Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Proof That He's Not Faking

The one true way to prove that a child isn't faking an illness is if they get sick on Halloween. Maxie called from school today, he was achey, his throat hurt and he had a fever. I got there just in time for the Halloween parade through the hallways, Maxie was 5 shades of pale, looking so sad and forelorn in the office.

Once home we ibuprophined him and put him to bed, Hannah came home and offered to scam candy for him when she and her friend went trick or treating. By the time they were ready to head out Max felt "better" - yeah, right - but we did let him do a few houses. Once when I was a kid my dad cancelled Halloween because he was mad at my brother and me. That ranks in my memory as just about the worst day of my childhood, so Gerry kept Maxie close to him, they hit a few homes, were gone longer than I would have liked, and now my boy is upstairs sleeping - dreaming of the candy he may have missed...

I stayed at home and manned the candy bowl (big mistake there...), passing out treats to anyone who was wearing a costume. My insistence on the "No Costume, No Candy" rule rang hollow with a few of the kids, but overall they got it. One must be prepared to look like a fool if one wants free candy.

Hannah's best friend has a milk allergy, so she can't eat most of the Halloween stuff. That doesn't stop her from obtaining it, but there's some serious candy sorting that goes on at our house after the festivities; Hannah passes Jaiden everything that is fruit-y, gummy or fruit-juice flavored. Jaiden reciprocates with the milk chocolate. They both give me the stuff with nuts. This year when Jaiden, who is a very good knitter, came to our door I gave her a small ball of Malabrigo (TREAT!) and she was very happy.

Thursday I'll be at Knitty City in NYC for a book signing at 6:00. It's my first no-class-just-a-signing event, so I hope(oh, please!) that it's reasonably well attended. Please. If you're within 80 miles of NYC, just stop by. Please.

Saturday I'll be teaching Knitting for Hand Weavers for the NY Handweavers Guild at the School of Visual Arts. I'm thinking that emphasis on edgings, stretch panels, knit bindings, will be the way to go. And maybe some of that wacky knitted plaid that looks (in my dreams) woven?
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Monday, October 30, 2006

No Rest For The Weary (Traveler)


My flight was delayed - there were high winds in NYC and that held up a bunch of planes into Newark. I actually got very lucky - I arrived at the airport early and got myself switched to an earlier flight. When I arrived at the gate ALL flights had been delayed at least a few hours, so my coup of getting on the 5:30 flight meant that I actually left at 8:00 (15 minutes after I was originally scheduled to leave.) I was lucky - the folks on my original flight weren't scheduled to leave until after 10:00 pm!

Another big bonus was the flight I switched to was a larger plane (737) so it was a quicker flight, the seats were slightly larger, and there was more overhead luggage storage. When I travel I have to carry so darned much (books, teaching supplies, and this trip a bunch of sweaters for the fashion show) that I use up my allowance of 2 carryon bags VERY quickly. In my last flight, since it was on an ExpressJet, everyone with a carryon rolling bag had to have it checked at the gate and wait for it at the end of the flight.

Instead of being all, "I've got to get off this plane!" at the end of the flight (not that I'm usually like that, but I move along with the crowd) I decided to just sit and knit until the last folks were off the plane. I was amazed at how much easier and pleasant it was. That half crouch that I have to do (hovering under the luggage compartment, half in the aisle/half in my seat while standing and waiting for the doors to open) always takes so much out of me. 10 minutes of waiting can feel like an hour, and it kills my back.

So I sat, I waited, and whenI got off I didn't feel rushed or pushed. I worked my way to the baggage claim and - surprise! - my bags were very early coming off the plane. To the Taxi Stand (it was just too late for Gerry to pick me up - he has to be up at 2:00 anyway to leave for work at 3:00am) where - after a short wait - I was in a big SUV cab and home to South Orange.

How wonderful it is to be home.

Still no definite movement on the house. I chalk it up 100% to the iffy housing market right now - I feel we've done everything that we realistically could do to make the house more desirable, the rest is up the the realtor, the buyers and St.Joseph (St. Jo? Hello?)

I arrive to a bundle of work - work is good - combined with the last minute trip to buy bags of candy. I'm trying to put that off until 5 minutes before the trick or treaters show up or I'm likely to just eat WAAAAY too much junk. I loved being able to swim every day when I was in Indianapolis - a luxury I don't have here - but I do have my beautiful neighborhood to walk around. It's supposed to get up to 70 tomorrow - good heavens! A warm, warm day for the kids! Max is going to be a pirate (Yar!) and Hannah will be a witch!
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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Strangers on Wednesday, Friends on Saturday


One of the best parts of what I do for a living is making friends. I feel so lucky that I fly into a town, check into a hotel, show up at a yarn shop and at the end of the class I've made a batch of friends. And it's not because I'm so fabulous (stop laughing, Rachel...), but because when folks come to a class usually they're ready to approach the topic with open minds. Open minds are generally accompanied by open hearts, the end result being friendship.

I've made some very wonderful friends here - I hesitate to mention names because later this may be used against them Have you at any time been a friend of Annie Modesitt...? but here are a few with whom I spent a nice chunk of time this weekend;

Mollie - the owner of Stitches N Scones, a lovely woman (and beautiful, too) with a warm and inviting shop stocked with any yarn I'd ever want to work with! She's been a most gracious hostess, and I am so glad she asked me out to her shop to teach some classes and speak at her fundraising event.

