Sunday, July 30, 2006

Betwixt and Between

This is about as close to wool as I want to get these days - 96 degree weather stinks!

A shout out to a new member of the blogosphere - Spinneret What this woman does with fiber and a dyepot is unbelievable. We met a million years ago working backstage on some big-ass Broadway musical or another, and have managed to keep in touch over the years of mroe musicals, bad television series and period movies. The story of our last yarn adventure is posted on her brandy new blog - please go read it and tell her hello.

About the title of this post. I try not to go on and on about how wonderful my kid is. Few things in life are more irritating than trying not to let your eyes glaze over in the face of parental hyperbole. But I was watching her Saturday while we were on a recreational mall crawl, and something about the person who she is right now made me smile. Almost-ten is the age when you are trapped between pre-teen madness and real childhood days. So there was my beautiful girl swinging her packages as she walked down aisle at the mall - stuffed teddy bear from Build-A-Bear Workshop in one hand, DKNY sweater that she just couldn't be without for her back-to- school wardrobe in the other. I know the teeter totter is going to permanently land her in big kid land really soon. I just hope she takes the bear with her.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

It's still hot...

the dog is still naked...

I am still buried in swatches...

But I did get an official acceptance for pattern number #1 from the group of patterns I took to the King of Prussia show. A cotton tote bag I designed will be in the July '07 issue of Crochet! (note that the exclamation point is part of the title of the magazine, not an actual exclamation on my part). I have to remake the sample (in a slightly more cost efficient yarn than the jillion dollars worth of handpaint that I used for my own bag), but the yarn will arrive on Friday and the whole deal isn't due until November, so I will have plenty of time to make deadline.

I have been knitting away on the sock yarn leftovers shawl and not much else, but hope that will change over the weekend when I have promised to help the middle sister with her garage sale. That seems like a good opportunity to sit and knit socks, and I have a Trekking pair already on the needles.

I have a story due this Friday, and two due next Tuesday, so I am off to be creative. Or melt, whichever comes first.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The canine glare...

"Yes, I know it is 200 degrees out, but I AM NAKED, DAMN IT!"

I didn't expect Cinderella to come back from the groomer quite this, um, groomed. Someone once told me that how long the dog's hair is doesn't have much to do with how cool the actual dog is. But at least I will be cooler when she wants to sit on my lap because of all of the thunderstorms we are having. She doesn't look happy though, does she?

The yarn fairy came again yesterday (I have a hot Fedex guy - who knew?), and Cinderella thought all these small skeins of yarn were for her to sleep on! I wish I could have gotten a picture, but she moved every time I tried to snap a shot. She seemed quite taken with Cotton Plus in Tangerine, and those skeins are perfectly pillow sized if you are an 8 pound naked dog.

BB is back! Nothing too exciting for her to model, but I was getting a little frazzled the other night with all the pattern-writing, swatch-making, earning-a-living-writing-boring-things, too-much-laundry that was going on here, so I whipped out some possum yarn that I got in the Cherry Tree Hill grab bags at New Year's, and made a quick garter stitch scarf to put into the Dulaan box. That is the teal and the bluestone colorway held double on size 15 needles. I knit until there was no more yarn, and did the crochet cast off. I think it needs something decorative on the ends, but I haven't gotten around to that yet. But BB and I are both delighted that some knitting actually got finished, and that the Dulaan box is no longer empty.

Off to watch the kid ride a horse - it is parents afternoon at day camp.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The yarn fairy came

You know, this having to keep my mouth shut about all the design-y stuff I am doing really sort of sucks. I am not particularly good at keeping my mouth shut to begin with, but I get that it is sort of jinxing things to talk about items or ideas that do not yet have signed contracts. But I don't have to like it :-)

So I will just say this. A Very Large Yarn company has commissioned a crochet design from me. They said they would send me a few skeins of the yarns they want me to swatch with, and mentioned they would throw in a few other things to facilitate my swatching for the magazines I made sales to over the weekend. So the poor UPS guy comes dragging up my front porch today in the zillion degree weather with a large box (18" x 18" x 12") from the Very Large Yarn company, and it is FULL of yarn. Sock weight to polar weight, fuzzy, glitzy, plain, every color in the rainbow, wool, acrylic, cotton. It was like Christmas! The kid is going to go nuts when she gets home from camp- she will have a great time diving in and touching all the goodies. I am expecting a box from a different Very Large Yarn company tomorrow, although I am only expecting one style of yarn (in a bunch of colorways) for a specific project.

I said it before and I am saying it again - writing actual patterns is a lot harder than it looks. I requested a mentor from the Crochet Guild of America and am hoping to be assigned to someone very soon. In the meantime I am slogging along with my pile of magazines and editorial guidelines, and hoping it will all work out in the end.

On the writing front, I finished a magazine article last night so that was a relief. I am still behind on all of the book stuff (especially the soapstone book), but have to make the magazine deadlines first. Two more articles due next week, one is researched, one is not. Two book proposals floating around in purgatory. I suspect neither of them will go to contract until my agent is in labor (although bless her, she promised to check her email and cell phone as soon as she gives birth, just in case!) She isn't really due until the end of the summer, but I don't mind bending the truth for good blog fodder.

Back to checking over my shawl pattern for the third time - I hope I am making it better and not worse!

Monday, July 17, 2006


The joys of the Knit and Crochet Show...

Let me start off by saying that I am completely exhausted. I was there for three days - those of you who did all five must be close to requiring hospitalization. I know this is considered a small show as compared to TNNA or Stitches, but I certainly found plenty to do.

Friday was my first attempt to sell some crochet designs. I am deliriously happy to report that I sold every design I had with me, picked up a commission, and have been asked to submit more as soon as I can do it. Can't go into details until contracts are signed and samples are finished, but I am very excited. VERY excited.

