Friday, September 30, 2005

Goodbye To A Good Friend & Knitter

Marty was a member of our local knitting group - we call ourselves the Yarrrn Pirates - and was loved by all of us. She passed quite suddenly and I was stunned to receive a package from a friend of hers with a note to that effect and a few lovely squares she'd worked up for a project our group is doing together. I was in the PO sending off books when I opened the package, and when I saw how lovely her pieces were - and that they were most likely the last few things she'd knitted - I could hardly keep from crying.

Hannah was with me - she knew Marty, too. I explained to her what had happened and the usually crusty PO clerk softened a bit and was really quite nice as the boxes moved from my side of the counter to his.

We will miss Marty a lot. She was one of those peripheral friends we all have - someone I'd see every two weeks or so, but I was always glad to see her! She tried new things with her knitting and she was open to new friendships - who can do better than that?
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Thursday, September 29, 2005


I'm behind in my publicity for Cheaper Than Therapy - at this point last year I had Confessions in the hands of several reviewers, I'd taken out ads in a few mags and I'd done a full postcard run.

So far with Cheaper I've done the postcards (2 days ago) - I'm sending them to all of the yarn shops I have a listing of in the states where there is a writer for the book. Sort of dart on the wall method of marketing, but there it is! I JUST got my 2nd printing (and, you guessed it, I underestimated again so I'll be out of books before I finish the weekend...) so it's back to press on both Confessions and Cheaper. Scary, but good.

But even with the minor publicity, some things are happening and I'm incredibly PSYCHED to see this today:

Check out the third book down, hmmmm? Woohoo! I'm featured, baby! Well, everyone involved in the book is featured (and you can find a list of all of the authors here!

I'm planning my Boston trip now - it's so exciting! It's my first teaching trip to Boston, and although I love that town I haven't been there in weeks. And, even though I'm ostensibly a New Yorker, I do love the Red Socks. Let's see what the next few weeks bring!

I'm gearing up for a long run of teaching in October. I'll be down in MD at one of my favorite shops, Woolwinders, then as I drive back to NJ I'll stop at Loop in Philly and teach two Combination Classes.

I've been invited to speak at a tea at Saybrook College the weekend of Rhinebeck, which is such a thrill! I'm really looking forward to it, and I'm very flattered to be asked! I'll have to take some hats.

Then some more teaching in CT at Sit & Knit in West Hartford, a private visit with the proprietress of Lula's Melange, and on to Boston where I'll finally meet Grumperina in person!!!

I'll be teaching at WEBS and also for the Greater Boston Knitting Guild. Then I come home and chill for a bit before LA. Okay, I chill for an evening. More about LA later - I love LA.

I get a lot of emails from folks in Illinois and the Chicago area asking me, "When are you going to come out here?"

I'm coming to Wisconsin in December, but so far the postcard I sent to a lot of the yarn shops begg - I mean asking - if they'd like me to teach a class have been, ahem, lost in the mail? Yeah, THAT'S it! They got lost! (speaking of which, what is UP with that show?)

So, if you live around Chicago or between Chi and Wisconsin and know of a yarn shop where I should teach, please let me know (and let them know, too... ) and maybe I'll be teaching near you in early December!
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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

It's Baaa-aaack

My favorite show of all time - The Amazing Race.

Man, I love that show. And my family would have been AMAZING in the episode tonight (puh-leeze, we can drive from Soho to 91st st to the GW bridge and on to PA with our eyes closed - and quite often do...)

Maxie will be 8 in January. That means he'll be old enough for us to sign up for the race. It looks to me as though they'll be doing most of the travleling in the US this time (which makes a lot of sense when you're working with kids)

Oh, yeah. The asthmatic knitting instructor on the Amazing race... I can see it now...

Here are a few reflections from tonights episode:

That one not-very-nice family - the Pallo's - man, they treat their mother like garbage. She should have never let them grow up like that, but it does seems that they modeled their behavior after their dad. How on earth can he let them SPEAK to their mom like that?

