Cruise + winner of the survey

(Funny if you read the last post’s title before this, eh? because where we’re going is a cruise…)

Special thanks to the magical robots at random.org, who chose #287, aka Dawn, as our survey contest winner. I double-checked, she’s on the mailing list, and so she’s won the full $100 and not half! Congrats to Dawn and thank you to ALL of you for sharing your opinions, because it really does make a difference in what happens next. I discovered some of the things I thought weren’t so important are, and also the reverse, so I will be changing up some of the reboot plans thanks to your input.

Now, on to some really fun news!

Join me + CP authors Kate Atherley and Anna Dalvi for 7 days in the Caribbean next January. The all-inclusive price includes 3 whole days of knitting classes, too. If you click the image below, it will open up an email to Linda of Viva Spain Travel, who is organizing the travel arrangements for our cruise, or you can just mail her yourself at vivaspaintravel@gmail.com

I know at least one LYS owner who’s indicated she wants to go, as well as alumnae from our cruise a few years ago when I was teaching for Debbie Stoller. It’s going to be a BLAST. I promise:

1. Not to sing “I’m On A Boat” TOO many times, but to refer to all footwear as “flippy floppies” no matter what
2. To do my hilarious Leonardo DiCaprio-in-Titanic “King of the World” impersonation and
3. If on a smaller boat, I will pretend we are in the Duran Duran video “Rio” for your amusement.

We need to have some headcounts in by July, so if you’re at all interested, talk to Linda soon!

Where do we go from here?

(If you are a Buffy nerd you just heard this in your head, didn’t you?)

I have been having an internal struggle about what to do with the blog during its planned renovation this year. As part of a larger transformation (improving pattern layouts and instructions, doing some re-branding for the Knitgrrl patterns and getting new ones released that have been hung up during the transition), I need to decide just what happens HERE going forward.

See, way back in 2002 when I first started the knitblog, there weren’t many blogs period, let alone knitting ones. (First entry. Feel free to laugh). There was no Ravelry, no Facebook, no Twitter, no YouTube, no Instagram, no social media as we know it now. Two years after that first blog post I was sitting on a 2-book contract for the Knitgrrl books. Ten years after that post and I’m running my own knit publishing company with 20-ish available titles, not even counting the 12+ I’d written myself.

My head is spinning just thinking about it!

There are thousands of subscribers to my mailing list, which is often neglected because I don’t like sending out emails without a point. (Oh hi, beloved mailing listers! I am going to mail you about this, though!), and I know from the stats how many of you read the blog, so it’s not like I’m just going to abandon it.

Instead, I want to ask you what you want. What you need. How I can make this a more helpful and better destination for you. And so I’m doing a survey… one where you can win up to $100!

Go here and tell me what you want, what you really really want.

(First Whedon, then the Spice Girls? What is this world coming to, anyway?)

Bunnies + Seattle, Portland, Atlanta

Happy Easter, everyone! (And hurray for Passover, because I got candy for that, too — let’s hear it for having friends of all holiday candy persuasions!)

It’s been a while. Oh hi. Since last I posted Google Reader shut down…hopefully you’ve found a replacement if you were following the blog via feedreader.

Usual excuses apply: I’ve been traveling like crazy (back to back Vogue Knitting Live in NYC, the O’Reilly Tools of Change publishing conference and Stitches West). This isn’t changing any time soon. This week I head out to Seattle for another Vogue Knitting Live, then to Portland for a trunk show at Pearl Fiber Arts, and immediately down to Atlanta for Stitches South.

At VKL Cooperative Press has its own booth, at Stitches South we are sharing with our dear friends from Cephalopod Yarns. Cephalopod + me = hijinks. If you saw that photo of Batman in our booth at VKL NYC? Yup. Our doing. I doubt there are superheroes for hire outside the hotel in Atlanta though hope springs eternal.

In Purely Crazy News: remember Maize? The sweater I oh so optimistically prereleased for ordering before the tech editing was done? And then I BROKE about five tech editors on it? Whew. I am SO GLAD to report that it is done for real now, and we’re doing all new photos for it because the tech editor who finally bent it to her will (Andi! Yay!) knit a new sample as she worked it out.

Halleluia.

So I’ve dispatched it off for photos and that’ll be out soon.

