Rain & Pain & Knitting Gain!

So far my teaching trip’s been great – a bit of an adventure in small ways, but overall REALLY wonderful!

My classes at Riverwools went beautifully.  It’s a great shop, incredibly well stocked, with ample parking and a nice cafe down the street.  Definitely trip-worthy for folks living around Terre Haute!  They made me feel SO welcome, so loved, and it was an excellent start for my first driving-teaching trip in over a year!

I taught a private class that my cousin (a newer knitter – I taught her a few years ago) set up.  We topped it off at 12 students, and that was just about right!  The students were SO good, so gifted, and an incredibly kind woman (and astounding knitter) allowed us to use her home for the classes. 

WHAT a beautiful great-room she has, what a lovely house!  It was one of the nicer locations I’ve taught a class, that’s for sure!  HUGE thanks to Peggy for the use of her home, Mary Ann for setting up the classes and Laurel for helping to make it happen!

My next class is in Canton, OH at the Stark County Library on June 13.  It’s been filling up pretty steadily and there are just a few spaces left.  You can register here if you like:

Stark County Library, Perry Branch
5710 12th St NW Canton, OH 44708
6/13/11   1pm
Combination Knitting Class $30
Add to Cart

I’m also doing a free lecture at the library and I’ll be signing books and selling some if folks want to purchase them.  I’ll be happy to sign anything though (so bring me your Nicky Epstein books and I’ll forge her name!)

TNNA

The centerpiece of my trip is the annual TNNA convention in Columbus.  It’s a chance for me to touch base with other folks in the industry, see what’s happening and just keep the necessary connections working smoothly.

I’m not teaching here, which may be a blessing given my current joint situation, but I HAVE just heard from Interweave that they’ve added yet ANOTHER set of my classes to the Knitting Lab event in San Mateo in November.

Apparently I’m selling out (who knew?) so you’d probably better
sign up sooner rather than later if you want to be in one of my classes!

It’s wet here – raining pretty darned hard in Columbus – and like a barometer my knees and shoulders are giving me a pretty explicit weather report.

Barely visible GF shrimp, pesto & tomato pizza. YUM!

Last night I took a 3 mile ride after an AMAZING dinner at Marcellas (my favorite restaurant here as it’s not only a beautiful, well run Italian restaurant close to the hotel, they also have a GLUTEN FREE menu!)

My destination was Goodale Park, where life is good.

 

Ms. Annie's Wild Ride, via Daily Mile

I was ostensibly looking for tonic water (my roommate brought gin, which is why I love her…) and I found it at the United Dairy Farmers.  But I became so carried away with the warm, fragrant evening and rode in silly circles with my headlight flashing and a dopey grin on my face.

The ice cream I bought almost melted because I rode so long.  A slow, fun ride!

Folks were walking, hugging, kissing, playing music and kids were swinging all over the park.  What a fabulous evening to be free and mobile in Columbus!  I won’t be riding today, though, until/unless the rain stops, and I shall miss it.

Damn you, fibromyalgia!  You’ve won one round, but I shall win the match!

Fortunately, my hotel room is right across the hall from the whirlpool / exercise center so I can go ride a stationary bike and take a hot dip to help the joint pain.  Wet heat is an amazingly helpful thing for this pain!

From a purely disinterested perspective, the link between the weather and my join pain is  fascinating.  I sound like every older person in my family I’d listen to during weather storms as I was growing up.  “M’back is botherin’ me, I haven’t taken m’pill yet!”

It’s uncanny how I can sound EXACTLY like my Aunt Wanda on days like this.

I’m at the Hampton Inn across from the Columbus Convention Center, where TNNA will be taking place over the next few days.  I’m not teaching (given my joint angst that’s a mercy!) but I should be helping with the Stith Coop/Coop Press booth set up.  But I’m not.  Wah, wah wah…

It took a while to get the internet working, it’s finally working today and I’m afraid I’m not the general manager’s favorite person.

Dang.  Well, that’s a shame.

But I’m online now and finally able to return emails and get some work done!  I’m heading over with Mrs. Mannequin soon, and I’ll take some nice photos from the convention (where I’m allowed…) and report on great new yarns that are arriving and any subtle currents of design evolution as I wander from booth to booth.