And - as always - I get perturbed by the contestants who think that god is a gumball machine, "Please, god, let us come in first!" - arrgh. As if the eternal force in the universe is concerned about who makes it to the pitt stop first. Oy.

But I have to admit that I was bawling at the end of the show. The look on the two boys faces who came in last. They were SO sad, the older brother was so mature when he complemented his little brother. (If the Pallo family had come in last I think there would have been a death on the way home.)

Favorite team - the 4 sisters in pink - they made me laugh. And I also like the family with the running kids a lot, they seem to work well as a team (I LOVED that kid singing in the buggy as they galloped past the 4 strong 20-somethings who couldn't make it up the hill!)

BUT - having said all of this - there was an interminable amount of CAR TIME in this episode. And next week is a reenactment of a Civil War battle, so they must not be going very far out of PA. Please. I mean, I realize that GM is a sponsor, but watching folks drive through NJ is a little too close to home to be really gripping TV for me.

Yet I was glued to the screen.

So, yes, I do like LOST - but I can get lost in The Amazing Race. I hope this season gets better, though.

Wouldn't it be cool to have a knitter version of that? Teams set off and have to visit yarn shops around the world and perfect a new technique or stitch before they can move on...? Very groovy. And the 15 people who would watch it would really enjoy it, I'm sure...

Quote of the day, "My biggest mistake was not recognizing by Saturday that Louisiana was dysfunctional." Yeah, this is the guy whose salary we want to keep paying as a consultant to FEMA.
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It's very exciting to be looking at photographers for the wire book - very cool indeed! My editor sent me a link to a photographer who's stuff is very cool, and he seems to photgraph metal and wire quite beautifully.

It reminded me that I have to send a note to Chris Hartlove to thank him for the amazing photograph of my kids in IK - I have been terrible about writing thank you notes for, oh, 43 years. I guess it's time to change!

Speaking of photography, I've been tracking down dogs in my neighborhood and slapping sweaters on them and photographing them. This evening I walked down to the home of a cute little wire haired fox terrier and - thank heaven - her owner was happy to let me dress up the doggie and the sweater I've been working on fits like a glove. Excellent! Now I'm looking for a 30-40lb doggie for another sweater...

Off I go...
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Monday, September 26, 2005

I promised I'd do this...

A Reading At
The Dancing Goat
21 South Orange Ave, South Orange, NJ 07079

at the corner of Vose

Sunday, Oct 2, 7:00 pm

Annie Modesitt will read her essay from Cheaper Than Therapy,
Finishing Lessons
and will be available to sign books.
Copies of the book will be on sale.

just for you, Holly!
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Sunday, September 25, 2005

In & Out?

I don't know if this is an excessively forward thinking doll, or if the manufacturer doesn't quite understand the subtle undertones of the doll title, but In & Out Razann might be better served if she were titled, Indoor/Outdoor Razann. Just my opinion.

For the most part I tend to dress rather modestly - born of a childhood as a free Methodist and a heavy-set young adult-hood - I also find long, full skirts more comfortable (cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter, with the added bonus of allowing me to sit on the floor, and practically behave as if I were in slacks) I like shorter skirts, but my height is all in my legs so when I do spring for one it's always a mini-length (even if it's not supposed to be) And there's that sitting with the legs together thing - that is always a problem, I can never remember to do that.

One day on the F-Train, when I was new to NY, I was wearing a long-ish skirt and long sleeved top, a scarf tied around my head and a hairline so low that I looked as though I were sporting a wig. An Orthodox woman with several children came up to me and asked me directions to someplace either in Hebrew or Yiddish - I wasn't sure which.

I didn't have any idea what she was asking. I tried not to seem too rude, just clueless.

When I arrived at my (native NY Jewish) friend's apartment, I was enlightened. She explained, "You look like a frummy!" Frum is the Yiddish word for observant - I think it's where we get the term frumpy, but I could be wrong.

