Friday, December 22, 2006

Santa Bunny!

Santa Bunny says "I can't see you because there is waaay too much fur in my eyes, but be good anyway!" Or maybe "Forget carrots for the reindeer, send them my way!" Or something, I don't know....

As you can tell, I found the camera - yay! As you probably can't tell, I am behind on a trillion and two deadlines and frantic. This happens every year. I know Christmas is coming and I think I am preparing accordingly, and the end of December still manages to bite me in the ass every stinking year. At least school is over now for the wee one and I don't have to drag ehr out of bed every morning, which is a blessing. We will go see the grands next week, and various sisters and cousins too. Which is why I will be doing this...

for the foreseeable future. I made 6 dozen chocolate chip cookies last night and they are already gone, along with 4 mini loaves of soda bread, and three trays of brownies. I can't cook worth a damn, but I know how to bake, and there are several groups of folks who look forward to a visit from my brownies on a yearly basis, and I hate to disappoint. And this year the kid is actually a help in the kitchen rather than a hindrance, so that part is fun. We have peanut butter cookie dough cooling in the fridge even as we speak.

For those of you who were nice enough to ask if the Indiana book is actually in Indiana yet, I suspect it isn't. There is a shipment on the way to the Richmond/Wayne County Convention and Tourism Bureau that I know about, but while many other businesses have expressed interest in carrying it, I don't think anyone has copies yet - they have just placed orders. You can get it through already, and the Indiana National Road Association will put it up for sale on their web site in the middle of January which is great - they could use the money! I suspect things will pick up after the first of the year.

On the knitting front, I have a group of samples in review at a magazine group I have never designed for before so I am feeling hopeful there. And I am hard at work on the Highland Shawl from Folk Shawls. It has a booger in it (my shawl, not the pattern) but I am way too far past it to frog, and I am hoping for the magic of blocking to help things along. I may be in the old age home by the time I finish it, but I am really enjoying the pattern and the yarn (Zephyr, in Cinnabar, held double).

Off to check on the cookie dough - happy winter madness all!

Friday, December 15, 2006

In which the Indiana book is sighted in the wild...

Driving the National Road in Indiana has rolled off the printer and is an actual paperback book now. Amen!

I wrote it a while back and for various and sundry reasons wound up self-publishing. I have new respect for page designers and copy editors, and that's all I have to say about that.

Check it out if you are into Indiana or transportation history.

We will soon return to our regularly scheduled knitting content...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I know you'll hate me -

but the sad fact of the matter is that my camera is still missing, and the Soysilk socks had to go bye-bye, so they are in the mail and I have no more pictures.

I am sorry, truly I am, but I just ain't got new camera money in the budget right now.

Please forgive me and don't stop reading. Maybe Santa will bring me a camera. Or now that it is too late to make a difference, the old one will show up!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Not dead...

just lost the darn camera! I know you guys are panting for sock yarn photos, but my digital camera has gone AWOL and it is driving me mad. I will keep looking, but I have to mail the socks in to SWTC tomorrow to make my deadline so sadly, I can't make any promises.

The kid and I went to Hershey Park on Saturday for their Christmas themed event and had a great time, as always - we go every year. Back in the early 80s I worked there in the entertainment department, so I always wax a bit nostalgic for my mis-spent youth while we are there.

I just realized I am doing no holiday knitting this year - none. I guess anyone I had a burning desire to knit for I took care of last year! Of course the Kid is hinting for some knitwear so after I get the sock pattern mailed off I will go stash diving and see if anything calls my name for her.

Mama Alpaca has whipped out more than 10 hats for Caps to the Capital - way cool for someone who hadn't knit in ten or more years. She has been getting creative with the oddballs I sent her and I have seen some cool color combinations come along.

Off to interview the Crochet Dude for an article I am writing for Yarn Market News. That's the part of my job I love - chatting up your friends and calling it work.

The Indiana book is at the printer. As in 100% totally absolutely finished and there is nothing more I have to do to it. Amen! Now to get the soapstone book off....

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

First crochet pattern in the wild!

This is one of the last patterns that I sold this summer (when I still had time to swatch!) but the first one to make it into print. I love the vagaries of publishing, really I do.

This pattern was done for Plymouth Yarn, in their new raw silk yarn called Shire. The pattern is a stand alone leaflet, and is available at yarn stores than carry the yarn (and I hear a rumor it will also show up in a magazine next year, but I don't know which one or when!). It is done in an overall shell pattern, with scalloped trim on the hem, sleeve hems and neckline. It worked up very quickly, and I liked the yarn quite a bit. I also think they did a lovely job at the photo shoot - isn't that a nice photo?

I have been working away on the socks for SWTC but can't figure out where I put the digital camera, so you will have to wait another day or two for photographic evidence.

And Bunny Boy has been hanging out inside this week - we had a wicked storm on Friday night with high winds and lots of scary noises, so we brought him in off the porch. He is currently holding court in the kitchen - which would be fine if I didn't want to use my back door or the first floor powder room....