I only wish I could ride my bike on the TNNA convention floor!

Finding the Joy

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 By Rick Levine

Virgo
(Aug 23 – Sep 22)

This can be a day of solid progress as long as you don’t bite off more than you can handle.

Obviously, rushing through any job just to get it done invites sloppiness. Working faster encourages you to make mistakes that can haunt you later on.

Take your time and do it right, even if everyone else seems to be in a hurry. It’s more important to lay a lasting foundation now than to meet someone else’s arbitrary deadline.

Message received.

This is pretty much what I always preach in my classes – if you don’t love what you’re doing, YOU have the power to make a change so that love is possible.

This past Saturday Max was to meet a friend at temple to attend a Bat Mitzvah.  Unfortunately, his friend was ill at the last minute so I dropped by to tell him (and to sit with him during the service)

Max was disappointed and very sad.  And he was especially frustrated that I insisted he remain for the Bat Mitzvah.  “But I don’t even KNOW this girl…”

I told him, “You’re here, you’re dressed up, it would be disrespectful to leave.”

After a few more minutes of pouting I hissed at him, “Listen, you’re not going anywhere.  You can either find a way to enjoy the next 2 hours, or you can stew and pout and only hurt yourself.  I, myself, fully intend to enjoy it.”

After another 20 minutes or so, Max began putting more than a cursory effort into the prayers and blessings, and slowly he seemed to begin to enjoy himself.

I like to think this was yet another step in learning to readjust his attitude and expectations so that he can find joy where he may not have expected it.

That’s been my own job for this month; finding the joy inside of all the work.

I love work, I love what I do, but the stress involved in getting so MUCH work done can be daunting.  Aside from cutting back on the amount of work (hard to do and still pay the mortgage) I need to find a way to readjust my OWN attitude and enjoy the ride.

After all, every bike ride can’t be all downhill.  But a nice cider every now and then helps…

I’ve been in a heightened state of work the past month, so much so that there are times when I dread picking up the knitting needles.  Almost.

No matter how much work I have, there is always a small corner of joy when I’m knitting.  The rhythm, the fiber, the repetition calm me, and if I’m able to divorce my nervous mind from the looming deadline, I can enjoy it thoroughly.

Today I sent in 3 projects, and I just got a bit of an extension on another (hallelujah!) because it’s a fair isle-esque/stranded Man’s sweater on size 4 needles.  That will be my tomorrow knitting.

LET’S ROLL THE VIDEOTAPE

Today is devoted to working up swatches of some of my favorite techniques.

I want to put together a series of the little knitting things that I teach in class as pithy asides, but seldom teach all in one sitting. I’m planning on videotaping these and putting them together in a tutorial for Zealana, (which is providing all of my yarn for this little adventure.)

I have to say that this yarn is some of the most luscious I’ve worked with.  It’s soft, yes, but a lot of yarns are soft. This yarn has a certain firmness about it that allows the stitches to shine through, and creates a lovely directional sheen which really shows off bias movement in knit patterns.  THIS is the kind of yarn that makes knitting make sense!

I love just about all yarns I work with – I’m a lucky, lucky woman– but for this project I’ve been putting balls of Zealana yarn aside to enjoy as my end-of-the-day sitting in bed knitting.  Working up a swatch in Rimu or Willow pretty much guarantees a lovely night of sleep and good dreams!

ICELAND

I’ll be blogging, tweeting and emailing about this over the next few weeks a LOT, but after months of back and forth discussion and planning I can announce my first teaching trip to Iceland in August!

August is a perfect time in Iceland (I’ve been told…) and it’s just about when so many of us are getting NUTTY with the heat.  This could be the escape you’ll be needing!  For more information check the Knitting Iceland webpage!

I hope you can join me – together we can explore the joy that is Iceland!

Barreling Through

Sunday, May 22, 2011
By Rick Levine


Virgo
(Aug 23 – Sep 22)

Your unrestrained idealism might tempt you to set your sights too high today.

Thankfully, your approach is methodical and you can prioritize all the chores that you want to finish. But you may have to let some of your pet projects fall to the wayside.

Being selective and eliminating non-essential chores should help you feel less anxious, especially if you preemptively handle a potential problem, rather than waiting for it to turn into a minor disaster.