So I can appreciate the desire to express modesty through dress - but, man, I couldn't live without the wind in my hair.
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Friday, September 23, 2005

Nuclear Family

In Max's class they're doing a project using a family photo. The problem? We don't have one. Not a snapshot of the 4 of us, not a posed studio photograph, nothing!

We have shots of the kids, Gerry with the kids, me with the kids, and each of us with just one kid - but none of the entire family.

So I put together this as we were running for the bus this morning. And I DO mean running.

I'm ashamed to say that my photo and Gerry's photos are both from our driver's licenses (yes, I keep a copy of all our pertinent ID on the computer) The kids photos are from a hammock shot (hence the sunny/shady effect on their faces.)

So now you know what our family looks like, heh heh.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Baruch Atah Carpool

The Hebrew School madness has begun. Amayn.

In a fit of goyisher guilt (differnt from Jewish guilt - with a Methodist twist) I signed up the kids for Hebrew School and joined our local shul (temple) at the same time. ( Can I get an "OY!") THAT'S no small chunk of change. So every Wednesday Hannah will go from 4 - 6, and every Sunday both kids go from 11 - 1. Thank heaven we didn't sign them up for soccer or baseball. Not only could we NOT afford it, we'd have to miss half the games. And I realized with a tremendous start that Hannah will be TWELVE in three years.

Girls generally have their Bat Mizvah (in Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative temples) when they're 12. Boys have their Bar Mitzvah when they're 13. In Reform temples the education continues with a Confirmation later in the high school years. It keeps them off the streets.

So far, so good. The hardest thing to figure out is the carpool system (we all get numbers, mine is 107) but I'm certain I'll mistress it in good time. Probably the morning of Max's Bar Mitzvah.

Yarn to the Ceiling
Boxes and boxes of the stuff! Wool, cotton, linen, hemp, silk - these men are going to be WELL dressed! I've sent out yarn to 22 knitters so far - most of them men - and now comes the waiting part. Suffice to say, I am NOT the most popular person at the post office. The other day when I was mailing 200 books I thought I'd be nice and divide them up bewtween 5 PO's that I visit in the area. But when I went into the first one the woman had such attitude about my paltry 40 books (she was VERY bent out of shape, and before she'd help me she had to finish her conversation with a co-worker about going to Atlantic City over Columbus Day weekend).

When she finally deigned to begin weighing the packages she looked them over
- "Is that all?"
- "Yes. I know it's a lot..."
- [sharply] "Lissen Honey, I do hundreds of packages a day - "

So I went to my car and got the other 160 boxes. And she processed them. Each with delivery confirmation.

What the heck, there was no line, it's the largest PO in the area (and 1/4 as busy as my own South Orange PO, which always has a line of 20 people), and if she'd been the teeniest bit nicer I would have just stopped at 40. Each with delivery confirmation.
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Sunday, September 18, 2005

I'm A Muscle Fan

This is my friend's dog, Cisco, sporting one of the items from the Men Who Knit book. Isn't he adorable? A muscle shirt for a muscular man.

I find myself working up a bunch of the doggie stuff because I need to see if my measurements are correct. So far, so good (and thank heavens I have a pretty wide range of friends with dogs who are happy to be fit models!) Figuring out patterns for dogs is a whole different animal than figuring out patterns for humans. However, I generally have some wacky shapes in my regular-human-type sweaters, so I figure it's all math!

The big question is how do my sizes square with the types and shapes of doggie who are out there. I find myself petting (and hugging) a LOT of dogs to get a sense of the general girth of the dog-on-the-street. And the dogs are loving it.

This book is a wonderful education on yarn - I'm finding a lot of yarns I hadn't played with before, and I'm falling in love over and over. It's so sad when I actually have to pack up the boxes to mail to the knitters - I can barely bring myself to tape the box shut.