Char, Cynthia, Suzon, Rachel & Joseph - all part of a big family, of which I've only met the tip of the iceberg, CC&S were a joy to have in my classes and kept me on my toes. They also took me out for a delicious Italian dinner last night, excellent wine, and I felt just a little less homesick to be able to spend time with two great kids (Rachel has the best laugh!)

Karen, Carol & many other SnS regulars / staff who I can't quite remember their names (but I definitely remember THEM!) You guys were just about the hardest working students I've had in a series of class - thank you so much for your energy and your enthusiasm. Now if only I could remember more names, I'd be a better person...

and last - but definitely not least -

Tom & Linda (& Wayne) - you guys made my trip so joyful, you made me feel incredibly special. Linda is one of the few folks I"ve seen who can make leather pants look both sexy and respectible, and Tom and Wayne are both lucky guys. A HUGE thank you to Wayne & Linda for their impromptu modeling at the fashion show, and especially to Wayne for his good natured acceptance of my shocking revelation (Wayne, I'll think of you every Father's Day)

Today is the Lace Class, we're going to be swatching then starting our Wavy Lace Scarves, then it's off to the airport and back home from Indiana. I wonder if the FFA kids are flying back today...
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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Slave Driver

View from my room at the Hampton Inn at 8:30. I swam this morning, I feel good and it's sunny - beautiful day!

Yesterday I taught two classes at Stitches & Scones and was lucky enough to have lunch again at Kelties (same exact thing, I have NO food imagination!) and it was a wonderful day!

The first class was cabling (Cable Mania, er, Sanity) and we had a blast. I must say that the students in Indiana have been among the best I've taught, and I was very impressed with their ability to speak, chorus-like, in unison. (You haven't lived until you've heard a class of women proclaim, "You Start Every Cable The Same Way!") It's the small things that make life worthwhile.

The second class was knitting with wire - and it was a big class! After the initial kit selection phase, and pieces from Twist & Loop were passed around for everyone's edification, we all settled in to knit a little swatch with wire, just to get the feel of the new (to them) fiber.

I sometimes feel a little like Simon Legree in my knitting with wire class - I try to encourage folks to toss away the need to see good looking knitting while they're learning something (losing this expectation of perfection is the best way to get a beautiful end result - counter intuitive, but true!) and at times my encouragement can be - well - firm. Sergeant Carter in a velvet glove.

Most folks completed their pieces, I felt terrible for the two who didn't get finished, and I knew that if the class had been smaller I would have been able to spend more time with each one - therefore assuring at least a moderate success. It's so hard when you're learning something new, and you've just about got it, but you feel a million miles away from comprehension. That old saw about it always being darkest before the dawn is absolutely true, and you never feel more lost than right before you discover you're on the right path.

Today I'm speaking at a fundraising luncheon at the Oak Hill Mansion, doing some color commentary on a few of my designs from Romantic Hand Knits, Twist & Loop and Men Who Knit.

Knit Sophisticates
I have to laugh sometimes when I'll read a blog or a thread on a knitting chat board where some authority bemoans the lack of taste in a certain garment, the [gasp] gauche-ness of a color combination or choice of project. It's knitting. Say it with me - K N I T T I N G.

We don't knit to make things, we knit to make ourselves happy. If you're standing in the way of someone else feeling good about their knitting, you need to examine your motivations.

My own take on this is that when one feels a need to denigrate others, it's usually a deep seated discomfort, sadness or insecurity. It's like the teenager who's embarrassed by their mom. She hasn't changed, but the kid's become painfully aware that there are levels of cool, and his mom isn't in the level that his friends admire.

I have such respect for the grandma who continues to wear lipstick and rouge, even when her kids try to get her to stop - and I have the same level of admiration for the go-to-hell grandma who NEVER wears makeup, and can't be charmed or cajoled into it by her kids.

I'm perverse enough that when I read comments alluding to the un-coolness of a knitting event, book, project or fiber, it makes me want to get to know it better. (But then, I never sat with the cool kids in high school, either...)

Arbitrary rules of taste - of coolness - is a type of water-on-a-stone dictatorship. It wears away our confidence, little by little, in our own personal style choices.

Learn to question "Cool" - "In" can be an insidious form of authoritarianism.
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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Rest is Good

It was a very short drive back to the Hampton Inn, I checked in and walked over to Max & Erma's for a burger and a beer, and now I'm catching up on emails and watching the most heartwrenching documentary on Daniel Pearl. Oh, lord, what a terrifying thing - what madness is done in this world. It's incomprehensible - and I want it to remain incomprehensible to me. The day that I can make any sense out of this is the day it's too late for my brain and soul.

How heavy I'm getting so quickly into the blog entry. It must be my exhaustion and the grey, grey weather.

This morning I skipped the hotel breakfast and hurried up to Stitches & Scones. Actually, hurried isn't quite the word as the rain and the road construction made driving a little hazardous. Folks were either showing down to 20 mph, or cutting in between the cars with reckless abandon. Well, it IS home of the Indy 500...

I took a circuitous route to get away from the traffic, overshot the shop and by the time I got there I had about 5 minutes to unpack and get started. The class was wonderful - the students were so EXCELLENT and quick, it was stunning! The first class was colorwork, everyone did the amazing plaid (I remember the class having a hard time with this when I taught at Lambikins Hideaway, and I suspect that it was my teaching that was the main difference...) and then we did embellishments. We were all foolishly pleased with the multicolored and embellished swatches, they were very cute, and I feel that the students walked away with a lot of extra and new information that will make their knitting more exciting. Exciting knitting - I wonder if that's along the lines of Jumbo Shrimp? Nah, believe me, I know how exciting and fulfilling knitting can be.