This is good, valid advice for any day, but today it really resonates.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a little overwhelmed right now with projects.  I’m getting through them, but inherent in any [good] knit design is a certain amount of re-working or re-thinking.

It’s a rarity when a design springs fully formed in 5 sizes from the brain.

Today I’m reworking one project for Jane Austen Knits which looked good when finished, but when I tried it on the mannequin and on Hannah, I was pretty unhappy with the waist area.

Linen Lace in French Blue, in Pieces

So this morning I dived into dividing the different sections of the design (taking something apart is always a little nerve-wracking) and now I’m reknitting the icky part. 

Goal:  Make it less icky.

I started another project, one that I’ve been holding back as a sort of treat for myself.  The yarn is luscious, the stitch pattern is relatively simple (beautiful, yet mindless) and it’s a nice carry-around project.

A Peek At A Back

I realized years ago that committing myself to designing and knitting my designs as a large part of my income means that I give up the luxury of picking something ‘just for me’ and knitting it up in a favorite yarn whenever I want to.

I call it “Queen Midas Syndrome”

One of the glories of this month-of-many-projects is that I love the yarn for all of them, and that’s been delightful.

At this point there’s only one project that I haven’t yet begun, and that’s because the yarn arrived late (last week)  I have an extension on the deadline, and as it’s a fair isle project I think it will be great fun!

FAMILY OBLIGATIONS

Taking a break yesterday, Hannah and I sat on the back porch.  Me knitting, her eating a delicious bowl of ramen she’d cooked up.  It was a nice, sunny moment in a mostly rainy weekend.

Ramen Queen

I’ve had a lot of guilt this month at letting regular house and mom-chores go undone, or passing them onto Gerry and Hannah.

Laundry?  Dishes?  Cooking?  My contribution to these tasks has been minimal, and it makes me a bit ashamed.

But work is work, this is the mortgage and the priority is to get this stuff done.

And, like the poor, the unfolded laundry will always be with us.

KNIT ROAD DRIVER

Adding to this project-saturated month is preparation for my teaching trip in June, which includes publicizing my dates and locations.  I’ll be in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio & Iowa.  I think of it as my vowel-states trip.

My only stop in Ohio is an independent class on June 13th at the Stark County Library in Canton.  In addition to a Combination class, I’ll be doing a free lecture and book signing at the same location that evening.

To see all of my classes on my tour, and for links to register for classes, visit my Upcoming In Person Gigs page.

Terre Haute, IN Riverwools Embellishments & Lovely Laces
Canton, OH Stark Library Combo Knit, Lecture, Signing
Fort Wayne, IN Sarah Jane’s Yarn Combination Knitting
Fort Wayne, IN FW Knit Guild Colorwork (guild only)
Chicago, IL Loopy Embellishments & Double Knitting
Northbrook IL Three Bags Full Colorwork & Lace
West Springs IL W. Suburban Gld Lecture (guild only)
Decorah, IA Blue Heron Lace & Combination

We'll Aspire to Squam Food!

I only have 4 spaces left for my Autumn Knitting Retreat in September, all of the single rooms are gone.  So if you’ve been interested this would be the time to register.

It’s going to be fun, calm, fulfilling and hopefully a chance to recharge some batteries after a full Summer.

AND I have it on good authority the food will be amazing!  All food, lodging & classes are included in the $295 fee (Friday – Sunday, Sept 22-25)

VIDEO

I’m also creating a short video containing knitting tips and tricks for Zealana yarn.  I hadn’t used any of the Z yarns before, but they’re really amazing.  Quite soft, lovely, and the stitch definition is intense.

I want to work something up which will highlight this fabric quality, because as a designer I find it the most compelling.  I love it when the direction of the stitches is clear and a motif can shine through.

Translating this into a video has been in my mind all month.  I’ve learned that when I give a project good, thorough, thoughtful preparation everything makes more sense when I sit down to edit.  With any luck, the editing will begin next week (as I wave a fond farewell to two knitting projects.)

Design is another word for organizing visual inspiration.

Organizing the work is what makes life beautiful in the middle of the nutty chaos.

Just Keep Peddling

VirgoThursday, April 28, 2011 By Rick Levine
Virgo
(Aug 23 – Sep 22)

Your friends and associates are the source of confusion today because they don’t seem to fit into your plans.

