Category Archives: HoTN

DocU Camera SPNN

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

DocU ScreeningThis Summer was a departure for me in many ways, and I kept pretty mum about the biggest goal I embraced.

In addition to a pretty full design plate, I filmed & edited a short 10-minute documentary.

It was an adventure from start to finish, and I learned a TON about so many things (including—as always—about myself!)

I was part of DocU, a mentorship program our local public access TV station (SPNN) started last year.  I was one of twelve folks chosen to participate, and I was thrilled!

I wasn’t certain that my idea for a documentary about caregivers would pan out, would be worth watching, so I kept quiet about it.  I wanted to present caregivers not as heros, but as regular folks who do what they do because of love, and whose lives are equally enriched and complicated by the act of caregiving.

Essentially I wanted to examine how caregiving – giving CARE – translates into giving JOY.  And that’s the name of the doc – Giving Joy.

As of Sept 7th Giving Joy will be available to view online (link to come).

If you’re in the Twin Cities and would like to come to the screening on Sept 7th,
leave a comment and I’ll add you to the invitation list!

I was aided in the shooting by Gerry (who knows SO much about everything video) and Max (who worked at SPNN last Summer in the Youth Program, so was allowed to handle the camera and lights and was my ‘muscle’)  The filming went really well, I was able to get some great interviews with folks from Family Means in Stillwater, the Minnesota Board on Aging and a couple of other caregivers.

For B Roll (all of that footage in a doc that isn’t someone talking) I used quite a bit of still photography from our own family adventure with caregiving, and I also shot some great footage with Gerry and Max down at the Mayo clinic one sleepy Sunday.

But the part of the class I really loved was the editing.  I was in my element!
I’d taken an Avid editing class back in 1995 in NY, and at the time I loved my introduction to non-linear video editing.  Since then I’ve edited various knitting videos for my classes and websites, and a series of videos for Zealana Yarns highlighting some of my favorite techniques using their yarn.

But this was my first foray into Adobe Premiere, and it went very well.  I’m familiar with the Adobe ‘feel’, I use Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign regularly and have my own keyboard shortcuts that I insert into each app to make them feel ‘right’ to me.

Premiere was not entirely intuitive, some of it felt a bit kludgy, but it soon began to feel better and, with the help of Lynda.com classes, I felt fairly accomplished in a short time.

Because I purchased InDesign last year to do the layout for History on Two Needles (yes, I wrote, knitted (most of) the garments, made the charts & schematics, photoshopped all of the images AND designed and laid out the pages of the book!) I was eligible to sign up for the Adobe Creative Cloud for $20/month, allowing me access to ALL of the Adobe Suite apps.  This is a crazy bargain, and I have been grateful ever since!

I tell my knitting students that there are two sure ways to really learn a new skill; make a mistake, or teach someone. Mistakes I made — plenty of mistakes! — and I volunteered to help a couple of students who had stronger filming & interviewing skills but were falling behind in the short time allowed for editing.

After all, I was so fortunate to be able to do much of my editing at home,
it was only fair I used some of my time to help other folks out.

Will this experience be the start of a new chapter in my life? I have no idea, but I wouldn’t mind if I could eventually work in that field. Aside from knitting, nothing has felt so — right — in my hands immediately.

I have plans for a few other video projects that I’m really excited about, I’ll talk about them more when the time is right!

I Like To Ride My Bicycle

Signing Books & Saying “Hey!”

Shepherd's Harvest FestivalIf you’re in MN and you like fiber related stuff, you HAVE to go to Shepherd’s Harvest.  It’s held every year during Mother’s Day Weekend (or, Fish Season Opener, as it’s known in MN) at the Washington Fairgrounds in Lake Elmo, MN.

I’ve taught here several times, and I’m always blown away by the variety and quality of the vendors and displays at this show! I visit a LOT of fiber shows, and perhaps it’s because this is in my backyard (in a large-backyard sense…) but I just adore Shepherd’s Harvest!

I’ll be signing books on Sunday at noon at Shepherd’s Harvest, I’ll have several of my books, including my newest (History on Two Needles) and I’ll be able to take credit cards (but hugs are just as good!)