Off to work on the knitting book. I had a long drive back from visiting family on Sunday and started figuring out how much time I had left to write how many words. I was feeling pretty okay about things (although I am not as far along as I would have liked) until I started figuring in the log home book. Now I am in a dead bloody panic. So I have switched to decaf and am going to soldier on and not look at the calendar.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Cameron T. Bunny and new sock yarn

This may be my most viewed blog post ever with that combination! First - there is the bunny. He likes the inside. I do NOT like him inside because guaranteed after about 5 minutes he will pee on whatever he is sitting on to mark it as his. The dog is not amused, although she is outweighed so she by and large shuts up about it and just glares. But when it is cold outside, the Kid tends to smuggle the rabbit in as soon as my back is turned. Just a few days ago, I came out of the shower to find Cameron happily hopping around on my bed. He was happy - I was not. And then the sock yarn. A little forward movement on the Tofutsies socks. This photo for some reason looks way darker here than it did when I took it - will have to try again tomorrow. This is the sock pattern I am designing for SWTC. A knitted rib top, crocheted openwork leg, then back to knitting for the heel, foot and toe. I did a sample in a wool/cotton blend, but this stuff threw me. It is VERY light, very fine yarn. And soft, did I mention how soft it is? It is waaaaaay soft. Made up of 50% superwash wool, 25% soysilk, 22.5% cotton, and 2.5% Chitin. So I had to go down a needle and hook size from the original sample. This is knitted on size 1 dpns, and crocheted on a C hook.
What is Chitin, you ask? I didn't know either, so I will quote from the label "Chitin is fiber from shrimp and crab shells! It's naturally antibacterial!" Exclamation points are courtesy of SWTC, not me.

This is not a tightly spun yarn, and it is an 8 ply. I had a few minutes of aggravation with splitting, but I got past that very quickly - I think it just takes a few rounds to get used to the yarn. As you can see, it is a variegated yarn, not a self striping one. It is doing some interesting pooling on the crochet leg - I can't wait to see if it does the same thing on the second sock, or takes off and does something different. More photos as things progress.

Today I need to progress on a costume - the Kid is going to make an appearance this weekend at a theme party as Alice in Wonderland, and I have to finish the dress. I liked it much better when she didn't realize I really could make her any sort of outfit she wants, she was much less demamding then!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Now with actual knitting content!

The Tofutsies sock yarn finally arrived - here she is!While I am dying to work with it, I promised SWTC that the sock pattern I am writing will ensure that the sock knitter will be able to get a whole pair of socks out of one skein, so the first thing I want to do is ball up the yarn into two equal skeins so I won't get carried away and use more than half a skein for the first sample sock. Hopefully tomorrow - I need a scale. And here we have Red Scarf 2007!
Of course it looks much lovelier on BB than in the close up. Don't ask me what the yarn was because I already forgot... something red with some black and tan accents, sort of fuzzy, very soft, mostly acrylic with some wool thrown in for good luck. Okay Norma - I found the darn label - it's Dover Indena! Made in the basic 5 st x 10 row basketweave pattern with a garter stitch border on all four sides. Yummy, warm and long, and best of all finished!

I have been knitting away at the Highland Shawl from Folk Shawls. The pattern is much smarter than me and I am forever frogging and making corrections. But it will be SO luscious when it is done. I have a few more repeats on the center triangle, then it will be time to pick up the trillion stitches along the outside for the border. I have to do the socks first though...

I also added a bit to the Pi Shawl made of sock leftovers, and started the second Baby Ull glove - there was quite a bit of sit around and knit time at the Oireachtas (step dancing regional event). The Kid and her team did very well - they didn't win but they aquitted themselves with grace and technique beyond our wildest expectations. I was proud of each and every one of them. The Kid is already talking about wanting to qualify to go next year as a soloist. Sigh....

We never got Thanksgiving dinner - we were off to my niece's house when she called to report that her two boys might possibly have the flu and didn't I think it would be better to not expose the Kid to that less than 24 hours before her big event? I agreed that was a fine idea, so we high-tailed it to the hotel, flopped in bed and got a movie (Material Girls with the Duff sisters - not really my tasted but the Kid was enthralled) and room service. I did finally get the leftovers my sisters saved for me on Saturday for lunch - better late than never. Friday was all dance all the time, Saturday was a small local (to my parents' house) holiday parade followed by a craft show and some more family time, and Sunday we drove home and did all the laundry from the weekend.

Back to work, and hopefully some more regular blog posts now that Oireachtas is over for the year.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Is step dancing season over yet?

How about now? I love the Kid, I really do, but I am SO sick of driving to competitions and classes, and doing alterations on all of her friends dresses as well as her new one, that my head is spinning. Regional finals this Friday, then things will calm down until next February or March. Amen. To distract you from my whining, some glove photos.
This is one of Sandi Rosner's patterns from Not Just Socks. Worked in Baby Ull that I got in a swap, on size 0 needles. In the interest of getting a custom fit, I have been trying the glove on as I have been working on the fingers. I looked like this....
at a feis last week and got some pretty odd looks. Wasn't there a horror movie with a character called Pinhead? Meet PinHand!

The first glove is actually all finished now, but I have been procrastinating about casting on the second one. It can't be SSS if it isn't a sock, right? Maybe tomorrow at dance class.

Speaking of classes, I joined Curves last Friday. It is a little happy, peppy, way too many strangers talking to me, but I stopped practicing yoga a while ago when my favorite studio closed, and with all the time I spend in front of the keyboard I need to get my lard-ass up and moving and this seemed the least time-consuming option. It is sort of like going to a Tupperware party with exercise thrown in. I hope I grow to love it. Or I hope I go down a jeans size and get over myself...