I apologize for having the most boring blog on the internet. Shouldn't there be one of those contest with little awards we can slap onto our sites for boring-ness? Okay, this will spice it up. The more fascinating my life is (oh, yeah - making those peanut butter sandwiches every morning then sitting down to a straight 8 hours of algebra on the computer is INSANELY engaging) the less time I have for blogging. I just wish I could tear myself away from taping box after box together, but I'm afraid the cardboard monkey is on my back and I jones for the sound of packing tape rrrrrrwack-ing off of the roll.

House of Eternal Benjamin Moore
The house is almost finished (wasn't that fast?!) and it looks delightful! Apologies to all who felt I should single-color Chez Mildew (as we've started calling it) but the combination of brick on the bottom and wood shingles on the top already gives a design break to the house, so a different color is a way to celebrate that.

Yellow on the top also makes the house look much bigger. Folks who come into my house are stunned [and not just by the piles of laundry or stacks of un-put-away toys] to see how much room there is inside. It's not a huge house, but it has been very intelligently designed (hmmm? has that become a loaded term?) and every inch of space is used very well. We generally hear comments like, "Wow, your house looks so small from the outside...!"

So now we're looking forward to comments like, "Gee, those colors really break up the line of the house and cause me great pain, but the house looks SO much bigger!" It's all good.

The hardest part of the house painting has been the removal of the screens (we're a non air conditioned house) so we've been sweltering for most of this past week. We've been having a very humid and warm spell - which is blessedly gone today - so the house has been stuffy and not real pleasant. But really cool looking from the outside! Pictures later...
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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

What I'll be Doing in LA?

So, it's a month until I go to LA and in honor of that I've started working out this week.

Actually, it started on Sunday with the rowing on Central Park lake (that's why the lady is a tramp) which felt SO good that I went to the gym and rowed on Monday. Then I did the bike and noticed that they have CNN at the gym (which we don't - we don't have cable) AND I noticed that one TV was devoted to C-Span. Hmmmm.

So today I finally took my tour of the gym, tried the other machines, and burned 125 calories on the recument bike (just about 1 donut). Yea, baby! I'll be so buff for Knitty Gritty you won't even recognize me!

Here's what I'll be teaching in LA (more classes will probably be added...):

Attend the Tale...
Gerry told me that he bought me tickets to Sweeny Todd for my birthday. We'll be going sometime in November. You have to understand that this is my all time FAVORITE show! I saw it in London and NY and every chance in between. Someday, someday... I want to play Mrs. Lovett. Just once.

He says the seats aren't very good - up in the heavens - but I don't care. It will be the first B'way show I've seen in so long - I have to go get the original cast recording and start singing along in my PT Cruiser TODAY!
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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Amazing Day

So I took the tykes into the city today to play - our own little 9/11 tribute - celebrate by enjoying LIFE in the greatest city on earth (at least in my book!)

The train was, as always, a highlight. Then the further excitement of the subway (the metro card in itself was worth 30 minutes of fun) and on to Central Park. I love that park SO much. In my life I've walked every inch of the park, and it was good to realize I still had much of it memorized.

We walked over to the Bethesda fountain so the kids could enjoy the dogs romping in the water - which led us to rent a boat and I rowed the two redheads around the green water for an hour. Then on to the boat pond where we watched a few pigeons catch a ride on a few of the rental remote-control yachts, and the kids climbed all over Alice in Wonderland.

More walking - this time toward the carousel. But on the way we got lunch and listened to an amazing jazz trio playing some wonderful music. They played, "All the things you are" - which is one of my favorite songs - and I got to sing it sotto voce to my little own little girl, whose birth announcement featured lines from the same song.

You are the promised kiss of springtime
That makes the lonely winter seem long.
You are the breathless hush of evening
That trembles on the brink of a lovely song.
You are the angel glow that lights a star,
The dearest things I know are what you are.
Some day my happy arms will hold you,
And some day I’ll know that moment divine,
When all the things you are, are mine!

