Ready, Set, …

So did I mention the new book?  The one that goes up for presale on Friday?  Well, I mean I know I’ve mentioned it in passing (if you look back at old posts tagged sneakypants, you can see many of the things I’ve said about it) , but I think I’ve actually been fairly circumspect about its contents.  Given that it’s coming out this Friday, I think we can likely lift the veil just a bit, don’t you?

How about a quick shot of some of the test pages the printer sent?  I’ll have a proper picture of all the projects tomorrow, but this might give you a sense of the thing!

soonSo yes, as some of you guessed, these are all wraps.  Lovely, asymmetrical wraps that are marvelously easy to wear and ridiculously fun to knit.  Every time I take one out in public, people come up and ask me where I got it and how they can get one.  The same thing happened when I was taking the photos for the book and when my sample knitter was making them.  I have a feeling folks are going to like them, I can’t wait to show them to you!

And, just for fun, I’m trying something new with the presale for this one.  There will, of course, be presale discounts for everyone who buys early.  But this time, as an added treat, I’ve got lovely goody bags for the first 250 people who buy the paper book!  They’re full of knitting tools and treats, and I think you’ll be delighted with them.  But because there are a limited number of goody bags, I want to make sure you have plenty of advance notice so you can snag an early spot and get one of your own.

The full schedule, in all its alarming detail will go up tomorrow.  I’ll also send an email out to the mailing list as things go up (sign up right here if you’re not on it yet).  But if you happen to have a moment free early Friday afternoon, you may want to plan to stop by!

So That’s Done

After busting a rather serious move over the last few weeks, I am delighted to announce that the next book went to the printer Monday morning.  I’m unreasonably taken with it.  It’s full of these.

hangerWhich I will, of course, be showing you in (doubtless irritating) detail over the coming weeks.  But for now their essential nature will remain shrouded in mystery.  Suffice it to say they’re rather fetching.  More information when I have it (I’m waiting for confirmation from the printer before I do anything injudicious like announce a firm date on which they’ll be ready, but I’m aiming for Thanksgiving).  Until then, just gaze at the pretty.

Now if you’ll excuse me, if I don’t push a vacuum around my office, I’m in danger of losing one of the Kitten Overlords to the dust bunnies.  Somehow housekeeping tends to fall by the wayside in the last week or two of book production, and things are a bit…gritty…around here.

Ruling

I need a ruling.  When does it go from ‘disgustingly premature’ to ‘perfectly reasonable’ to start blabbing excitedly about the next book.  It’s going to the printer in a little more than a week.  It will be out around Thanksgiving.  I’ve been totally focused on it for the last two weeks (making me a very tedious dinner companion I’m sure), and all I want to do is show you the projects.  But I’ve also been led to believe that one must maintain a certain level of mystery lest people be bored by the time it comes out.  Hence the need for a ruling.  But, while you ponder that, I’m going to to ahead and throw in a little blatant yarn flashing.

rainbowThese are the yarns for said book, and I’m taken with all of them.  There are great piles of marvelous new-to-me yarns (Fibre Company, Swans Island, Claudia Hand Painted Yarn, Elemental Affects, Baah, AnzulaCephalopod, Spud and Chloë, Blue Sky Alpacas), and lots of old favorites, too (Briar Rose, Plucky Knitter, Shibui, String Theory, Space Cadet).  I’ll be telling you about all of them in the coming weeks, but for now, a little yarn rainbow seemed like a lovely way to start the weekend.

Storage

I confessed that a shocking amount of last week was spent at the dining room table – pins in hand, the smell of wet wool filling the air – while I blocked and blocked and blocked some more.  The natural result of this process is a lovely pile of freshly blocked woolies.  But, if your house is anything like mine, it doesn’t present a huge number of large, flat, cat-free spaces in which to store great swaths of knitting.  At the same time, I very much did not want to fold these bits up until they were safely photographed.  So I pressed Miss Blossom into service.

Shawls wrapped around a dress form for storageI just wrapped her in layer after layer of knitting and stabbed a tiny straight needle in to hold it all in place.  It worked surprisingly well.  She’s quite stoic, never complaining about temperature swings, and the knitting is staying nicely uncrumpled while I wait for this weekend’s photo extravaganza.  I knew she’d come in handy.

Introductions

I do not generally support alarm clocks.  Working from home and for yourself means they are seldom necessary.  But this weekend, I made an exception.  I set an alarm.  And not just any alarm, a 6:30 alarm on a Sunday morning.  That’s borderline barbaric.  But, there was knitting to photograph, a vacant lot in which to do it, and the sun waits for no knitter.

So Alethea, The Boy, and I rolled our sleepy selves into the car along with rather a lot of knitting (and the camera, I was quite proud I managed not to forget the camera, that would have complicated things).  We were headed for one of my favorite vacant lots.  Don’t laugh.  If you ever drive around town with me there’s every chance I will, at some point in the drive, press my face against the glass and go “oooooooooh, pretty” as we zip past a bit of derelict something or the other.  I keep a running list of these spots evaluated by likelihood of being hassled by the police, likelihood of being hassled by someone less civic minded than the police, necessity of protective shoes, suitability for photos, and proximity to good restaurants.  For Sunday’s excursion, this one was the clear winner.

weedy The one thing I forgot was my shawl pins.  Luckily, the lot provided one of those (and The Boy made good use of my pocketknife to make it knitting-suitable).  He’s very handy to have around.

trimThis, by the way, is Alethea.  I made a passing introduction back in March when she joined the Chez Violence Home for Wayward Knitting Props, but it seemed time to formalize things.  I think she does a very very nice job of showing off these pieces, don’t you?

briar rose 1 smallI predict you’ll be seeing a lot more of her in the coming months.  You’ll probably see a bit more of the lot too, as we have plans to return shortly to put into place all the things I learned this past weekend (it was only a practice photo shoot, next time is the real deal).