You may be overwhelmed by how much you have on your plate and you need to focus on being as efficient as possible.

But others seem to float in and out of your life without any concern for what you are trying to do.  Don’t rely on anyone else now; just establish your objectives and follow your path on your own.

Overwhelmed is the word of the day.  O-ver-whelm-éd

I haven’t posted for a few days because my life has been nutty busy.  Some of the adventures I’ve engaged in are…

TOUR!

I’m hitting the road again, and I’m ready to teach!

Today I teach at StevenB’s here in Minneapolis (he’s having a whole amazing WEEKEND of fiber fun!), then next weekend I’ll be out at Shepherd’s Harvest at Lake Elmo, MN.  I adore both venues, so I’m terribly excited about both!

The first week in June I head out on a 2-week tour of teaching engagements between MN and Ohio.  For full date and registration info check out my new GIGS page!

Retreat

I’ve scheduled my first retreat in Minnesota (all the cool kids are doing it…) for this September 23-25 out at lovely Lake Koronis at the Bug Bee Hive Retreat.  Full information for registration is here, I hope you’ll consider joining us!

Registration is limited to 16 folks, and more than half the spots are already taken!

Pesach

We had our seder with friends London & Tod, it was lovely, it was simple, and I got to use my Aunt Wanda’s dishes for the first time since I inherited them.

I felt silly getting them out, but even now – a week later – I’m a little misty about how strongly they made emotions rise along with memories of past holidays.

London’s tzimmis & charoset were AMAZING, yum!

This was a gluten free seder for me, so the matzah I’d baked earlier in the week was ground up in a blender to create matza meal so I could make matza balls.

They turned out swell, as did my gf noodle kugle & roasted eggs.  I don’t think either my matza or kugle were kosher for passover, though, so I’ll avoid thunderstorms for a while.

Protest

Here in St. Paul every Good Friday there’s a protest against our local Planned Parenthood.

This year Hannah and I joined the rally in SUPPORT of this amazing, woman friendly resource for good, inexpensive health care.

The lies told about PP this year are astounding, if I can do a small bit to support them, I will.

Purse

I just finished what I think is my BEST accessory project EVER!  I’m pretty excited to see it in IK Crochet.

Everyone I showed it to was as in love with this project as I am, and the best part is that if you’re adventurous, all you have to know how to do is single crochet, double crochet and chain stitch.  There’s also a bit of sewing to make the lining, and some fiddling with metal tape measures…

Projects

I’m totally overwhelmed right now.  I’ve finished the article, I’m finishing up a second project due the first week in May, but then I have 2 sweaters due the last week in May and 3 due the first week in June.

…and the rest!

And I’ve signed on to create a video for a yarn company by TNNA, because I’m insane.  But I think it will be a blast!  More information on that, later!

DONE IS BEAUTIFUL!

Ta Da!

Amanda’s wedding dress is FINIS and I’m SO happy!

I love to sew, and this has been a pure labor of love, but I had forgotten how physically draining sewing can be.  I’ve become used to the wonderful, sedentary world of knit design (with bike breaks) so standing over an ironing board, a mannequin, leaning over a sewing machine or cutting table are skills I needed to strengthen.

But it’s all worth it – the dress has come out beautifully, and the removable over-skirt will allow Amanda to walk down the aisle with a LOT of impact, then remove it so she can dance and chat and move among the guests without knocking drinks off the tables (unless she wants to.)

Cats Love Tulle

Amanda looked SO amazing in the fitting of the dress 2 weeks ago, I can only imagine how great the whole thing will look when it’s on her and ready to wear!  I’m shipping it off today via UPS, I need to find a BIG box so I don’t crush the tulle too much.  Don’t you just LOVE that amazing purple tulle?  Amanda found it online, it’s just divine!  Shiloh the cat loves it, too!

My only regret?  I won’t be able to be at the wedding.  I’m shattered by this, but I had agreed to teach at Shepherd’s Harvest on the same day over a year ago, so I can’t back out now!  And, I adore Shepherd’s Harvest.

Obviously I need to make myself a similar dress and wear that at Shepherd’s Harvest that day!