Stitches & Scones is an amazing shop. It's lovely, the atmosphere is welcoming, open and full of bubbly joy. The yarns on display are among the nicest collection I've seen - wonderful luxury yarns, and many pragmatic, inexpensive yarns too. Molli, the owner, is just lovely and her staff seems to be the genesis of the welcoming spirit in the shop. I felt so at home - I really love this shop.

The classes seemed to fly by - and during lunch we walked down to a MOST AMAZING RESTAURANT called Kelties, where I had one of the best lunches I've ever eaten. Butternut soup, a salade of pecan crusted chicken, greens and strawberries, oh good heavens I will be dreaming of that meal for MONTHS! If you are ever near Westfield, IN, not only MUST you stop at Stitches N Scones, you have got to add a visit to Kelties!

Tomorrow I'll teach two more classes, then on Saturday Stitches & Scones hosts a fundraiser at the Oak Hill Mansion for Prevail, a local victims support group. I'll be speaking there, talking about some of the fashions from my books (which will be featured in a fashion show) and I'm looking forward to meeting everyone who shows comes by. Mollie is estatic because they've sold more tickes than they'd expected, and it's for a wonderful cause!

Sunday we'll have a lace class, then it's back on the plane and a return home. I've been told by our real estate agent that folks are definitely interested in the house - the couple that wanted us out so quickly is still interested, but is having a hard time with some details on their own closing and that's holding them up (sigh of relief) A few more folks are coming by this weekend, I guess I'll miss them...

If I can get myself in gear I'll head down to the pool and swim some laps. It felt SO good to swim last night - but I don't have a big towel or robe, so I may just wait and stop by target tomorrow and pick up something to dry myself off after a dip.

UPDATE
I rose at 6:30 and was down at the pool at 7:00 for some laps and aquarobics. It was FABULOUS! I only wish the pool were deeper, but I'm sure that 90% of the folks who use the pool are under 12, so it's probably for the best that it's a shallow one. Now to see if I can elbow some FFA kids out of the way to get some breakfast (or else I'll just stop at the Panera's on the way to the yarn shop!)
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Why Are These Children Smiling?

Aunt Jan sent us a Google Video link, and it was so funny that the kids laughed and laughed! It's a poodle playing volleyball - the doggie looks a lot like Atticus did when he was more puppyish.

I miss the kids. Sometimes when I travel it just grips me so hard - I miss the darned little redheads.

I'm in Indianapolis, along with the Homecoming folks (Mich vs Indiana - I've lived in both states so I can't take sides...) AND, more importantly, the entire town's been overrun with the Future Farmers of America. It's not our first run in with the FFA - the kids posed at the Minnesota State Fair in the FFA booth - but who knew there were so MANY of them??

The entire airport was overrun - each one with a matching blue Eisenhower jacket with their state embroidered on the back. It was surreal! It took forever to get the luggage, to get to the rental car counter - and then I had to wait for 3 busses to go by until I got on one to get to the car. Oy.

I drove all the way up to Carmel from the Airport to the Hampton Inn (I was looking forward to a relaxing evening of printing out handouts and swimming!), only to be told that they'd overbooked the hotel with members of the FFA, so I'd have to return to - you guessed it - almost all the way back to the airport to stay at a different Hampton Inn. At rush hour. In construction traffic.

This Hampton Inn is also FFA central (they're 4 to a room on my floor - I'm at the end of the hall so I got to celebrate the magic that is Teens Away From Home Without Mom & Dad and I'm looking forward to a busy night as I'm right by the stairwell linking FFA floor #1 and FFA floor #2.

But it is comfortable here - I did get to swim and the nice staff made copies for me (they don't have a business center and it was too late to go find a Kinkos by the time I got here...) Apparently the night will be comped (yes!) and perhaps that will help me offset the extra hidden surprise! cost in the rental car contract. Let's just say that evidently Indianapolis earns a good part of its income from conventions, and the rental car places are savvy to that truth - cars here are more expensive than any other place I've rented!

Tomorrow I'm off to Stitches & Scones. I have a 9am class, but I have a long drive and I have to check out of the hotel before I leave (apparently I'm supposed to return to the ORIGINAL Hampton Inn for the rest of my stay...) I do understand about the overbooking - it happens - but I wish they would have called Molli at S&S, she would have called me and I could have saved an hour in traffic in an unfamiliar town. I guess this is how we get to know new places!
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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Love The Sentiment...


but it's still copyright infringement...

I can appreciate the exitement this knitter feels, her desire to share something she's enjoyed, but this act of niceness is also a pretty straightforward infrigement on the copyright of one of my patterns. My best seller. Damn.

If you find yourself hankering to upload someone's pattern and 'share' it with your friends - even if it's 'just a small group of friends who get together once a week' - please don't. There are a LOT of free patterns out there - heck, I have some here on my website - so there's really no need to cut into a designer's source of income.

I really hesitate to call it theft, because obviously that was NOT the spirit in which this pattern was uploaded and shared. But we all have to understand that what may seem an innocent 'cost cutting' measure, when multiplied by everyone who finds this pattern online and doesn't buy it from me, could add up to some serious money. Of course, my definition of serious money may be different than most - anything with a President is serious enough - but it's money none the less.

I've written to the person who posted this and asked her to remove it, which I'm sure she will. If anyone sees this kind of 'sharing' going on with my pattern or any other copyrighted pattern (including scans from a book or magazine which have been posted online - that's no kosher either...) please let the person who posted it know that it's just not a cool thing to do. Be nice, but let them know. (Being not nice is just as likely to get their back up, then they'll NEVER want to take the darned pattern down!)

