Friday, September 3, 2010

It's been great

here on wordpress, and I will leave this blog up indefinitely, but I won't keep updating it since I finally sorted out the blog/web template over at http://seamlessknits.com/

Hope to see you over there soon!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Testing, testing...


I've finished writing up the Grumpy Cat sweater pattern and am starting testers on it now. I particularly like how the actual pattern layout and photos came together on this one. I know, I know, that isn't the point, but I feel like I am learning so much so fast with all the photographing and graphic design "side items" that everything is starting to look much more polished.

Maybe not.

Fake it until you make it?

Monday, August 9, 2010

MagCloud, ftw.

So I've  been puttering around on MagCloud a bit to see how things might look (and cost) to do printed hard copies of booklets to wholesale, or distribute myself, etc, and I have to say I am very happy with them so far! I did a quicky little market bag pattern that is available in very nice stiff paper, color printing now ($3) and is free through the MagCloud Ipad app. I would love to know how this looks on the ipad, so please do let me know if you have one and can take a look.





Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lovely Sundays... and a recipe.

I am a knitter, but I am also a pretty serious cook (I won't say chef because I am primarily interested in traditional home cooking, not so much haute cuisine) and very concerned/interested in nutrition. I won't bore you here with all my experiments in the kitchen, but tonight's bore mentioning.

Schmaltzy Garlicky Dill Mayonnaise
1) Collect grease from 2 chicken's worth of stock and deposit into a bottle with a drip spout (like the refillable ketchup and mustard squirt bottles, or, in my case, one of the unused dye bottles with all the yarn stuff in the garage, see! I brought it back to wool, totally reasonable to write about mayonnaise in my knitting blog if it relates somehow...)
2)set aside acid of your choice (I like a combo of lemon juice and rice wine vinegar), salt, dill, and 2-3 cloves of garlic
3)separate 3 yolks (preferably from your backyard flock, but if you don't have chickens just get the freshest best quality eggs possible) into a metal bowl and begin whisking.

4)Drip tiny amounts of the schmaltz into the egg yolks and make sure everything is completely beaten up and combined before adding more.

Continue step 4 until the burn in your upper arm reminds you that you are really cut out for knitting and not this. Eventually (about half way through the fat) give up and dump the whole thing in a blender, turn it on and continue dripping the fat in with the motor running. until you run out. Add the garlic, salt, dill and acid to taste. (I like mayo quite acidic)

Drape lovingly over grilled or poached salmon (which is in season and quite affordable right now in the Great Northwest!) and dig in just in time for Poirot on pbs. A meal worthy of the great detective, I think.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I could get used to this...

Getting a package of hand dyed wool (hand dyed Blue Faced Leicester no less!) and a check in the same day? yes, those are a mess of crumbs all over the counter next to the cutting board, it just shows that this is real life people. right? So I guess  I'd better get knitting, and writing. and editing. whoooboy....



Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Armenian Knit Ladybug Sweater

is available in sizes 2-6 at now! I'm so pleased to have finished this, the charts were a real bear, but I think they are really good  and clear now. I just hope others think so too! 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Web Site is UP!

www.seamlessknits.com Check it out! Let me know if there is anything that needs to be fixed, ideas, recommendations, etc. I am still working on it, there will be more tutorials added (non video, like the magic cast on for the christmas stockings) and hopefully a way to check out from the site so you don't have to get sent all over the place for different patterns.

Yey! Oh, and I must add, fatcow is completely fantastic with hard to believe good customer service. woot.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Eventful Mail Day

Was greeted by a returned signed contract (woot!) as well as my official business license (whatever that's worth...) and a bizarre bridal shower invite (using my maiden name) forwarded from an address I have not lived at in 10 years (what?) from/for someone I cannot recall ever knowing. Also a netflix, so yey! None of these are as exciting as getting yarn in the mail, but I will take what I can get.  ;-)

In other news, I have not been knitting much due to mr. teething nursing fussypants, but I have been one-handedly working at the computer and started "tweeting" (you may see the feed to the side of this blog) and, drumroll please, I think I have the website almost sorted!! It's pretty basic, but there will be photos of my designs and links to where they can be purchased/downloaded/ordered and I may move the blog over, but I am not sure how/if that is going to work.

ooooh, ooooooh, and I am poking around  at MagCloud to set up hardcopy versions of some patterns, and did you know they can do perfect binding now! Like for books and compilations! My mind is going a mile a minute, too bad my hands can't keep up...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cable is out!

