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...

Friday, August 25, 2006

What I did on my summer vacation

The letter sweater - finito! Tahki Cotton Classic in six colors, pattern by Joann Turcotte for Plymouth Yarns. I love it and it is perfect for its intended recipient (my lit agent's soon to be born child), but I have to say - OY the finishing! SO MANY ENDS!!!!! I think it took me longer to finish it than to knit it. If I did it again I would knit the back and the two fronts as one piece on a circular needle, then split at the bottom of the armholes.
Rosie Toes wanted to be on the blog, so she mercilously elbowed BB right out of the way... I am sure it would look much cuter on her if her arms were longer than 4" but oh well. BB couldn't have gotten her paws in it in the first place, and we must needs keep peace amongst the bears. The bottom button is a purple F - hard to see, but way cute.

I also got the crocheted bag finished for Crochet! magazine. I just need to pop in the lining, which I couldn't do at the beach without my sewing machine. And I also cast on the Regia Bamboo sock yarn I snagged at King of Prussia. Using a pattern that I can't currently remember the name of from Sensational Knitted Socks. I didn't get too much done as I was going to finish the letter sweater or die trying (agent is due momentarily), and that took forever. But the yarn is a delight to work with, so I am sure I will get back to them soon.

After the umpteen loads of laundry, 9 kajillion emails to answer, contracts to sign, swatches to mail, sketches to scan, cars to unload, dog to pet because she is well and truly pissed off that we went on vacation without her.... Why do any of us go on vacation? The week itself was lovely but planning for it and recovering from it are sheer hell.

Happy tenth birthday to the kid this weekend - party on Sunday (with many relatives and small children dropping by - yikes!), actual birthday on Monday. I am sure hilarity will ensue, should I live through the weekend.

I wish I were back at the beach...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Greetings from Bella

This is Bella. Bella scares me. Why? Because she is a great big horse that is ridden by my bitty little daughter. I try not to think about Christopher Reeves, or that if she goes splat off the back of this beast she could break something important.

A few weeks ago, the camp called to tell me that a different horse had stepped on the kid's foot. When I expressed dismay (it is feis season and I had just paid a jillion dollars for summer dance classes) they said indignantly "It was just a little horse". As if a horse wasn't still going to squish her little foot like a bug because it was 800 pounds instead of 1000 pounds. Thankfully she had her boots on (like she was supposed to) and her big toe swelled up a whole lot, but didn't break. And she can get her dance shoes on again now....but still...

So this is Bella. I went to meet her last week hoping I would be less nervous about the whole riding thing if I met her allegedly angelic self. It didn't work. She is beautiful, she is well behaved, she likes my kid a whole lot, and she still scares me.

Other than that - I am off tomorrow on vacation. So there won't be any blog posts for a week. But at least this time it won't be because I forgot, it will be because I am staying in the beach hotel that time forgot. I don't think it has been remodeled since the 1960s, but we like it there, and it is affordable (and has a pool). The kid has a feis on Sunday in scenic Atlantic City. I will try to remember to take a photo of the bronze statue of Bert Parks (I do not lie, it is there in all its cheesy glory). I can't be bothered deciding what clothes we need to pack, but I have been thinking all day about what yarn should go. I am thinking the bamboo sock yarn that has been calling my name since I bought it, and the letter sweater to finish, and some crochet swatches that need to be done....... who needs clothes or sunscreen?

See you next week...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Vulcans Never Bluff...


The wee letter sweater is coming right along, although I discovered to my chagrin that I hadn't made the neckband decreases evenly on the two fronts, so had to frog one and re-knit it to make them match. All that's left is the seaming and the button bands. Baby's due date is not for three weeks so I may just make it.



The kid and I went to visit middle sister in Delaware this weekend. There was a feis on Sunday for the kid so that day was shot, but on Saturday they planned to have some auntie/neice bonding time. I had a small mountain of crochet swatches due today, so I bid them farewell and settled myself in front of the tv with a pile of yarn, my sketch book, an icy cold seltzer, and the remote. I was looking for something to keep me amused while at the same time not require enough attention that my crocheting would slow down, when low and behold I found a Star Trek marathon. The original series, not any of the spin-offs. I was so tickled - I had gone through a phase in college when I watched the re-runs all the time, but haven't sat through an entire episode since then.

I got to hear all the oldies but goodies - "Scottie, we need more power!", "Jim, I'm a doctor, not a geologist!" (or fill in the blank with the profession of your choice), but the thing that made me crack up was Leonard Nimoy with suitable gravitas intoning to the overwrought Commodore that was trying to take over the bridge of the Enterprise "Vulcans never bluff." I don't know why that made me laugh so hard, but it did. Nothing like laughing out loud like an idiot at a tv show when you are alone in the room.