Cycles For ChangeIN OTHER NEWS

It’s well known that I bike a lot – I LOVE my bicycle, I love traveling around the twin cities on two wheels, I love the exercise and how great I feel after a nice, long ride!

There is an organization in St. Paul that helps an under-served community experience the pure joy of cycling and bike ownership. It’s called Cycles For Change (formerly known as Sibley Bike Depot) and it’s a wonderful non-profit organization that offers classes, bike share programs and bikes and parts for sale.

They offer Youth Programs, amazing “Earn a Bike” programs and Women/Trans bike repair class nights

I’ve taken advantage of a few of these and they’re GREAT! I have no problem with male cyclist, I love them! But sometimes learning about the mechanics of bike repair can seem like a cool-boys-grunge-club, and a middle age woman can feel out of place.  The women/trans friendly bike nights have helped me gain a lot of confidence in my bike repair skills

In early June they’re having a Bike-A-Thon – basically a fund raising bike ride around St. Paul. Of course I’ll be there – with BELLS on – and with my son, Max, who will be riding with me.  It think we’ll do the 20 mile loop, (but I reserve the right to do the 10 mile if I’m feeling less than 100%)

It’s a fundraiser, so if you’d like to sponsor me I’d be thrilled!  Click on this link to support our ride to help Cycles for Change!

Home & Gone Again!

I got home last evening, answered emails and kissed the family (not in that order) and slept the sleep of the dead.

Today Gerry and I have to run down to the Mayo for more testing for him, meeting with his doc, and then I should be home this evening for a longer blog post.

But before I run out the door, the WINNER of the History on Two Needles book is [drumroll…]

P  A  M  E  L  A  !
I’m sorry I missed your kickstarter campaign; I would have helped!
I was a professional costumer for years and years, so I love many eras.
Right now I am a bit obsessed with Erte, so I will say the late ‘teens.

Pamela’s been notified separately, the book will be shipped out to her, and life will continue for us all!

And now, off to Rochester!

St Paul Snow Beauty

I LIVE For Days Like This!

Nothing special – nobody’s birthday, nothing very interesting happening, but it just seems like it will be a good, hard working day.  My horoscope agrees!

Virgo’s Horoscope (Aug 23 – Sep 22)
by Rick Levine
Friday, February 15, 2013 – You’re operating within your intellectual comfort zone today and you are confident because you know how to apply your expertise. Your belief that you’re being useful is your idea of heaven, because you know exactly what you’re doing and you feel empowered by your contribution. Make the most of this positive time by working hard and being productive.

Louet Yarn

Louet Yarn

Yarn is arriving thick and fast for several designs I’ve recently sold. This waiting period after submitting designs is the hardest part – all of the second guessing is exhausting!

Did I send the right design to the right editor? Would Editor X have reacted better to Design Q than Editor Y seems to have responded?

Mad Tosh!

Mad Tosh!

I’m still waiting to hear from a few editors, and it’s scary to agree to take on every piece of work that comes my way (what if I overbook myself?) and scarier to turn it down (what if I never sell another design?) 

Yes, these are silly but real fears, the fears of every free lancer. As one independent contractor once said, “When you free lance, every day is a work day, and every day is a weekend.”

Another once told me, “The worst thing about going free lance is you’re afraid to turn down work – ever!”

IMG_0012But, fears aside, today is a WORK day!

THE BOOKS HAVE ARRIVED!!

I’ve ordered enough books to fulfill my Kickstarter contributor obligations, and those will be the FIRST books to send out! There are upwards of 200 books to ship, so this will take a bit of time (especially as next week is full with 2 teaching dates and a trip to California for Stitches West – just for booksignings, not classes)

But I’ll do it!  We have a long weekend coming, up and two strong children! We also have a Chinese exchange student coming for the weekend (via a program at Hannah’s school) but it just seems wrong to put her to work. At least the first day.

St Paul Snow Beauty

St Paul Snow Beauty

Well – we were TOLD to treat her
like one of our own kids…

Seriously, though, we have some great activities planned for this weekend for Angelina – snow tubing, a visit to the Mill City Museum, a walk through our winter wonderland of Minnehaha Park, the Mall of America.  Just stuff, hopefully it will be fun for her!

I had received books a few weeks ago, but unfortunately they had the wrong cover (the source of the mix-up is unclear, but it was obvious we  couldn’t use those books…) so there’s been a bit of delay in getting these out, and I am SO happy to finally see them in person.