Actually, I did just buy some fabric for myself.  I’m going to make a simple linen dress with a full skirt that I can wear teaching and biking.  I found some really lovely fabric over at Treadle (they’re a bit pricey, but you can’t beat their eclectic selection, and they’re 10 minutes away by bike!) so I’ll be working that up later tonight after I get some knitting / designing work done.

Change From The Inside?

It’s been no secret that I’m committed to changing the current mindset at some magazines about fair compensation for designers, rights to pattern ownership & online sales compensation.

I feel that as designers we should have the freedom to negotiate a contract that will allow us to:

  1. Earn a respectable fee for a design & providing the sample
  2. Retain pattern rights (if the designer desires)

  3. Control whether patterns are sold online
  4. Negotiate a fair percentage of online pattern sale fees to go to the designer

Setting minimums for these goals isn’t a bad idea, and it wouldn’t lock the designer into a low fee as much as allow a starting point for negotiations.

Interweave has been absolutely BRILLIANT in their response to the knitting community.  They provide excellent quarterly reports of online pattern sales (much as Patternfish, Twist Collective, Ravelry and other online pattern sales entities do).

Vogue Knitting’s been a hold out, but I’ve felt it’s just a matter of approaching whoever makes the decision in a realistic way.  I stopped submitting to Vogue because, as a friend once advised, “Don’t be a party to your own hanging.” And I’ve heard from many designers who feel the situation should be changed.  But how to change it?

I don’t represent anyone but myself, so I can’t make decisions for anyone else.  I’d thought about trying to arrange some kind of a meeting with the folks from Vogue (much as the Interweave folks and I did 3 years ago) but I’ve been hesitant.

Then I was asked by Vogue Knitting to teach at an event here in St. Paul in September.

I thought hard about it, weighing a lot of different variables and I’ve decided I’m thrilled to be teaching at the Creative Connection / BlogHer event on September 15

Here’s my reasoning:

  1. From all accounts the VK Live event was a VERY positive experience for all participants (students, teachers, shoppers & sellers)
  2. I feel perhaps I can effect a change if we can open the dialogue.
    Teaching for VK seems like a good way to do this.
  3. They’ve offered very fair terms for the teaching fees.
  4. I’m teaching at Knitting Lab for Interweave Knits in November (in San Mateo), and it seems fair to give both of these events a good look from the inside out.

I’m INCREDIBLY excited to be part of the Creative Connection – I’d actually written to BlogHer last week asking about speaking or teaching at the shindig, so this may be in part due to that.

The knitting classes / portion of the program will be handled by Vogue Knitting, which makes a lot of sense given their recent VK Live success.

So what do you think?  Grown up decision, or sell out?  Recently I’ve had a flood of requests for me to teach, I think the planets are all in alignment or something, but this is – in some ways – the one I’m the most excited about.  I think it’s because it’s nearby – just 3.5 miles from my house (I can bike!)

I feel that this may be the first step in starting a dialogue, so we can find ways around some of the stumbling blocks I’ve hit in my quest for fair internet pattern compensation!  VK reached out to me, I’ll reach back to them, and we may find a nice middle ground down the road!

So, what are you doing in late September?

For the first time in years (7 years?) I’ll be holding my own Knitting Retreat.

When: September 23-25
Where: Lake Koronis near Paynesville, MN
at the BugBee Hive Resort Center.
Cost:

$295pp Double Add to Cart
(twin or full bed in a shared room)

$350pp Single Add to Cart
(your own room, availability limited)

Non-refundable deposit of $100 required to hold a space. Group size limited to 16 participants.

The last time I did this it was a BLAST – it was back in Vermont, and I wanted to do it again the moment the last one was over.

Photo: Bugbee Hive Resort

I guess this type of retreat falls somewhere between an intensive, life and mind altering episode, and a lazy weekend of sitting and knitting.

It will be a day of classes (or not, class attendance is NOT mandatory!) nested in 2-1/2 days of lovely lakeside MN Autumn atmosphere.  There’s a hiking/bike path nearby, and the lake is beautiful!

Whirlpool!

I tried to keep the price reasonable, it covers food, lodging and a Saturday morning class on Colorwork (pattern for my Imperial Poncho included) and an afternoon class on Charted Entrelac (a new take on an exciting knitting technique).