Meanwhile in my personal bat-cave, I have a resolution for 2013. I’ve been intending to a. revive my own pattern line, which has taken a real backseat to Cooperative Press work and b. publish more of my own work at CP.

On b, not necessarily pattern books. I really want to finish up the book version of the Get Published class I teach online. As part of that, I will be teaching another edition of the class online this spring. See knitgrrl.ning.com, we’ve got a thread going where you can indicate interest.

I wonder, though, if there would be any interest in doing a live bootcamp version of the class here in Cleveland (or elsewhere). Maybe around TNNA? Give a shout in the comments with your thoughts on that. If you’re a designer planning on attending TNNA already…

Other stuff: I have another big project underway that’s software-related. It’s taking up a lot of my spare thought cycles but it’s going to be very, very worth it. An amazing team of collaborators is falling into place behind the scenes, which is so exciting. Tiring. Exhausting. But exciting!

Hopefully, then, you can forgive my extended blog-absence. It’s a miracle if I’m home and making dinner before 8:00 on more nights than I would care to count, and sometimes I just want to run away and join the circus…but I persevere.

I like iPads, don’t you? Want a Mini?

We’re doing a big contest over at Cooperative Press. Here’s the info. It’s tough to get attention when you don’t have a kazillion dollars for ads, so you do what you have to in order to gather up the social media eyeballs and “meet” new people who haven’t already heard of you.

I spent a lot of time over the holidays recovering from a particularly vicious cold + sinus infection combo that took away part of my hearing for the better part of 2 weeks, and while knitting (something I also haven’t been able to do much of given the CP workload lately) — knitting a new green copy of my pattern Jasper, in fact — this is what I dreamed up. Hope you’ll enter, and that you’ll help us spread the word about CP.

(If I’m going to work myself sick, I might as well know it’s getting results, eh? She said, grumpily, wishing for more coffee).

HAPPIER TOPICS!

Let’s talk about happier things, ok?

One. That photo above. I was still extremely ill but we managed a pretty amazing photoshoot for my new book Sailor’s Valentine. I love Maine.

Two. See you at Vogue Knitting Live in NYC next week? We’re sharing a booth with our friends Cephalopod Yarns so please come say hi.

Three. Teaching AND a booth at Stitches West next month. BRAND NEW CLASS: Designer 101 bootcamp! And for the first time, Get Published sold out before Sweater Map…so, yay! That pleases me.

Four. Maize, aka the Sweater That Broke Multiple Tech Editors, is almost completely edited (and was reknitted in the process, too), which means the book it’s going to be in can finally proceed…I cannot tell you the size of the sigh of relief that’s going to come out of me then.

Basically, same stuff, different day, except with much more irritating deadlines this month, seeing how it’s a royalty-check month for CP authors AND I have to prep all the business taxes. Stuff that cannot be put to the side, in other words… hope you are all having a much more exciting new year! Here’s to 2013!

New interview in Yarnwise

I’m excited to see the new issue of Yarnwise with my interview is out now (AND available for download to iPad, etc which I am doing right now because it would be a little crazy to run to the bookstore on Christmas Eve). Thank you, dear Lou, for thinking of me and doing such a lovely interview!

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In related news, I’m finally allowed to announce my secret news from October — I’ve been chosen one of Cleveland Magazine’s Most Interesting People for 2013. I even have a coffee mug to prove it. 😉 (photo TK when I’m back in the office)

Link to the article online.

Happy holidays, everyone. I’m taking a rare handful of days off (we celebrated our first wedding anniversary by staying home and watching bad movies…), and loving it! See you in the new year.

NaKniSweMo and so much going on!

How goes it, NaKniSweMo knitters? Reading the discussions over on Ravelry, it looks like a LOT of people are making great progress. Yay! I almost feel caught up from my MONTH OF MADNESS, aka October. Almost. You can see a lot of pictures from my month on the road over at Instagram — when I have some extra time, I’ll pull out and post a few.

“Caught up,” and yet now the holidays are upon us — I’ve finally gotten my fondest wish, which is having all the parents to our house instead of running around to multiple houses. This also means no fake butter in the potatoes (sorry, mother in law dearest, eating an insane quantity of mashed potatoes with stuffing on top of them is the highlight of my day, and fake butter will not cut it), an unlimited supply of Cranberry Sauce As It Should Be Made and an heirloom turkey from our CSA instead of some grocery store icebomb. Gosh. I’m getting hungry already just thinking about it.