And I find it weirdly liberating! Going to spend the evening knitting (hopefully!) and maybe do a little computer work, but no Internet consuming! Have Ladies #1 detective agency series 1 on DVD as well. Hope you have as pleasant a night as I intend to.
End phone post. Unplugging!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Contract sent!

Contract read, signed, and sent back to publisher! I am quite pleased with how quickly this process has gone so far. I was staring to get pretty jaded about publishers and I am slightly less negative now. This is a big project with lots of designers so it will be interesting to see how everything turns out. I hope it does not overwhelm the small publisher who is organizing everything.

I've been working feverishly to complete the charts for the ladybug sweater. I had...difficulty, yes, that's a good description, making my explanations clarify how to use the charts within the pattern, and I had to add some design elements for the larger sizes when it was brought to my attention that they were a bit blank... I need to see some test-knit size 8 & 10 sweaters to see if that was a good idea, but I think it is an improvement.

The "boy" has been teething up a storm and drooling enough to saturate multiple layers of his (and my) clothing, so not too much actual knitting happening. It is so frustrating to have work all set out in front of me and not be able to do anything about it! I was only able to get the big chunk of computer work done Friday night by staying up ridiculously late. How do people work at home with small kids? Every time I sit down to either knit or work at the computer I have to consider if it is actually more important than attending to the needs of one of the kids, or preparing food for all of us, or even just using the time to sit with the kids and read to them or otherwise give them relaxed attention that is not cramped by the usual time constraints of "we have to do X, so I only have 5 minutes to read to you", or "Ben is screaming so I can't pay attention, etc..." and I wonder if any of it (my "work") is really worth it/important enough to ever take precedence over spending time playing with the kids or otherwise doing more worthwhile things. How do you prioritize? I mean, it's easy for me to say, ok, laundry and cleaning come last, they get done when there is no other option, but when the girls already get less attention b/c I am focusing on Ben, how can I tell them I need to knit instead of chasing them around the yard? (I can't, am being rhetorical here) And that's how you end up with a frustrated knitter who gets no work done!

ok. we are going blueberry picking this morning. Maybe knitting this afternoon?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Adendum

Adendum to the business license story;
Knitpicks was subsequently contacted by WA state and told that in fact some sort of mistake had been made and all IDP designers do NOT have to have licenses.
Super.
My confidence in gov't is restored.
Hrmph.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Do you know what is unpleasant?

Waking up to find an email from your biggest design distributor (KnitPicks) telling you that Washington State has decided to get on their case about every single Washingtonian who sells even one pattern or knits one sample for them. Yesserree, I had to apply for a business license this morning and while it ended up not being quite as horrible an experience as I anticipated, it still rubs me the wrong way. When I actually approach breaking even, or possibly (hope?) to make enough income to bother with taxes, then I would anticipate having to get all official with The Government. Until that time (and preferably after as well) leave me the hell alone you friggen bureaucrats who never held real job or ran a business in you lives. You can take my (husband's) $20 and shove it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Orient Express!

I just have to post this historic event. I am about to go knit while watching David Suchet in the Orient Express. Holy shit. Can you think of a better knitting foil? Maybe Buffy. But only maybe. And of course a few special Ms. Marple and Rosemary & Thyme episodes. But really. David Suchet.


Please let the teething monster sleep for a couple of hours?

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Blueberries and Ladybugs...

Finished knitting the Armenian Knit Ladybug sweater, though the charts have been a bit of a struggle. I think I may have to resort to a separate chart for each size, which sucks, quite a lot. Other than that, the pattern seems done, just a couple changes have come up during the test knit, but of course that is on hold until the chart situation is resolved, sigh.

The corrugated ribbing didn't cinch in the way I would like so I ran a thread of elastic through the bottom round and tied it off. Perfect! I think small children's sweaters are most comfy with a snug lower edge and a roomy collar and sleeves. (at least, for my gigantic head-ed offspring!)

We decided to go blueberry picking to celebrate, and though Maggie wanted very much to wear her new sweater I put my foot down, the poor kid had already modeled it in the backyard in 90 degree heat. She got to wear her Buzz Lightyear shirt instead and I think that more than made up for it.  ;-)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

mini market bag

Since we have been frequenting the farmer's market this year, the girls have been bickering over who got to carry the miniature market bag that I knit a couple of years ago. Time to whip up another one! So I dug around in my gargantuan plastic bin of yarn and found the only non-wool to be found, which happened to be "cotlin" from knitpicks. This stuff was buried pretty deep, and one of the colors has been discontinued (replaced with a similar green), but I think it is a useful and fun little item to knit up so I am writing the pattern up and putting it on ravelry.