Colorwork Class

I’m keeping my September retreat small, only 16 participants.  But if it goes well I may do it again and make it a bit bigger next time!

In the mean time, I’ve been receiving a LOT of interest in my classes and have set up a new “gigs page” where you can see where and when I’ll be teaching in the future.  Check it out – and let me know if you’re a shop, group or guild that would like me to come and teach!

Furiously Working

When I’m quiet for these extended periods you can be certain it’s one of two things:

1) Either I’m having a fibro flare up and I’m laying low,
2) Or I’m working so hard on so many different deadlines that I can hardly stop to breathe!

Happily, for the past weeks it’s been the latter!

I’ve been designing, working, planning, dreaming, video taping and busy, busy, busy every minute of the day. Have you noticed the new website design at anniemodesitt.com (it’s so chic and sleek!)

My Knitting Millinery class is FINALLY ready to go this weekend (yay!) and I’ve got more than 25 signups since I announced it last week.  That’s faster than I thought – and it makes me glad that I offered my new, upgraded Knitting Millinery book as a free gift to the first 50 folks who sign up (btw, there’s still room…)

The longer daylight hours really increase my ability to sustain a workload – I’m SO looking forward to Spring that I can hardly wait!

Oddly, when we lived in NJ I knew that Summer would mean days – and weeks – of temperatures in the upper 90’s to 100’s, and I would just DREAD the onset of Spring.

I loved May, I loved October, but the months in between were just too danged hot for me.

Out here in Minnesota it’s true that the Winters are long and hard; very rough at times.  But the promise of Spring, Summer and Fall are so sweet that (for me) it more than makes up for it.

Every person is built differently, but this is the weather for me.  It’s ironic that I had to come to such a cold place to fully enjoy, appreciate – and love – Summer.

CURRENTS

I’d love to start offering my classes as downloadable files and DVDs, it’s just getting around the logistics of that.  I hate the idea of forcing folks to log onto an online classroom if they’d rather just have the information in a portable file.  Still pondering on that one!

I’ve just sent in a few designs for Interweave and I’m working up a few more.  I have some submissions to go out to some other magazines, and I’m working hard on History on Two Needles and a new book idea I won’t yet mention.

GROWTH & BALANCE

I allowed myself to get off balance this past year – to let comments worm their way deep inside of my psyche – and it was a mistake.  Who knew that finally at 50 I’d begin to learn not to let folks get into my head? Have I learned that?  Will I ever learn that?

BIG lessons this past year have included ignoring the idle chatterers who don’t have anything good to add to the conversation, while at the same time listening to constructive comments that will help me become a better teacher / person / knitter.  It’s a constant struggle, but ultimately the perception that matters is the truth I try to find in my own heart.

Another big lesson has been letting go of anger, pain and inertia; allowing folks to make the same mistakes that I’ve made so often in my life.  I’ve fallen short so many times, why should I carry around a scorecard of the mistakes of someone else?

If I want forgiveness and redemption, then I have to be prepared to give at least that much.  Even if someone hasn’t asked (or doesn’t really care) whether I ‘forgive’ them, it’s healthier for me to move to a kinder place and just assume the best.

Facing these things, especially in the past few months, has allowed me to contemplate going out on the road again to teach.  Strength through humility, huh?

ON THE ROAD?

I’ll be traveling to Ohio for TNNA in mid-June, and would love to set up teaching engagements on the way out and on the way back from Columbus.  I will also be traveling out to Michigan in October, and I’m contemplating driving.

If you own – or know of – a shop in this general area who would like to host me, this will be a great chance to get in on a multi-city tour (which means diminished travel costs for everyone!)  I’ve set up a new page with upcoming teaching engagements, please contact me if you own or manage a venue that would like to host me!

Possible Teaching Area - June 2011

I’d love to stay in the blue / orange areas, but of course that’s not carved in stone!  If I get 2 or more engagements in New England, or Tennessee/MO, or up in Michigan, it will probably make it worthwhile to drive there.

SCARED

I have fear as I start to set up teaching dates again, and I hate admitting it.  But I’ve lived my knitting/teaching life pretty out there for all the world to see, so why not be honest about this, too?

