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I wasn't born with wings, so I'm trying to make my own
Sunday, October 26, 2008  

Gee, only 3 1/2 months since my last post instead of 4. I'm getting better ;-)

I can't believe how fast this year has been flying. And man, has it been a rough one. Oh, well--at least I'm getting in one post each season. So, here's the fall update.

First, the REALLY BIG news: I'm on Amazon!!!!! Squee!

There it is--my book. Woot! You'd think all the work I've put in so far would make this "real" for me, but this makes it WAY more real. People can actually pre-order my book. Someone might actually buy my book! Someone might actually read it! Eep! I'm so excited! And terrified! I can't believe I'm lucky enough to be doing this. My part isn't completely done, but I have met all my major deadlines and right now the book is in my editor's hands. She's going to be giving it back to me at an unknown future date for another major chunk of work, but for now I'm having a nice break. It's been so relaxing to have a few weeks free from 1) writing and 2) guilt for not writing. My editorial director is already bringing up a second book, which is, of course, fabulous, but also overwhelming. I want to finish this first one before I even think of another one! Now I really understand that love/hate relationship writers describe with their books. It's a wonderful opportunity and experience; it's also the hardest thing I've ever done.

And speaking of writing, I also had another exciting writing experience: Have you seen the new and improved Spindlicity? Isn't it great?!? I'm proud to have played a (very) small part in it. Here's my article. It's my first published writing! Hopefully they liked it enough to let me join in the fun again. We'll see!

Well, that's the writing news. Next up: the fiber news. I'll be back soon with that. Really. I mean it. Seriously.

Sunday, July 13, 2008  

It's hard to know how to start a blog entry after being MIA for over 4 months. Um... hi?

Life has loosened up its strangle hold in the last couple of weeks to the point where I felt able to blog, but then the thought of how to write up the last 4 months overwhelmed me. So, I'm not going to try to cram it all into one post. And, unfortunately, knowing my track record, I may never get around to getting it all out. Strike that. Some of it is too personal, to me and others, to be fit for the blog. So I definitely won't get it all out here. But I'm going to at least start with some of the bigger parts and with the good stuff.

The last four months have contained some of the most difficult, but also rewarding, times of my life (so far). There's been a lot of work, between my actual job and working on the book. I've worked harder on this book than I've ever worked on anything in my entire life. My projects were all due in on June 30th and I am very proud to say that I did meet my deadline, and I'm very proud of what I made. The 28th and 29th were two of the most intense, miserable days of my life as I worked until my eyes crossed and worried myself sick over whether or not I was "good enough" to do this, but I did it. I am so happy and relieved that that part of the process is over. What a weight off my shoulders! I can't wait to see what you think of the projects once the book is FINALLY out (slated for June 2009). Oh, and I have a book title, now! It's going to be Spin, Dye, Stitch and I'm happy with the title. I also have a cover, but I can't share that just yet. I promise to show it off as soon as I can!

I don't know that I've ever completely spelled out the details of what exactly it is I'm doing, so here it is: Spin, Dye, Stitch is going to outline the basics of spinning on a spindle or wheel, how to dye fiber before spinning or yarn after spinning, and will include 10 projects that are forgiving of beginner's lumps and bumps, to different extents. Some projects are perfectly suited to that first wild and crazy lumpy bumpy stuff and others are for a little later in the spinning journey. There's also one more feature to the book, but I'm saving that announcement. I think it's pretty exciting and I'll be talking about it here before the end of the month, so make sure to come back and visit!

Okay, enough plugging my book.

The biggest announcement I have is that Mark and I got engaged last month. We'll be celebrating our 12 year anniversary next month (yes, really. We started dating when I was 16), so this is quite a surprise to many people, and with good reason. I've never made it a secret that I wasn't planning on getting married, to Mark or anyone else. I've always planned on being partners with Mark and spending our lives together, but marriage was not something that was in my plans. It was always something Mark hoped for, but he was always happy to be with me, even if it meant not being married.

