Last Call, Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet Books Retiring Soon

Oh man, this is a bit tough, but it has to be done.  All three of the Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet books are almost gone.  I have just a tiny handful of each left.  Once those are gone, they’re gone.  I won’t be printing more.

kcc1 coverYou may still be able to find them on amazon for a little while (looks like they a few copies of each at the moment).  And of course you may well be able to find used copies out in the world.  But I won’t have any more to send out to shops or individuals.

kcc2 coverAnd of course the electronic versions will remain available for the time being.  But I know a lot of you are like me and prefer to have the real book to hold and have on the shelf.  So if you’ve been meaning to grab one, this might be the time.

kcc3 coverI confess I’ll be sad to see them go.  They were my first big project, and I’ll always have a soft spot for them (and for everyone who was brave enough to buy the patterns with the crazy names from the weird girl who decided to quit grad school and write knitting books instead of getting a real job).  But I suspect it’s better to let everyone know and give you one last chance to grab them than to have them quietly disappear.

Three is the magic number

In February and May I talked about the first two Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet books.  it was unreasonably fun to go back and reminisce a bit about making them, and so I wanted to be sure to talk a bit about Volume III as well.

Just like last time, I’ve put both the paper book and the electronic book on sale for 25% off and made the individual patterns available on ravelry (normally it’s only the whole book that’s available).  You don’t need a code or anything, the prices are already changed.  They’ll be that way through the end of the month, and then they’ll go back to normal and the individual patterns will disappear.

kcc3 coverSo the first of these books used botanical prints.  That was easy enough.  Everyone likes pretty plants.  And the second one used prints of butterflies.  Again, easy enough.  I know lots of folks aren’t crazy about bugs, but most of us will totally give butterflies a pass.  But finding the subject for volume three was tricky.

shibui_other_bI thought about birds.  There are some lovely illustrations of birds (and, somewhat unexpectedly, of eggs) out there.  But it was a bit hard to track down enough illustrations with enough variety to do what I had in mind.

dream_in_color_sockI thought about doing bugs.  I’d come across some astonishingly beautiful drawings of beetles as I’d sourced images for the other books, and I was mightily tempted.  But I worried that, while folks might let me get away with butterflies, bugs in general might be a bit too much.

lornas_laces_other_bI thought about doing rocks.  Yes, really.  I’m awfully fond of rocks, and there are some marvelous illustrations to be had.  But again, it just didn’t quite click.

lornas_laces_sock_bThen finally, I stumbled on the idea of doing sea creatures.  I admit, it was surprising at first.  You hear sea creatures and think fish (and if you’re me, you think fish and go ‘eww, no’).

plucky_knitter_other_bBut the more I looked, the more I found.There were algae and shells and jellyfish and kelp and coral and all manner of lovely things.  I pretty quickly realized I could get through the whole thing without using even a single fish.

quince_sockOnce I had that sorted, everything else just fell into place.  By this point I had my team, and I knew what the schedule for a book looked like.  It all just came together like magic, and I couldn’t be happier with the result!

sweet_georgia_other_be

More of a good thing

Back in February I went on a little stroll down memory lane about the first of the Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet books.  It was sort of awesome to go back and spend some time with it, and so I thought I’d make some time to talk about the other two books in that series too.  I’ll start with Volume II today, and we’ll chat about Volume III later in the year.

Just like last time, I’ve gone ahead and put both the paper book and the electronic book on sale for 25% off and made the individual patterns available on ravelry (normally it’s only the whole book that’s available).  You don’t need a code or anything, the prices are already changed.  They’ll be that way through the end of the month, and then they’ll go back to normal and the individual patterns will flit back away.

kcc2 coverI’m going to let you in on a little secret.  The only thing I regret about this whole series of books is that I wasn’t brave enough to put ‘Volume I’ in the title of the first book.  I knew from the very beginning that I wanted there to be three books, but some very wise and reasonable people told me calling something Volume I was risky (what if you didn’t do a Volume II?), so I left it off.  But before the first one was even back from the printer, I was hard at work on Volume II.

erasmia pulchellaThe first volume had used botanical prints to inspire the patterns.  For this one, I worked with drawings of butterflies.

metopsilus porcellus sockTracking down the source materials for these books was always a huge part of the process.  The source materials are all old enough to be public domain, so you can generally find reasonable scans of them online, but I wanted to have the originals.