Because I am completely insane, I started a lace project. I have been avoiding the whole lace thing for a while, but a 25% off coupon at Borders combined with a 5,000 yard cone of Zephyr laceweight calling to me from the stash, aided and abbetted by a run in with Folk Shawls - and well I just couldn't help myself. I started the Highland Shawl from Folk Shawls. It is trying to beat me at its own game, but I am on to its tricks so far. But I will be relying pretty heavily on the magic of blocking if this thing is ever going to be wearable. I thought I was a pretty good knitter, but I can't believe the number of minor mistakes I have made already!

Knitting book cruising along. I finally got the Indiana book file ready to email to the company that is going to print it, only to discover that it is way too big for the relevant URL, and I crashed their server. Oops... Hopefully I can get that resolved way soon, because I would love for that to be out for holiday giving.

Still nothing on the design front. Sigh.... I have no time to swatch. And that sock yarn isn't here yet, which is going to make getting that done on deadline pretty frightening. Now that I think of it, I better go email them...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Yay for the minivan - we're back!

And just in the nick of time, because I totally forgot today was the day to pick up Girl Scout cookies. So whipped over to the Elks club (which graciously lets us sort our twelve million calories worth of cookies in their building) to pick these up. And a few more....
The Kid sold a lot of cookies. These aren't actually all her sales, but more than half of them are. She has learned to bat her eyelashes and toss her blonde hair and look beguiling at unsuspecting neighbors until they are positively strong armed into plunking down $3.50 a box. Hee... I need to get these sorted out over the next few days so they get to the person who ordered them, but after 5 years in Girl Scouts we are a pretty well oiled cookie machine.

The Kid also had a stellar weekend dance-wise - she competed in 10 events over two days and walked out with a 1st place finish (the first time she ever outright won one of these things and she is deliriously happy) a 2nd and two 3rds. Now we have to live through her team event at the Oireachtas the day after Thanksgiving, and the season is over. Amen.

The van broke down on the way home from her second competition - thankfully we were close enough to my parent's house that we just went there. This is the same fried alternator crap that I went through 6 or so weeks ago when I nearly crashed. So I had AAA tow it to the dealer and told them they HAD to make this never happen again, as it was getting really old, expensive and frightening as hell. The good news is it is supposed to be completely repaired. The bad news is I had to stay at my parents a few extra days waiting for the needed parts to come in. I love my parents, really I do, but I don't actually want to live with them anymore, ever. The Kid got to ditch school on Monday which she loved, but made it back for yesterday. I didn't get home until last night.

To anwer comment questions - no I am not going to Neiman this year, although I wish I was.

Yes, my daughter wears the awful poodle/tight curl hair style when she competes, but I am no dummy and bought her a full wig a year ago. That curling iron thing got real old, real fast.

And about the new sock yarn - I came home to an apologetic email saying the box hadn't been mailed yet, but I am hopeful it will be here soon. I PROMISE pictures, really I do!

Back to sorting cookies.... at least I get to eat some.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Two hours and two hundred light years from civilization - car broke down, waiting for parts in a town that contains both of my parents and no WiFi connection.

Send good, yarny thoughts for me and my car. I finished the first glove and don't have the yarn for the second, and am about to finish the scarf I brought as an emergency knitting project.

If the car isn't finished soon I am going to have to buy yarn just so I don't go batty!

Wish me luck - real blog post as soon as I can.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Because Cameron gets better ratings than I do...

And because I really wanted to try a video entry. Here is 30 seconds or so of Cameron T. Bunny in his favorite outdoor spot. He likes the outside, really he does, but it makes him so gosh darn dirty which he really can't stand. It isn't scintillating video, but hey, a test is a test.

The new sock yarn isn't here yet, but I do promise to take copious photographs as soon as it gets here. I got totally bored with all my WIPS and started a pair of simple gloves on bitty needles, which is keeping me amused at the 912 dance classes the kid has yet to live through before her big step dancing event on Thanksgiving weekend.

I also finally bought her a solo dress (for you step dancer-readers)/really really really fancy and way too expensive dance costume (for you non-step-dancer-readers). Thank heavens I can do her alterations myself as this one needed some work - the girl who had it before her is her build and coloring but 5 inches taller! It is gorgeous though, and she will wear it this weekend at the New Jersey State Feis for the first time.

Not much happening on the design front. Lots happening in writing world. I am so happy to report that the knitting book has a new title that makes both me and the publisher happy. This is its third title, and hopefully the last one.


Wait for it......

Knitting is Better Than Therapy. By Mary Beth Temple. Winging its way from Andrews McMeel to your LYS in October of 2007.

If I go finish it....

Friday, November 03, 2006

Cammie Digs the Back Yard!

Cameron T. Bunny has been settling in here at Chez Alpaca, and with the addition of a ferret leash to his accoutrements, has been exploring the back yard. He likes it a lot - it is a giant salad bar as far as he is concerned, and there are many cool places to hop around in.
Here is Mr. Giant Paws working on his second home. He loves this corner and has started a little excavation project. I suspect a multi-level burrow is in the works. I guess he gets bored re-decorating his cage, although he does re-arrange his carpet square and chew toys a few times each day.

On a bunny-free note, I never got around to finishing the Halloween post, so will catch up now. On Monday the 30th, the Kid and I went to see Melissa Leapman at The Skein Attraction in Teaneck, NJ to get a signed copy of her new book, Cables Untangled: An Exploration of Cable Knitting. I had interviewed the lovely and talented Ms. Leapman for KnitnStyle magazine (the interview appears in the December issue that is out right now) and met her in person at the Knit and Crochet Show this past July, and wanted to show a little support since she was so close. I had a great time catching up with her, and I really like the book. I have had a Celtic sort of cable pattern in my head for the last few weeks and with the book's help I want to chart it out.