NOW IT FEELS REAL!!

If you purchase a copy of History On Two Needles, you’ll ALSO get the ebook (which comes as a pdf file and is just BEAUTIFUL – I have it on my ipad and I just gaze at it for hours…) 

And, as always, the patterns are available individually if only one or two of them pique your interest.

Giveaway
Now – who would like a free book?  Yep, you guessed it, leave a comment below and I’ll choose one person at random and ship them the book.

In your comment, tell me which historical era is your favorite – I love to know those sorts of things!  I’ll announce and contact the winner when I get back from Stitches (Tues, 2/26) and the book will ship shortly after that!  Good luck!

You may see several covers, it's a long process...

We’ve Made HISTORY!

Well, it’s FINALLY ready for pre-order from Cooperative Press!

Hmm, which cover will end up on the book?

Please note that this book is available only for PRE-ORDER.

All purchasers will immediately receive a one-page preview PDF, followed by the full digital book download within a couple of weeks.

Printed copies will ship by late December or before.

THANKFUL

I’ve been quiet, but it’s because I’ve been COOKING!

We had an AMAZING Thanksgiving; excellent food, wonderful family time, lots of rest and lots of laughing!  The only thing that could have made it better would have been house guests, but we just weren’t confident of Gerry’s pain levels or my energy levels to open ourselves up to perhaps disappoint friends.

We needn’t have worried – dinner was spectacular (just enough, all tasty, not a ton of leftovers!) and pain/energy levels held pretty steady all weekend.

Pacing, that must be the key!

I will admit, though, it was very nice to know that I could stop and recharge my batteries with a quick nap whenever I wanted to.

Time at home like this can fool me into believing that I have no exhaustion issues; it’s just when I travel and need to accommodate someone else’s schedule that it becomes crystal clear how small my energy reservoir has become.

OFF AGAIN

I’m heading off for NYC/NJ to teach a few classes.  I’m anxious to see how family and friends have fared in the aftermath of Sandy, and to touch base with the place that was my home for 30 years.

If you’ll be in the area on Dec 1 or 2, you can catch a class with me  on New Directions In Knitting With Color (including creating the groovy plaid shown at right):

Knitty City
208 West 79th St,  NYC 10024
(212) 787-5896
Sat, Dec 1 at 5pm
Knit-A-Bit
66 Elm St # 2  Westfield, NJ 07090
(908) 301-0053
Sun, Dec 2 at 1pm

I hear the classes are filling well, so if you want a space I’d call right away if I were you.

Hey, Remember Me?

Sorry I ducked out for a week – life is INCREDIBLY BUSY.

GIGS

It’s going to be a VERY full Autumn and Winter for me!  I’m taking on as much teaching as I think I can handle, fibromyalgia and keeping the home fires burning notwithstanding, so if you want to catch me here are your best chances!

There are also 2 spaces left in my Fall Minnesota Retreat on Oct 19-21, it will be a very homey, warm, fun time with double knitting as our theme and FUN as our goal!

TECH HISTORY

My Sketch of Tissot’s Painting

History on Two Needles (when tweeting use hashtag #HoTN) is coming along BEAUTIFULLY!

All of the photography is finished, the layout is looking good – hopefully not confusing, just well balanced and easy to follow – and the tech editing is some of the happiest I’ve ever been involved in.

I work / design / write differently from many folks.  This isn’t unusual, being individual types of folks, we ALL tend to do some things our own way.  My own unusual style of knitting (Combination Knitting) is the source of some of my differences as a pattern writer, but even more pertinent is my feeling that just about anyone who invests money and time into buying yarn and a pattern is committed and intelligent enough to NOT be talked down to.

My problem with many knitting patterns is that they both talk down to a knitter (spelling some things out in painful detail, which can be more confusing than a clear illustration) while at the same time they sail over many knitter’s heads (using terms and making assumptions about things that ‘everybody knows!’ when – in fact – everybody may NOT know some of the unmentioned stuff…)

London in London in Tissot

My friend London wearing the finished Tissot Shrug

Often I’ll send a pattern in for tech editing and I’ll get back an unrecognizable set of pages with math fixed (thank you!) and verbiage changed (no, thank you…) for no good reason except it doesn’t fit into a ‘style.’

