Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Where the Heck Have You Been?

Dear Blog-

I know, I have been terribly, terribly remiss! Life has been, literally, too busy. And I've been making some big changes to it all.

At the end of December as I walked into the shop to teach one day, someone was on the phone with Lynn to tell us that Yarn Harlot had linked to the blog I write for the shop, using us as a reference on Afterthought Pockets. I mean, how cool is that? If you were a nun, that would be like a visitation from the Virgin Mary! If you were a trash collector, it would be like finding Jimmy Hoffa! This is winning the lottery when you are laying in the gutter.

So I was on the phone telling my Mom about the whole thing and explaining to her who YH is so that she could understand what a wonking big deal that was. And in typical Mother fashion, she says, "And why aren't you writing books? What has she got that you don't?" (Aside from the obvious answer of a book contract.)

To make a potentially long story short, somehow, something Mom said - and I don't even know what it was, or maybe simply the wind was blowing from the right direction at the right time - made me finally hear the words. Graham has been telling me this for years, friends have told me, blog readers have told me, but it just never clicked into actually taking action. This time it did.

As I said to her, But I don't have the first idea how to sell a book once I write it!. Worry about that later, she replied. Hmmm... And then about a week later YH posted about how she went about selling her first book, and I thought, well, maybe it is time to do this.

I let Lynn know that I would be taking the Spring quarter off from teaching classes so that I could schedule several days each week with just writing time. I still do private lessons the other three days of the week and that seems to give me enough time to keep up with the demand. Beginning at the start of February I find myself, then, spending lots of time, for many hours at a stretch sitting at the computer and writing. Just as I did last summer when classes were slow and I had endless time on my hands and posted here several times a week.

As of this morning I have 5 good essays written, and one that is in progress as it follows a certain crazy-making scarf project as I go along. And it is just pouring out, I sit down at the keyboard and the words flow out and onto the computer. This process couldn't be easier, so far. I have a book proposal in the baby stages and working on another aspect of it each week. Maybe this will actually work.

I get nervous as Lynn posted in the Spring newsletter that I am taking time off from teaching to write a book about knitting, and so I find myself at every turn being asked by well-wishers about the book's progress and what it might be about. They seem to think that writing a book is synonymous with publishing a book, and as one of my many mottos (along with such jewels as Never Eat Anything You Can't Identify) is Pride Goeth Before a Fall, I worry about what might happen should the book not be published. Will they tar and feather me and run me out of town? Take away all my yarn? Nonetheless I bravely plug on.

Lace Scarf for sister's b-day

In the meantime I knit, as usual. I can finally post this lace scarf project that I made as a b-day gift for my sister. One of the only tiresome aspects of teaching classes is that it really does behoove a teacher to knit a particular project before teaching the class. This is all well and good if the project is something you had planned on knitting for yourself anyway. And that is one painful lesson I have learned over the years. However, I have been teaching classes to a really delightful group of ladies and they requested a lace scarf done on big needles as their next class project. I searched and searched, and finally found this free pattern on the Drops website. Bought 3 skeins of Lamb's Pride from the shop in Oatmeal and knitted this up as a gift for my sister for her upcoming b-day. I can finally post it here as she has the gift in hand, so I am not blowing the surprise the way that I usually do. I must confess to you, I had the hardest time packing this up and mailing it off. It kept telling me that it wanted to be mine but I knew I had to make the sacrifice.

Mermaid Mitts
Then I made these Mermaid Mitts for my friend Diane (of the bag/hat fame) who drives to book group every month and refuses to take gas money. Every year I try to make something for her around the holidays as a thank you. She is always so appreciative of hand made gifts which makes it a pleasure to make things for her. I did try my darnedest to reverse the pattern for the second mitt but it was making me crazy, so I frogged and just made a twin. I'll try to tackle that conundrum again when I make a pair for myself. Because this is another thing that will be hard to give away. I'll give these to Diane tonite when she (hopefully) picks me up for bookgroup, so if you know her, don't tell her. I used the Aruacania Ranco sock yarn for these.

So after finishing those, having done three months of class and gift knitting, I sat down to make a pair of socks for myself, with this lovely Pagewood Farm merino/nylon superwash sock yarn in Misty. As we sat on the couch one evening as I was just getting going on the ribbing, DH looked over and admired the yarn. Petted it, exclaimed over the colors, etc. You know what I mean, we all do it. He ventured that someday he might like socks made out of that yarn. Would you like me to make socks for you now, I asked? He gazed at the yarn longingly. Can you get two pairs of socks out of that one ball of wool? No, dear, but they do make more of this yarn. Well, he said, maybe someday. Needless to say, I switched gears and made him this pair of socks for Valentine's Day. He liked them so much that he insisted on putting them on right away and having their picture taken, along with the card, that, when opened, features Hank Williams singing Hey Good Looking. You'd have to be one of my siblings to truly appreciate that , but as kids we spent one summer on a cross-country road trip just after 8-track cassetes first came out, with a tape of Hank Williams Greatest Hits, Patsy Cline likewise, Marty Robbins and Johnny Cash, and Ed somebody who I can't think of at the moment. You were guaranteed instant hilarity if you could look at any one of us and say solemnly, Jim, I wore a tie today.

Socks with card

Socks in detail

And so that is enough blithering on for today. I'll leave you wondering what this is for...

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