Unfortunately, during the past 4 months, there was a major crisis in my family. Through it all, Mark was there for me in ways I never imagined another person could be. He is and always has been an amazing partner, but that fact was really brought home during that difficult time. It was a huge paradigm shift for me, but a few different factors, including what we went through, made me want to "make it official." I want to stand up with him and formally make the commitment that this is for life, that he is my family, my partner. It's hard to explain how things have changed without totally explaining how they were in the first place, and that's too personal for the internet. Since he knew (or thought he knew) how I felt about marriage, he was not going to be asking me, so I took matters into my own hands and asked him. And yes, I did get down on one knee (not one person has found out that I asked without needing to know this). Since I was the one who asked, and we're not being very traditional about any of this, I wasn't thinking of a ring, but Mark insisted, so we went out together and picked out a very sweet little ring. We're making plans to elope to Jamaica in January. I'm thrilled and excited. I can't wait to be married to this man.

And speaking of Mark, in the last 4 months he stared and finished his first semester of culinary school and scored straight A's! I'm so proud of him. He is so committed to this. He's deep into the second semester and well on his way to keeping up that 4.0 GPA. Next semester he FINALLY gets to start the actual cooking classes--his first semester will be on yeast breads, quick breads and waffles. I'm going to make him pratice a lot for his final exam ;-)

Finally, I'll wrap it up with some fiber content (this is supposed to be a fibery blog, after all). Working on the book has not kept me from pursuing some extracurricular activities. As promised, I've been carding up a storm on the drum carder I got for my birthday, and I'm loving every minute of it. I bought myself a sampler of half-ounce pieces of different colors of merino and I've been having fun playing with different color combinations. I've had about enough play and I'm ready to start carding with "the good stuff" but I'll have to do a lot of dyeing first to establish a good palette that I can just pull from, instead of having to dye first every time I want to card. Here's what I've come up with recently:

Not all of these show their true colors (ha! a pun!). For instance the bottom left is the most beautiful (unphotographable) shade of blue/aqua/turquoise and contains streaks of lots of "hot" colors--oranges, reds, pinks--but those are buried in between the layers and you only see the tiniest hints here. I'm so excited to spin these! Each is a half-ounce or a little more, just enough for a delicate lace scarf, or, if plied with something else, a small triangle shawl, a la Swallowtail.

I also started up a new shawl with some handspun that's been marinating in the stash awhile. I had planned to make a stole with this using the ostrich plume stitch pattern, but stoles aren't my best look, so I converted the plan into a top-down triangle shawl using the same stitch pattern. I'm very happy with how it's turning out so far. Plus it's been a relaxing knit that I really needed to get me through the book projects. The top was dyed by the Silk Worker and she did a gorgeous job. It's so easy to make her stuff look good!

These pictures were taken with half of the shawl on blocking wires, so you're only seeing half of what is done here. It's about 32" across the shoulders right now and 16" down the spine. I have a LONG way to go before this is done. It's 433 stitches per row right now, and it will probably be around 750-800 stitches per row by the time I finish. I love this pattern, though: it's easy to memorize and knit and give such beautiful results. I'd say I hope to have it done in time for the wedding, but I think even this lightweight shawl will be too much in Jamaica. I'll just have to make sure I have something else special to wear it to. Maybe my first book signing?

Sunday, March 09, 2008  

Hey, what do you know, I'm still alive and kicking. It's been quite awhile, but I promise I am still around. There a few reasons I haven't been posting. First, part of my new work responsibilities include blogging on a new craft community website my company is starting. That is taking up just about all of my creative writing ability and energy. I'm in charge of the quilting blog for the site, which is a bit challenging as I haven't quilted in over five years. However, it's good to get back into that world because 1. I love quilting and 2. I'll be editing quilting books, so it's good to increase my knowledge again.

