table of contents
October 6, 2006
how to write a book
So imagine you are choosing yarn for a new project. I think for most knitters this ranks right up there on the "fun parts" list. Choosing colors, fondling yarns, deciding what colors go best together, thinking about gauge and texture and materials. Clearly you could spend all afternoon in the yarn shop happily absorbed in this activity.
Okay, so now imagine that you need to pick the yarn for 35 projects. And remember that they can't all be in your favorite color*. There needs to be a range of color and texture and gauge. And if, after making 10 decisions you decide that number 11 has to be red, then that means that number 3 can't be red too and needs to be revisited. And then you need to figure out how many skeins of each you need. Note, too, that this means you have a pretty darned good idea what is actually covered in the book and that it has something to offer for everyone -- things that are appealing and flattering to a variety of tastes and sizes. That's a much bigger job. Challenging, but definitely still fun.
Especially when you start to see the results. Pictured above is my first shipment of yarn for the book. I had to show the envelope because it was covered with cool Gee's Bend quilt stamps, and, as Suzanne Pineau, owner of Knitting in La Jolla, pointed out, addressed by Cheryl Schaefer's own hand. Inside, alongside the beautiful yarns, a personal note from Cheryl. Cool, huh?
*Several people have said when I bring this up, "I guess you need to cover the full range of colors." but I cannot really decide if this is true. Black, white, navy and very pale colors are out because they are hard to photograph. I could see, say, an all green book being silly, or an overly orange book looking dated, but I do find myself thinking, "What if I left blues and purples out entirely?" On some level, a limited palette can be called "coherence". I know there are scores of people who love blue and purple, but, at least right now, I am not one of them. I like warm colors. And, afterall, there are browns and greys and greens that are cool. I don't dislike blue or bluey colors, I am simply unattracted to them. I mean, some of my best friends like blue. This goes back to the "people knit it in the color they see" chestnut. If a purple person sees no purple in the book will she decide "there's nothing in here for me?" Most of me finds this preposterous. But a tiny part of me is afraid it's true.