The Regard of Flight
Tomorrow I fly off to Indianapolis - much quicker than driving (which I did this summer) and hopefully more enjoyable. Although I really did love the drive through Ohio and Pennsylvania. Perhaps I was a long-route trucker in a past life? I'll be at the Stitches And Scones event, and it promises to be absolutely delightful! I'm thrilled with the classes that they've chosen for me to teach, it's an exciting and eclectic mix. I hope if you are a blog reader and you're in the area you'll come by and say, "HI!" I promise I'll try not to just give you a blank look (which I do so often...)

Getting ON THE STICK!
I have two essays in semi polished form which I MUST FINISH before I leave tomorrow. One is on knitting, the other on Jewish/Christian Holiday Celebrations (you didn't know I write interfaith essays, huh?) I'm going to go for a long walk with Atticus to get my juices flowing, then a solid few hours on my booty writing should do the trick. What a glorious, windy, chilly, sunny day it is, too - for a walk! I may just have to put a sweater on Atticus!

RED!
This week is RED week at my kid's school, to raise awareness of HIV in Africa (Bono's project with Bobby Shriver) It would be fun to get that red credit card... But that's only for the UK, I think... I did get up at 5:30 to dye my hair red, though. It's lovely.

We are all, at heart, Amish. We long for a barn raising where we can put our shoulder to the frame and raise up the structure - help our neighbors then all have a nice dinner (I'll sit next to Harrison Ford, thank-you-very-much...)

So I'm hopeful that an all out call to halt the spread of HIV/Aids in Africa will work. We have so much power - and we can accomplish so much when we use it for good.
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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Another Day of Driving


Life in New Jersey, originally uploaded by modeknit.


I traveled up to The Yarn Barn in CT today for a very nice class of very nice (and accomplished!) women. We worked on swatches for the Cocoon Shrug and everyone did beautifully!

This time the class experimented with various balls of yarn before some of them struck out on their own to pick new colors for their own version of the shrug - I think the results are going to be stunning. It was a vocal class, a fun class, and I adored the feedback. I love a chatty class, I like knowing where I stand (and what I need to better explain!)

Golden Drive
I don't think there are many drives nicer than the Merritt Parkway on a late October morning. It was stunning today - sunny, golden, just a beautiful day. This time of year makes me feel so alive and introspective. On the way home I got to listen to a wonderful Selected Shorts (I miss this most Sundays) and thoroughly enjoyed the drive. Attending a Selected Shorts program was one of my first dates with Gerry.

And the bonus was that when I arrived home the family was on the sofa, watching a movie and waiting for me. Unfortunately Maxie seems to have caught a cold, which Gerry is sharing. Hannah and I are the healthy ones, and Gerry's off to bed (early for a change!) with some AirBorne.



The Point Is...
Still my favorite NYC shop. Of course, I'm very biased as it's the only shop that's invited me repeatedly for classes, but I love Helane and her staff - just great folks! The customers always seem pretty happy, and during the class there was a fellow having a private lesson with Helane. FAB to see that. I also got to meet - in person - Marni Sussman who knit up one of the lovely scarves for Romantic Hand Knits. I had a little slide show of the pieces for the book that I showed at the end of the class, and Marni and I were both practically sobbing when her scarf glided across the page. I'm telling you, I cry at coffee ads! Huge thanks to the folks at TP for having me again, and for putting up with a class in the middle of a busy day!

I'm working up further swatches for a double knitting class and a modular knitting class, enjoying the clean house and the fact that in the past 3 days we've had six families through here. It's so odd the comments the real estate agents make. One told us that we should change the room I keep my yarn in into a breafast room.

Now, of course that's what it was before we moved into the house, but it makes me laugh to think that they assume that no one is living here, working here, and where would I put the yarn?? Oy.

So now you know my breaking point - I'll paint the house, rip the carpet off the stairs with my bare hands, but DO NOT MAKE ME MOVE MY YARN!

We wait in the house. No further word on Mr. & Mrs. Can-You-Be-Out-In-3-Weeks, maybe they found a nice, empty house?



...and I cannot believe that Jeffrey won...
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Friday, October 20, 2006

Knitters Halloween


Cat on the Spiderweb Sign, originally uploaded by modeknit.

All up and down our street the fashion has become to put up a big spiderweb off the house, made with twine and usually with a big, huge spider somewhere in the web. Up the street the guys have put a stuffed kid in their web, a little errant trick-or-treater, right next to the spider.

Here's our own version. I've recycled part of my sculpture from a few years ago and planted it into the ground with old aluminum knitting needles (the points were useless, this is a good end for them!)

You can see a tiny bit of Atticus in the lower right corner, and Gig is getting ready to jump on him.

Today we had another family look at the house - I made myself scarce at Panera - and we just got the call that another family will be looking tomorow in addition to the couple that's already expressed interest to our realtor. Let's hope they like spiderwebs.

Cruisin'
I've been asked about participating in a knitting cruise, which sounds delightful, but I'd love to get a feeling for how many folks would realistically be interested in such an endeavor... I know it would be a huge hoot, that's for sure!


Carlos Sweater, originally uploaded by modeknit.

I finished the sweater for Carlos, it's turned out nicer than I hoped, with a little Fred MacMurray collar. All he needs is a pipe.

Tomorrow I teach at one of my favorite shops, The Point in NYC. I just love Helane, love her shop, and I love NYC in Autumn. Nothing nicer! Then on Sunday it's up to Yarn Barn in CT for a Cocoon Shrug class and a book signing.

