A Trip to Joann Fabrics

Now, that’s always a good thing! Of course the nearest store is a half hour drive down a busy interstate, but that’s what it takes. Today’s trip was to find trimmings to finish some of the projects for the beginner knitting book.

I got FEATHERS! Now, doesn’t that make you wonder a little bit? Then, there are sequins and tassels and pom pom fringe and decorative chain and beads. What a bag of goodies!

I also found this copy of Australian Stitches. I’ve not seen this magazine before. It is a fashion/sewing magazine with the unmistakable look of Australian needlework. There’s even a bonus Cleckheaton knitting pattern.

It seems that there is more and more of a cross current between the US and Australia and some of the needlework coming out of there is just wonderful. I’m always excited to see something new like this.

STILL Making Swatches

And, I should really be done with that by now. But an earlier bit of procrastination has now added a little excitement to my days. Actually, I was mulling the whole thing over – letting my subconscious work on it. Yeah, that’s it.

After spending most of today knitting bits of fabric, measuring them in all their different dimensions and what seemed like hours of fiddling with arithmetic and schematic diagrams, I am finally happy with the idea. Now, part of tomorrow is set aside to actually draft the instructions.

This one is a sweater and is worked in 5 colors of Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash. I’ve not used this yarn before and it is wonderful to work with. It is everything you would look for in a good basic yarn. Easy to work with, good stitch definition, huge color range, 100 % wool and washable too!

It works to about 5 stitches to the inch on size 7 needles. So far, I haven’t found anything not to like about it. We’ll see how it works into an actual project.

A Problem- Made Better by Chocolate and Yarn

I’ve spent a good part of the morning just trying to figure what order to start pulling all the projects and various parts of the book together. That often turns into serious procrastination so, I do what any sane person would do:

Eat some chocolate and do the very easiest thing first.

That usually works to get me going and it did. I started with double checking the abbreviation for the word “inch” to make sure it is consistent throughout. It’s a start and it allowed me to put off dealing with a much more unpleasant problem.

One of the projects has to be reworked. Never a good thing – I goofed with the original pattern measurements and it didn’t felt like as I planned and is absolutely the wrong size and shape. There isn’t enough yarn to make it again and I can’t get that particular yarn quickly. That means I’m off to the store this evening to get more yarn and will have to completely redraft the pattern in addition to the rework. This is why samples are made and instructions tested – to save innocent knitters from this sort of aggravation.

Even with that problem, there’s a bright spot. I get to go buy yarn!

Changes and Phases

I took a little break from working on the books over Christmas. It was nerve wracking to just set everything aside but has proven to be just what I needed. When I returned to it (so very much closer to the early February deadline) it was very clear that the beginner knitting book had moved into the next phase of the process. While that sounds like a simple statement, the division isn’t so clear from the thick of things.

That got me to thinking about the whole process and why it was suddenly in a different mode and why. So, I puzzled out my own structure for what writing a book involves. For me, the process of creating a book divides into roughly three parts (with a lot of overlap):

1.The generative phase where new material is generated. This is where the ideas for projects are thought up, actual designs are created and many, many notes are scribbled. Imagination and creativity are hallmarks of this part.

2. The organizational phase. This is as you would think. All that loose, voluminous and messy material from the first phase is marshaled into a logical and coherent form. Not so easy as it sounds! There is a lot of concrete and analytical thinking going on here.

3. The finishing phase. This is what goes on after the manuscript has been sent to the publisher. There is a tremendous amount of work going into the actual making of the book and questions inevitably come up or more material might be necessary for a spot or two. This phase is highly collaborative and requires commitment and quick thinking.