On the design front, on Wednesday I sold a pattern to the fine folks at SWTC for their new sock yarn, Tofutsies. They have graciously given me permission to blog about the yarn and the process, so when the sample gets here I can show it to you right away, which I think is pretty cool. One of the things that bugs me about the blog right now is that I am working on so many designs that I can't show you until they are published, that I have hardly any yarny photo ops anymore. Not that Cameron (or, yarn on the hoof) isn't cute, but he isn't yet a real WIP. Soon, though, the little bugger looks fluffier every day...

And I am delighted and relieved to say that negotiations for my next next book (the knitting book will be the next book) are finished, and I will be writing The Log Home Owner's Handbook for Storey Publishing. Deadline is next summer and with any luck it will be out in 2008. This is a huge project but I am really looking forward to working on it, and working with this publisher. Anyone who publishes the Yarn Harlot is alright in my book. No book pun intended...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

The view from my front porch - showing my freshly TP'd tree. I give a certain group of tweens in the neighborhood permission to have at my tree, because I know they won't do anything stupid, and because it is "their" tree, no other stupid teens will touch it. Genius, no?

The Kid had a blast and came home with 8 pounds of candy. That is not a typo - 8 POUNDS! Thankfully she tends to lose interest in it rather quickly and I will wind up throwing at least half of it away in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Back to the real world...Sigh...

Blogger seems to have lost its mind and my photos are all over the place, but at least they uploaded, so I suppose there is something to be thankful for!

Back to real world after Rhinebeck, and frankly I would rather be hanging out in Rhinebeck. But I can always dream of next year. God willing and the creek don't rise, my knitting book will be on the shelves by then, and I would love to do a book signing there. We got to see Stitchy and get a signed copy of her book, which is really funny.

I know I sound like a pimp for Crippen Works, but because I sew I am such a snot about sewing, and I just really love their work. So the very first thing I bought that day was one of their needle cases - this time for my DPNS and crochet hooks. Next time, a case for my circs!

Here is the luscious sock yarn I bought, from Ellen's Half Pint Farm I wanted it because it is SO not my usual sock colorway. And we all know sock yarn doesn't count so far as stash enhancement goes. And actually because I fondled some of this at last year's Rhinebeck and didn't have enough budget left to pay for it - so it was on the must-have list for this year.

Here is the kid's first purchase. We have been experimenting with food coloring and Kool Aid and she thinks she is ready for the hard stuff. She is going to dye some of the white silk hankies I have laying around - we watched a very interesting demo about that in one of the buildings. Next to the dyes, because I can't seem to get this photo to go anywhere else, is a Kumihimo Disc. I got this one from Oak Grove Studio, so it came with a selection of some of their gorgeous hand dyed ribbons. I braided my little heart out and already got a pretty silver clasp, so as soon as I find the perfect pendant, that is going to be a necklace for me me me. Middle sister is hinting that she would like one of these for Christmas so that's some Christmas shopping done. And I am already going through the stash and digging out various bits of yarns that I think would look good braided. I think I may make a lot of those necklaces for Christmas gifts - it really is a quick project and I have to think of something to top all the knitted washcloths I gave out last year.

I am dying to show you guys the crocheted sweater I did for the yarn company, but I haven't seen it in the wild yet so I am not sure I can blog about it yet. You can, however, read some of my wackier musings about crocheting vs. knitting in the current issue of Better Homes and Gardens Simply Creative Crochet. That piece was a lot of fun to write, and I love the illustration they included. I saw it in the grocery store today, and have heard it is in Barnes and Noble. When you are finished reading pages 12 and 13, check out the patterns - there are some nice ones

Cameron T. Bunny is hoppy and well, and I am $60 poorer after a trip to Petco for food and bedding and chewies and nail clippers for him. He better turn out to make good yarn because that's my yarn budget he is dipping into.

Back to work - I have a piece on vintage textiles due this week, and next week a column piece for Yarn Market News And of course books to work on and swatches to swatch and....I am wearing myself out just thinking about it - I want to go back to Rhinebeck!

Monday, October 23, 2006

I went to Rhinebeck and lost my mind....

and gained a bunny. Meet Mr. Cameron T. Bunny, a giant English angora buck. "Get out of my face with that flash, lady, or I will smite you with my giant paws!!!!"

Here is Cameron getting ready to ride home. He was hopping around sniffing out his new home. I was praying "Please don't pee in my van, please don't pee in my van, please..." He didn't. He is a good bunny.

I SWORE I wasn't buying a bunny, some of you even heard me say it (stop laughing all you Knitty-Heads!). Yet here he is. I couldn't help myself, he is a total snuggle whore, and I fell in love. I was in trouble the minute I took him out of his cage and he cuddled up in my arms.. And the Kid was with me, which didn't really help with the "no bunny" resolve.

Now I need a new wheel - he is way too hairy for me to keep up with my drop spindle....

