Tuesday, May 18, 2010


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....