Prep

This Sunday was a test run for a photo shoot, which meant that more or less every minute of last week leading up to Sunday looked like this.

pinnedI don’t think I’ve ever blocked so many things (big things) in so short a time.  I ran out of tpins (I like these, and have ordered more) and I was pretty much always out of space on my blocking mats (more of these may just be on their way too).  The dining room table (aka the only space in the house at all suitable for large blocking) was always in use, and the ceiling fan ran pretty much non stop.

But, the results were worth it.  The photos came out better than I could have hoped for (um, not this photo…this is a photo of a florescent pink thing on a hideous blue background taken at night with artificial light and so looks rather…um…problematic, but the photos we took yesterday are smashing).  I’ll share them soon, but I have to go do grownup, nonknitting, responsible adult things this morning.  But as soon as that’s over with, I’ll get back to the important things and provide pretty pictures of yarn and knitting.

Assistance

I don’t believe in rushing.  I’m firmly convinced that when you rush, you make stupid mistakes.  If you feel like you should hurry, it’s probably actually time to slow down and take a breath.  Which is why, despite the rather frantic pace of the last few days (as explained by the last post), I decided I wanted to whip the current project off the needles to double check that I liked how it was coming together.

I’m actually a big fan of this technique.  There is (generally) no reason not to put your knitting on some waste yarn, pitch it in a sink full of water (do avoid dropping the ball of yarn the water though, that doesn’t go well), wring it out, and block it.  This usually gives you a much better sense of the fabric than your swatch does.  I wanted to be sure I liked the drape of the orange thing, so I did exactly that.

helpful kittenKitten Overlord Douglas instantly settled in.  He seems to approve of the project, so who am I to question it.  Onward.

Opportune

You know how sometimes an opportunity sneaks up and pounces, all bright and shining and obvious, and you have no choice but to seize it?  Right.  That’s not what’s happened here.  Instead, the faintest glimmer of an interesting opportunity has twinkled, dimly, off in the distance.  It’s the sort of thing that could be seriously nifty, but would require me to bust a fairly epic move to take advantage of it.  And of course it hasn’t come with anything like a firm timeline or even a guarantee of coming fully into existence.  Because that would be too easy.

DSC_9791That’s what it looks like when a knitter decids to bust a move.  That’s me (me, who never knits her own book samples) hard at work on two potential book projects.  (Side note, those aren’t KCC3 samples.  KCC3 heads off to the printer in an alarmingly short period of time.  These are for the sneaky pants project I’ve been dancing around for the last little while.)  And Laura (who normally knits all my samples and thus keeps me sane) has a similar pile of yarn lurking in her house too.

I’m terribly curious to see how this will come out.  The possibilities range from total success to crushing and tearful defeat.  I’ll keep you informed.

Laze

A certain amount of lazing about is good for a person.  It is my firm conviction that, if I work hard all day every day, I stop doing good work.  If I don’t take the odd day off (or two…or three…in a row) and accomplish absolutely nothing, my brain goes on strike.  So, working with that theory, I’ve taken a bit of shameless time off over my birthday and the holiday.  I hope you got to do the same.

And by the way, it totally totally worked.  The last few days have been ones of scandalous, shocking productivity.  Alas, it’s all rather hidden productivity.  It’s piles and piles of fiddly behind-the-scenes work on KCC3 (which yes, is rapidly nearing completion) and equally large piles of rather more exciting work on the new sneakypants project.  I’ll be talking about both over the next few days (I have some questions for you all on the sneakypants front).  But for now, I wanted to pop in, reassure you I’d not floated away on an eggnog cloud, and show off a bit of knitting.

_DSC9114That’s the sock in progress, and it’s also proof of how much difference a nice relaxing soak will make to any stressed out knitting.  See how the partial sock’s leg is all ripply and bunched up?  It lays right down after a rinse, I promise.

Oh, and one tiny reminder, the buy one get one free sale does end this evening, so if you needed something, details are over here.

Piles and piles and piles

What was that?  Not enough yarn around here lately?  Well, I was just at Rhinebeck, and I do have every intention of bombarding you with just a wee bit of yarn from that little adventure.  But Rhinebeck is being followed by an honest-to-goodness vacation (the sort where I’m trying not to get on the computer every day and write blog posts), so said bombardment is going to have to wait till I’m back from that.

In the meantime though, rest assured there is yarn in my life.  This, is the pile of yarn for the current super-duper-secret project.

sneakypants yarnsMore specifically, that is most of the pile of yarn for that project.  There are a few others still waiting to find their way into that pile.  A nice purple, a creamy yellow, and even a totally respectable brown.  I think the mix at the end will be absolutely delightful.  Putting together yarns for a book always feels absolutely impossible, right up to the moment it’s done, at which point it feels like these were all meant to be together and no other choices were possible.  Every single time.

And don’t worry, Guard Barry is keeping close watch on the yarns to make sure super-secret project stays appropriately secret!  I swear that center basket is kept free of yarns (it holds notes and labels) so he can nest in there.  It’s his favorite spot in the whole house.

watch cat