lycaena virgauraea shawlPart of that was so I could make high quality scans of the images to include in the books (you can see lovely large versions of the prints that inspired each pattern on the patterns’ ravelry pages, they’re worth spending some time with).

vanessa antiopa sockBut part of it was because they are just beautiful objects and I wanted to have the chance to examine them up close.  They’re all tinted by hand, and you can often see significant differences in color and shading between different copies of the original books.  I love the individuality , and it reminds me of the variation from one skein of hand dyed yarn to the next.

danima banksiae mittI still have a plan to pick three of my favorites from each book, get them framed in matching frames, and hang them up together.  If I ever manage an office whose walls aren’t covered in bookcases, I think I’ll have to do it.

lycaena virgaureae sockThey’d serve as a good reminder to trust myself and know that if I think something is going to be a set, well then I can go right ahead and name the first book accordingly!

delias eucharis hat

Has it really been that long?

I got a lovely message a few weeks ago from someone who told me she’d found a book that totally reminded her of me and my patterns, and she really really wanted to tell me about it.  At least she did, right up until she realized it was actually my book (it was the first Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet book).

Now this is awesome and hilarious (and she said she was totally fine with me talking about it).  But it also served as a good reminder that the first Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet book came out a long time ago (summer of 2012)!  A lot of you are new since then (hi, so glad you found me!).  So I thought today instead of bringing back out an old pattern like I usually do on the third Tuesday of the month, I’d take a moment and talk about that book and maybe show off some of my favorite pieces in it.

I figured I’d also take the chance to make all the patterns from that book available individually (they’re usually only available as the whole book because I’m a meanie and things to come in sets) and to put both the paper book and the electronic book on sale for 25% off.  You don’t need a code, the prices are changed already.  They’ll be that way through the end of the month.

kcc1 coverSo this was my first self published book.  The one I did with a publisher hadn’t gone the way I wanted it to, and I had decided I would either do the next book on my own, or never do another book.

linaria bipartitaI was scared more or less to death.  Publishing a book is a very expensive and very public thing.  I have a hideously active imagination.  I came up with any number of excitingly terrifying ways it could all go wrong.

chrysanthemum frutescensBut it didn’t.  It all went astonishingly well.  Better than I ever expected.

rubus suberectusIt had as weird a theme as any knitting book I’ve ever seen (old botanical illustrations? really? you expect people to put up with that?).

linaria bipartita 2I named my patterns after the plants that inspired them (which meant scientific names, which meant they are hard to pronounce and even harder to spell).

polypodium vulgareI went with half socks and half, well, other things I liked to knit (for absolutely no reason other than it’s what I felt like designing).

And it worked.  You trusted me enough to put up with my shenanigans and let me indulge my inner weird kid.  If you hadn’t, I probably would have gone and hidden under a rock and waited to die.  At the very least I wouldn’t be about to send my ninth book off to the printer.

crocus vernusSo thank you.  I’m still more than a little amazed I get to do this as my job (I can even mostly keep a straight face when people ask me what I do…that took a few years of practice).  I’m having a tremendous amount of fun doing this, and I promise to keep putting out books (and odd books at that) as long as you guys still want them!

So This Happened

Oh hey, I sort of forgot to mention this (you guys are awesome by the way, this is totally not something I ever expected to have happen).

fourth Nifty isn’t it!  Of course it does mean the garage looks like this (and that my postman is more or less not speaking to me).

garageBut, if you were waiting for the book to come back in stock on amazon, or if you were waiting for it to come in at your local yarn shop, it should be all set now (as always, amazon links are affiliate links).

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I should keep working on the sequel!

Proof

Do you know anyone who writes books?  If so, there’s likely to come a day when a package arrives from their printer.  When the package comes, it’s best to just stand quietly by and let them have a moment with it.  They’re fairly heavily invested in the stuff in that package, it’s best not to get between them and it.

peep stackI know it looks like a stack of giant, rumpled sheets of paper and may not seem all that fascinating.  But folded up inside there are Real Live Pages From The Book.  I promise it’s a big deal.

peep smallYou get to rub the paper (no one will notice if you sniff it too, that’s totally normal).  You get to look at the pictures up close and personal (paper is just different than the screen, and no matter how many times you’ve seen them on the screen, there’s something about seeing them on paper that’s special).  You get to waggle it back and forth and see how the light behaves on the paper.  It’s really rather ridiculously satisfying.

peep small 2And somewhere in that stack of pages is the first look at the cover, too.  I’m not showing it to you just yet (because of something about not boring you to tears three and a half months before the book comes out), but I promise I spent an alarming amount of time gazing at it, too.