Then on to the carousel, two rides for the kids, and over to meet Gerry and we all drove home.

Then - extra feature - on to have dinner out and meet one of my knitters who was picking up some yarn for a car blanket for the men who knit book. A very full and rich day! And I got to knit A LOT as the day went on (between walking and rowing!)
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James Charles Modesitt

I woke up bawling this morning.

The radio was on and I was half asleep. I heard a reading by Willa Cather about losing a sibling, then as I eased into consciousness I became aware that this year siblings are reading the names of the fallen at the 9/11 commemoration.

And of course, I thought of my brother. He didn't die in 9/11 - he died of a heart attack in Dallas 2 years ago this month. Who could believe it was 2 years ago.

We all miss him very much. And I also feel that he's with me when I really need him.

Today the kids and I are going into the city - we'll go to the park, ride the carousel (if it's still running), visit the zoo - then go pick up Gerry who has to work today. It seems very fitting to this former Manhattanite to spend the anniversary of 9/11 enjoying the best of the city (which for me was always the park! LOVE that park!)

I used to live right off the park on West 85th street. My apartment was smaller than my living room is now, but I loved it! It was where I had my first cat (I couldn't have cats growing up because my brother was allergic - we found that out when we got a beautiful Siamese then had to find a new home for him) That apartment was also where I lived when I learned how to knit. No wonder I love the West Side and the park so much - all those happy memories rolled into one beautiful location.

There was a mimosa tree in front of my building - I'd never seen one before - and the sensual smell of the wildly feminine flowers absolutely amazed me. We planted a mimosa in our front yard two years ago - it's HUGE now (they grow fast) and with any luck we'll have some flowers next year.
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Friday, September 09, 2005

What's On Annie's Back Porch Today?

Lots of boxes. Empty boxes that had books in them a few hours ago, filled boxes that were flat and stored in other boxes, little boxes, big boxes - and this doesn't cover the stack of boxes of yarn that's in my dining room.

CHEAPER THAN THERAPY IS HERE! The books arrived today and they look wonderful! I'm filled with pride (happy with myself, thrilled with my essayists, very pleased with the look of the book) and with a little fear (I have a lot invested in this book, it will probably take a while to break even - but as with any risk the chance to do well are great, too...)

And I should have had a larger print run. I was astounded when distributors began ordering shipments a few weeks ago, and by the time I placed the print order I should have sensed that there was an interest. Since ordering the books I've received several other large orders from Amazon and other book wholesalers, so I'm in the odd position of having a table of unfilled orders - I need to order more books NOW. And there's that fear thing.

WIthout going into the gory details of book sales, when you sell to a distributor they get a HUGE discount. This is negotiable, and I've worked out pretty tight contracts with most of the firms I deal with, but it's still rough to make much money on those sales unless the volume is very big. But when a book is carried by a distributor, it's more legit and I think folks are more willing to give it a try. I've tried to keep the price on this book very low and still make a profit. Add in paying a halfway decent fee to the 37 contributors and it is a risk. But it's a risk I'm willing to take.

Writing 37 checks this evening brought it home in an immediate way, though.
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I Can Make You A Man

Even if he's only 8" long.

Boy, that sounds terrible - I didn't mean that...

No, my little man isn't quite as exciting as all that, I've been working on a pattern for a little man doll and anyone who would like to try to knit it up is welcomed to! This is a RAW pattern. But haven't we learned that raw things are usually better for us? Anyway, if you'd like to work up your own little knit man, here's the pattern.

Little Man
Finished Meas = 2-1/2” across, 8” high when worked in sock weight yarn

Skill Level: K 3 Intermediate

Fiber: Your Choice
Yarn A - Dark Color
Yarn B - Light Color
Yarn C - Tan-ish Color

Gauge: Not important

Needles Required: dpns in 2 sizes
Size 1: 1 size smaller than you'd normally use with your yarn of choice
Size 2: 1 size smaller than size 1.

