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…

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…