No photos of the rest of the haul yet, although I was pretty restrained over all. The Kid and I got some Jacquard dyes because we saw a great demo and think we are maybe ready to move on from the Kool-Aid. Not that there is anything wrong with Kool-Aid dying, but this will give us more color options. I bought some way cool sock yarn and I already can't remember where I bought it! I bought some Moth Beware made from bay leaves, and some scented soaps. A DPN case from Crippen Works , one of my favorite vendors, and something that was actually on my list of things I didn't want to leave without. And a Kumihimo disc, which I played with last night and have high hopes for. No roving, unless you count Cameron, who is essentially walking roving (or roving that poops, come to think of it.)

Great fun was had by all in addition the the shopping. I met Stitchy McYarnpants and got a copy of her new book, which is a riot. Met a trillion bloggers which was great. Finally met the lovely and talented Norma in real life after several other fiber festival related near-misses. And I ran into The Yarn Harlot herself who had the good grace to pretend she remembered me. The Kid also got a kick out of meeting in person the woman whose stories caused her to make "Holy Crap" an important part of her vocabulary.

I will try and get some haul photos done for tomorrow. Right now I am going blog stalking!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The anticipation is killing me!

I just can't wait to go to Rhinebeck! And we aren't going until Sunday, which makes it an even longer wait. But for those of you who have me on your bingo card - this is the scarf I will be wearing. BB wanted a turn first of course. You can't tell from the layers around her but this thin is ginormous - 12 1/2" wide by 7 or 8 feet long. You won't miss me, believe me! Unless of course the temperature spikes, but I doubt it. The Kid will be with me, and also the medium sister. All of us are counting the days. This is the Geometric Scarf in Vogue Knitting On the Go series, Scarves Two. The yarn was Aurora 8. This thing is WAY bigger than gauge, but I am 5'10" so I can get away with a giant scarf. Think we were geniuses about the yarn sub? These are the only leftovers. And because I am trying to get things out of the stash not put more back in, I turned the scraps into this for Caps to the Capital. There wasn't enough left of the olive to get a second hat, so I put that tiny bit of yardage in the oddball box in case the scarf ever needs darning.
BB looks like she is wearing a fez.

The Kid and I both went for new glasses this morning, where I got the dreadful but expected news that it it time for progressive lenses. They won't be ready until next week, so I may be a little squinty at Rhinebeck too.

The last crochet design I sold (the cream raw silk for those of you playing along at home) will actually be the first one that hits the news stands. I believe it is being shipped tomorrow, and as soon as I find out for sure I will show you the sweater. I like it a lot, even if I do say so myself!

Three more days.....

Monday, October 16, 2006

Warming up for Blogger Bingo!

I just got my card for Blogger Bingo and if anything it has made me more excited to go to Rhinebeck than I was before. And I was pretty excited before! I have just 20 more rows to go on the giant Vogue scarf, and will post a picture of it in its finished state to help those who are looking for me for their own cards.

The Kid is anxious to play too - she LOVED Rhinebeck last year, even more than I expected her to, and the game is just another fun thing to do for her.

In looking over my card, I see several bloggers that I read, but only one I have met in real life (Hi Amy! ) So I can't wait to put some faces to some blogs. Of course, I forgot to order any "I'm a square" merch so I will have to get creative with the artwork some time before Sunday.

Thanks for all the well wishes after the accident. To add insult to injury (or more specifically injury to insult) I took a tumble down the basement stairs on Friday and whacked the hell out of my knee. But it, and the car, are recovering nicely. Apparently my van doesn't like the rain - it drives just fine in clear weather. Apparently the van has a burning desire to visit the scrap heap, because as soon as my next chunk of book advance money gets here, that is just where it is going.

Visited my mother this weekend on the occasion of her 86th birthday, and she has decided she wants to start knitting again. I get to go choose some goodies for her later today - I can't wait - yarn shopping without guilt because it isn't for me!

And speaking of my mother - the Kid got her this for her birthday.

It is a little bitty stuffed dog that's little belly goes up and down like it is breathing. I wasn't sure this was the best gift in the world for my mother, who loves my Cinderella but doesn't want the responsibility of a dog of her own, but the Kid said she would love it, and as usual the Kid was right. Mother says her new friend can keep her company on days when she is alone in the house. And she doesn't have to walk it or take it to the vet. Score one for the Kid.

Back to book-land today, thankfully no magazine article deadlines til next week so I can piddle around on other projects.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

On why it is important to knit for oneself...

So we were driving home from dance class last night when the car started to freak out. Let me start by saying everyone is fine and no one was hurt, which is the important part. But on a major roadway in a rainstorm, my alternator fried and I lost the power assist to my steering and brakes, my windshield wipers and my headlights, all pretty much at the same time. I was able to wrestle the car onto a side street and despite two near misses managed not to hit anything and get the car to a stop along the side of the road. At the same time, because that is the kind of night I was having, the cell phone died. Thankfully, some very nice people let me and the Kid come in and use their phone to call a tow truck. Thankfully, my wonderful neighbors came and got the Kid and got her out of their while I waited for said tow truck. Thankfully, said tow truck arrived within the hour and got the car to my house, so my regular garage could work on it (or shoot it and put it out of its misery) today. But I was scared, and soaked through and on my last nerve by the time I got the Kid and I settled in the house late last night.

So I put on my ratty penguin pajamas and dug these - the Happy Socks - out of the cedar chest and put them on. I figured if I ever needed Happy Socks, last night was the night. Then I wrapped my shivering and still slightly damp self in The Throw that Ate New Jersey - seen below. It is 50% angora and 50% wool and so soft and warm it is amazing.
Then I got out the Vogue scarf I showed you in the previous post, and knitted the jitters away so I could finally go to sleep about midnight.