It’s hideously immodest I’m sure, but I really think this one is going to be something special.  Now I just need someone to distract me and keep me sane until it gets here!

Blank

We’ve talked about the surprising number of steps between ‘I have this idea for a book’ and ‘hey, look, here’s a book I made.’  Some of them are fairly easy to guess (write stuff down, knit things, take photos of things, make it all look like a book).  Some are a little more surprising.  One of the ones I never would have thought about before I did this was getting blank books made the way your book will be made.  It turns out to be unreasonably helpful.

DSC_0875I’ve been trying to decide between ‘fancy bit of business wrapped around the spine of the book’ (apparently called three-piece case or quarter binding, depending on where you ask) versus ‘super spiffy end papers.’  And no, the proper answer isn’t ‘both.’ Both adds rather substantially to the price of this little undertaking, and I have to do that hideously practical thing where I balance out ‘wouldn’t it be nifty if’ with ‘let’s keep the price at place where folks will still actually buy the thing.’

Before I petted the blanks myself, I was leaning strongly toward the fancy spine.  But after spending some quality time with them in person (and spending some time staring at the pictures I want to use on the front and back covers), I think the end papers will win out.

And, because I know a few of you have been concerned, I promise the books lay open well so they’ll be easy to knit from.  In fact, because the covers themselves are heavier, they actually lay open better than the paperback versions.  The whole thing really does feel delightfully substantial.

DSC_0880Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m should probably go finish up the things to be printed on all those lovely blank pages.

Decisions decisions

Remember when I mention that one of the things that’s handy about sequels is that you have to make far fewer decisions than you do for the first book in a series?  That’s been on my mind a lot the last few days.  For you see, I’ve been making piles and piles and piles of decisions for the next book, and it’s making me a little dizzy.

The decisions for KCC weren’t too bad.  It was the first book I published, so I wanted to keep things simple.  I was also absolutely determined that it would look like it belonged when it was set on the yarn store shelf, so I pretty much just grabbed some books I liked, showed them to my printer, and said ‘let’s do it like this.’

But this next book? This next book is a bit different.  First, I feel quite a bit more confident in what I’m doing (seven books will do that…you’ll learn stuff along the way whether you want to or not).  And second, well second I’m not quite so concerned with this one looking like every other book on the shelf.  In fact, I’d rather it stand out a bit.

So I’m having some fun chatting with my printer about options.  Now this can quickly get dangerous.  Go look at the kids book section in your local book store and you’ll see the sorts of things that can be done to books.  Glow in the dark inks, fuzzy bits, funny shapes, the options are nearly endless.  But unless your budget (and the tolerance of your audience) is similarly endless, it’s probably better to restrain yourself.

I am (alas) limiting myself to just a few flourishes.  Most of these are dictated by the format of the book, (hardback, which tickles me to no end).  That in itself presents a lot of extra decisions.  You’ve got endpapers and head and tail bands (the wee fabric strips at the top and bottom of the spine) at a minimum, and quite a few other choices if you want to have a bit of fun.

All of which is a very long way of saying I’ve been looking at sheets and sheets of these (paper choices),

papersand these (head and tail band choices),

bands and these (wee ribbon bookmark choices, I couldn’t resist).

ribbons

And I am feeling just the tiniest bit overwhelmed.

Now I know it doesn’t really matter.  Not in the grand scheme of things.  I’m dreadfully picky about books, and even I have never decided I simply couldn’t buy a book I otherwise really wanted because the endpapers were an unacceptable shade of orange.  But oh…oh wow do I love it when a book gets all those little details right.  And getting to do it myself?  Well that’s an awful lot of fun.

Images are from materials provided by my printer, Asia Pacific Offset, and are used with permission.

All Official Like

Lookie what I got in the mail:

That’s my lovely spiffy notice from the Copyright Office saying that Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet is all registered and official.  I find it amuses me to no end (though admittedly, I am easily amused).  I’m still tickled that I seem to have  managed to create a real book (however that’s defined) while hiding in my office wearing mostly pajamas and supervised by no one save the kittens.  I’ve even tricked the copyright folks into believing it!