Notions: Darning needle, crochet hook (same size as needle #1)
Stitches Used: W&T - Wrap & Turn, C-Bobble, K2tog, VDD - Vertical Double Decrease, Kitchner Stitch, Backstitch (sewing)
(see below for explanations of knit stitches)

Little Man
With A and smaller dpns, cast on 9 sts. Divide evenly between 3 dpns and work in st st for 2 rounds. Inc 1 st on each needle (12 sts) and cont in st st for 6 more rounds.

Next round: K8, W&T
Next row: K7, W&T
Next row: K6, W&T
Next row: K5, W&T
Next row: K4, W&T
Next row: K3, W&T
Next row: K2, W&T
Next row: K3, W&T
Next row: K4, W&T
Next row: K5, W&T
Next row: K6, W&T
Next row: K7, W&T
Begin working in rounds again, work in st st for 4 rounds. Divide sts equally into front and back sts, place on holder.

Repeat for 2nd shoe.

Slip all sts from both shoes onto larger dpns, keeping back shoe and front shoe sts placed so that both shoes point in the same direction - 24 sts.

With B begin working in St st rounds. Inc 1 st at each outer edge (outseam of the pants side) in each of the next 2 rows - 28 sts. Cont working in st st for 34 rounds. In final round work 1 3 st bobble on each outer edge.

Cont in st st, work sweater as foll:
(With A, work 2 rounds. With C, work 1 round) twice, then work 2 more rounds in A. With B, work 3 rounds, with C work 3 rounds, then work 3 more rounds in B. With A work 4 rounds, inc 1 st at each outer (shoulder) edge - 30 sts. Cont with A, work 4 more rounds, inc 1 st at each outer edge - 32 sts. Cont with A, work 2 more rounds in A.

At this point stop and turn doll inside out. Weave in ends. Turn doll right side out again and fill the pants and sweater with fiberfill. Do not overfill, but make sure that filling is well distributed.

Divide sts as foll: 16 center front sts on one needle, 9 sts on each other needle (join at center back). Work to shoulder edge, break yarn, leaving a 20” tail.

With a darning needle graft the outer 4 sts from the front and the back together using the kitchner stitch to create a shoulder - 5 sts left on back needle, 12 st left on front needle. Continuing with tail, work across to other shoulder and repeat - 5 sts left on back needle, 8 sts left on front needle - 18 sts total. Work 1 round.

(here's a tutorial on kitchner stich- scroll to bottom of page)

Change to C and work in st st for 8 rounds.
Next round: Starting at center back, k2tog, k1, k2tog; next needle, k2tog, k4, k2tog; next needle, k2tog, k1, k2tog - 9 sts.

At this point fill head with fiberfill.

Next round: VDD, k2tog, k2, k2tog, VDD. Break yarn, leaving a 9” tail. Draw tail through rem 6 sts and pull tightly. Make a small knot at top of head and weave yarn into head.

With a strand of B create a backstitch “seam” up the center of the legs, ending about 6 rows before start of sweater. In the same manner, create two “seams” from the bobble stitch up to the shoulders, stopping about 8 rows from the top of the shoulder.

With C embroider over the bobbles until they are completely covered, add fingers if desired. Create 3 dimples on the front of the face by creating a tack where the eyes and nose would be.

With crochet hook, pull 3” pieces of A through the stitches at the top of the head starting at the center and working out to the hairline until top of head is covered - do not overload the top of the head with hair! Using sharp scissors, “trim” hair into whatever hairstyle you desire.

Stitch Definitions

W&T - Wrap & Turn: Slip next st to RH needle, wrap yarn around stitch and return to LH needle. Turn work and begin working back in the opposite direction from the previous row.

I-Bobble: K3 sts into next st. [Slip these three sts back to LH needle and knit] repeat 2 more times, end VDD.