The design is very basic, no seams, just knit sts, k2tog, and yarn overs. The pdf is all set to go, if you are interested in testing it let me know!

The ladybug sweater has been set back by the business trip J had to take this week. I did not get much done last weekend, and the rest of the week wasn't much better, but at least the sweater is done now, and I can (fingers crossed) get the pdf ready to go now. I have testers already lined up for this one thank goodness!

Friday, June 25, 2010

corrugated ribbing demo

I made another little video that should help with the other sweater bit that I was worried people might have trouble with. It has the same high quality production values obviously, (*snicker*)  and will obviously become widely disseminated as the go-to instructional knitting video of all time. (I could not possibly make this drip with more sarcasm, just pretend you can see me rolling my eyes and smirking as I say this.) I know someday I will be able to tell the kids to shut the hell up, but I may have to wait until they are actually living on their own to have a quiet studio space so in the meantime everyone gets to participate and enjoy the kid noise.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Knitting Demo!

I put some clips of Armenian Knitting together and they are now available as a little demo of sorts on YouTube! I am hoping this is a helpful thing for anyone interested in this technique and that it dosen't confuse people or make things look more tricky than they are b/c some parts are blurry. I also hope people have a sense of humor b/c if not my starwars theme title sequence is not going to help with the already awesome presentation...


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Life is a bowl of....

Rainier cherries? Why yes! We went to the farmer's market today after a nice Father's Day breakfast at the local diner. I almost didn't take the camera because the girls were being pretty whiny and difficult, but James insisted and got them into the stroller so I could relax and walk around just wearing Ben and shooting photos to my heart's content.

As expected I did still have some of the anxiety that I talked about before, but it was much less and I am wondering if part of it is general stress/anxiety that I feel constantly when out and about with the kids. I don't really notice that I am feeling anxious or whatever just b/c I have the kids at some event or location, but I think the general, below awareness level of "ok, keeping an eye on Maggie, oh wait, gotta call Sophia back from running too far ahead, uh oh, is Ben getting fussy, oh Maggie, hold my hand, I know you tripped lets get a band-aid at home, gah Sophie, watch where you are going! Don't mess with that...." that is running through my head seems to keep me from really relaxing and focusing (hah!) on other things.

We saw lots of gorgeous produce, but only bought a few things because I DO NOT plan on doing much cooking this week. James is going to San Francisco for a work trip and it is going to be hard enough keeping us all fed and clothed (in non-squalid clothing) and diapered and take care of the dogs and chickens, etc, etc. Oh yeah, also have that new pattern that will (if I can finish what I need to do tonight) be being tested and worked on. SO. We picked out 1 pound of Bing cherries that will mostly be eaten today,
a small bunch of Kholrabi to go with James Father's Day dinner (ribs slow-cooked in the oven all day with dry rub, then grilled with a light coating of sauce late this afternoon) and

Garlic Scapes that I will very quickly saute in good olive oil left from MIL visit last month.
 Oh! And some leafy stuff for eating with the above mentioned olive oil, lemon juice, and we'll see what else. (leftover asparagus?)
We also got some Snap Peas,





and Gala apples (it was a local stand, how is that possible this early?) for snacking.


Well, I better get working on those charts before grilling time is upon us! Will try for more knitting pictures next time.



Saturday, June 19, 2010

yarny goodness

You know, it is still really thrilling to get a big box of yarn in the mail. I worried that by committing to knitting something in a contractual/business way I would lose some of the joy that wool and (sharp) slick metal needles bring to me, but if anything the opposite is true. I find myself ever more compelled to stretch my skills and learn more (in related areas as well as knitting skills) in order to satisfy the "next step" in this business, and each area has it's own pleasures. Ripping open a package full of yarn spells new inspiration and exploration, possibilities. The fact that I no longer carry guilt for spending $ on knitting "stuff" makes the whole thing that much better. (not that you should necessarily feel guilt for spending money on your hobbies, I just tend to have issues with money and worth, etc...)


