.

I think that it's vital for anybrick & mortar yarn shop that wants to grow and keep abreast of current trends to at least have a cursory web presence. This may be as simple as a shop owner who posts on and reads forums and knit lists or has a very simple web page up with contact info and directions to the shop, or as detailed as a full online shop with how-tos and online chat rooms. So many knitters are quite comfortable with technical things - internets - and we use this wonderful web to share our passion and excitement.

I slapped a very quick and dirty web page up for the Cornwall Yarn Shop - Gail's planning on having a better one as plans for the shop unfold.

Speaking of driving - the trip yesterday was my inaguration of the PT Cruiser on a teaching gig. Last night as I was watching Mad TV (and basking in the glow of being oh-so-hip with my groovy car) one of the skits revolved around a Lane Bryant employee (read, fat woman) who drove a PT Cruiser. Busted! Who knew I was a cliche.
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Friday, August 12, 2005

Last Day Of Camp

... and I don't know what I'm going to do with the kids for a month!

School starts on 9/6.

Usually on the last day of camp they have skits and sing-alongs and stuff, but they've been pretty long (and HOT) experiences, so this year it seems they're just having a nice party / barbeque for the kids. Hooray!

I was watching a documentary on Abraham & Mary Lincoln (a 3-parter I got from netflix) and I found myself just bawling over the death of their sons - especially Willie - yesterday. I am very tenderhearted - and it's almost inhuman the amount of death an suffering that Mary Lincoln had to endure. I think I'd go a little nuts, too.

Every day as I work on the book a bit I feel more and more that it's going to be a wonderful collection! The final essays and bios are being proofread and copy edited and I've received orders from distributors (I guess this is what they call pre-sales?) I'm putting up a webpage devoted to the book - cheaperthantherapybook.com - but it still needs a few days. In the mean time you can find information on the book here

It looks like there will be an editorial shift in the wire book and it will be encompassing some crochet as well as knitting. I'm very happy with this change as I feel it will make it a richer and stronger book (and free me up sooner for a book on sexy little knits, which will be so much fun!) Working with an book editor is a new experience - I feel like a fish out of water (or at least in NEW waters) quite often, like there's a secret code which I just can't quite crack. I'm sure this feeling will pass, it's always awkward to learn new ways of doing things...

And, happily, it looks as though Men Who Knit may actually have a life! I'd put it aside because I'd been overwhelmed with other projects that had (happily) popped up. But now there may be interest expressed, and we might be a bit closer to seeing this through. I've decided that the book definitely needs a male perspective, so I will be co-authoring it with a most excellent male designer (details tk) Gaak - I hate the cloak & dagger nonesense. I don't want to go publicizing names, though, and have things change for some reason and spend hours explaining to folks why X, Y or Z didn't actually end up doing A, B and C. Yes, this is my OWN code.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Sister Shadowlands

It seems from the comments on my last post that there are a lot of us out here - stumbling around in the semi-darkness of a clouded mind some days.

Some days my mind is clear. I feel like the Outer Limits folks have control of my brain.

Thanks so much for the commiseration AND the suggestions. I think the allergy thing may be on the money, too, because yesterday was a TERRIBLE allergy day for me (the weather had changed) and this is the first year that I've had allergies to speak of!

Things are moving apace - I'm getting proofed essays back for Cheaper (a proofreader - quel concept!) and I'm sending wire projects into my editor at a rapid pace. I just finished the foreword yesterday - and as soon as I sent it off I thought of a dozen things I should mention. I think I'm going to keep a list of tips to strew throughout the book like little prizes.

Here's a detail from one of the pieces which I'm tentatively calling Falling Watern It's a collar necklace - blues and greens in a rhythmic, measured pattern.

The past few days I've been working on a lot of bead-free wire projects - I'm really happy with them - and last night I started a series of birthstone bracelets. THESE are going to be great projects - not just because they'll be lovely - but because they also allow me a chance to explain that gauge with wire is an odd thing. Some of the bracelets I'll work on size 9's, some on size 2's and others on needle sizes in between. But by changing the stitch count only slightly and blocking each wire piece differently, these can be made to fit a variety of wrist sizes. Wire is such a cool fiber!