I will take clarity over style any day!

97% of tech eds I know are GREAT, most tech editors I work with are the unsung hero(ines) of any knitting publication, making patterns readable and usable by knitters and getting little more than grief and headaches for their hard work!

But there are a very few editors whose contempt for my unorthodox way of explaining things is palpable when I read their comments.  Or when I see what they’ve crossed out and changed (which speaks louder than any comments can!)

Most annoying is the rare tech ed who will begin changing things before reading through an entire pattern.  Among this narrow sub set are the very, very few who will email me with problems and changes before they’ve read to the end of a pattern.

This is beyond annoying, and I’ve learned to just ignore those first few emails because, eventually, I will get one that reads, “Oh!  I got to the 3rd page of your pattern and NOW I understand why you explained X like this and Y like that!”

But enough of my complaining.  As I’ve said above, most tech editors I work with are amazing, and my goal here is not to damn the hard-working lot of them.

My goal here is to praise the amazing tech ed I’m currently working with.  Or with whom I’m currently working.  I’ll leave that stuff to someone else…

Tech editing en route

Kate Atherley is well known in the knitting community as Wise Hilda, but I hadn’t worked so intimately with her before Shannon Okey at Cooperative Press fixed us up to work on History on Two Needles.

I love working with Kate.

She gets it.

Kate gets that I write about knitting things in an unusual way, that I use different terminology (and she doesn’t try to change it!) and she’s not just okay with it, she is 100% along for the ride!

Or, maybe 95% along for the ride, but she doesn’t try to make me turn off unless she REALLY needs a bathroom break.

Kate’s math is right on, she catches great mistakes without making me feel like a great moron, and is quick as a wink.

I love working with Kate.

This book has taken me over 4 years to complete, not in small part because I couldn’t find [was scared to look for] a tech editor who wouldn’t make me feel like the knitting equivalent of a wild-eyed, bomb throwing anarchist who can’t add.

Kate makes me feel like a slightly eccentric, differently-seeing designer who makes understandable math errors every now and then.  No bombs involved.

Hm, 2 ‘bomb’ references…
My blog is now being monitored
by the Dept of Homeland Security…

And that, my friends, is the difference between respect and finger wagging (from both sides) and I love working with Kate for this reason.

THE GIVEAWAY

We’re talking about the brown skein at the bottom

I have one more skein of Buffalo Wool that I’m willing to part with!  I have a nice stash of it that I’m using for a few designs, the skeins I’m parting with are exceptional yarn that I can’t use in a design, or have been discontinued.

My hope is that when you win this yarn you’ll knit it up, talk about it, blog about it, show it off and bring in more converts to the Buffalo Gold Cult Family.

This is a GOOD one!

It’s Buffalo Gold #11 Laceweight, 400 yds/50gr, 100% American Bison Down.  You will fall in LOVE with this.

It must be used for something amazing.  Let me know what you want to knit up with this, and you may be the lucky winner!

 

The Winners of the Buffalo Gold Earth-Lite Are…

Jodie & Cheryl!

Totally picked at random, the winners of the two skeins of yarn (1 skein each) are Jodie and Cheryl – CONGRATULATIONS!

Thank you EVERYONE for playing my game, and thank you also for the Happy Birthday Wishes!  My birthday was yesterday, which is why I didn’t get online until late in the day.

Actually, I didn’t do anything very personal, but I did have my knitting group over for our monthly meeting and utilized the group members to model some of the final pieces for History on Two Needles.  A delightful evening was had by all (I hope!)

Stay tuned for another GREAT giveaway later this week!

PAIN

I was in a show almost 20 years ago in NY (an amateur theater production, nothing professional) where I had a small chorus part.  It was the musical “BABY!” (the exclamation point is key) and I had a funny bit where I sang about having many, many kids.

Another brief little bit was another choruster singing, “PAIN! The thing I cannot stand is PAIN! I told the doctor, ‘PUT ME OUT!'”

And that’s how I’ve felt this week.

It has been the most pain filled week I’ve had since I was diagnosed with Fibro.  Why this relatively sudden slide back into painville, I have no idea.