Ok! Knitterly stuff to share. I promised Jill Draper this picture, and here it finally is. I got a sweater-sized skein of her spectacular Empire yarn at Vogue Knitting Live in January, knit the fastest sweater ever and then promptly forgot to take a photo for many months.

I’m pulling it down in the picture because I haven’t put buttons on it yet and long story short, it flies open when I’m wearing it now if I don’t clip it closed (see: hair clip at the top). Design flaw on my part, but the yarn is dreeeeeamy to knit with and knits up super-fast. I love it. LOVE. This color she’s got now is super more gorgeous in person, I was petting it at VKL Chicago…and I kinda want to combine it with this one, since I’m on an Ann Weaver grellowy kick right now.

SPEAK OF THE DEVIL i mean angel i love you ann SHE HAS A NEW BOOK! And The Line, from said book, is enough to convert you to all things grellow if you are not already a fan.

Other cool stuff… I wanted to point out some online classes at Craftsy by my friends that I think are great:

and for not only the knitters, but also the crafters/people who sell on Etsy/etc, our beloved Caro Sheridan’s Online Product Photography class.

Hmm, what else? I’ll be at Indie Knit and Spin in Pittsburgh this weekend selling stuff, so if you’re nearby, c’mon down!

NAKNISWEMO 2012: The NaKniSweMo-ing.

Ana (aka sugaroni) has made some FABULOUS new Ravatars for this year — grab them here.

Discuss what you’re knitting here.

Want to offer up a prize for this year’s successful finishers? Do that here.

And for those of you who haven’t played along in previous years, here’s what you need to know:

How it works with NaNoWriMo: write a 50,000-word novel in a month. As they say on that page: “This is not as scary as it sounds.”

How it works with NaKniSweMo: knit a 50,000-stitch sweater in a month. Just about any full size sweater will meet this criteria! If you divide your chosen sweater pattern’s rows or rounds by 30, you’ll have an idea of how many rows you need to knit each day to make it. Yes, the stitch count thing is crazy, but I think I can say with confidence that most sweaters out there are at least that, or more. We’ve been doing this for YEARS on Knitgrrl since I first thought it up, but our current HQ is the group over on Ravelry, so meet us there.

Mmm, wooooool.

I’m incredibly pleased to get the chance to talk about a new book by Sue Blacker that I really, really like. Pure Wool: A Knitter’s Guide to Using Single-Breed Yarns is the sort of book you’ll love if you liked Clara Parkes’ The Knitters’ Book of Wool or Deb Robson’s The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook: More Than 200 Fibers, from Animal to Spun Yarn. (The book is available used on Amazon US right now and new via Amazon UK, though hopefully that will change shortly for US readers! The US publisher, Stackpole, also offers it for sale directly on their page here.)

Sue herself farms Gotland sheep, as seen in the photo below, and as she explains in the introduction, not only is wool a natural fiber with many qualities to recommend it (we knitters already know that!) but it is ecological and even…entertaining?

She tells the story of her very clever sheep who spent 30 minutes trying to break into the chicken house to get at their grain — if you’ve ever watched sheep for a long enough time, you know that this is not even one bit unlikely. They’re as food-driven as my dachshund! It’s the sort of delightful anecdote that makes this book such a joy to read.

Every breed addressed in the book includes information about its history, breed societies and other places you can find more information, fiber qualities (including a yarn user’s guide with information on what that breed’s yarn is particularly good for, knitting-wise), and then patterns by a variety of designers. I’m a big fan of Sue’s own Hebridean Handbag (page 70), and not just because I’m a sucker for the color “sheep black”!

So jump for joy like the sheep below and get your hooves…I mean hands…on a copy of this ASAP! You’ll be glad that you did. (And on a not-terribly-related note, but as something of interest to me and CP recently, I was excited to see that this book was printed on matte paper instead of glossy, it’s more environmentally friendly and in my opinion, easier to use when you want to commit the lazy sin of writing all over a pattern to keep track of where you are without making a fresh working copy on the photocopier!)

