Dream a Little Dream

As some of you may recall, earlier this year The Boy and I headed out to our local picturesque abandoned greenhouse (every well equipped town has one).  We were hunting for photoshoot locations, and we snapped a few pics of some lovely pink mitts while we were there.  I let you know they were for a project, and I promised I’d come back and tell you all about it when it went live.

Well it’s out now, and I couldn’t be more delighted!  May I introduce Dreaming of Shetland: A Dream-Funder Project for Deborah Robson.

I first met Deb when I took her ‘how to publish knitting patterns’ class way back at the very first Sock Summit.  I got to know her better at this year’s Visionary Authors retreat (that’s her on the right in the front row).  While we were there, she talked about how hard it can be to do the sort of research she’s doing, especially without the shelter and support (read funding and access) of an academic institution.

Two of the folks at the retreat, Donna Druchunas and Anne Berk had a brilliant and hugely generous idea.  They offered to put together a collection of projects from a whole host of different designers into an ebook, the proceeds of which would go to support Deb in the important work she’s doing.  Watching this come together was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.  I knew knitters were a generous bunch, but this has just blown me away.  Deb has written a bit about the process over here.

And as marvelous as the idea was, now that I’ve seen the end result, I can say it’s even cooler than I expected (and I had awfully high expectations to start with).  This is a hell of  a book.  It includes dozens of patterns from some of the biggest names in the industry, just look at the list of designers and all the beautiful projects.  Whatever you like to knit (beads, lace, cables, colorwork), there’s sure to be something here to delight you.

The ebook will be released in seven sections.  The first of them is available now, and the others will be arriving over the next few months (and don’t worry, the copy in your ravelry library will update as the new sections come out, it’s all very automated and easy).  Do yourself a favor and add it to your library now.  I’m sure you’ll be as thrilled with it as I am!

(Images from the book and used with permission.)

TNNA Bound

If all has gone according to plan (and if you’re reading this on Saturday or Sunday), I’m currently hanging out at the Visionary Author booth at TNNA (we’re in 114, 116, & 118 so come say hi if you’re there).  In order for that to happen, all of these things (plus, you know, a small suitcase full of clothes…oh, and two chairs) will have somehow made it from my living room, into my car, down to Columbus, back out of my car, and into the booth.

I’m very much hoping that by the time you read this, that has all been easily accomplished and that didn’t prove nearly as daunting as it seemed when I wrote this.  My favorite part?  The sack full of mannequin feet.

Throwing that over your shoulder and running around grinning (like some sort of evil Santa from an alternate universe where the idea of a sack full of presents and a mantle full of stockings went horribly horribly wrong) is unreasonably satisfying.

TNNA Recap

So, as promised, a recap of TNNA.  It will, alas, have to be a bit brief.  I seem to have managed to pick up some sort of cold bug while there and am trying to take it easy today in the hopes of fending it off quickly.

So, first, what the heck is TNNA?  It stands for The National Needlearts Association.  They hold several tradeshows every year.  The summer one happens in Columbus, Ohio, and it focuses on yarn and knitting.  It’s not a fiber festival like Rheinbeck or Maryland Sheep and Wool.  It’s only open to folks in the industry.  If you sell yarn, or knitting needles, or (just for example) books, you go to TNNA and set up a booth.  Then store owners from around the world come and look and see what you have to offer and place orders. If you want more details, the lovely Jaala at knitcircus has provided lots of info in this week’s issue.

Next up, what the heck was I doing there?  This part’s longer.  Do you remember back in March of last year when I mentioned I’d gone off on a trip to work on future books?  I realize now that I didn’t go into a lot of details.  I was there as part of Cat Bordhi’s Visionary Authors group.  Cat has spent the last eight years encouraging people to self publish books they’re passionate about.  The results have been sort of spectacular (the books on that page are just some of the titles that have come about because of this project).  I’m still sort of wondering just how I managed to convince her to let me come play.

Now bear with me for just a bit longer, I promise I’m getting to the point.  One of the tricky parts about self publishing is letting stores know about your project, and then getting it to them.  If you don’t want the books filling up your garage till the end of time, and you don’t want to get to know your local post office very very well, you need a distributor.  A distributor stores your books, sells them to stores, ships them out, and then sends you checks.  It’s an excellent arrangement.  The Visionary Authors generally use Unicorn Books as our distributor.  Unicorn, being the biggest seller of knitting books in the industry, has a huge booth at TNNA.  This year, because they like the Visionary Authors (and because they sell a lot of our books), they got us two booths across from their giant island of books.

That’s what I was there for.  We spent Friday setting it up.  We had books and samples from lots of our projects.  There were old favorites (like Cat’s books, and Sandra McIver’s Knit, Swirl, and JC Briar’s Charts Made Simple) and brand new projects (like Charles Gandy’s The Embellished Sock, and Chrissy Gardiner’s Indie Socks, and um, mine).  I completely neglected to take photos of the booth until we were just about to start tearing it down (they don’t really allow photos on the show floor), so you’ll have to forgive things looking a bit scattered, but this should give you an idea of what the booth looked like.

And this over here is the little section full of my goodies.  Again, it’s the end of the show and things are a wee bit rumpled, so if you could pretend it’s a tiny bit tidier that would be great.

So that’s where I hung out this weekend, except that during the show, it was filled with people.  Lots and lots of people.  Yarn store owner type people looking for books to carry in their shops.  Which was sort of the point, and was of course marvelous (though perhaps the one person who brought the cold germ with him or her might possibly have just lingered in the aisle instead of shaking hands…that would have been ok, but everybody else was spectacular).

And do you know what I heard, over and over?  I heard yarn store owners say that someone had brought The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet to knit night, and that people loved it, so they were here to order it.  So to all of you who were brave enough to preorder it (and trust met to get it to you) and excited enough by it to take it to your local yarn stores and show it off, thank you.  You guys rock.

It seems to have been more or less the most effective marketing ever.  You know how I know?  Because Unicorn posts a list of the bestsellers for the show.  Now this will totally sound immodest.  But you know what, at this point, I don’t care.  The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet made the top ten.  Out of the thousands of books that Unicorn carries, mine was number 6.  The things I said when I found out were not modest, nor were they decorous or seemly or even terribly ladylike.  They were, however, extremely heartfelt.  There may have been a tiny Snoopy dance of glee.

And with that, I think I need to end for today.  Brevity is apparently not my strong suit, and I really do need a restorative cup of tea and possibly a nap.  And with any luck, I’ll be all caught up and back up to speed by tomorrow.