Many theories have been proposed;

  • Was it the single piece of bread I ate last Wednesday? (It came with a salad at the Minnesota Historical Society cafe and I held back until I put the tray on the return conveyor belt, then grabbed the bread as it was zooming away toward the dishwasher.)
  • Could it be pollen, or some other seasonal allergen that’s come to fruition in late August / Early September?  I don’t remember this happening last year…
  • Perhaps it was the 5 hours of standing/walking when I went to the political rally last week, compounded with the 4 hours of standing/walking at the MN State Fair this past week?
  • Or maybe my fibromyalgia is moving to a different level?

For those of you who may be new to the blog, I was diagnosed with Fibro almost 4 years ago and figured out soon after that one of my strong triggers for a flare up was wheat / gluten products.  I’ve been gluten free for 3+ years, but I have my moments of falling off the wagon.  Wheat Flour, I can’t stay mad at you…

Also, for those of you who may not be familiar with Fibro, it’s a REAL condition whereby the body acts as though it’s experiencing the worst flu ever. 

When I have a flare-up, I run a fever, my throat gets sore (usually that’s the first sign), I get body aches (in my joints and muscles especially), and I just feel wretched.

In all honesty, I feel that I’ve been slowly moving to this for a few months.  Movement’s been harder, pain’s been more frequent and intense, and even a long bike ride hasn’t been able to assuage it.  I’m off for a long ride today to my allergist for my monthly asthma Xolaire shot, and I’m going to ask him if there have been any indicators to link fibro pain with that drug (this will be my fourth month on the drug)

Well, aren’t you glad you stopped by for Fibro Chat?

HISTORY

The book is coming along very well, layouts are looking great, the tech editor is moving through the patterns (now I have to do the hard job of actually ANSWERING her questions!) and the photography is pretty much finished.  YAY!

As soon as I have dummy layouts I’ll be contacting folks who Kickstarter Pledged at the ‘name a pattern’ level and the ‘dedicate the book’ level with so they can give me their creative input in the form of pattern names and dedication!

I’m SO excited about this book, I can’t stand it!  It’s looking so great, and I’m thoroughly enjoying the ‘fun part’ of the book.  It makes me think I should look for a job in graphics (I’m becoming quite Adobe CS savvy!)

IMG_0002

MacGyvering HoTN Together

Mentally, emotionally and work-wise, it’s been a pretty great week!

Physically, though, it’s been rough.

I haven’t been able to get out for the bike rides I’d like, which allows soreness to grow in my unused muscles, which makes me hesitant to ride, which leads to more pain – you can see the pain cycle (no pun intended) that I fall into.

I’m on a new asthma medication, it’s supposed to normalize my breathing (which has been steadily declining for about 10 years) and allow me to forego my regular prednisone battles.

Prednisone, for those of you who are fortunate enough to not know, is a wonder drug that allows my lungs to work well, a steroid – but the side effects are pretty brutal.
For me the worst are emotional fragility/sensitivity and weight gain.
(They should call it “pregnisone” because it’s the drug that mimics pregnancy.)

Anyway, this new med, Xolaire, is a monthly two-shot injection.  Three months into it, it seems to be working well.  As I’m phased off of the prednisone, the Xolaire’s supposed to pick up the slack – we’ll see…

And I’m hopeful to get back to my long rides.  When my breathing’s iffy, everything is hard.  When I give in to the difficulty, everything gets even harder.

BUT THE GOOD PART

…is that I’m getting a TON of stuff done for History on Two Needles.  Amazingly good progress!  I’m working through the layout of the patterns, trying to find ways to make the experience of reading the book interesting and instructive.

My Sketch of Tissot’s Painting

The license fees for the images are going to be heavy, but manageable (thank you kickstarter!) so I’m trying to work around that by paying lower fees for black and white images for some pieces, then augmenting those sections with my own color sketches.

It may work, or it may just look dumb, but so far I’m happy with the results.  This will also allow me to isolate the individual sections of the original artwork (which were so inspiring to my finished garment.)

I’ve been using an iPad app called Procreate, which is sensational!  I’m able to sketch – not awkwardly wrangle my Photoshop skills (as I’ve been doing – although not entirely unsuccessfully – in my previous computer sketches.)

