Back to the Horoscopes!

Saturday, September 22, 2012 – Your uncertainty over a fundamental issue might have made a recent decision rather difficult.

Now, a new wave of confusion can sour your actions with doubt as the Sun enters your 2nd House of Values. However, there’s no need to change your mind or alter your plans today, even if you aren’t sure of yourself.

Hang tight; your confidence will return in a few days. In the meantime, sorting through your options gives you one more chance to make the right choice.

Once again Rick Levine has entered my world (whether by design or by accident) and my horoscope today is exceptionally on point. Or, I hope it is!

I realized something a few years ago: No matter NOW together someone’s life seems, there are times when they wonder if they’ve made the right choice. I wonder this on a regular basis, but perhaps it’s more common for a free-lance designer and writer to go through these self questioning periods more often.

As History on Two Needles nears it’s publication, my sense of relief is quickly being replaced with a sense of being adrift. I’ve been careful not to overbook myself for teaching (I KNOW how a few weeks of teaching can knock me out for months with incessant pain and exhaustion) and I’ve not taken on any design gigs while finishing up the book.

Now I look onto a wide landscape of – what? I don’t have a lot out there right now, which was kind of the plan, but it’s scary to contemplate.

It’s freeing, of course, but girl’s gotta eat! Or, more importantly, girls gotta have something to keep her going and get her out of bed every day.

So, as always, one must get one’s butt in gear and look for new opportunities on the horizon. Luckily I have a bike, so I won’t be walking.  The fact I haven’t been ON the aforementioned bike in a week is the source of some of this sadness / pain / lack of drive, I am certain.  So I will get on my bike today, and I will ride.  Ride, Annie, Ride.


The winner of the Buffalo Gold #11 is Sarah Jane! Chosen completely at random

It was hard this week, I really wanted to choose one person for her generous tendency (Tony, I’m looking at you!), but I knew that if I did it would be going down a bad road where every week I began weighing every comment to see who is most ‘deserving.’

So see, this really IS a random drawing!  I hope Sarah makes something amazing with the yarn, and sends a photo when she’s done!

For anyone who didn’t win but is itching to make something beautiful, here’s a link to the Buffalo Wool store where you’ll fine more beauty than the internet can hold!

And now I’m off to do a bit more layout / final writing work on History on Two Needles.  It seems so close, but there’s STILL so much yet to do.  Don’t even TALK to me about what I need to do in terms of marketing!

Hey, Remember Me?

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


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!


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.


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!


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?


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!)

Great Big Beautiful Giveaway!

I turn 51 in a week†, and I have some nice stuff to give away!


I have 2 lovely skeins of Buffalo Gold Earth Lite Yarn that I’d like to gift to 2 lucky readers.  This yarn is indescribably amazing; soft, strong, beautiful to work with and very comfortable to wear!

Buffalo Gold Earth Lite
1 Skein of Dark Grey (Arsenic)
1 Skein of Deep Red (Crimson)
Fiber Content- 90% American Bison Down, 10% Nylon
Yardage- 200 yards per 62 gram skein
Gauge- 23 to 26 sts per 4 inches on US 3-5

Earth Lite is among my favorite fibers, by one of my favorite yarn companies!  The folks who run The Buffalo Wool Company are great folks, I consider them wonderful friends in the world of fiber, and every time I see something made of their fiber, I loudly

Black & Red Skeins are Earth Lite
(brown skein is for next week!)


Note: I intend to give away a skein of Buffalo Gold #11, 100% American Bison in a lightweight next week, so if you win this you won’t be able to win that one, too…

Why am I giving this beautiful stuff away?  Why not design with it?  Well, I DO design with it, and I have more yarn than I know what to do with!  These happen to be duplicate skeins – I have other skeins of each of these colors to use for swatching – so these are pristine, unused skeins are perfect for a little gifting!

And I feel like the buzz from a giveaway of this GREAT stuff would be more beneficial than anything else I could do.

Plus, it’s my birthday*, so I can do what I want, right?

And if we get our oven fixed, I’ll make myself a gluten free cake!  This has nothing to do with a yarn giveaway, but it’s my secret dream for my birthday – a fixed oven!  Huzzah!


What I’d love for you to do is tell me what you’d make with a 200 yd skein of lovely sport-weight soft-as-silk bison yarn.  It doesn’t have to be real, you can make up something.  You can be goofy or silly or dead serious, whatever you want!  I will tell you that each skein is a perfect amount for some fingerless mitts or a great winter headband.

I’ll announce the winners on Labor Day.

Fine Print: If you win and you live in the US, I’ll send the yarn.  If you live out of the country, I’ll ask you for $5 to offset the shipping.

* My birthday is next week, date indeterminate.
† My hands don’t give me away.
(However, my crow’s feet & grey hair do.)