I have gotten started on the first of a series of children's sweaters that I am pretty excited about. I am working them all in Armenian Knitting, which seems kind of unknown even though there was a really great book put out about it a couple of years ago by Schoolhouse Press. The first is a ladybug sweater that I hope to finish this weekend so I can get the charts and patterns sent out to test knitters.

I may put up pictures of the others as I work on them, but I am still thinking about how I am going to publish so I may keep my cards close to the vest so to speak...  ;-) This ladybug sweater will be published by Knitpicks so a little extra publicity is not going to hurt.

I am thinking about putting all or several of the sweaters and caps that go together in this theme as a book/let (don't know how long or involved a project this could be) that is instructional in nature, in case someone enjoyed the schoolhouse press book and is looking for more patterns that use this technique, though I am not sure how to go about researching this in any more detail than Meg Swansen already has. I mean, it isn't as though I will be able to delve into some museum's basement supply of knitted antiquities very well. (as if such a place existed, hah! wouldn't that be a joy?) I think I may put out some message online looking for anyone who may have more info or family/older relatives who were around when this was a big fashion deal. Anyway, I am pleased with how the first sweater is coming out, I had some concerns but everything seems ok.

Because of the way the yarn is trapped and carried along behind the knitting, I have found on a previous Armenian knit garment that the "jaquard weave" look was too much, and the weird ease made the thing really unattractive. I ended up felting that project and it made a quite nice handbag, which I won't show here right now b/c I am waiting to hear back from someone if it will be in a handbag book. I will put it up if/when I find out. So far, I have found that keeping the "traveling" yarn really quite loose (seems perhaps too loose, but it isn't) is the key. So long as you avoid this trapped yarn pulling the outer stitches in the fabric is very nice. Time will tell though as to how the fit works out and everything lays. I have my fingers crossed that it doesn't end up too tight on Maggie. My gauge calculations with this have been a little tricky.

I think I might be well served to put up a video on youtube or something for people to see how this "trapping" can be done, otherwise I am afraid the general knitting public will be put off or daunted by the idea of a new scary technique. It seems that the simpler patterns far outsell the more complicated ones so I better make sure these sweaters are clearly explained and show how simple they really are once you get the yarn carrying.

(Anyone a youtube expert? I've never done this before and am concerned...)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Have you met my (other) new baby?

Why yes, yes that is an incredibly cool new dslr! My darling husband gave it to me for our recent wedding anniversary, and I cannot express how much I love using this amazing camera. (Best gift EVER! probably, though J has given me some pretty great gifts...) Anyway, I had been saving my "knitting money" for this and was not really anywhere near the astronomical price tag, (I think I had enough for one lens) and James came to the rescue. I wasn't entirely sure I was happy with not doing this on my own, but then I got to take some pictures, and my mind was changed  ;-)  I mean, really, I needed a better camera to take pictures of the kids, right?

So, I was never especially interested in photography, possibly stemming from my mother chasing us down as kids to make us pose in embarrassing situations in foreign markets, etc, but I had been noticing more and more how crappy my pictures for patterns were coming out, and it was a problem. I spent a lot of time studying our old camera and experimenting with it to see if I could make do, but really, unless I was shooting in ideal circumstances things just were not coming out great. (Have you tried getting a 4, 2 & 0 yr old to hold still lately?) I think especially for online sales, knitting patterns are sold by their accompanying photography, "yarn porn" if you will. (yes, J takes a lot of pleasure teasing me about my "porn camera") So I researched and planned, and in the process I have become involved in a surprising new interest! I really love taking photos with this thing, I have some amazing shots of the kids, like, photos I never expected to be able to get, so yeah, apparently I am now totally into another hobby.

If you are interested, a helpful site for me has been http://digital-photography-school.com/ which I must admit I have been frequenting as much or more than ravelry lately. (I know!) I learned everything I know about photography so far from that site, and there seems to be new articles or "challenges" (assignments for photos to get critiqued, etc...) constantly so I won't be running out of stuff to learn. There is even a used equipment forum where more experienced photographers sell their stuff when they upgrade, so you might be able to get yourself a deal.

My camera is a Nikon d5000,  and I have been almost exclusively using the 55-200mm lens rather than the 18-55mm kit lens b/c I get much more satisfactory shots with it. The slight downside of having to be a bit further from the subject is more than compensated for by being able to zoom in and get interesting bokeh with a larger (I think that is correct, the reverse numbers applied to aperture for depth of field are still a bit confusing to me) depth of field. I am actually thinking about selling the 18-55mm to fund a 50mm f1.8 (called a "prime" lens b/c it doesn't have a variable length, but seems to give fantastic close shots, and has a really low f# for the price) which I think would give the most wonderful close up yarn/sweater shots.

