More Milestones

I showed you last month when I had half of the swatches for Book the Third finished up, so it seems only fair to show you the second half.  Now of course I’m mean, and I want to keep the details secret, so I’ll only show you a tiny picture (and one with all the good bits blurred out too).  Hopefully it will at least serve as proof of concept and reassure you that I have been up to something, even if I haven’t been turning out finished objects with any regularity.  I have a sneaking suspicion you’re really going to like that orange bit at the back when it’s revealed in all its glory. And I’m totally smitten with both the gray bit on the left and the brown bit on the right, both those  yarns are really yummy.

You See, What Happened Was

So, um, I accidentally sort of wrote another book.  Well most of another book.

I don’t mean Book the Third.  Book the Third is (or rather will be) a full on proper book.  The big kind.  The kind that takes a year to put together and involves enlisting the help of photographers and stylists and models and editors and print coordinators and distributors and yarn companies and librarians and likely a competent bartender towards the end there.

This is more of a mini book.  Something quite a bit heftier than an individual pattern, but not nearly the all-consuming undertaking of a big book.  I don’t exactly have the word for it.  Baby book isn’t right (and has too many other connotations), booklet sounds too puny, book sounds a bit too grand.  For now I’m thinking of it as a mini book.

It sounds a bit crazy to do this right now, but it’s actually more or less perfect for how my world works at the moment.  I know I’ve complained here before (what, me, complain…but I’m the soul of stoicism) that it feels like I don’t have time to actually knit when I’m in the middle of writing one of the big books.  I’ve also spent a fair amount of time moaning about the timeline of the big books (Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet was done in March when the ebook came out, but no one sees the paper version till June).  I’m not the patient type, I don’t like all that waiting around for months.

So I’m doing a mini book.  It solves both of those problems.  It’s a slightly smaller scale production, which means the timeline will move much faster (no waiting weeks on photographs or layout, no waiting months on a massive print job).  I’ll also be knitting the samples myself, so I’ll have something on the needles as Book the Third comes together (thereby lessening the chances I’ll go completely off the deep end).

As for the the patterns themselves, they’ll likely be seven of them.  Six of the patterns are already written (hence the ‘um I accidentally wrote a book’ bit at the top of the post).  Five of them are already knit or mostly knit.  Testing is underway right now (this is where I take a moment to reassure you that even though this is happening on an accelerated timeline, the patterns will all still be tested and edited, I want this to be fast, not insane).  The layout is mostly done.  There are a few more things to do, and I’m sure I’ll tell you way more about this than you want to hear over the next few months, but I’d say look for this one to be out around August.

Milestones

I think I’ve explained before that writing books isn’t either as linear or as quick a process as I initially thought.  It goes in loops, at least for me.  There’s a general process for each project.  There’s some variation, but it usually goes something like this:

  • pick yarn
  • get yarn
  • play with graph paper
  • swatch
  • rinse and repeat as necessary to beat the swatch into submission
  • do some math
  • finalize swatch
  • finalize notes
  • take the notes from the graph paper and turn them into a real pattern
  • get sample knit (and do the first round of testing in the process)
  • try really hard to arrange to test the pattern with other knitters and to get the other sizes tested
  • send the pattern to a tech editor
  • incorporate tech editor’s genius suggestions

And while all of that is going on for the individual patterns (especially the sample and test knitting part), all the rest of the non-pattern stuff gets created. That’s it’s own special sort of work, but it is at least a bit closer to regular writing and doesn’t have some of the special quirks of pattern writing.

The result of this whole swirly, non-linear process, is that it’s a bit hard to know how far along in the project you are at any given time.  There’s not really a good way to judge progress.  And really, as far as I can tell, done is an exceptionally relative term when it comes to books.

But that doesn’t mean there can’t be milestones.  And today, I’ve decided I reached one.  Today, half the patterns for the next book are swatched, mathed, and written.  They’re not knit, they’re not edited, and they’re not in any way done.  But they are figured out, and that’s officially progress.  See?  I’m thinking these are going to be fun.