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Back from a Very Long Trip

Have just returned from a long trip – Florida to California – where I was given the opportunity to attend the craft and hobby industry trade show to help promote my first book Knit & Crochet Combined.

That’s a long way to go away from home for me. I’m very much a homebody but this was too good to pass up. Having just returned home this morning around 1:00 AM, I’m still a little tired and fuzzy so this post will be short. I’ll elaborate on the trip and what I saw and learned in future posts.

To spice things up a bit, I tried to keep a sketch diary of sorts as I traveled. Due to a full schedule, it didn’t get used as often as I would have liked, but I did manage a few things.

To start, I left home at 5:15 AM on Sunday morning to make sure to sit at the gate in our regional airport. The transportation service I used gave me that pickup time which allowed me about an hour to check in and go through security. That all took around 10 minutes so I was in no danger of missing the plane.

With plenty of time to draw, I also got a nice sketch of the carpet patttern at the gate too.

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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.

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Knitting, Crochet and Books in Progress!

It’s been a while, but I’ve talked with my editor (a lovely and gracious woman) at Kalmbach Publishing who also published my first book (see it here) about blogging the development and writing of a book. As long as I don’t use specific material from the books, I can share the process here.

Right now, I am working on two books – one each for new knitters and new crocheters. We’re actually well into it now and are at the pattern drafting stage. That means making swatches, working out the math and then putting it together into a project that works.

This morning, I’ve just finished a swatch with a nice Bam Boo yarn from Classic Elite. It’s really lovely and drapes beautifully. It puts me in mind of nice summer weight things -things that we can actually wear here in Florida! I’ll put that idea on my ever growing list of things to do when the books are done.

One other fabulous thing I stumbled on – the wrist yarn holder by Lacis (here) This is great! It lets me make swatches and other work while standing and walking around. I’m working up to taking it with me on my morning walk.

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A Completed Sweater – Too Little, Too Late

Well, that title just about sums it up. I mentioned starting another sweater for my goddaughter in my last post, and it’s finished. Here’s a peek:

The problem is that the temperature here is in the mid eighties to low nineties now. That is definitely too late! As for the too little part, it’s very likely to be too small by the time cool temperatures roll around in November or so. Even though I made it purposely large, she will have probably outgrown it by then.

Oh well, nothing to do now but move on. That’s what I’ve done with the next little girl project. Because it is warm now, it seemed that a lacy, feminine vest/overdress would be a good choice. Because knitting and crochet have different “personalities,” they lend themselves to different applications. This idea is the basis for my book, Knit & Crochet Combined: Best of Both Worlds.

For this new project, I chose to crochet because I like the look and feel of that technique for this type of garment. It has a substantial hand and nice drape and weight. Using a cotton blend yarn keeps it from being too hot – an important consideration here. Another thing crochet has going for it is that it is faster for me than knitting for a similar size item. Maybe this one will be done in time for her to wear it! Here is a preview:

The bodice is a denser wavy shell stitch while the skirt is a much lacier wave stitch pattern. Since it is meant to be worn over another outfit, the neck and arms are a little more open. The yarn may or may not give out, so I’ll have some decisions to make regarding the front bands and the edgings, if any, when I reach that point.

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The Sweater is Finished!

Well, it seemed to take forever, especially at the end, but I’ve finished the sweater for my Goddaughter. And, just in time to give it to her this weekend! We’ll be seeing her and her parents for a special breakfast at Disney World so I can see if it fits her as well if she likes it. Surely, after all this effort she has got to like it!

Here it is in all it’s finished glory.

The front (forgive the adult size hanger, no small ones on hand):

A detail view of the front:

For the closures, I found some decorative coat hooks and loops at Joann’s while I was looking for grosgrain ribbon to finish the inside band. There is a hidden coat hook at the top neck to keep it looking tidy. The flowers are all attached individually – there are 18 of them – in clusters of three. The embroidery is simple chain stitch with the darker shade of wool that I split down to two ply.

A bit of explanation about that ribbon facing inside. Normally, the cut edges would have been fine the way they were. But, because I had used a thread color that stands out so it would show in the photographs and changed the band treatment from what I had planned, they were unattractive and really needed to be covered. While the ribbon isn’t my favorite thing to have in a sweater, it doesn’t give like knit fabric after all, it is better than the edge that was there and still suits the more coat-like nature of this sweater.

The back:

The little decorative belt is just single crochet with coordinating buttons sewn at either end.

Overall, I am pleased with how it turned out. The color scheme is as I had planned, feminine but not babyish and it has a nice overall decorative effect. Maybe, if I hadn’t already worked on the finishing for so long, I might have done a different type of embroidery on the fronts or, perhaps, more of that same theme. But, she is only two and will outgrow it if I don’t finish it!

Now, the knitting bug is backing off a bit . Embroidery has been calling my name lately! I’ve already started an old fashioned table runner using the very grannyish, but still attractive, Aunt Martha’s transfers and am checking out the Sublime Stitching patterns as well.