The next stop on the blog tour is with my friend Dee over at Posh Yarn. Head over there

Guest post: Rohn Strong

Rohn Strong, author of The Heritage Collection: WWI & WWII is our guest on the blog today! I first met Rohn when he pitched another idea to me for Cooperative Press, but I was really excited about this project he’s doing and I hope you will be, too. As some of you might know, I’m an ex-history-grad student, so I nerd out about anything history-related! Here Rohn is talking about his book, and the influences behind it…

“History is a curious thing. It is not solid, like a rock. History is more like a shape-shifting cloud or a shimmering rainbow that you can’t quite find, ever searching for the promised pot of gold at its source.”
-Donna Druchunas

That quote, by my good friend and amazing editor, Donna Druchunas begins a journey through time. To a time where knitting changed the world, aided a country at war, and eased the minds of those on the home front. To a time where knitting was not a hobby but more of a military trade. To a time where knitting saved lives.

In my new book, The Heritage Collection WWI & WWII, you will be transported back nearly 100 years to the start of WWI. A time where the world was falling apart. A time where knitters and crocheters picked up needles and hooks to help save a nation. Through projects and essays you are able to see a glimpse of life, through the eyes of home front heroes.

From coast to coast, every knitter was asked to pick up their needles and wool and begin knitting for our boys. My Great-Great-Grandmother was one of those women. Her name was Clara Ann Dalton.

Shortly after leaving her life of a Shaker, Granma (as I refer to her), married Grandad Lloyd in 1912. Not out of love but more out of convenience. Granma was not interested in love, but more companionship. Her life up to that point had been nothing but her and God, and she was going to remain married to God.

It was not until Grandad was called off to war that Granma felt the sting of war. Living in rural Montana at the time with a child on each hip made the pain that much worse. However to cope, she did what so many others were doing, and began to knit.

Her love of knitting pulsed through her veins; she cranked out socks, one pair after another.

Granma’s preferred method? Double knitting, or as she called them…Magic Socks. She would cast on two sets of stitches and knit a tube, a ribbed heel and garter stitch toe provided stability and comfort. She knit for her husband, who was in turn fighting for her. Women across the country were in the same position as Granma. Their needles clicking ferociously, interlacing yarn into lifesaving garments.

I never really understood the weight knitting played in the war effort. My Granma is just one example of millions of women who worked tirelessly to help warm every soldier. We must never forget these knitters. Never.

Purchase The Heritage Collection: WWI & WWII on Amazon or Ravelry today. Or visit Strong and Stone for more details!

Not dead, just busy…

My mother has been suitably appalled with me over the past week. I’ll call to check in on my dad, who fell off a ladder at work last month and has not been having a very fun recovery (dizziness is no one’s friend), and she’ll say “what are YOU doing?” “going home to make dinner…” — then realize the reason she’s making that Very Momlike gasp of air noise is shock. “But it’s 8:30. You’re still at the studio?” “Yup.” And then I sometimes get an “awww” noise. Gotta love moms, right?

But there’s been so much going on! We’ve got a handful of new books going to the printer in time for Stitches East, Rhinebeck and Vogue Knitting Live next month! And this is on top of everything else!

For example… today, on the Twist Collective blog, there is a post about my Budapest Market socks and color. I think it will shock no one to learn I am a sucker for the color green, particularly the chartreuse-y ones.

What else have I been doing in my copious amounts of free time? Oh, you know. Just launching a new knitting magazine. The first official issue of Knit Edge went live last Friday. Note to crocheters: there is (and will continue to be) crochet content, too!

At home I’ve been doing what I call a “destashing” — or what any sane person would call “getting rid of TOO MUCH STUFF.” I’ve only just gotten started and already there are three enormous boxes of clothes to go. Just wait for the book culling…it’s going to be ruthless.

I’ve hit that point where too much Stuff is just annoying, and anyway, I made a deal with myself that if I did this, brutally, I could hire a cleaner. The very day I made this mental deal with myself, I walked into the kitchen and found a cleaning service’s card on our fridge. “Umm, honey? Where’d this come from?” He found it on our car when he was at the gym. Talk about a sign! I have always had this weird guilt about hiring someone to clean (though I am more than happy to take my mom’s help, let me tell you!). It’s come to the point where I just have to get the heck over that and do it. I think we’ll all be better off.

(As an aside, this is part of the reason I can’t really work at home anymore. I hate the temptation of being able to sneak off and do the laundry or dishes when I have other things that need to be done! Please tell me I’m not alone on this.)

It’s actually chilly chilly outside just now. I might get to wear a Real (read: wool) sweater today. Yay! September and October, my two favorite weather months!