Back to Earth
After all of the basking I've been doing lately it's good to have the cold spash of rejection to bring me back to myself! I just got all of the sketches I sent to Classic Elite Yarn returned to me - all rejected. Oh, well! It's always a crap shoot, and rejection in cases like this is really more of an indication of whether my designs fit the editorial vision for this specific round of pattern booklets - which I guess they didn't!
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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Brain Frustration

Today I woke up and felt like my brain was wrapped in cotton. I drove the kids to camp, dropped off recycling, even did the grocery shopping and I can't tell you anything about it. It's like it happened in a movie that I saw on cable in a motel room 5 years ago.

Days like this are scary. I just got a phone call from a teaching gig (sometimes they like to talk to me "personally" so they can - I don't know - because phones are just easier for some folks!) I tried to explain about the whole phone brain fog I-won't-remember-anything-if-this-isn't-an-emergency-please-email-me thing. It's so frustrating - not the call, or the caller, but my own brain. My frustration level just rises exponentially as I scrabble around looking for paper and pen, looking up ANY kind of physical document to help jog my memory about the call. I'm frustrated, the caller is frustrated, what a bad scene (man).

If it's hard for me to understand - me who lives this - how much more impossible is it for others to understand! And now that I have insurance I find that I'm scared to find out exactly what is up. Why is it that writtenwords are memorable, but disembodied voices are fleeting? I could tell from the coolness of the voice on the other end that they were as frustrated as I am by this situation - except I could also tell that they thought I wasn't being straight with them.

God I hate the phone. I hate that I have to explain this thing to people, and I hate that some folks don't believe that there could be a problem like this. I hate that I don't entirely understand it, thus making it almost impossible for me to convince others that it IS real. If I called someone and they acted like such an airhead (as I regularly do on the phone) I would seriously doubt the wisdom of having them come teach at my shop. But I can't take that final step of not answering the phone. Not only am I afraid of not being available in an emergency, I just can't give up that connection without a fight.

If nothing's expected of me in an audial experience - say, when I listen to the radio or a book on tape - I don't feel as flustered, confused and frustrated. Don't ask me what I just heard, though. It's sort of like white noise to me. Often my husband will pop in my office after catching part of an interesting interview on the radio and say, "What was THAT?!" I usually have no idea what he's talking about. Unless something's really caught my fancy, I barely pay attention (but I suppose a lot of folks are like that when they listen to stuff...)
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Sunday, August 07, 2005


It's amazing how being without a computer for a day can throw you off - that is, when you're expecting to use it!

Gerry has me set up now on my new MiniMac (or is that Mac Mini?) and it's amazing. SO fast, so easy, the OS is wonderful. I feel like I'm floating when I'm on the computer, and it really highlights how crummy by old pasted together with gum and post-it-notes system had become!

The catching up part, though, is setting up my new email (those STMP's - OY!) and just rearranging everything so I can recognize it. It's MUCH easier, though, than it was last fall when I moved onto OSX the first time. Perhaps I'm just more used to it, or perhaps it's because this computer is faster and Tiger is a better system than Jaguar?

I'm at the point where I'm sending out proofs of Cheaper Than Therapy for salient quotes from knitting gentry to put on the back of the book. Quotes are good, I know they really help me decide whether to buy a book when I'm holding it in my hand at the store! I'm DYING to see the proof.

But, as always, the hardest thing is the juggling of dates. My mind is a sieve, so I write everything down now. I HAD been keeping separate folders for each teaching gig in my email application, but with mac mail that's not really possible so I need to change my MO (which is probably good..) But I'll need a full day of working through that, I think, to feel entirely on top of the engagements and not afraid that I'll miss one. I'm also starting the practice of sending out letters of agreement with the venues that are hiring me - new for me, but long overdue. It's good to commit to paper the expectations of each party.