Here are my fears, in stark black and white –

Health
Will my health hold up?  Based on how well I did last year, and how well I’ve been feeling in general this year with no gluten, good exercise and Vitamin D3, I’m feeling very positive about setting up some teaching trips like I used to take.

Ability
Have I ‘lost it’ as a teacher?  Am I past my prime?  Do I have anything worthwhile to impart to folks?  I’m working up new ideas for classes (and I’d be thrilled to get your input on what you’d like to take) but there’s always that nagging feeling that I’m just not up to snuff.

The online classes have been brilliant at forcing me to distill my teaching into better, more nutritious bites.  Going on the road will mean adding some whipped eggwhites to soufflé some of my knitting techniques so they’re better for a large and varied audience.  Can you tell I’ve been watching a lot of Top Chef?  Go Team Carla!

I can feel a growth in knitting coming, and I can feel the economy growing, too.  I feel this is a great time to get myself back out on the road.  I could use the in-person energizing, that’s for certain!

I’ve been chatting casually with friends about teaching in Holland (a biking, knitting kind of tour) and I’d love input on that, too!  I’ve never been to Holland, but I know so many amazing knitters from that lovely, bike-friendly country (including the fastest knitter in the world, Miriam Tegels!)

Well, I see our time is almost up.  I’ve enjoyed having this session with you, thank you.

While I’m Otherwise Occupied

I’m working through a few rather large projects right now, two of which will be discussed further along this week.

What I CAN tell you right now is that if you’re interested in my new ONLINE KNITTING MILLINERY CLASS, and are one of the first 50 folks to sign up, I’ll send you a FREE copy of the new, revised Knitting Millinery (a $15 value)

Knitting Millinery Class
Add to Cart

The class will be self guided, meaning you will be on your own to work through the videos, handouts and syllabus in the class.  However, I WILL be available for online chats (privately or in a group if more than one person wants to chat at the same time) and I’m ALWAYS available via email for questions and assistance.

As a bit of a come on, here’s a video I’m putting together for the Knitting Millinery Class.

Note: There’s nothing whatsoever about CREATING hats in this video, it’s just a look at some hats through history, to set the tone and get the juices flowing for folks who sign up.  It’s only partially finished, but it will give you a taste of the exposition portion of the class.

Cooling Down

I may be the only human being in Minnesota who’s too hot today.  I’ve been sitting all day with the window open, I swear if I went outside I’d melt the new snow off the sidewalk.

I have fever, baby!

This is something that comes on sometimes, now I understand that it’s part of the fibro, but for the longest time I just figured I had malaria.  Mid afternoon or so I start to get very hot, and by 7pm you could fry an egg on my shoulders.  Which sounds oddly cooling and delicious to me right now.

So today’s been my ‘sending out my email newsletter’ day, paying the mortgage day, and just tying up loose ends day.

Spencer & A Birdcage

Jane Austen…

This past week I sent in my submissions for Jane Austen Knits, a special edition of Interweave Knits.

You can probably imagine how excited I am to see this issue!  I’m even more excited and hopeful that I’ll get a piece into it, I’m crossing my fingers.  After all, this is my great love, this knitting-in-a-historical-style thing, and I’ve enjoyed creating these submissions more than should be allowed.

Over Christmas I signed us up for Netflix and I’ve watched EVERY period drama on my computer as I work through these designs.  Very inspiring!

I’ve also been using pinterest to keep track of the research for this project (and several others) and have found it to be a VERY exciting way to easily keep track of great visuals I find online.

More Designing!

Staying home, not teaching so much, has been good for the design and writing end of my workload.  I’m swatching a lot more, getting more sedentary work done and feeling good about where HoTN is right now.  That’ll last for a few days, at least

Max with a Bagel & Talit!

And I’m slowly moving my website, www.anniemodesitt.com, to a wordpress powered site.  It will be glitchy for a while as I work the kinks out, but ultimately it will be better looking and easier to update.  Finally I’ll update my portfolio, and get some things done that have been hanging over my head for a while.

One pattern I’d like to get up soon is the very simple one for Max’s Tallit & Kipot which I made for his Bar mitzvah.  I’d love to get that up in the next week or so, we’ll see how that goes!

More Teaching?