I still feel weird taking pictures in public places, something really makes me uncomfortable doing this around people. S loves to mug for the camera (too much really, it's hard to get shots of her not making funny faces) so I always have (more than) willing participants for impromptu photo sessions, but I worry that I am bothering people or otherwise doing something inappropriate at the farmer's market or playground. It's bad enough that I missed several really good (important for the market bag pattern I am finishing now) shots this past weekend. Plus I am totally freaked out that I might get other kids in the picture when I am taking pictures of S or M playing on slides, etc. As a parent I would not be ok with someone getting pictures of my kids, so how do I handle this? It's not practical to ask every parent at the park if it's ok to shoot and possibly get their kid in a picture. Anyway, these are the things I have been thinking about lately. I think I will find my way as I go with this, and taking the camera out and using it a lot will be key. I need to get used to/find a better way of carrying around this heavy thing! Do any of you have a favorite case/carrying system for dslr cameras? The kit case is designed for the camera and the 18-55mm lens w/space for other stuff, but I can't figure out how to configure it to work for the equipment I actually use. I want something padded, compact, and handy for the camera and 55-200mm lens and possibly the 50mm lens as well.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Digital publishing part 2

So I got an email today with a comment on my previous digital publishing post from Shannon Okey herself! Anyway, after I got over the momentary adrenaline rush and stopped grinning and wondering if it was a bad idea to call J at work to shriek at him that a famous knitter commented on my blog, I started thinking again about this whole mess.

Shannon made the point that it was simply too time consuming to make every pattern and book into an app, and I have to say that at this point I agree. I had high hopes for the adobe app packager that would allow for graphical design that would just "work" on apple devices. Fantastic for people like me who have no hope of figuring out how to write pages and pages of code, but it seems "Darth Jobs" (my husband is not a fan of the Apple "ecosystem" and how closed it is) has quashed that and will no longer support apps coded in using the adobe packager.

So there go my great hopes of a new paradigm for "Craft Publishing"! I had this vision of really small indy publishers (graphic designers) who specialized in various craft genres and would take on patterns, tutorials, cookbooks, etc, and put the info provided by the knitter/chef/crafter into a glossy app package taking say, 20% royalties and possibly a fee for the work depending on how many moving parts were involved, etc.

At any rate, I will keep chugging along learning as much as I can about digital publishing options, pod publishing, polishing my computer skills as much as possible, and get on with actually writing more patterns and getting designs out there. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

touching

At Sophia's karate class yesterday Maggie showed just how fast she is growing up. (I can hardly stand it!) She (Maggie) was sitting in the classroom doorway watching happily. After a few minutes she turned around and her face did that slow crumple that comes before tears, and she came over and buried her face in my leg. I kept asking her what was wrong, could I do anything for her? But she would just sob quietly, unable to answer. Finally she wailed "nuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrse, nuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrse" clearly grasping for one of her few babyhood comforts. I began to wonder if all the changes lately have been too much, pottying, new baby, less napping, she has begun rapidly expanding her vocabulary as well, and obviously gets less mommy time, sooooo? 

It finally occurred to me (slow mama, get with it already!) to ask if she was sad because she could not go do the karate class with Sophia. (duh.) Little nod, gasp, pause crying, "do you want me to ask the teacher if you can join in?" bigger nod. crap. Sophia's ballet teacher is very cool about letting younger siblings join in as they please, so Maggie often participates in that class and gets a huge kick out of it. I explain to Maggie that this karate school is only for four year olds. more tears. But wait! How about if we find a class for you to do, one that is not just for Sophia? Little grin, ok. It must be pretty crappy having your bestest closest friend who you do EVERYTHING with every second of every day do all sorts of fun activities that you can only sometimes participate in. So we have agreed to find swimming lessons that she can do in the evenings with daddy this summer, and she can start wearing her own ballet leotard on ballet class days (like a big girl) and we will see what else I cam organize. 

My little big girl wants to keep up with my medium big girl so much, I am going to have to find special things to do with her so she doesn't feel too babied, or pushed too hard to grow up. 