So my catching up and organizing will be pushed to their limit over the next few days. My goal is to get totally organized for Fall. I could start today, but I actually think I'll wait until Monday because no matter how tightly I seal the door and squirrel myself away in my little office, Hannah visits every few minutes for permission to get a snack (how long until she never asks?) and Max pops in with another exciting bio-metric-tron thingie or detail from the Titanic to share.

I love them so much, and I hate using time when we're all home together to work - but after next week I'll have almost a month with no sitter or camp. I really do have to get the organizational stuff done so I can devote much of that kid-filled August time to knitting, swatching and sketching (which I can easily do with them in the room - or with them at the pool!)
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Friday, August 05, 2005

No Energy

Yesterday was a very, very hot day. Very.

I traveled into the city to meet my editor - and it was nervewracking! She's a lovely person, I really enjoyed meeting her and some of the other folks who'll be working on Knitting Jewelry, but I felt so nervous! It's been a long time since I'd sweated so much (and it wasn't them - it was ME!)

After lunch I headed down to Penn Plaza for the Directions Show (upcoming trends in fashion and fabric design) and met up with my friend, Athena. The show was good, it was air conditioned, and I slowly overcame the heat exhaustion I'd developed when I WALKED 20 blocks in the blazing heat. WHY? I couldn't get a cab, I couldn't stand the though of going down into the subway, and the brain fog that I live with sort of took over and I found myself just walking, walking, walking downtown. Not quite a death march, but close.

Wiser Athena recommended a cab to Soho, where I signed my contract and then we visited Purl Soho. What a lovely shop - and they carry all of my favorite yarns! I was in heaven (air conditioned heaven, with a bathroom) and was sad to leave...

Then back to Penn Station and a train home. Of course, my car wasn't air conditioned. I zoned out and if the guy next to me hadn't been getting off at South Orange I probably would have continued in my stupor to Summit!

When I got home I was hot, sweaty, disoriented, and drank my weight in water and iced tea. I went to bed early and was awakened by the quiet at 2:45. Yes, the power had gone out. All the fans in the house were off, clocks stopped, Gerry had to get dressed for work to the light of a camp lantern.

The power was intermittent for the rest of the morning - every time I'd log on or start to write something, the power would go out. It was so frustrating that I just gave up. Finally the power came back on at 2:00 and seems to be steady, so I'm writing this (after several false starts this morning!) I'm off to the pool.
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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Happy Birthday Martha!

And in honor of Ms. M's great day, I'm organizing and archiving all of my files on CD's (I do this every month or so) to protect myself from some horrible computer meltdown.

Actually, the only reason I remember Martha's b'day is that it's exactly one month before mine (take note...) and exactly two months before Hannah's. My brother was April 3rd, so that tends to be a big birthday date for us. Max is the 31st, so at least he has a "3" in his. Gerry is 2/5 - yeah, I guess we could make that work in some numerological way. Remember when Elle used to have a numerologist make predictions in each issue? Remember when Elle used to run a sweater pattern in each issue? Wow - what a concept!

I still don't have my new computer - apparently just as Gerry was ordering it, Apple changed configurations so he waited two weeks and now we're getting a better computer (more memory, faster) at about the same price. Yeah!

Vogue Knitting has a new feature on their website, an interview with a designer in the current issue. I'm the designer this issue and you can read the interview if you click on the link.
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Monday, August 01, 2005

Whatever makes you happy...

Well, this makes me very happy!

Lisa Grunwald's book, Whatever Makes You Happy is getting really nice reviews, and the folks who've purchased it at Amazon.com seem to like it a lot.

But more important, on page 37 she mentions me! What a hoot (and total shocking surprise!)

I was searching my own name at Amazon to see if they'd listed Cheaper Than Therapy yet (it takes a few days to load new titles up) and Lisa's book kept popping up. I didn't know why, but finally when I clicked on the link there was a little amazon comment that my search had turned up her book because I'm mentioned on page 37. Love that Search The Book feature!

She mentions something that I'd written in Confessions of a Knitting Heretic, and I'm very proud. Thank you, Lisa!

...those who can't teach, teach gym - Woody Allen
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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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