... and I may have been wrong - perhaps Autumn in CT is as nice as Autumn in NYC?

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mixing It Up


Lornas Laces Cable Swatch, originally uploaded by modeknit.

I've been going through a blending phase with my yarns. The non-spinners answer to the siren song of creating fiber. Blended here are some Lorna's Laces (Lion & Lamb mixed with Dove at the bottom, and Glory at the top) just for giggles.

Our internets is suffering (damn you, Verizon...) so sending email is a dog and pony show. I can do it, but only from my webmail, and I've been using my applemail pretty much as my file cabinet for all correspondence, so I have to copy myself, yada yada yada, and it takes me long on this dopey email thing than usual.

So the buzz on the house is that folks looked at it (a guy), he really likes it, his wife is in California and he took pictures. They want to know if we can be out in mid November (uh, no) We'd prefer Jan 1. I can't see moving before Christmas, at any rate, because that would just be too hard on the kids - we need this holiday seasons to say our goodbyes.

Having said that, if these folks are really interested and make a bid, and it's good, and they're pre-approved, we'll be as flexible as we possibly can be. I'm glad now that I didn't schedule any classes between Dec 7 - Jan 11, I thought it would be a good time to have my schedule to myself.

So in addition to checking out moving companies, temporary housing possibilities and answering emails, today was devoted to working up swatches and instructions for some new classes I'm offering, rediscovering how much fun double knitting can be, loving some mitered, modular and entrelac techniques, and just having a good ol' fiber time.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Folk Style Kaftan Detail


Folk Style Kaftan Detail, originally uploaded by modeknit.

This is a little glimpse of a Kaftan (no not one of those 70's mumus) I did for Mags Kandis' book, Folk Style (part of the "Style" series from Interweave Knits). I am growing to love flickr

So tonight is the big finale! Some folks have asked how I can see this show when I don't have cable - it's through the internets... I have a mac, but I think you can use iTunes if you're on a PC, too.

Go to the iTunes Store.
Scroll down to the Start Shopping / Search iTunes dialogue box to the left, and type in Project Runway
Choose TV Show in the pulldown menu.

This is how you can buy either one episode or the whole season. I think you'll have to download iTunes, but it's a free download for Mac or Windows.

NOTE: They don't put up the new show until the day after it airs. But sometimes Tim's podcast goes up right after the show, and that's almost MORE fun than the show! To find the podcast do the same search above, but choose "podcast" in the pulldown bar. It's the selection with a picture of Heidi.

... and, we have a bite on the house. Can we move by Jan 1?

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Rhapsody on a Plane


Rapsody on a Plane, originally uploaded by modeknit.

Just to prove to myself, if to no one else, that I am knitting a bit, here's some scarf that I worked on coming back from Chicago. Of course I ripped it out. I was experimenting with Iris Schreier's Zig Zag scarf pattern.

Hey - when you think of modular knitting, do you think of entrelac, too? Wouldn't that somehow fall under the same main heading? Is there a blanket term that can describe knitting by number, domino knitting, mosaic knitting, mitered knitting and modular knitting PLUS entrelac? Just wondering... I loved the bit the Girl From Auntie wrote about it - very helpful!

So I finally discovered flicker. I'm going to see how I like it, since Blogger's been wacky with the images lately (and what's a blog with no images?) I did, however, have to increase the width of my main text portion in the code - hopefully this will clear up any overlapping problems...

Sorry about the excessive posting today. A blustery day. I think I'll take a walk...

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Piker!

I just listened to Marie Irshad's Knit Cast (obviously I'm enjoying my ipod - it is heavenly - and I'm catching up on so many podcasts that I'd missed before...), the Shannon Okey episode, and I'm feeling like a piker!

Wow - what a busy woman she is! I thought I was busy, but I'm sitting here on my hands (which makes it hard - but in some ways more fun - to knit and write) while she pumps out 17 books and 14 businesses. I am in awe! I'm also kicking myself because apparently she was just a few miles from me last week and I didn't get my butt over to Modern Yarn in Montclair, NJ to see her - oh, well, live and learn... I think that was the day I was doing my taxes...

To be honest, I'm feeling in a minor slump right now. Perhaps is the feeling-between-books sensation, or I'm still getting up to speed for this Winter, but the past few years I've had a book in the works or in the wings at all times, and now all I have are some ideas floating around my head. I think I'm slightly disenchanted with the whole publisher world (so different from self publishing) and I have to either deal with it or - well - I just have to deal with it. I also just noticed last night after I'd scanned in the contact sheets from my Romantic Knits photo shoot that the shawl is worn wrong side out. Oy. That was the day that I wasn't at the shoot, and the shawl was DEFINITELY labeled with a pin to note the wrong side.

Which makes me long for a chance to work with Brooklyn Tweed, a blogger and knitter (and amazing photographer) in Brooklyn who takes the most soulful shots of yarn and sweaters. Imagine, a photographer who KNITS and who GETS IT!

I think it may be time for me to start my search again for an affordable color publisher (no, lulu or the POD printers are just too expensive...) I think my only hope may be to go overseas, but I'd rather not...
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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Adorable!

The second day of classes at Original Sewing & Quilt Expo went very nicely - only 17 in my cable class (Only? How jaded I'm becoming...) as opposed to the almost 40 in my Combo class, and we had a GREAT time and made enough noise for 40! It's such a thrill to teach folks something new - I thrive on it, and I understand how performers become addicted to the approval of an audience.