Second, life has completely kicked my butt over the last month, and I haven't been able to write a blog post without totally excessive whining. I'm even getting tired of listening to myself. My problems are so ridiculously first world that they're embarrassing to write about, but they are still my problems, and this has been (subjectively) a very rough month. Work is crazy, but the problem is more that I am crazy and can't help taking all the crap home with me in my head. The qualities that make me good at my job (crazy anal perfectionism) make me suck at life sometimes. Now is one of those times. Really, though, the only reason I'm able to write about it now is that it's getting a little better and I don't feel like I'm teetering at the edge of an abyss. I swear that one of these days I'll learn how to not be quite so crazy. That, or one day you'll hear on the news what a nice, quiet girl everyone thought I was until...

Anyway, just because I haven't been blogging doesn't mean I haven't been busy. I've actually been quite productive. I finally finished up Ice Queen. I tore out the unfinished picot cast off and used a plain cast off, which I ended up having plenty of yarn for. This is not the sharpest picture, but it's the best one I have on my laptop, so it will have to do for now. Mark was the photographer and he had me hamming it up for the camera.

I also started and finished a fun, cute little scarf in Colinette Isis. I saw this worked up into a seed stitch scarf in my lys, and I just loved the look of it. However, as much as I adore the look of seed stitch, it drives me crazy to knit it. So, this yarn marinated in the stash for a long time. I finally broke down and started the scarf and was very surprised to find that I LOVED knitting it. It was the perfect totally brainless project after a long day at work. It was just 17 sts per row, so each row was super quick, I loved watching the colors change and it went so quickly. I loved working on this. And now I have a scarf I love, too. Again, a crappy picture, but you get the idea. I looked so terrible in this picture that it required a little editing. You really don't need to see me all pale, tired and puffy, believe me.
And that's not all! I'm also working on a pair of socks for my mom's Easter basket. These are a great retina-scorching colorway in my usual 2x2 rib formula and they make me think of the Caribbean. I could use a big dose of sandy beaches right now, but these socks are about as close as I'm going to get. I think they're a great colorway for an early Easter, when it seems like spring may never arrive (the 12 inches of snow we got on Friday and Saturday didn't help me feel any more positive about the arrival of spring, either!)

Besides those projects, I've also been spinning yarn and planning projects for my book. My latest project attempt did not go well and I had to scrap my original idea (along with SEVERAL alternative attempts... grrr). I have a new idea though, so now I have to spin for that. My first deadline is starting to feel quite close, though (even though I do have awhile still), so I need to get a move on.

I've also continued working in my craft room/studio, cleaning, sorting and organizing my overwhelming amount of STUFF. It's looking good, and what's more, it FEELS good to have a better idea of what I have and feel more in control of it. So far I've gotten rid of very little, but just the act of organizing has opened up so much room and made the space much more livable and useful. Everything is easier to access and I have much better working space now. One of the things I was most looking forward to with a house was some real studio space where I could spread out and work, but I'm enjoying making do and getting better use out of what I have here. There's still more sorting and decluttering to do, then some selling and gifting to do, but I'm off to a good start.

And that's life in my corner of the world. It's not everything that's gone on in the last month, but believe me, you don't want to hear it ALL. Just too much whining :-) How has your month been?

Sunday, February 03, 2008  

Mmmm... birthday cake
Mmmm... birthday fleeceOh yeah, this is TOTALLY a new tradition.

So, another year older and not a bit wiser :-)

Actually, it's been quite a year: 27 will go down as the year I got my (first) book contract. The year I edited my first books. The year of my first SOAR. The year that Margaret Stove admired my work (squee!). All in all, a pretty amazing year. There were definitely some rough patches, and some trials by fire. But I made it through, and I'm excited for 28. The day before my birthday, the weather was pretty wild and tempestuous, but then my birthday was nothing but beautiful blue skies. I hope that change in weather is a sign that 28 will be smooth sailing. We'll see!