As we were getting into the car after class Sophia was trying to cheer Maggie up and said "mom, mom, how about this, how about if I just stop doing classes so she doesn't have to worry about it?". Seriously, she offered to give up hockey and ballet (this is the girl who puts on her ballet clothes and "teaches" Maggie almost daily, complete with french terms "Maggie, this is how you ____," etc...) because her little sister can't quite keep up. 

Why can't all these activities be montessori styled and allow  younger siblings to be guided by the older kids? Why? I am sure hockey is only for 3 and ups, what are we going to do next fall? Maggie asked to skate all the time last season, but didn't seem too upset when we told her she had to wait until she got bigger.

Apparently Maggie is bigger now!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Digital Publishing. ipad? kindle?

I have been thinking about digital publishing a lot lately, and how inadequate the black & white e-readers seem to be for (specifically) craft books. I am really coming around to the idea of e-readers somewhat replacing many of the books I love so much, possibly just because of space restrictions and the kids pulling all the books off the lowers shelves and using them for various non-book uses. The real problem I have with e-books/readers is that one of my major book loves are the big glossy photos in cookbooks and craft books, and until recently I could not imagine how an e-reader could possibly give someone a similar experience with the screens available. Enter iPad!!! (really Apple? You couldn't have arranged for a panel of people off the street to review the possible names for this device?) I have not actually seen the iPad in person, but the online videos are spectacular. I keep thinking of ways to use it for craft instruction books/patterns that could be just as beautiful and perhaps even preferable to paperbooks. For example, when websites or data in the text becomes obsolete or otherwise needs to be edited, no need to come out with a new edition, simply update the digital media, tada! No more searching the interent for errata and hoping it is the most current info.

I am also thinking of ways to embed video within the file, so as I describe a technique in a pattern you can tap the video box and watch a demonstration. Or, perhaps, a series of short video clips at each section for a sort of knit along class. Another cool thing to see would be having charts have a built in "guide" that you can move around with the touch of a finger. (just like my magnetic chart keeper that I use now, but can't "lock" and must hide from the kids at all costs or lose the magnetic strips and my place in the chart.) How about a row counter dial that sits in a corner of the screen so you can keep track of everything you need in one neat little place? Plus you can include as many gorgeous full color photos as you want!

Another HUGE aspect of this idea to me is that rather than just selling your digital content as a pdf (and thus easily pirated by casual sharers) you could make all your patterns or books an app and include lots of interesting interactive beautiful content, and not worry about copyprotection on your own. I am SO excited about the possibilities the ipad presents for these genres of publishing. KnitGrrl blogged about this here and  was clearly ticked at the paper publishing industry (rightly so!!) and has been pondering various options in "alternative" publishing. I am super happy to see that "established" designers are so involved and open about all this publishing business, it is such a blessing to newbies trying to figure out the business side of knitting design.

ok, must take offspring to karate. will continue thinking about all this and update.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's so worth it

Earlier this evening I got pretty frustrated as I was unable to locate my tin of knitting needles. I grabbed a few moments to rummage around where things got stashed for a recent visit from grandma and grandpa, but was unsuccesful, and besieged by screaming infant and toddler I gave up.

On occasions like this I sometimes imagine I will get to whatever task or activity after the kids go to bed, (unlikely in the extreme since I usually can't even get free hand while marathon nursing all evening...) or I might be honest with myself and accept that whatever it is that I wanted to do probably just isn't going to happen, and then possibly get kinda bummed about how tough it is dealing with everything little kids bring. if I'm honest I'd have to say I get bummed about the "not being able to..." kind of often, but it's sort of a background annoyance, not something I can really think about in detail while jostling a fussy baby and wiping poop. Sometimes though, maybe after too many teethgrinding occasions, I feel a little teeny tiny bit of resentment. (I know, I know, horrid mommy!) I get mad at the kids for being such pains in the butt, I get mad that my husband gets to have "time off" and not be the go-to super needed all the time by everyone parent, I wonder to myself if I should stop trying to get "any" time to work on my own things, etc, etc.

I get mad for a bit, hopefully, get some rest and have a better next day. Hopefully getting closer to being the kind of mom I want to be, rather than the short tempered grouchy mom I feel like sometimes. (you know, the happy earth mothery, quiet, gentle, resourceful, playful, get the idea?)

Anyway, I think it's probably pretty normal to get pissed off at the constant (well, usually constant) barage of poop (literal and figurative) and after some deep breaths (& possibly a little shouting) I acknowledge that this sucks, is not fair, and I will get through it, the kids are only little for such a short time, we will manage. At that point of course things seem less bleak but still not especially glowing and positive.