After the class I had another room service dinner (I just don't feel like eating alone at 9:30 in a hotel restaurant), a little knitting and then sleep!

But what should awaken me at 5:00? A SPIDER! I felt a little prick on my throat, and was startled awake when I reached up to brush it away and discovered a medium sized white spider. Ick. Even more icky was it's friend on the pillow and yet another friend up on the ceiling. Ick, ick, ick.

I'm not terribly squeamish. I hate flying, stinging insects, but for the most part I'm okay with spiders and other crawlies. Finding one in my bed at night, though, is just not fun. And, of course, I couldn't get myself back into the bed, much less back asleep, so I dressed and read a bit, went to breakfast and then told them about the spider at the front desk. They were wonderful - very apologetic (it was a SPIDER - not an infestation - but I thought they should know) and offered me something to make it up.

I asked if I could get a pedicure at the hotel spa, so after wandering around the sewing show for a bit, packing up my bags and saying my goodbyes, I had a luxurious pedicure and now my nails are red and FABulous! It was so great to be able to spend time with Neil and Lesley from Wool & Co in their very homey booth - they're such nice folks (they must be, their daughter lives in Minneapolis..) They gave me some excellent chocolate, so of course I only have good things to say! They also kindly allowed me to sit in on a needle felting class, and I'm afraid now I have a new fiber mania to satisfy...

I shopped at some of the fabric booths and picked up a lovely woven-striped sheer fabric at the show. I haven't sewn a complete garment for a while, but if I'm going to audition for PR (yeah, right...) then I have to get some sample garments made!

The flight home was uneventful and we even arrived early! Still, I had time to get a lot of knitting done on this Zig Zag scarf based on Iris Shreier's pattern. Gerry and the kids met me at the luggage carousel and we stopped at our favorite diner for dinner. It was so great to see them - even better, at the diner were some friends of Hannah and Max (one of her current partners in a report for school) so we got to meet some parents and kids and had a lovely time. Jeeze I love it here - what mixed feelings I have about moving! ( And at the rate our house is moving, we may not even have to worry about it.)

Back home I put together knitting with wire kits, checked up on some email stuff and crashed - exhasuted! Up at 5:30 and on the road at 7:00 for my 10:00 am class in Philly.

I LOVE LOOP
I just love Craig at LOOPin Philly. He's such a nice guy - and he has such a great shop! He has the new bulky Malabrigo (hold me back!) and he has wonderful customers and a sweet and helpful staff. What else on earth would you want or need? More parking might be nice, but Craig can't do anything about that...

The classes were full and great - lots of folks walked out with cabling skills and knit wire bracelets, respectively, and Craig seemed happy with the day. I was tired, but also very happy.

A long, LONG drive home and in the driveway just in time to see the Amazing Race. I can't get as excited about it this time around (am I getting tired of it, or is it just not as compelling?) and now I'm watching disk 1 of a 5 disk History of Britain set that I bought. Max REALLY loves these, too, so he's cuddled beside me, watching the Battle of Hastings. Life is good.
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Thursday, October 12, 2006

SO Darned Tired!

It's been a full and rich day - a good day - and I'm exhausted!

I'm in Chicago (acutally, St. Charles) at the Pheasant Run Resort. It's nice here - my room is absolutely lovely - and I just taught a HUGE class of very eager, happy and enthusiastic students. EXCELLENT class!

My flight was delayed - we spent more time on the runway and in a holding pattern than we did coming to Chicago from NJ. It felt like forever - oy! I did get a nice amount of work done on the plane, but MAN what a mess it is trying to cram my long legs into those spaces between the coach seats! When I sit my knees touch the seat in front of me, and if the person in that seat leans back, I'm in pain. Let's just say it was a LONG flight!

When I arrived in Chicago I contacted the shuttle company and they sent - a stretch limo! All the way out to St. Charles, and all I could think was, "Oh, this is TOO much, this is just TOO MUCH CAR!" I would have given a lot to have Hannah and Max with me, they would have SO enjoyed it!

The Original Sewing and Quilt Show is such a well run production - it's my first experience with them, but so far, so good! Tonight I taught Combination Knitting, tomorrow I teach Cabling (with some return students!) Since I was so late I just barely had time to rush to the Wool & Company booth to check in, back to my room to change my clothes, then to the W&C booth again to sign some books. Right from there to my class, which ended at 9:00, and now I'm waiting impatiently for Room Service. I ordered a beer.

It snowed here today.

I deserve a beer.

Acquisitions
I've acquired two things lately which have made me SO happy!

IPod I have an ipod. I'm so happy! I can download and watch Project Runway on my ipod, and I'm subscribed to 33 podcasts AND The Daily Show. I may be able to live without cable after all! Between that, and the CSpan stuff I can listen to, most of my reasons for wanting cable are moot...

IKnit You all probably know that I'm a straight needle girl, but I do enjoy a good circular, too! My love so far has been for Inox Express - they're fast, I love the sharp points, and the needle portion is nice and long. I'd tried some of the interchangeable circs, and I liked them, but I didn't LOVE them like my Inox Express...

...until I got the Knit Picks set in the mail! I had heard that they're good, and had even heard them compared to Inox Express, but I wasn't prepared for how MUCH I would like them! I've already worked up a child's sweater with a set, and have been doing some ribbon swatching using a smaller needle as the "exit" needle so the stitches slip off easier. I am very happy with the needles - woo!

And Gifts!
I worked up a pattern using ON Line Linie ribbon - the kind that makes ruffles - and I'm happy to share it as a free pattern. Here's the catch - you have to get your local yarn shop to ask for it!

