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May 28, 2007
columbus

I'm heading to Columbus on Thursday. And apparently I have not given the fair city its due. I knew that Columbus was the capital of the great state of Ohio and also home to Ohio State University. I did not know that Columbus was the largest city in Ohio. Or that OSU was the largest college campus in the U.S. or that Columbus was the 15th largest city in the U.S.* Money Magazine calls it "the 8th best large city to inhabit in the US."

In addition to the state government and the university, Columbus is home to lots of insurance companies, an emerging tech sector, and the headquarters of The Limited, Abercrombie and Fitch, Wendy's and White Castle.

The climate is "characterized by hot, muggy summers" and the average temperature in June ranges from a low of 59 to a high of 82 degrees. The population is predominantly white (70%) with a significant African American population (25%), and a tiny bit of everything else.

Looks like there are plenty of things to eat and look at within walking distance of the convention center.


*Of course this is city size which isn't really so telling. On that list San Diego is number 8. Talking Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Columbus is #32. Which actually makes it slightly smaller than Cincinnati or Cleveland.

06:32 AM
May 25, 2007
how the book ends

Okay, so I've handed in Q4 -- the last fourth of the book. Hooray! Take a day to celebrate and then there's a bit of clean up.

Here are most of the book projects (the ones that weren't already vacationing elsewhere) bagged and tagged and checking their boarding passes for Ohio. Also, a list for the photographer of what goes where with what.

And then there's Author Review. The stuff on the page that's still black is the original. All the pretty colors come from rounds with my editor, the copy editor, the technical editor, the editor again and then back to me. Changes to the text and a lot of midrash.

If you haven't ever gone through editing before, then you are unaware, likely, of the wonders of "track changes". This handy little Word tool allows you to pass a document around and have everyone throw in their two cents. And you can see who did what, turn the changes on and off, accept and reject changes... So, for this pass, I turn the changes off and read it to see if it makes sense. As if I had never read it before. If anything strikes me as weird, I turn the changes back on and see if I can figure out what
happened.

It's a strange process. I think that I am pretty good at being edited. I like to joke that that's what graduate school for. I try to bear in mind that everyone working on the project is trying to make it better and, really, I agree with 95% of the changes. Still, I find myself feeling vaguely grumpy and having to really drag myself over to the chair. It's exciting to see it so close to done, and also slightly nervous-making that this is the last chance to get it all right. (It's not really. I'll see it one more time in layout).


In more exciting news, I am heading out to Columbus on Thursday! TNNA happens next weekend, and the photoshoot for the book is in Columbus starting the following Monday. So, really, seldom before has someone been so excited about a visit to Columbus.
06:19 AM
May 20, 2007
fashion trends

In contemplating my wardrobe and thinking about design, here's what's going on with me:

brown. I've had brown phases before. I had a brown phase in college I think, which a friend dubbed the "Atalanta Earth" look, but more recently I got rid of all things neutral. Anyway, brown is back. My mother-in-law must have had a brown phase too because I have loads of brown table linens thanks to her.

ruching. Heck, it's so fun to say, how can you not find ways to slip it into day to day conversation? I've been fascinated lately by ruching. I think it's an extension of the ruffle phase that knitting went through a couple years ago. When you think about it, ruching is just a ruffle that's attached on both sides. I've seen a couple of knitted items that use it -- I think there's an intriguing bit in the Tracey Ullman book. And one of my students is knitting something that uses increases and the contrast between a thin yarn and a thicker yarn to create ruched stripes. In order to get the drape you need (and not something outrageously bulky and heavy), you'd want to use something light. Maybe a ribbon yarn? I think it'd need to be used judiciously, but could really do some interesting things.

pockets. It dawned on me yesterday as I was admiring the pouch-like pockets on a cargo skirt that knitting has really not seen a lot of pockets recently. I seem to remember more pockets a couple of decades ago. My aunt knit my sister a tunic length sweater with cables and two pockets that was pretty fetching back in the '80's. Patch pockets can be worked in a number of pretty cool ways, with or without flaps, and inset pockets also offer the potential for interesting embellishments. The issue I think is that they add bulk. So you'd have to deal with that. And also, any time you actually put anything IN to a pocket, you wreck the lines of the garment. Still pockets are darned useful. Ask any kangaroo.