Luckily, with some frequency there are moments that confirm all of the unpleasantness is essentially fleeting, and the wonderful cuddly lovey baby hugs and kisses totally overwhelm the screeching quarreling abbrasive preventing me from knitting or anything else kind of days. Little things that I want to record so we can look back in years to come at how sweet our kids have always been. (and it might help to get over it faster when I am pissed at them!) So here are a few: today Maggie proclaimed Ben "durable" (adorable) and constantly hugs and kisses him. She demands cuddles, as though to remind me to take time to enjoy the sweet moments. The "sank you" in her singsong toddler voice for a hug or glass of water makes me smile every time. Ben has started giving me huge toothless grins as he wakes up next to me, his whole face lights up, and then mine does as well. (and what cute dimples!) Sophia is intent on being the best helper (in competition with Maggie of course) and gives me little speeches about how she loves me and daddy and Maggie and Ben. She says she wants nothing more in the world than to "match" me, and be a mommy just like me. (we will apparently be mommies together when she is a grownup, and share clothes and shoes!) And then there are always the pictures of the sweet moments that help most of all. :-)

So really it's ok that I've had to tap all this out one handed on my phone while trapped under two sweaty kids. All I have to do in this instant of frustration is gaze down and be overwhelmed with their preciousness. And maybe I'll even get a shower later if I can slip out from under them! (knitting will wait until another day.)



Wednesday, May 5, 2010

unionizing? guild-ing?

Apparently other people do feel outraged at the treatment of designers by various publishers! Annie Modesitt posted this last year, and it exemplifies my outrage and disgust pretty well. So what do we do? I would love love love to join a cadre of designers and knitters who boycott publishers until they grasp "market influence" but so far am not finding anything organized, and in fact, in forum discussion with other designers find that many of them are still submitting and accepting unsavory treatment for the usual "exposure" theory. I for one will not put up with it. I can only hope that enough other people feel the same way that it makes an impact. (I feel perhaps that it has in a way, since even before I began designing I noticed a marked decline in the quality of patterns coming from the "big magazines" in general and did not update subscriptions because of it.) I won't be submitting to soho publications for sure, and I think even IK is out even though they did come to a rational compromise about online sales simply because of the unreasonable (non) communication I am told to expect.

On the plus side, just yesterday I found out about stitch cooperative putting out a call for designs for ten new books! First, how cool to be a part of stitch cooperative and work with Shannon Okey, etc, but second, the compensation promises to be much more equitable than any other venue I am aware of. (other than perhaps self publishing by oneself) I really really really want to be part of these projects, and have several ideas to send over as proposals, but of course baby Ben's reflux seems to have hit hard in the last couple of days, and I am really doubting my ability to focus and even knit swatches, much less grade children's sweaters, etc. I am finding this intensely frustrating and a bit depressing. I have all these ideas I want to "work out" with my hands, and I just CAN'T do it. (Add to this the fact that even if I calm Ben enough to just nurse while I read at the computer or type one handed, Maggie takes advantage of my being pinned down and reluctance to disturb the baby to seek out and destroy all kinds of interesting objects, like my favorite lip butter, the snow leopard upgrade disk, the guest bathroom toilet, my bin of knitting accessories, and more. did I mention those were all in 24 hrs? she is being exceptionally "2".) Anyway, I may try to get some proposals in to Shannon if it doesn't become too overwhelmingly like the cold war with the kids, but things look bleak. If anyone else is interested here is a link to the submission info for cooperative press.

Please excuse me while I go chase the kids....

Monday, April 26, 2010

Rejection...

So I've had a couple of ideas rejected recently, and while it is disappointing to hear that those particular projects did not fit with the publisher I submitted them to, it has me wondering how designs get evaluated by editors. I would love to be a fly on the wall in someone's office during the decision process, can you imagine? I expect that every publication has different priorities and requirements, but the real fun must come down to visual appeal. (I would imagine, but I'm not an editor...)