I'll send this pattern (a pdf file which can be printed at the yarn shop) to any brick and mortar yarn shop to give away to their customers, so if you'd like to make this, contact your local yarn shop and have them email me for the file.

The Fine Print: I will not print this pattern out myself, but I'll be happy to send it to any shop for them to print. The pattern uses the ON Line Linie Ribbon and 3 colors of worsted weight yarn. I'm doing this to get folks to visit their local yarn shop if they haven't been there in a while. There's a lot of great stuff out on the internet, heaven knows I love to do online shopping, but it's also vital that we patronize our local yarn shops. Ignore them and they might go away!

PR Content
So here's the thing - do you think they just kept Jeffrey in because he's controversial TV?

And a big "Thank You" to Lynne E!
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

How I Make My Sketches

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Recovery from Birthday Fun!

Because of a contagious condition that's going around my daughter's school, we changed our plans and had a evening movie-watching party instead of the previously planned sleepover. I need to send a BIG thank you bouquet to the school nurse! Everyone had a terrific time, and I think it was a little bit of a thrill for the girls to attend their first sort of grown-up-ish evening girlfriend party (arrival at 7:00pm, movie, cake, gifts, then home at 10:00pm) We watched Bewitched it was better than I expected.

It was actually very sweet to see some of the girls hiding their yawns - "I'm not tired!" - as they left with assorted Dads and Moms.

Hannah had a blast, and in the overall scheme of life I think it was a big bonus that the party WASN'T a sleepover. There's so much angst and drama, this way it was much calmer and happier!

Thanks to everyone who left Happy Birthday wishes for my little girl - she was SO happy to read them, and it just added to the thrill of the day.

Knitting for ME!

VI'm sort of between projects now, just small stuff (uh, like taxes...) So I'm getting some gift knitting done, something I rarely have time for. I'm working on a little dress for my Twist & Loop art director (she just had a baby girl, and WHAT a little beauty she is!)

I'm also making a malabrigo sweater for our friend's son - he's been part of the family now for a year, adopted last September from Guatamala, and life is much fuller now that Carlos is part of the G household! I don't know if it's a general trend, I tend to think my kids' school is a little different, but we have SO many beautiful adopted kids in our community. And, of course, there's my own amazing adopted nephew (Hey Alex!)

When Jim and Karen brought him hom I was stunned by how much he looked like Jim at 11 - breathtaking - and Jim said no one else but he and I seemed to see it. I miss my brother so much. It's odd how sometimes it feels as if I'm just now realizing that he's gone...

I'm also thinking I'm going to make myself a nice scarf - I'm working on one with this kooky ribbon yarn which I love, and when the scarf is finished I promise I'll post the pattern on my blog for free. If all goes as hoped it will look like a bouquet of roses at the neck.

Tomorrow is a no-school day, so it's sleep in time and we'll probably spend a lot of time at the dog run. Atticus is LOVING the fact that we have a new place for him to make friends, this doggie run is ALWAYS crowded! There's a notice up about a poor small dog that was attacked by a black standard poodle (NOT Atticus!) so whenever we go there we get some scared looks. But Atticus is such a sweetheart, and so friendly to all of the owners, that after a few minutes everyone realizes he's NOT the standard in question and they relax.

There was an amazing GIANT Schnauzer at the park - I'd never seen one, it's a beautiful breed!

You've Got Mail!
The leaves are out, and down, and falling, and I love them. This is the absolute hands-down best time of the year for me - I just adore it! If you signed up for my newsletter, then you should have received the first one - my Autumn Newsletter (woo woo!) In it I announce my new calendar - a better (hopefully) way to display upcoming appearances and classes, and also make it easier for shops and venues to tell at a glance when I may be in their area and free! What do you think?
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Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Lonliness of the Long Distance Knitter

Yesterday I sat on my rear for an extended period of time - not knitting - but clearing up tax stuff, pattern stuff, charting stuff and all kinds of email stuff that HAD TO BE DONE!

As a Virgo I usually relish the chance to crack open a spreadsheet and write up some functions (scripts, formulas, calculations - they have so many beautiful names!) but I've been so amazingly busy this past year that balancing my bank account, updating my database of products sold, etc., has eluded me. Luckily, I am fairly organized and keep very good records of what I sold where, how many miles I drove on what trip and last year I also dived into the borderline scary world of credit card bookkeeping.

What I mean by that is that now I hold 3 cards. This may not seem like a lot to most, but up until last year I'd been pretty much a debit card kind of gal for the past 20 years. Oh, sure, whenI first arrived in NYC my best friend and I had a little casual competition to see who could amass the greatest number of credit cards (they were hard to get then - just imagine!) I'll never forget the sheer elegance of the narrow, lavendar Burgdorf's card - what a nice looking credit card THAT was. Or was it Bendels? (Is there even still a Bendels?)

So I use one card purely for shipping, one card for travel, and one card for my printing & office expenses. Gerry has copies so when I'm out of town and he has to ship something or buy a business related item for me he can. Except for a few missteps (no, I don't think admission to Cedar Point is a valid business expense...) it's worked pretty well and makes the whole keeping track of receipts thing a little easier.

I'm still trying to figure out the whole rewards points / $$ / miles thing (of course they make it confusing on purpose!) but so far I've been able to get two airline tickets out of the amount I spent last year (one each on two different cards) and I should be able to cash in miles for yet another one. I think I must be their least favorite customer, though, because I always pay off my bill +$1.00 so I don't carry anything over to accrue a finance charge.