It was good I had all this wooly goodness to fall back on. While I am a charity knitting fanatic, I encourage you all to go make something warm and wonderful for yourself, just in case you need it.

I am off to buy a new cell phone...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Wrapping up loose ends

First off, just on the general random coolness of having a blog - a few posts back I wrote about the sadness of missing Lady Marian at the jousting at our closest Renaissance Fair. And she commented on the post! Now I don't know if she was ego-searching, likes to read knit blogs, or what random reason she found the post, but how cool is it that she did? I had to go wake the Kid up and tell her Lady Marian left a comment - she was delighted.

I wrapped up all the crocheted patterns that were due, so that brought a sigh of relief - Iw as running out of tv shows on DVD. I really like the sweater I did for the yarn company, but haven't heard back from them yet whether they like it too! I had a problem with a magazine earler this month in that the sample I made didn't look exactly like they expected it to, so they rejected the piece even though they had said they were going to publish it. I understand why it happened, but now I am panicking whenever I send out a garment.

I also wrapped up all the half finished magazine articles I had floating around - now I only have two on my plate, and neither one is due until the end of the month so I can focus on books. Which is good, because I now have four active book projects, which is two too many. So I have to get the two closest-to-finished jobs done and out of my life before my head explodes.

Over the weekend, I came down with an incipient case of Startitis. Probably from reading knit blogs and realizing this one hasn't had any actual knitting content in forever because I haven't had any time to knit. And I REALLY wanted to have something new to wear to Rhinebeck, just because. So I fought the startitis by rooting through the stash closet and reacquainting myself with WIPs from the dawn of time. I found this giant scarf/shawl that I started two years ago and got bored with.
So I decided to finish this instead. It was more than halfway done, and would not only be cute to wear to Rhinebeck, it would free up another zipper case for the stash closet, so it's all good.
This is from the Vogue On the Go knitting series, Scarves Two. I subbed Aurora 8 for the specified yarn, and I had forgotten just how yummy that stuff is. The other thing this scarf provided is an abject lesson on the importance of gauge. I tell people all the time that gauge is important, but when I bought the yarn for this piece I decided it was just a scarf - how much could gauge matter? So it was a little big - no big deal, right? DAMN this is a large scarf. If I do the complete color block pattern it will probably be about 7' long. I am tall, but not tall enough that I need a 7' scarf. But for some reason this project is really appealing to me right now, so I will keep going until the pattern is finished or I run out of yarn. One of the joys of this random geometric pattern is that if I end it at a different place than the designer did, no one will notice. It will be lovely to finish something that wasn't one of the instant gratification things I have been banging out over the last two hectic months.

I am going to go swear at my laptop now. It is soon to be replaced - the funds I have earmarked for a new one are in the mail to me even as we speak. No mail today though, so I will continue to yell at this one for another few days.

Monday, October 02, 2006

my 100th post!

And a gratuitous sheep picture. Because I haven't had any time to knit anything, or do anything interesting to take photos of. But I know you all have a short attention span (and I mean that in the most loving and respectful way, of course), so I had to put in a photo.

On the publishing front - I have come to an agreement to write The Log Home Owner's Handbook for Storey Publishing. Look for it some time in 2008, if my brain doesn't explode first. Let's recap my book commitments shall we? The Indiana book, which deal went amuck, is being self-published by me and needs a bunch of layout work done. The soapstone book is supposed to be finished by next Friday and is already months behind its original schedule. Knitting is Better than Therapy is due on January 15, and the log home book next July 1. I think it is time to invest in a new laptop.

The kid had a day off from school today so is off picking apples with her father. I ducked out of this road trip because I am supposed to be finishing a home tour article for a magazine. Due today. That I haven't finished yet because this is more fun. Except it is now 3 in the afternoon and I had better really go finish the captions. Yawn...

100 posts - cool! Thanks for dropping by.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Yarn is Everywhere...

On Sunday we went to the Renaissance Fair in Sterling Forest, NY. I have been there many, many times and despite the cloudy day was looking forward to dragging the Kid and her friend around, and cheering like an idiot during the joust. The bad news? Lady Marian was not riding that day, and she is out favorite. The good news?

The horses are now sporting crocheted gear! How cool is that? I want to be the person that crochets hats for the horses - how do you think I go about looking for that kind of job?

Then I saw this - a giant yarn ball where no yarn ball had been before...

Then I found these lovely ladies, spinning away and having a lovely time. The business there was Amano and they had loads of gorgeous roving, spinning supplies, and hand spun yarn. Sadly I had spent all my money on goofy stuff for the kids so didn't buy any yarn (and I am really trying to stay far away from the roving as that is starting to pile up too). The good news is, they have a web site!

How cool is it to have authentic stuff like this at a Renaissance Fair instead of more kid-sized swords and shields and synthetic lace princess hats? And I hate to be a pest, but so many of the booths that have knitted or crocheted items at these things have shawls and such made out of cheap-ass acrylic yarns - not very period at all. Brave knights did not go forth and slay muppets that their pelts should be made into ugly fake sporrans. But I digress...

In other bad news/good news moments since last I wrote (anyone sensing a theme here?), I got offered another book deal on Friday. That was the good part - the bad part is I want a few changes in the contract before I sign it, so I have to be patient and let the legal folks and my genius agent work things out. Bad for my instant gratification tendencies, but perhaps a life lesson.

