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December 11, 2006
Quarter 1


My deadline for Quarter 1 is tomorrow. The designing and writing are done and I am assembling "scrap art". Because the For Dummies series relies on illustrations more than photographs, the illustrators need to know what to draw, so they need sketches or snapshots or pointers to guide them. For the 80 pages I'm handing in, I'm also handing in about 50 pieces of scrap art.


Two things on the previous post:
Careful readers will note the delightful warmth of the colors shown in the swatches.


And Musetta asks what becomes of knitted samples for books and magazines.

First they are photographed for the book. In the case of Knitting Patterns for Dummies, the knits and I will travel to some undisclosed Midwestern location sometime soon after the manuscript is due (May) and the pictures will be taken. Note that an author is not always on location for the photography -- the publisher handles it completely most of the time and the author is only along for the ride. Or to play the role of the sensitive artist. My take: it's a chance to see how they actually do a photoshoot and also, as the designer and author I can point out what the significant details of a certain piece are or what's unique about it, so the garments get shot in ways that highlight those features.

After the pictures, time passes. For many craft books, most of a year can pass from the author's deadline! There's the production of the book itself which may or may not be well underway by the final deadline, and then there's printing. One of the marvels of working on the For Dummies series with Wiley is that my final deadline is in May (and not even the beginning of May) and the book will be on shelves in September. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, when you write a Dummies book, you write right into a template. The margins are predetermined, the fonts are predetermined. If I print a rough draft at home, it looks just like it'll look in the book. Except for adding in the illustrations and jiggling stuff around a bit. The other big reason that Wiley is able to turn these books around so quickly is that they print books in the US. Most knitting books I have been involved with (or even heard about) are printed in China. And dealing with that adds in a lot of time. Mostly it's because the books are heavy and literally take the slow boat from China. A few books are sent expedited and that's why there are "advance" copies. But most of the 10,000 books take the slow boat. Not only does Wiley print in the US, but at least some books are printed in a press connected to the warehouse by underground tunnel! So the books are printed, wheeled over, and they can be on trucks on their way to stores as soon as the ink's dry. This seems like something you'd like to watch on Mr. Rogers' Picture Picture.

So back to the actual knitted objects. Post photography they will travel back home with me, and sit in my closet (or someplace). You never know when Oprah is going to call... or the Poughkeepsie Picayune, so it's smart to have them. Or maybe you're doing a little book promotion and it's great to have the samples to show. Some things will probably hang out at my local yarn shop for a while, because there people see them and want to knit them. Once the potential for all that has passed and the hoo-hah dies down, then it's a mixed bag. Some knits are given to models in exchange for their work. In my case, some of the knitters will be paid for their work by getting to keep what they knit. Some of them I will keep. Sometimes things sit in limbo, though, usually with the author.

Where are my published sweaters? Let's see, as far as I know, Amy Singer still has "Surf and Turf" (which has traveled a lot!), Shannon Okey has my Knitgrrl 2 sweater, I have my sweater and skirt from Big Girl Knits back, but Jillian has my sweater for the sequel still since it's not done yet. And Amy must have my No Sheep For You sweater. I'm pretty sure the photography is done, but the book won't be out until Spring. The stuff for the dog book has gone the way of the wind. Some of it, I suspect, got left with the Today Show Crew about a year ago. I have all the stuff I've done for Knitty or have given it away. And my Curious Creek Fibers designs go back and forth and live with me, with Kristine, or at Knitting in La Jolla, depending on their mood.

06:45 AM
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