VDD - Vertical Double Decrease: Sl 2 sts as if to work k2tog-R, k1, pass slipped sts over (decrease of 2 sts)

K2tog-R: (aka k2tog) Knit 2 sts together so they slant to the right when viewed from RS of work
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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Painting the House

We're painting our house. We still have to decide on colors. The previous owner (who'd lived here for 63 years) decided to paint the ENTIRE house Olive Green before she put it on the market 8 years ago. The entire exterior was green - bricks, trim, EVERYTHING. Well - everything but the black shutters. All it needed was some tan paint to make it camoflauge.

We feel this was the main factor in our acquiring the house for a reasonable amount of money (it had been on the market for MONTHS - it is splendid inside, but just looked so darned ugly!) We painted the shutters blue a few years ago, but that's the only new color we've introduced.

After redoing the windows 4 years ago and the roof 2 years ago, it's time for our bi-annual home improvement. This time - paint the house.

Here are a few color mixes I put together (isn't photoshop wonderful?) We're leaning toward the yellow on top, green on the bottom. It's a nice combination with the (to be painted) white trim and blue shutters, and mixes well with the neighborhood.

Hannah's campaigning for a pink house.
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Monday, September 05, 2005

Back to School

Tomorrow the kids go back to their old grind. Max has the same teacher he had last year (he's in a multiage class) and Hannah has her best friend's teacher from last year (high-fives all around!)

School again - and it is high time, indeed (yet I'll miss those crazy redheads, go figure...) I'm looking forward to having time to myself, time alone, time to work - just plain ol' time. Those 6 hours a day seem like a lot right now, but I have a feeling I'll use them up in short order.

Someone wrote and asked me about time management - or rather, how do I get done all that I need to get done?

Need is a relative term. I feel the need to do a LOT, but when I'm honest with myself it's not need that drives me, but desire to complete projects. I'm very goal oriented, and when I'm in the middle of solving a problem (design, spatial, database) it's almost impossible to pull myself away.

Right now I will say that I'm pushed to about 95% capacity. I have 'down time' built into my schedule (I try not to schedule two weekends away in a row, I try to keep months at a time open so I can have the time to design) but I am feeling the effects of so much concentrated thought pushed into a small time period.

When I get up I make breakfast for the kids (or rather, for Max as Hannah is a RIce Crispy kind of gal and can get them herself)

Then I answer email for about an hour.

Then I print out invoices for items which have sold the previous day that I need to send out. My dirty little secret is that if I've only sold a small amount of books I'll sometimes skip this step and send out double books the next day. Then I pack the books and get them ready to ship. During this time I try to get the kids setup with a playdate or a game with each other to keep them occupied. I'm not always successful.

While my mind is fresh I revisit any math problems that have been causing me problems. This is when I write patterns, or work out charted repeats - numerical stuff.

By this time it's noon, the kids have been playing outside or watching a video if the weather's bad, so I break for lunch and we all do something (drive to the pool, go to the post office and shopping, drop them off if they have a playdate...)

After lunch Gerry comes home (he has an odd schedule) and he's in charge of kid wrangling to give me a good solid 4 hours of non-kid time. He also usually does a load of laundry now. I have married a mensch.

After lunch I return to math stuff, and this is when I tend to update webpages, and answer email in more detail. Recently this is when I do assignment work on the Men who Knit book (assigning yarns to sweaters and knitters to yarns) and do pattern writing for the Wire Knit Book. I also keep my kid's elementary school website going this year, so I put in some time on that if I need to. This is when I usually write in my blog if I'm so moved.

After this I take a break, have some tea, and now it's about 3:00 and I like to listen to the radio. Yes, I'm a lefty (although it's not really knit related so I don't harp on it as much as I might - consider yourselves lucky). Somehow this gets my creative juices flowing and this is when I like to try to work out creative non-math related problems. Picking collars for things, workingon sketches, working up swatches, etc.