And lastly - the good news? I am almost finished the last crocheted sweater that is due. The bad news? Apparently one of the publishers for items that shipped last week didn't like one of them in real life as much as they did on paper, so they cancelled it. I am somewhat disappointed, although I sort of understand why it happened. Life lessons learned, blah blah blah, but I wish I could have learned that life lesson BEFORE I spent untold hours making the garment and sizing the pattern. As I said before, I have stopped submitting new design sketches because I am so busy right now, so maybe now is a good time for this to have happened, if it had to happen at all...not that I am bitter...much...anyway...

For the rest of this week I want good news only, no bad news. Okay? So if you have anything terrible to tell me, please wait until next Monday :-)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Three down and a monkey picture!

I finally finished sweater number three - and it took me almost all of season 2 of Grey's Anatomy on DVD (including bonus features) to do it! But I was so close to deadline I forgot to take a photo - I wove in the last end, stuffed it in the box and ran to the post office to get it off in time. The book it is going into comes out in April so you will just have to wait until then. One sweater to go, and it is halfway finished.
I decided to distract you from the lack of knitting and crocheting photos by showing you the cutest balloon construction I ever did see! Is that thing amazing or what? It takes up more than half of the width of my sofa! A tropical setting with a rainbow and a monkey in a palm tree. The Kid was delighted with this - we stopped at a local burger emporium on our way home from the 975th step dancing class of the week and they just happened to have this cool balloon dude on the payroll for the night. He wouldn't even take a tip! I know sadness will abound when it pops, but it is fun in the meantime.
The yarn fairy came. As much as I have been cussing about getting all of these samples done because they were all due at about the same time, I LOVE getting new yarn to fondle as soon as it is available. Not loving everything I get, but, hey, yarn comes in boxes to my door without warning! What could be bad?

My noon appointment today cancelled,amen - I was SO not ready for it and was really going to have to tap dance so they wouldn't know I was no farther along on the book project than I was the last time I went to the office. Now I have until Monday to get some actual work done and to fake the rest. If I can keep up the current not sleeping pace for one more week I have an actual chance to get caught up with my whole life in October. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Two down...

Two finished projects shipped to the publisher they are intended for. I swear that all those bright colors are not going into the same garment - not even the same publication! But they are finished and they are gone and I am happy.
Two to go - there are 10 more skeins of the cream silk, and 18 more skeins of the maroon shiny stuff - it is going to be a loooooong week of crocheting. The shiny stuff is for a book, the creamy stuff for a yarn company - both are due "as soon as humanly possible", but no later than next Monday. I have decided to lay off the design submissions for a while - I love doing this stuff, but if I don't get the knitting book written by deadline there is going to be hell to pay. And if I don't keep up with the magazine writing work (which pays better and more quickly) I will starve. I have four patterns sitting in review at various places right now, so if they get sold I will have those samples to make, and everything else is just going to have to wait until I am a little more organized about...well...everything.

I had a little unpremeditated S.E.X. on Thursday - I was waiting in the rain for an appointment that never showed up (long tedious story - I will spare you) and when I was finally convinced this was a no-go, it seemed only right and fair to stop into the nearby yarn shop. Not to buy anything of course, just to say hello, since I was so close and all. And THIS was on the clearance table.

Five glorious skeins of Dover Idena, a bulky wool/acrylic blend. Can you say
Red Scarf Project? Sure you can! Check out that link for a cool blog started by the fabulous Norma in support of the second year of this worthwhile charitable endeavor.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

How many days until Rhinebeck?

I can't wait I can't wait I can't wait......

I am SO ready to have a wooly sort of day, and the kid is counting the days too - she had a great time last year, and is anxious to get in on the madness that is Blogger Bingo!

Blog stalking, only with a legitimate purpose in mind! I am going to find some bloggers in the wild or die trying. I had to re-arrange my weekend plans about six times to free the day, but I will be there on Sunday. And if you need a hint, I suspect the Kid will be the only ten-year-old wearing an "I'm a Square" buttton....

On the textile front - I am crocheting like a madwoman, trying to make some deadlines that are next week. The good news is that the Grey's Anatomy Season 2 DVD came out, so I beelined over to Tarjay and snapped it up. The bad news is, I am almost all the way through all 27 plus hours of it and still have more crocheting to go....

Cruising away on the knitting book and have cleared most of my writing assignments for the month. I keep waiting for the calm day or two I was expecting, though, and it never quite gets here.

Back to doctor drama...

Monday, September 11, 2006

Not dead, just busy

Last week I got a phone call asking if I could help out with alterations for a fashion shoot for a magazine. A few hours of fittings turned into three days of location madness, so my whole week was shot to hell. Part of it turned out to be fun though, I get a demonic pleasure out of hacking a one-of-a-kind trillion dollar designer garment into pieces and then putting back together so the PR department doesn't know I did it. Tee hee appeals to the sneakier side of me. And of course the monster check won't be turned away when it arrives - additions to the yarn budget are always welcome.

The Kid has entered into dance hell - she is going to be on a ceili team for the regional step dancing finals in November (the Oireachtas for those of you of the Irish dance persuasion who are following along at home) and will pretty much be dancing and doing homework (and nothing else) for the next three months. Which means I will be pretty much me driving and writing checks (and nothing else) for the next three months...

Three crocheted tops to finish by next week -cluster deadlines suck.

Be well, all...

Monday, September 04, 2006

I felt the need for speed...