I’d like to teach more, though.  Right now I’m very glad that I’ve decided not to teach or travel in the winter months, but I need to begin setting up some engagements for the Summer.  If you know of a group or shop who would like to host me, please let me know!  I get my best leads from folks who read my blog or have taken a class with me.

I’m toying with the idea of having a small knitting retreat over Labor Day, my 50th birthday, here in MN.  I’m working out the plan to see if it’s feasible, but if it is it would be stellar!  I can move easily in the warm September, and I’d be close to home (yay!)  I’ll keep details posted on my blog and website about this, it’s mostly a matter of finding a location that will work well for a wonderful teaching & learning experience.

Imperial Ranch Poncho 1

Imperial Ranch Poncho

More Online…

I’m preparing two classes to start in March, Knitting Millinery and New Directions In Color.

Both classes will be self guided – meaning the students can move at their own pace and I’ll be available for one-0n-one chats as the students need them.  I’ve found this has been the best setup for the classes, as so many folks couldn’t make the group chats and then felt awkward about asking me for a private chat.

And some folks just don’t need the chat – they love working on their own, finding their way through the material, which is just great!  Whatever works best for any given student is what works best for me!

There’s been an amazing response to my Imperial Plaid Poncho, which I will use in my new Online Colorwork Class to demonstrate some unusual but inspiring techniques to get anyone comfortable with working with several different colors of yarn.  Aside from acquiring the pattern from the Imperial Yarn Company, this will be the only chance folks will have to get this pattern until I’m allowed to sell it next Christmas.

Here Comes The Sun

Tuesday, December 21, 2010 By Rick Levine


Virgo
(Aug 23 – Sep 22)

The Lunar Eclipse activates your 10th House of Status, emphasizing the important role that you’re being called on to play at this time. Your life may feel fated now, as if something very significant is happening. Your fame and fortune could undergo a sudden change, but your ultimate success depends more on how you handle a tricky situation than what actually occurs.

Okay, I’ll try to be ready for that tricky situation.  Today we’re going to try to go sledding!

On Sunday Max went skiing with friends while Hannah went sledding with friends.  I took Atticus out for a long, beautiful, white walk and Gerry shoveled the deck.  Winter wonderland!

This is NOT Minnesota

I’m feeling the lack of sun more this year than any other year.  I’ve heard that as folks grow older the whole missing-the-sun thing can become more intense (hence the move of so many folks to ‘sun valley’) in retirement.

The everyday aches and pains of Fibro had been pretty well under control until about 2 weeks ago (when I ate some wheat in a feeble protest against the world, that’ll teach ’em!)

But slowly I’ve been coming back to life, getting out and walking as much as I can, doing yoga, stretching, and I’m grateful for any day that I can get out and move or get physical work done in the house.  Huzzah!

Keepin' it small

But today is the SOLSTICE!  The sun will stay around a bit longer, the days will grow, and I will feel more like a human being!

A friend told me this weekend that the days actually start lengthening a few days before the solstice, which made me very happy.  I don’t know whether that’s the reason, whether it’s the fact that Christmas is 4 days away (our small tree is once again in our window seat) or whether it’s my daily Vit D3, walk & adherence to non gluten, but I’m feeling much more like my old self right now.  YAY!

Max & Kathleen Kayak at Lake Ida

I get up pretty early, before the sun is up.  As the light comes into the house, as the sun rises, I can feel my spirits lift and my soul grow.

I hate to say this, because I love being here in Minnesota so much, but it’s definitely hard late in the afternoons when the light just shuts off like a switch has been flipped.

Proud Maxie keep on Shovelin'

Of course, the flip side is that during the Summer the light just goes on and on and on, which is quite wonderful!

Getting to the Summer – or to the Spring when I can ride my bike around again – is the hard part.  In the mean time, I have it on good authority that my big gift is a cycling trainer so I can ride my bike on our enclosed porch and dream of warmer days!

I’m beginning to regret that I’ve not been looking for teaching engagements this Winter – especially ones in the SOUTH.

This is a VERY good sign.  I actually WANT to have some new teaching engagements, and it’s December.

At this time last year I was fearful that I wouldn’t be able to keep the three gigs I’d agreed to over the Summer, but here I am a year later – in the dead of winter – wishing I’d set up more engagements!

Maybe I actually AM learning to manage this fibro thing?