Wednesday, January 24, 2007

On unwelcome information

Or, why I hate my business planning class for freelancers. Okay, I don't really hate it, but I was cruising along in blissful innocence thinking I was making okay money and things were pretty good. I got a lot done in a day, I had some good clients, got paid on time, life was grand. And then the evil teacher made me actually crunch some numbers and analyze my finanical picture umpteen different ways (which is of course what I am paying him to do, but I digress) and I did it. And now I feel poor and lazy all at the same time. I spend a lot of time doing nothing, and I rely an awful lot on the same few clients to not starve. I needed to know these things. But I didn't really want to, if you get my drift. Anyway...
This is a close up of a WIP for a large yarn company. I love how it is coming out, but it is one of those projects where you keep crocheting and crocheting and crocheting and it doesn't seem like you are getting any closer to finished. And I screwed up and didn't order enough yarn, although they are being very nice about it and sending me more without complaint. I hope to have this baby done early next week.

And here is the lovely and talented BB modeling the 2 needle hat that I don't remember the name of from One Skein Wonders. I like the book, and this worked up very quickly for the Dulaan box in some leftover Lopi. You can't really see it in these photos but there is some very nice detailing in the decreases for the crown.

And speaking of boxes, I know some of you lost sleep after last June's TNNA wondering about the hair on those step dancers in the lobby. Where does it all come from?
The Irish Wig Lady of course! Here are two choices for the Kid's hair style for the rest of the season. Same style, two slightly different colors. We are torn as to which is the better choice so we will let the coach have the tie breaking vote. They came in the mail today, and I will mail back whichever one turns out to be second choice next week.

I can't fool around with this post anymore because for my next homework assignment I am noting how much time I spend each day on different activities. I can't really call this work-related, so I am off!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Third time is the charm

I was having some Blogger issues today, hopefully they are all resolved now.

This is a photo that I like that was cut from the Indiana book. Ah well - there wasn't room for everything. For those of you in Indiana who asked why you couldn't buy it there yet, I know that there are orders shipping, although the only place I know that has it for sure is the Richmond/Wayne County Tourism office in Richmond.

Feel free to go into your local book or gift store and ask them to order it for you. Not that I am hinting or anything....not me....

Driving the National Road in Indiana ISBN 978-1-60145-098-2 by Mary Beth Temple

You can also get it via Amazon.com.

Anyway, on the knitting front - hey did I mention the knitting book manuscript was delivered on time? I did? Oh - never mind then. I made a pretty cool hat out of some Lopi leftovers for Dulaan. Pix as soon as I can get BB to pose. And I am crocheting away on the project that ate the living room for a very large yarn company who shall remain nameless - at least for now. I keep crocheting and crocheting and crocheting, and I don't think I am getting any closer to finished. Thankfully it is a pretty interesting pattern (if I do say so myself) so I am not getting bored.

I started an online class on business planning for freelancers that I am hoping will revolutionize my life. I have three articles to work on - one on antique chairs, one on quilting, and a home tour. I have to get started seriously on the log home book because that is a big project and due in July.

I bought myself a new toy today - a new fax/phone/color copier machine. I got it installed, now all I want to do is play with it and make copies just because I can. My last fax, may it rest in peace, was made in 1996 and had huge toner cartridges that they don't make any more. It creaked and was huge and barely worked, so this new baby is greatly appreciated.

Off to hit publish and hope for the best -

AAAARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!

Blogger is eating my entries.... will try again soon!

Back from the (brain)dead!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Big news from Chez Alpaca

Hey, you guys.

It's 5:00 PM, I am still in my pajamas and I have a crick in my neck from sitting at the computer for the last billion hours and my hair is greasy but you guys? My knitting book? It is finished and on the way to the editor!!!!!

Yes, I know there will be edits...and galleys to proof...and actually a lot more work to do... But for now, don't burst my bubble. That book - that book about knitting is halfway to being a real book now instead of being a bunch of random ideas scribbled on post-it notes. I have written other books and have more yet to write, but THIS book is the KNITTING book, and I have never gotten to do one of those before and I am pretty damned deliriously happy.

And now I am going to go soak in a big bathtub until I feel human again. Which may be tomorrow, but so what? My knitting book went to the editor today...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Cruising right along