The best part of Procreate is that it allows me to use the techniques I spent years developing in grad school, my own style of shading, detailing and softening that I thought I could only do on paper.  I really love this application.

I can use my finger for a lot of the drawing, but a stylus is better.

So I found an online tutorial showing me how to make my own stylus with a pen, a sponge and some wire.  I changed things up by using a dpn (signature, of course!) because that feels better in my hand.

It’s been working great, even if it is a little ugly, and I feel it should earn me the MacGyver level II merit badge.

NOTE: No needles were harmed in the making of this stylus, which can be easily taken apart.

So although my physical movement has been hampered with breathing difficulties and all-over body pain from the fibromyalgia, I’ve been able to get a great deal of work done, which is not bad!

I plan to get out for at least an 18 mile ride today.  With any luck I’ll push a bit of that pain away as I pedal, and I can take my iPad with me and get some sketching done during rest breaks!

New Stuff, New Outlooks

I feel amazingly energized.

This has been one of those weeks when many, many good things happened, and I am very grateful!

#1 FIVE Years

It’s been 5 years since we were told that someone at Gerry’s stage of Multiple Myeloma probably had about 1-2 years.  That’s a 3-year win (and we are shooting for 30!)

Every day truly is a gift.  The fact that we all fully understand that just makes it sweeter.

Life is, indeed good.

#2 History on Two Needles Kickstart Project

I’ve been working on this book for almost the full aforementioned 5 years – and maybe Gerry’s health & recovery are part of the reason I’ve been dawdling.

But it’s time to crack down, get these projects & patterns finished, and get this book published!  With help from Cooperative Press AND my amazing backers who are helping through Kickstarter, it’s going to happen!

A Kickstarter project isn’t funded if you the goal isn’t met, so I aimed low.  My original goal was $8999 (still just a portion of the cost to produce a book), but I chickened out and went for $4999.

With the help of 100 backers, I reached that goal in 2 days (WOW!)

I will CONTINUE to raise funds until July 9th (I wanted to keep fundraising during TNNA) so go – look at my project – and consider becoming a backer!  I have some lovely rewards for folks… You can get one of the first printed books at less than the retail will be!

All funds raised will go directly into making this the best and most beautiful book possible!

#3 Car Loss / Car Gain

I love my PT Cruiser, you all know that.

I’ve loved it from the day I got it 7 years ago.  It’s been a damned good car.

But after a rather upsetting visit with our mechanic (many things hover at the point of fail, including the timing belt – ouch!) and realizing the PT can be hard to drive (terrible sight lines) we decided it was time for a change.

Last year an accident took our beloved Elantra Wagon, and we’ve been a relatively happy one-car family since then. (Have I mentioned that I bike?)

So we decided to return to what had worked for us – back to an Elantra!  As we signed the paperwork I told Gerry, “You DO realize this means you’re committing to being HERE for 10 years, right?”

A plain, sensible, 120K warranteed DARK GREY Elantra.

It’s a boring car.  But the fact we’re doing this speaks volumes about our hope levels.

#4 Bike Gain

To make parting with my Purple PT more palatable, part of the trade in was a gift card for a 7100 Trek bike from Penn Cycle (what the..?!)

I’m not complaining, as obviously I am the designated bike-ee.  I loved my old schwinn, but I will not miss it one bit.

The bike, I am happy to report, is BLUE.

So now we’re driving a different car, and I’m tooling around on a new bike.

And I miss my PT cruiser, but not half as much as I’d worry about Hannah driving it.

#5 Perfect Rose Cake

I’m the only one in our household who REALLY likes rose flavored stuff, but that’s okay.  I’m also the only gluten free chickie.

I perfected the walnut/rose cake this week, and have enjoyed it’s GF goodness for days.

A small thing, but it’s been quite a while since I’ve had unlimited cake – YUM!  I can’t do this all the time, but it’s been fun for a week!

For anyone who’s interested, here’s a link to a pdf file of the recipe.

#6 Refocusing

This may be the biggest of all.

I’m listening to a great audiobook about Roald Dahl (The Irregulars) and the British spy ring in WWII Washington.  It’s absolutely FASCINATING, and a casual reference to the fact that most spies were recruited between the ages of 50 and 60 hit me like a blast of fresh air.