Subtitle: Greetings from Chez Short Attention Span... Behold Cinderella in all her princessly glory. And before anyone asks, I did not deliberately buy my dog a pink satin, maribou-trimmed dog bed. The Kid saved up her money and bought it from Build A Bear Workshop (a crack house for ten-year-old girls) intending it for her stuffed cats and dogs. Cinderella immediately decided this was much more suited to her personality than the black/tapestry bed I had gotten her several years ago, so she took it. And refuses to give it back. So it's hers now - because she is, after all, the princess.

Oh - you wanted to see knitting on the knitting blog? This is what I did this weekend, modeled of course by the fabulous BB.

We had the post-storm rain here all day Saturday, and it was cold as heck for this time of year. And yes, I was the person complaining about the heat a few weeks back so I kept my mouth shut and raided the stash. I wanted to do nothing but sit and knit during the gloomy day, but I also had a serious instant gratification jones happening, so off we go...
The mittens (yes there are two and they are not mis-shapen - I am not much of a photographer!), are the Super Mitten pattern from Weekend Knitting. Made in the child's size with 2 strands of Possum Worsted (still working through the Cherry Tree Hill grab bag stash) in Teal and Plum (or is it Eggplant?) on size 10.5 needles. They were a very quick knit and will go into the finished item box for Dulaan. I keep hearing how warm possum is - so Mongolia seems like the place it needs to be.

The two caps - one knitted and one crocheted - are for the
Knitters and Crocheters for Newborns: Caps to the Capital project. Yarn is an Unidentified Stash Dweller, patterns are from their web site, and goodness they are tiny! They want the head circumference to be between 9" and 11" because the caps are going to developing nations where smaller babies are being born. The project is being sponsored in part by Save the Children and Warm Up America, and is a huge undertaking.

Save the Children's "State of the World's Mothers, 2006" report said that one of the things that could lower infant mortality rates around the world was a simple thing like a warm cap to cover an infant's head after it was born. And all you have to do is tell a knitter or a crocheter that somebody somewhere needs warm head gear and the rest is history. I intend to do a few more out of stash yarn before the deadline (which is 1/2/07).

Speaking of URLs - All Info About Knitting has moved to its new home. Check it out
here. There are a few missing images that I know about, but if you see anything else hateful, or have any other constructive criticism, come back here and give me a shout-out please. Some new book and product reviews coming up soon, there is a stack of stuff here that needs to be looked over.

For all of you commenters on the previous post - yes that is Sugar 'n Cream (can't fool you, Trek) , and the editor did indeed choose the middle colorway ( a new one called Over the Rainbow.)

Apparently I have enough attention span for a really long blog post - thanks for sticking with me this far!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Happy swatches!

This is what I crocheted on Sunday night. No, I have not lost my mind and will not be putting all of those colors in the same project, I promise! But I was looking for one bright colorway for a (I'd tell you but then I 'd have to kill you) that I sold to a book coming out next spring, and I decided to make one long swatch instead of a millions small ones. As usual, I wanted one colorway and the editor wanted a different one (she won!), but no big deal. The swatch itself has migrated to the Kid's room where is has become one of several rugs/blankets for the stuffed animal collection. But I thought a bright picture like this would be a happy addition to blog-land.

The other three swatches I had flitting around for review just got rejected, but I am not that upset about it. I sold the first 6 patterns I ever sketched, so it was my turn for the "thanks but no thanks" letter. If those three had sold too, I would have had way too much crocheting to do in a limited amount of time, and while I am thrilled with the sales I still make my living writing so have a bunch of that to do too.

Happily, I got the letter sweater in the mail just in time to greet its owner. And my agent, bless her, has been sending out emails like "I had a baby Saturday night which is why I am slow in responding, but about page 6, paragraph 12, subsection A..." I could barely speak English after I had the Kid, so I am very impressed this woman is actually running her business (even if only for fifteen minutes a day) the same week she gave birth! And thankfully, all of those contract changes have been worked out now, so we just have to sign the paperwork and I have to get writing.

Speaking of writing, the summer publishing lull seems to be over with a vengeance. I had several assignments land in my inbox yesterday (amen!) while I was toodling around The Cloisters with some out-of-town relatives that are visiting. One was from a magazine I have been trying to break into all summer, so I was happy to see it, despite the fact that it is going to be somewhat of a rush job. Thank goodness school for the Kid starts next Tuesday - I can't wait, although she is wishing she never had to go back - it cuts into her social life too much!

Back to work...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Here she is.....Miss America....

Well, at least a bronze reproduction of Bert Parks about to put the crown on someone's head. The Kid had a feis at the Atlantic City Sheraton, which is just chock full of Miss America memorabilia, and has this small statue out front. Needless to say, a trillion be-wigged step dancers (including my own) had their photo taken receiving the crown. And some of the step dancers' dresses rivaled anything Miss America ever wore so far as bling goes.

The Kid turns ten today - wow, how time flies. She had a birthday party yesterday with some of her girls, and half the family blew by at one point or another. A good time was had by all, except perhaps me who was trying to stick various fingers in various holes in the dam, and the dog who was nearly blinded by a Snausage wielding 18 month old. Both of us will recover.

Knitting? What knitting? Still swatching yarn for various crochet projects, and then will have three tops due in mid-September, all of which have to be made from yarn that hasn't arrived yet. I am getting ready to jump the UPS guy!

Off to recover some more, with a little, now furry puppy on my lap...