10:15 AM
deadlines

The final quarter of the book is due tomorrow! And honestly it's pretty much been a coast to the finish. I overloaded my early quarters and so the fourth quarter was light. The hardest thing to write was possibly the last, the introduction. Only because I thought about it too much. Still, I've been working along at a steady pace on it and its thousand little things, and I've done two tech-editty final readthroughs on books this month. I felt connections to both projects so I really wanted to do my little part on them. And, when you've been contemplating your navel for a while, it's really nice to read someone else's words for a change. They were both really good looking books that you'll enjoy too: Kat Coyle's Boho Baby Knits and Lotta Jansdotter's Lotta Prints.

Anyway, in my head I was giving myself time off for good behavior after this. But when I spoke to my editor this week she reminded me that author review starts Tuesday. This means that I'll be receiving the book in five batches to look over for any mistakes and fix things that have become clear in the intervening months (like for instance, once the knitters were through knitting them). So I'll have one week to turn each batch around. Which pretty much takes us up to the start of summer vacation. I did have friends over to dye yarn on Monday, and went exploring some antique shops with a friend on Tuesday... so it's not as though it's all work and no play. And I'm knitting on two extra-curricular projects -- the Norah-gami cardigan and a lace shawl with the yarn that Zoe dyed. I'll just say regarding dyeing, that the skeins my kids dyed came out way cooler than mine. I guess there's something to be said for just diving in, eh?

07:50 AM
May 18, 2007
a few links

#1873218

The Rubbish Vortex

my kids modeling for Interweave Crochet

06:55 AM
May 11, 2007
to kill a mockingbird

A couple of weeks ago, I realized that there was a nest in the bouganvillea. And in those weeks, the mother mockingbird, the father mockingbird and I have been busy. Mrs. hatched her eggs and then was very busy, as mothers are, darting in and out of the tree with mouths full of tasty worms and other tidbits. While she was out of the nest, Mr. stayed in the area, flicking his tail and squawking his noisy squawk if anyone got too close. He'd swoop in and distract predators while she slipped into the nest. If she saw any trouble, she'd squawk, Mr. would come over and squawk some more, and if that kept up, I'd go to see what cat, child, or other predatory animal was in the area and shoo them away.

It was all working fine until this week. Much more squawking. Compounded by the presence of crows swooping in and out to find the shelled peanuts my child had hidden around the yard. I noticed that the attention of Mrs. was no longer on the nest, but rather on the ground a few feet from the tree. I watched her, and sure enough, she was flying the tasty morsels to the ground. When she was busy elsewhere I found this.

Getting fat and feathery, but still unable to fly. And, more importantly, in a much more precarious position! So Mr.'s busy keeping everything out of the area. Since there was nothing going on at the nest anymore and hadn't been for days (and since I decided I really didn't mind if we didn't get another brood of birds in there in case she was planning on it) I decided to go in after the nest. And found this.

So apparently one of the babies perished and the sib had to hit the road early. Hopefully it'll learn to fly soon and get out of danger! In the meantime, the three of us will stay busy!

01:48 PM
a love letter to norah gaughan

I've been eyeing the Sanpoku cardigan in Berroco's Yin & Yang booklet for a while. I love that whole booklet. Such simple shapes, such wearable designs! Berroco's been very good at having pattern support for their yarns, both in print and online, for a long time. Now that Norah Gaughan is their design director, though, the designs are superlative. Norah says that she has been experimenting with minimalist shapes and interesting designs. And how! The fronts of the sweater are rectangles, hung on the bias. The back is essentially a trapezoid. The sleeves: rectangles topped with regular raglan decreases. How could I not love such a combination of simplicity and geometry, served up with just a soupcon of edgy?

How pleased I was, then, to see the Origami Cardi in the latest issue of Interweave Knits. In it, Gaughan uses a bumpy berry stitch meant to summon the texture of Japanese crushed silk along the edges. I think it's effective, but I thought the bulky berries would annoy me -- to knit and to wear. So I went with a slightly modified horseshoe lace (Barbara Walker 1). It reminds me of of tulips and umbrellas, particularly in this ever-so-springy yellow.

That Norah Gaughan loves geometry as much as Hugh Moody, my high school math teacher, is clear. Look at her book, Knitting Nature. A book so cool that I make non-knitters look at it to understand why knitting is cool and smart. A book that I can point to when people ask what kind of book I'd love to write.

06:08 AM