Throughout the day I do a LOT of correspondence.

Around dinner time (my husband fixes dinner! Didn't I tell you he was a mensch?!) I stop and we eat. We don't always eat together at the table, which I should feel worse about, but I don't. We should - we don't. I'll have to change that. The table is usually jammed full of boxes of yarn, though...

I spend some time with the kids - we'll play a game, watch the Simpsons (see, I really AM a terrible mom!) take a walk if the weather's nice. We'll sit outside or run around and catch fireflies. Some evenings I leave for class or to go to a knit group (which I try to take one of the kids to every few weeks - they both knit and I think it's good for them to learn to sit and knit - or run around the bookstore picking out books they'd like me to buy as the case may be) and then I come home.

The kids go off to bed at 8:30. Actually, the kids are suposed to go to bed at 8:30, but 9:00 - 9:30 is more like it. Hey - it's the end of summer... Gerry does most of the kids to bed stuff, which is why they go to bed late because he's a soft touch that way. Sometimes I'll pay 'bad cop' and go up and hurry them along. I expect I'll do that tonight. Gerry goes to bed around the same time - he needs some pushing, too!

Back downstairs to watch Law & Order or listen to a book on tape (currently it's the Future of Freedom by Fareed Zakaria) while I engage in some "me" knitting. Often the me knitting is swatch knitting or projects for the wire book, but sometimes it's actually knitting for ME! What a concept. Right now my carry around mindless knitting project is a very simple version of the silk corset for Knitty Gritty which will - oddly - fit ME!

If a design deadline is looming I'll use this time to do research on what I'd like to present in a hand-knit version, and work up sketches. My favorite resources are costume history books, but I also really like to look through European fashion magazines to give me a good idea of what may translate into knit garments in the next few years. I also have a few catalogs that I really like to look through to see different silhouette shapes (and how they look on the models)

I don't read much fashion forecasting stuff, I find that it somehow paralyzes me to feel I have to fit my designs into a structure. Vogue & some other magazines send design proposal packets of fashion trends they'd like us to refer to as we design - and I find these helpful - but at some point I do have to just put them away and close my eyes. Speaking of which, I haven't received my VK design info yet - I think it was supposed to come at the end of August...

When I go to bed I read to relax. I try really hard NOT to read design related stuff. Right now I'm reading Foreign Devils on the Silk Road by Peter Hopkirk. It's not as exciting as I'd hoped, but it's very rich and I'm enjoying it a great deal.

This is just a snapshot of my day - it's a changing schedule - fluid - and I don't adhere to this. But it is a good indication of what my 'average' day is like.

So you see, even though it seems that I'd have hours and hours of knitting, I really have very little knitting time - and almost NO knitting time just for ME!
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Saturday, September 03, 2005


So now it's after midnight and the girls have gone home. We had a great time - lots of laughing, lots of champagn and lots of cake (yum!) I feel very happy. And I'm not driving home, so I feel even happer. And my husband is cleaning up the kitchen, so I feel happiest.

I have a famous birthday, - me and Charlie Sheen.

Today I got the XRX hat book that just came out. My hat's on the cover - that's a surprise (a nice birthday gift!)

I'm too buzzed to write anything worthwhile. (Damn that liquor store for going out of business and selling all their Champagne at half price!) So I'll leave you with these:

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Swatchin' Frenzy

This will be a weekend of swatching and fun. Aren't they they same thing? We are very lucky up here.

Please do think of all the folks who have no food, no water - and if you're so inclined, contact your congressperson to tell them that MORE needs to be done to help these folks - refugees - who got caught between the end-of-the-month fund drain and a storm of biblical proportions and didn't have the money to get out of the way.

Last night I worked up two amazing yarns by Lorna's Laces - here is an amazing blue yarn -

and I also played with stranding together two warm tones.

Hey - Look - Pictures!

Last night I went grocery shopping as a rain was coming in. The sky was amazing.

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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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