There was shopping -

The pink and purple fuzzy stuff with silver sparkles is for the kid, of course. She didn't attend the show this year as I was trying to accomplish some serious shmoozing as well as shopping (and a little bit of drinking, but I digress), but when presented with a list of choices Saturday night - this is what she went for! She thinks it might want to be a shawl.

Next to that are some additions to the sock yarn stash - Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the bright colorway, and Regia Bamboo beneath it. I was so taken by the idea of bamboo sock yarn that I couldn't resist.

On the right, some hand-dyed merino silk in pinks and grays from Maple Wood Farms. They don't have a web site yet, but believe me, as soon as they do I will put up a link. Their yarns are gorgeous and feel great. Not sure what that wants to be, but after petting it for most of the weekend, I succumbed to temptation and bought it right before the market closed on Sunday.

There were classes - I only got to go to one but it was great. Fully Fashioned and Fabulous with Melissa Leapman. The focus of the class was on different ways to place increases and decreases in your knitted garments for better fit and to add visual interest. I learned a lot, and Melissa Leapman was a wonderful teacher - we got a lot of work done, but she has a great sense of humor so we had a good time too.

Sadly, there was a bit of marinara sauce on my class homework swatches, but that was because I met up with some Knittyheads for lunch and was knitting and eating at Bertolini's at the same time! Greetings to Bina and her friend, and AKknitter - I made my class in the nick of time!

There was a fashion show and a dinner - I didn't get any show photos because I wound up being in the show modelling one of my crochet designs - but look who my dinner date was -

The Crochet Dude himself, Drew Emborsky. I met him about thirty seconds after I got the show on Friday and he was gracious enough to help me track down a few people I was looking for, but had no idea what they looked like. He had a busy weekend too - not only doing business but greeting the claques of blog stalkers that were following him around! Crocheters love them some Dude!

I managed to stagger into the show on Sunday, did a bit of shopping, and fulfilled my volunteer commitment as a time trial judge. As reported elsewhere, there are some wonderful sales on Sunday. Then it was off to pick up the kid at Grandma's and the long trek home.

So it was a great deal of fun, but thankfully it was also very productive - I lined up a lot of work both writing and designing, learned some new techniques, lined up a bunch of new products for my annual holiday gifts for knitters article at the web site, set up interviews with store owners for my Yarn Market News articles, and met some truly amazing people.

Off to write some patterns...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Off to scenic PA

Here is a photo to keep you all amused while I blather on. This fine fellow is an angora goat from the flock at the Adams Family Farm in Vermont. If you happen to be near Wilmington, go visit him and buy some yarn made from him or his alpaca friend Bob. I always wanted to buy yarn called "Bob". What is it made of? Bob. What color is it? Bob...

Off to King of Prussia early tomorrow for my Knit and Crochet Show madness. And of course it is after 11 pm and I am SO not packed, nor ready - not all of my patterns are written out yet. And I should really do my nails. And I just sewed the buttons on the top I planned to wear tomorrow. And did I mention I am now judging the time trials on Sunday? Oh, and while I remembered to buy a blouse to wear tomorrow, I forgot to wash it until just now, and I have to wash all my new clothes before I wear them or I get exceedingly itchy from the fabric finish ( I know, veering dangerously close to TMI). And... and... and...

I did remember to pack the camera though, so I double promise some (relevant) pix when I get back. Really, I swear....

Monday, July 10, 2006

No clever titles today...

So, I finally got my dryer fixed, after two weeks of hanging everything out to dry, listening to the kid complain that the towels were stiff, and ducking the concurrent rain. So right before I take the kid and a neighborhood friend of hers out for lunch, I throw one of the jillion loads of laundry into the washer.

We go shopping, we have lunch, a grand time is had by all.

When I get home two and a half hours later, I wonder why it sounds like the washer is still running. I quickly discover that the washer is NOT still running, but it had walked backwards (I accidentally threw a cotton blanket in with a load of sheets and the load must have become unbalanced, and commited washing machine suicide by slitting its wrist (the cold water hose. So after wading through the 4" of water I shut off the water pipe, and tried to figure out why the sump pump wasn't working. The bed news was, it wasn't plugged in. The good news was - it wasn't plugged in and I could fix that. So Saturday was a day about mopping up, and I didn't get a darn thing done, including the rest of the laundry!

On a brighter note, I am almost ready for the Knit and Crochet Show this weekend. I have decided to act on my designer-wannabe desires, and at the last possible second, entered a shawl I have designed into the fashion show to be held on Saturday night. Which means I really should finish it... and I sort of don't love it yet. But hell, I have a few days, right? And who needs to finish up the paying work?

Hell, I mean dance class starts up again tomorrow night - two nights a week for the rest of July. Darn the kid for being a responsible little dancer and signing up for the summer workshop. Maybe they got the air conditioning fixed and I can finish the shawl!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Where does the time go?

I am up to my neck in forbidden blog fodder! I am designing, but can't post pix because I hope to sell the designs. I have some happy publishing news, but can't talk about it until contracts are signed, which could take a few more months. So it isn't that I don't want to do a blog post, it is that I can't think of anything safe to write about that mightn't bore you to tears.

But here is some good news - over 8,000 items and counting for Dulaan! How cool is that? My little stash of seven went off and I love thinking about them winging their way to where they are needed. Will have to start making more for next year very soon, except it is too stinking hot in my non-central-AC house to me to working with worsted or bulky wools.

Anyone else going to The Knit and Crochet Show next weekend? I can't wait, will be there Friday, Saturday and part of Sunday. Leave me a note in the comments if you will be there, I would love to see some friendly faces in real life.

Off to think up a better post... thanks for sticking around!