The kid did not have a good day in dance-land so no trophies there, but she did cop a first place in the art category, and she was quite pleased about that. She is going to stay with the family until Wednesday while I frantically try and get some writing done and some projects organized. Just sent off all the swatches so it's back to log homes and soapstone for me.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Whew!

I can't believe I haven't blogged in a week - it has been hectic to say the least.
The bad news = no pix today. The good news? Keep reading...

Last Sunday, the kid had a feis. She took one third place trophy in hornpipe, but was disappointed she didn't place higher in anything else. But she has another event this weekend and next weekend, so here's hoping.

Tuesday we hit the New Jersey State Fair where I had a lovely birthday dinner of a corndog washed down by a root beer float. Diet? What diet? I am glossing over the whole 'being a year older' part of the birthday and basking in the greasy glow of fair food instead.

Finished up some interviews for a log home article, delivered some photos for a home tour piece, la la la piddling around not getting much done then BAM - hammered with good news that will shortly turn into monster deadline pressure.

I am delighted to report that my knitting book, titled (this week - it keeps changing) Knitting is Better Than Therapy, has been purchased by Andrews McMeel. They intend to release it in the fall of '07, which means I had better hustle my butt and actually write the rest of the thing. Being funny under deadline pressure - Hmmmmmm maybe not as easy as it looked when I said "Of course I can finish it by January!" But I am so happy about this - can't wipe the smile off my face.

More scary good news? DRG emailed and said they would like to purchase two more of my crochet designs for an upcoming book. Oh, and could I have them ready in September? Great, but did I know I have to sub out the yarns? Hmmmmmmm again - now I can't use anything I swatched and have to start over with yarn selection - darn. Luckily they want the samples in sizes small and medium so maybe it won't take me as long as I think it might.

It is going to be a very busy fall at Chez Alpaca Addict - wish me luck!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Heat =bad, Knitting Cotton Baby Things = good


This is about the only productive thing I have gotten done in the last 48 hours.

It is the back of a baby cardigan, done in Cotton Classic in six bright colors. It is going to have buttons in the first six letters of the alphabet, which considering this is a gift for my literary agent, I think is pretty darn clever.

Sadly, I don't want to do anything else. I just want to sit in from of the air conditioner, watch reruns of Ballykissangel (I am up to series four - does anyone else like this late 90s BBC show or am I the only knitter on the planet who was addicted?), and knit this little bitty sweater.

Yes, I know weaving in 900 cotton ends will be a pain in the rear, but I couldn't resist the pattern - it is so instant gratification! It's little, and you change colors every 8 rows - who could get bored? And those of you with sharp eyes who were at King of Prussia might recognize the green and yellow as leftovers from The Daisy Shawl, so I am being thrifty too!

I am pretty sure my agent does not read the blog, but if you are browsing, Kate - Surprise! She doesn't live in the same state as me anyway so will be getting the competed sweater via mail, thus saving her having to look surprised (or even pleased if it comes to that) if she isn't.

Instead of having a race between the sweater and the birth, like The Yarn Harlot does, we are having a race between the completed negotiations for the contract for my next book and the birth. I am really hoping that the book contract is finished first, but who knows what will happen? Baby Agent will come whenever Baby Agent is ready, and we all know publishing slows down in the summer.

I am also working on the sample for the crocheted bag that will be in Crochet! magazine next summer. It isn't due until November, but a more experienced and much wiser designer gave me this little tip via email this week - Murphy's Law for Designers says that it doesn't really matter when you submit the designs for review - if they are sold they will still all wind up being due at about the same time. So her point was that the best thing I could do since this piece is definitely sold is to get the sample done and the pattern edited and get it off of my desk and on to someone else's pronto. I bow to her wisdom.

I want to go watch Disc 2 of Season 4 - so I am off...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

It's exhausting growing hair...

Just ask Cinderella - who is shown here in all her ladylike glory.

Can you stand one more bloggy paragraph about how stinking hot it is? I thought not, so I will try and restrain myself.

I did manage to get a 1200 word article delivered today, which will make the editor happy because it was a little...um...late. Also color corrected the photos to go with the story and submitted a crochet design which was also a little...um...late.

Now I am planning to go lay in the bathtub until tomorrow night when the weather is supposed to break. I may be pruney (and perhaps a bit hungry), but I won't be sweating either.

Stay cool, all.