I remember my mom - who used to work in a bank - sitting down with me and explaining about writing checks and keeping a balance in the account. She could have passed for a Virgo. It's such a different world now, but the basics of keeping track of what goes out and what comes in will never change.

Another Openin'
We've had a nice amount of interest in the house, and actually had 2 folks who came through THREE times (we'd heard that the third time was a charm, but not in either of these instances...) But so far no bites. Darn. Um, St. Joseph?

So today, in light of the fact that our stairs are carpet-free and beautiful and the High Holy Days are over, and the news has moved away from Housing Prices At 11-Year Low! to stories about House Members and their - ahem - members, our agent feels that it would be a good day for a second Brokers Open House. I have to flee at 10:30 and be gone for a few hours, then return to hear what the lodown is from the 'experts' in our area.

The whole house sale thing is making Gerry a little more nuts than it makes me, but I think it's because he has a lot wrapped up in the sale; he hates his job and wants to move to a new area, but I love what I do and I could do it anywhere!

More Books
I'm always astounded when I need to order more books from my printer - it just doesn't seem possible that I run through all the books I do, but there it is - I'm down to my last 25 and I'd better place that order toot sweet!

Political Content (look away if you're troubled by frankness)
We don't have cable, but we have internet! I've become addicted to watching bits and pieces from Keith Olberman's show. Ah. [le sigh...]

Anyway, I loved this bit so much that I feel it's my duty (yes, duty - I'm a patriot, not a loyalist!) to post it on my blog. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Birthday Girl!


My little girl is 10 years old today - what a milestone! I can hardly believe it, it just seems like such a short period of time since I brought her home and we were terrified that every bump and cough spelled some unfathomable illness.

How poignant and jarring that there are so many parents around the world, (most visibly today in the Amish community of Nickle Mines - but also all over our planet and also quite visibly in Iraq) who won't have the small joy of rubbing their little girl's back as she falls asleep, or getting a very sweet kiss as she rushes to school. I don't need the tragedies of others to make me understand how fortunate I am - I am just so heartsick for the families and friends of those who lose young ones.

Reprieve
I'm reading Ann Barclay Priest's excellent memoire of her purchase of land, a house, an island and some sheep up in Nova Scotia - Trafficking In Sheep. When I finish it I'll pass it along to Hannah, knowing full well that she'll be campaigning for us to move to a farm. Oh, well, I did want to be a large animal vet once...

I'm loving the book, though, and got to meet Ann at the recent Fibre Frenzy (she signed my book!) and that makes it so much more fun to read about her adventures. It's a very calm book, so far there's not a lot of action - but a lot happens! I recommend it as a nice read for the sheep-lover in all of us. That came out sounding not quite as I intended...

Patterns?
The list I started is growing SO amazingly quickly that I'm - well - I'm astounded. So far I have over 2,000 list members, and that's after a little over 2 days of posting the link on my site.
One piece of interesting information I gleaned is where folks get their patterns. I asked new subscribers to tell me where they get most of their patterns, and here's the chart. I'm sure it's a skewed segment as it is by nature an internet friendly group, but it's still cool to see that the web, books and magazines are pretty evenly divided.
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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Chipmunks & Squirrels

It was absolutely lovely up in Johnsonburg at the Presbyterian Retreat Center - what a great weekend and a terrific bunch of women! The North Country Spinners invited me almost 2 years ago, and I'd been looking forward to this for quite a while!

Except for the sheet mishap - not such a big deal - everything went SO smoothly! It was SO obvious that Mina - the main organizer - and the committee setting up this fiesta had done their share of the work PLUS much, much more! And anything that was missing or not quite right was noted - I have total faith that anything that might have been forgotton will be on Mina's list for next year. Mina for Governor!

I taught a 6 hour Combination Knitting Class on Saturday, and because it was so much longer than I generally teach I threw in a lot of extra stuff (some cabling, embellishment, a lot of discussion about decreasing a lots of jokes - those were free...) The class seemed to have a great time - I know the squirrels and chipmonks were gathered expectantly outside the door, waiting for pearls of wisdom or maybe some corn nuts, every time I'd turn around fast. Ha, they thought I didn't see them...

I decided to drive home on Sat evening since I could be back in South Orange in 40 minutes, and I really DO love my own bed. I love my bed. I'm a Virgo - we love our homes, and as exciting as it is to see lots of places and meet all these great knitters, any chance I have to stay in my own lovely bed with my own lovely husband I'll take!

Today I scooted back up and taught a lace class - I was so proud of the students (several of whom were rather new knitters) and I feel that everyone got something good out of my forced chart reading (obviously I was a severe school marm in a past life - a school marm who must have had an affair with a Catskill comedian...)

And now I'm home - resting - and spending FAR too much time this afternoon on the computer setting up my brand new...

Mailing List
I've threatened for years, hemmed and hawed for months, but now I am finally putting together a REAL mailing list for customers, well-wishers and students! Click here to subscribe to the brand new Annie Modesitt Newsletter

I don't plant to send out a LOT of email - just notices when I have a book published or something smashing is happening (like my next Knitty Gritty appearance this Thursday, or if I get to be on Project Runway) and the service I'll be using is supposed to allow me to isolate my list members by zip code and just write to folks when I'm visiting their state.

One Day VK Challenge
...and, as if to answer my plea for a PRW-esque design challenge, I got an email from VK on Friday asking for some specific-ish designs in several categories (a lot of us got the email, not just me) so I'm settling in to work up some bathing suit designs to send off to them on Monday. I'm really excited about this - I hope they take a suit or two!
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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



Chullo-licious


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