It's been a very full week! There was my birthday, of course, which was an awesome day. I took the day off of work and the people who love me spent the day spoiling me. I am a very lucky girl! I got the awesome Cormo fleece shown above (17 microns--yum) AND this:
a Deb's Delicate Deluxe drumcarder by Patrick Green. Be still my heart. I got to try one of these amazing machines at SOAR and fell in love. And now... my carding dreams have come true :-) As you can see, I'm already putting to use--I got some Polwarth/silk from Rovings at SOAR and it wasn't as blended as I like, so I'm running it through the carder to blend it more. And it is coming out BEAUTIFUL. I am in LOVE. I also found a GREAT place to keep the drumcarder, so now I have a permanent carding station all set up. It is so SWEET! (Sorry for all the caps, this is just awesome and I am so excited :-) I just want to hug it. But I promise not to. That would probably hurt.

I'm really excited to get playing and creating, trying different color and fiber blends to see what I can come up with. I've been on a dyed roving kick for awhile now, but I've been enjoying sampling some batts lately. I see lots of batt creating in my future :-) Yippee!

Sunday, January 27, 2008  

I was going to write about this earlier this week, but I just couldn't bring myself to type it out. Tragedy struck this week. Well, knitting tragedy, at least. When I wrote last week I had finished the knitting for Ice Queen and bound off the "face" edge. All I had left was to pull out the provisional cast on and bind off the "neck" edge. And then it would be done. But... oh, there's always a but. First, I went to pull out the provisional cast on and it wouldn't pull out. I used a new-to-me method for the provisional cast on for Ice Queen and it wouldn't pull free. So, to start off my troubles, I had to unweave, stitch by stitch, all 156 stitches of the provisional cast on. THAT was fun! So, I finally get all the stitches free and start binding off. And picot bind off takes me FOREVER. So, I keep binding off and binding off and... run out of yarn with 38 stitches left to bind off. NoooooOOOOOOOoooooooOOOOOOooooooo! I even tried cutting all my yarn tails short and tying them together to use them to bind off. But, no luck. Still not enough yarn.

So close, and yet so very, very far away. *Sigh* So, now it's on hold until I get a second ball of the same yarn, or until I work up the gumption to tear out the picot bind off and try again with a regular bind off. I would do that right now if it wasn't such a pain to tear out mohair, and if I was sure I actually had enough yarn for a regular bind off. Wouldn't that be the ultimate insult to injury? To tear out the picot bind off, try again and find out I STILL don't have enough yarn? I just can't take that chance. My psyche is too fragile right now :-)

So, Ice Queen is on time-out right now. That has left lots of extra time for spinning this week, which is still going as slow as molasses, and for contemplating my next knitting project. What I should be doing is concentrating on my book projects. But I'm finding myself strangely paralyzed on that front. As an editor, I have no problems choosing what projects to include in books, but as an author, it's a little more scary. This is what I'm putting out there under my name FOREVER. Ack! However, I still have three months until my first deadline, so I'm not in the weeds just yet. I just need to keep going so that I don't get in the weeds.

And speaking of being an editor, as of today I am starting a new position within my company. I'm really excited about this position because it is on a line that is being relaunched, so I will get to try a lot of new things and be a part of growing something new. Plus, I'll get to try my hand at acquisitions, which is really cool. In my past position, another editor would find a person who might have a book in them, work with them to develop a proposal and take the book through its beginning stages, then it would be handed off to me. Now, I'll get to work from the very start to shape and guide the book and what it will be (and through that, I'll have more of a hand in what the line becomes). This is a very big deal for me, and it doesn't usually happen this early in an editorial career, so I feel really complimented. Things will probably be pretty crazy for the first few months while we get on our feet and work out the kinks, but it's an exciting time. The company really wants this label to grow and become a big competitor in the craft book market, so I think doing a good job in this position will be great for my career. No pressure or anything :-)

Well, off to my first day. Wish me luck!

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