Some writing, some knitting, some writing about knitting, clean the bunny cage. That is pretty much what life is like at the moment, and you will hear no complaints from me - that's just how I like it (except for the cleaning the bunny cage part). Here is a quicky scarf I made for Dulaan out of some Cherry Tree Hill Potluck Bulky that I got in one of the grab bags I bought last year around this time. It was bugging me that some of that yarn was still sitting around unused, and I needed some knitting that was a little more portable and required a few less brain cells than the other projects I am working on. This is the single cable scarf pattern from One Skein, knit on size 11 needles because I couldn't find any 10s. I am not exactly sure if this is finished or not. I could block it to be much wider, but then the fabric will be a little bit open so far as keeping out sub zero temperatures goes. I could felt it a bit, but then I worry that it will get too narrow. Or I could just leave it alone - the ribbing in the pattern makes it draw in and while it is still a bit open, the scarf as a whole is thick and cushy and warm. Laziness leads me towards choice 3, but feel free to convince me otherwise in the comments. One of my Christmas presents was Knit 2 Together by Mel Clark and Tracy Ullman. LOVE this book, it has many patterns I want to make, and I have always enjoyed Ullman's sense of humor. The Kid was paging through it shortly after I got it and her little eyes lit up when she saw this pattern - Novella Socks. In the book, these have heels (although no toes) but I am going to just rib the bottom bit a little and they will be leg warmers. Leg warmers, you say? Surely step dancing season hasn't begun again already? Sadly, it has - first feis is this Sunday. The break was fun while it lasted, but here we go again. It won't be as hectic as it was in the fall, thank goodness, because she is not training for any specific big event, just trying to win enough that she can keep moving up the food chain.
Ruffles and bobbles and cables, what's not to like about this pattern?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Caps to the Capital photo

Did any of you guys send to Caps to the Capital? I made a few, and sent almost 20 from my mother who took up knitting again after a more than ten year hiatus just so she could knit these caps. I just saw this photo today and it made me smile, so I wanted to share.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Cleaning up for the new year

Yes, I know the new year was several days ago, but it wasn't my most pressing deadline, so there! First, with a little help from a friend, I decided to clean out the office. The office used to be part of a wrap around porch on this house, but the previous owner enclosed this one section - the room is long and narrow and has lots of windows, which I like. When we bought the house and had it rewired, I had a bunch of electrical outlets run here so I can play with all my tech toys at once. But I tend to clean it out only once or twice a year, or when the path from the doorway to the computer chair gets so difficult to navigate that I need a sherpa.

So in the midst of all of this exciting cleaning, I thought it might be a good idea to get the knitting books out of the office. I don't usually refer to them while I am writing, and maybe I could move those 10 or 12 books and have some more office space. So my friend and I started to pile all the knitting related books and magazines that didn't contain work I had written onto the couch.
It turns out there were more than 10-12 knitting books here. In fact, I would venture to say there were 50-60 books and magazines about knitting and crocheting in here. Surprise! I bought some stackable milk crates and now these fine tomes are resting elsewhere. I may also have to do a Knitty swap soon - there were several that I didn't even remember I owned, which leads me to believe I maybe don't need them.

Here is Cameron T Bunny sniffing out the pile to see if any of these Christmas pressies are for him. Clearly, he wasn't impressed with the salsa for my brother in law.
Yet he did find something under the tree for him - a stylin' new leash with a longer reach and a less constricting collar. He loooooooves his new leash. And since it seems like Florida weather here in scenic northern NJ, he has been out to use it a few times. Yesterday he went to a Girl Scout meeting and helped to teach them about fiber. They didn't care about the fiber (or the way cool drop spindles I made them all out of dowels, cup hooks, and old cds after getting instruction from Shannon Okey in Spin to Knit), but they loved Cammie. He didn't like school so much though - too noisy. He seemed happy to be home when it was over.Note that this photo was taken in late December and the kid is wearing flip flops. Global warming sucks.

I made it to the soapstone meeting in a state of advanced sleep deprivation, but a lot of progress was made. The knitting book is due on 1/15, and I am starting to get the teensiest bit anxious that it isn't finished yet. But it will be, I know it will be.

For those of you who are keeping track of the wide variety of knitting and crochet magazines that are out there, there are now four less. Better Homes and Gardens Simply Creative Crochet, Knit It!, Family Circle Easy Crochet, and Family Circle Easy Knitting all got the axe this week. I had an essay in the upcoming FCEC - I wonder if it will come out? I guess I have to email about that.

Anyway, Happy if somewhat Belated New Year all, and thanks for your continued eyeballs on my pages. It means a lot to me to have you all drop by.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Not dead yet....

But more than halfway buried in book deadlines. I have a meeting on the soapstone book tomorrow, and the first draft of the knitting book is due on 1/15.

I do have some photos to share with you guys, but I am not going to have time to post them until the weekend - sorry!

But for a quick laugh - I belong to a group for magazine writers. Sometimes when one of us needs an expert to interview for a story we ask the group for recommendations. Yesterday, someone asked for a list of fiber experts so I promptly said "I can help you with that, do you need knitters, spinners, crocheters or textile folks?" I was so happy I could help someone out - this group has been a real help to my career in the last year or so. So what kind of expert was she looking for? Dietary fiber - roughage and the like. Oops. I hear fiber, I think merino, but apparently most others hear fiber and think broccoli. Oh well, the woman thanked me very politely for me offer of help, and those of us who are knitters giggled about it privately off-list!

Photos this weekend if I live through tomorrow's meeting. Think writerly thoughts for me you guys.

Happy 2007!