Anyway, the "boy" has become a bit needier in recent weeks than he was at the very beginning, so my knitting and "concentrating" time has been severely curtailed. I keep thinking of things that I might submit to somewhere but then consider the possibility of being accepted and become overwhelmed because I can't actually do the knitting and working out the pattern, etc. Additionally, while waiting (for the considerably shorter length of time than most publishers take) to hear back about my submissions I considered whether I really liked the whole concept of sending my projects out into the ether with the vague hope that I would hear back someday (I have heard of certain places getting back to designers a year after receiving the submission) that I needed to get knitting on the long since forgotten project because it is due in a short period of time and the (quite small) check will be in the mail. hmmm. I guess I am still quite amateur as I think of things I want to knit, or design features I want to use, or even "architectural" shaping or  techniques I want to explore, I want to do it now, as I am working it out in my mind, while everything is fresh, and before someone else publishes something too similar! Clearly professionals send out sketches and thoughts and are able to let go until/if/when someone offers to pay them to do the project. I am going to explore more in the self publishing arena, though that too has drawbacks in that I will need to do all the work myself, and apparently, my time is now (almost entirely) occupied with feeding and keeping happy a tiny person as well his 2 older sisters. I am thinking of posting pictures of WIPs since they won't be published anywhere secretive, perhaps some feedback or suggestions on directions to go with one in particular might be interesting...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A late Easter craft...

Am posting this a bit late to be of any use to egg dyers this year, but in 2011 if you happen to realize that cheap box of egg dyes you grabbed at the store was made in China and seem particularly worrisome ("do not ingest"  & "may stain skin and clothing" & "age 8 and up"  warnings, and markedly NO sign of a "non-toxic, food safe, etc, etc..." statement) and you decide at the last moment not to risk your toddlers skin & clothes & health (as well as who knows what kind of mess to deal with in the aftermath, with a week old infant btw... oh wait, you might not have those exact variables, but I digress.) and grab your bag of food dyes that you keep handy in the kitchen for coloring playdough and wool yarn, and consider that they should probably work on eggs if you add a bit of vinegar to the hot water in ramekins just deep enough for a single egg, than have I got a fun idea for YOU!


It occurred to me that if we used red, yellow and blue dyes we would have a great opportunity to let the girls play around with color mixing. We dipped paper towels in each color for them to rub over the already dipped egg so they could see what colors appeared in each area. I have to say, I think re-dipping the egg in a secondary color would be much better, as the towel kind of rubbed off the initial layer of dye, but feel free to try whatever you method you prefer. Also, powdered food color ended up giving a not ver uniform dye, and in fact collected on the bottom of the ramekins (yellow and red were powder, blue was paste) and kind of speckled the eggs darker where it touched, which I kind of liked, but keep it in mind of you want a very smooth uniform color. 

So, after dyeing all the hard boiled eggs daddy could come up with, there was still most of a ramekin of dye of each color, and not wanting to waste it, I of course suggested that each of the girls dye there own mini hank of wool yarn with which I would knit them a hat or other small accessory. I labeled a gallon ziplock for each of them, placed wool inside with a splash of vinegar and hot water and squished it all around and left it to soak while we ate lunch. Once yarn was thoroughly soaked daddy rung it out (daddy was very involved in all crafts and games, and basically everything that the girls have been up to in the past couple of weeks because, you know, baby boys like to nurse all the time, and generally make it difficult for mommy to do much of anything with big sisters. sigh. ) and put the bags on the table for the girls to drizzle the leftover dye into, but then, of course, we decided, it would really be more precise and personal if the yarn was set in a pyrex baking dish so that they could place the dye just where they wanted, so we did. (I still think the bags would be good, but it is true that the liquid dye might mix and go all over the bag and generally give a different quality look than hand painting the flat hank of yarn...) 

After spooning or pouring every last drop of dye over the yarn, we realized that mommy may have over estimated how much coverage we would get, and that quite a bit of yarn was still pristine off white, so daddy poured a little extra water into the dishes and the girls squished the yarn in it to distribute the dye that was in the yarn already more evenly. It worked quite well! And the little bits of powdery dye "dregs" at the bottom of the ramekins gave really bright spots among the slightly washed over other areas, and everything got covered (though perhaps not as vibrantly as originally expected). 

We then covered each dish with saran wrap (so it could steam without losing too much moisture) and popped them in the microwave for several minutes. Once cooled the yarn was rinsed and allowed to dry, and has not yet ben wound or knitted with, but will, probably, someday. 

Of course, I thought the colors were very nice and the dyeing came out well, and feel somewhat sentimental about my girls first yarn dying. So when I asked Sophia what she would like me to knit for her with the yarn she dyed, she replied "a pink hat!!" and I was unable to answer for several seconds. Of course. A pink hat, I will just knit that right up for you and over dye the whole thing. }-{ (head desk)