I’ve been feeling SO old, so worn out, so sick and aching and feeling SO sorry for myself (not on purpose, I’ve been trying hard to shake it!)  It’s about time I moved ahead.

Hearing this one sentence made me feel – worthwhile? – again. In conjunction with a reading of  Madeleine Albright’s excellent book, Madame Secretary, I’ve been able to find a bit of perspective.

This was a refocusing that I needed, a looking ahead instead of looking behind.

In other news, I’m looking into a different kind of rear view mirror for my bike.  I’m trying the kind that attaches to the helmet – watch for updates…

masked_black_prince_full

Kickstart History on Two Needles

Well, it’s live.  I’m committed.  I’m asking folks for money, and that means I WILL have a book to produce for them!

I’m KICKSTARTING History on Two Needles!

 

It’s certain taken me long enough!

When I think that I produced 3 knitting books in 2 years (Twist & Loop, Romantic Hand Knits & Men Who Knit) and that it’s taken me 4 years to get this one to the point it’s at now – well, it’s worthy of consideration.

But first, a word from my favorite online astrologer, Rick Levine, which sort of sums up how I’m feeling today.

Virgo’s Horoscope (Aug 23 – Sep 22)

Saturday, May 26, 2012 – Perhaps a practical idea starts as a flash in a dream or even as a persistent daydream. Maybe something catches in the diaphanous web of your imagination, making you feel as if you are recovering a lost treasure from unknown realms.

Normally, you are very logical, yet now it’s wise to set aside your need for rationality. Keep open to any messages that come from your subconscious, even if they aren’t understandable right away.

History on Two Needles began long ago, as a class assignment in grad school.  The object was to take a period painting and design a piece of modern dress off of it. It was great fun, and something I’d kicked around once I moved back to hand knit design as a career in 2000.

But I didn’t actually start putting together research for the book until late 2006, when we were in the process of moving to Minnesota.

We all know what happened that first year in St. Paul – just getting by, just getting my current assignments and teaching engagements fulfilled (without bursting into tears) was my goal, and I set HoTN aside for a bit.

Each time I returned to it (and I never really let it go) it was with a sense of guilt that I was taking so long.

One of the great lessons of this process has been that guilt is, indeed, a useless emotion.  Or, rather, holding ONTO guilt is useless.

Guilt can be used like a shove out of a snowbank, but it’s as useless to cling to guilt as it is to try to push a car down a highway.

I’ve spent a lot of time pushing this car.  Obviously what was needed was a mechanic with a tow truck to help me fix what was holding me up.  Enter Cooperative Press (run by my good friend Shannon Okey, a force of nature)  CP will be publishing History on Two Needles, and as an author it’s an exciting proposition because it’s as close to self-publishing as I can get with the hand-holding that only a publisher can provide.

A book like this can be expensive to produce, which was one of the things holding me back.  Some museums have been gracious enough to allow the use of their work for a credit line or a very small fee.  I’ve also found a number of the images I want to use on pay-for-image sites, taken at a gallery (with permission) by gifted amateurs who are willing to license their work for a small fee.

I, myself, have been fortunate enough to have been able to visit some sites where I was able to photograph statues & carvings.

But some museums and galleries charge heftier fees to use research materials, and of course these happen to be among the most important images in the book.

Then there’s color printing (which is expensive) and advertising (also pricey) which has to be considered.  The entire financial burden can’t fall to CP – they’re a startup, too!

Which is why I’m KICKSTARTING the project!

With most excellent tech editor Kate Atherley (Wise Hilda) I’m making sense of the computerized chicken scratchings that make up most of the patterns and worksheets.  Thankfully I’ve kept pretty good records of every step I’ve taken, but I’ve also gone through several computer upgrades in the past 4 years.

It’s astounding how many hours I spend opening files that are in the ‘wrong format’.  I’ve gone through three separate writing/book layout software applications in the course of this – not because I didn’t like any of them, but because it’s taken so long that my apps keep going obsolete!  This is one of the unanticipated consequences of taking so danged long to get this book finished!

This is going to be a hard few months, pushing through and getting this thing published in time to get into stores (and hands, and onto ipads & kindles & onto knitting needles!) before Christmas!  But I work well under a deadline, and I’m motivated to get this thing done!

After all, I already have so many ideas for HoTN II…