Once more unto the breach, dear friends

It’s beginning to feel like Autumn, which means fresh apples, more comfortable knitting weather, and for me, my Fall workshops begin again. Historically, I’ve noticed that most people aren’t interested in learning new techniques in the Fall when they’re working toward holiday projects, so workshops that would sell out in the Spring struggle to fill in the Fall. This year I’m taking a new tack — I’m running bigger workshops at bigger events, cramming a whole season’s worth of teaching into a few weekends. We’ll see how it goes! I’ve also got some other cool news. I’ll try to keep it brief though, since I know attention spans aren’t what they used to be (squirrel!)

Interweave Knitting Labs: I’m teaching my entire repertoire of workshops at both Labs, one in Manchester, NH next weekend, and the other in San Mateo, CA a month later. While in Manchester, fellow Guild member Stephanie from Dirty Water Dyeworks has graciously agreed to field sales of my books in her booth there! In San Mateo, Bijou Basin Ranch will sell them as usual. Thanks to both of you!

Rhinebeck: I’ll be doing a day-trip on Saturday, Oct 20 from Boston with the Eliot School in JP — so I’ll be there at the Cooperative Press booth to sign books and generally shmooze. More definite schedule TBA.

A Guild-tastic weekend: On Friday, November 9th, I’ll be presenting Gale Zucker at the Common Cod Fiber Guild here in Cambridge, then leaving town to present at the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitters’ Guild in Ontario. On the way, I’ll be teaching at All Strung Out in Guelph, Ontario. I thought I might be able to make a meaningful layover in Chicago but it appears I’ll just be hanging out at the airport.

Finally, on the weekend after Thanksgiving, I’ll be heading out to Denver to do a shoot at the Craftsy HQ, so I’ll finally be able to teach double-knitting to people in all corners of the world I wouldn’t normally be able to reach. I’m working on a couple of new patterns for this, and I guess it’d be OK if I showed a photo of one in progress here.

I’ve got some other kind of awesome news but I’m going to keep it under my hat until it solidifies a little bit. More to come soon! Thanks for putting up with my very sporadic updates!

Greetings to Interweave Knits readers!

Hello! If you’re new here after having seen my article in Interweave Knits, it’s good to see you!. Please feel free to leave a comment to this post — I’m curious to see how many people are coming in after reading IK. I didn’t realize it was out already until I started hearing kudos from subscribers.

I’ve also been getting a number of questions asking after patterns pictured in the article. Since it’s evidently not clear, let me just reiterate: All the patterns you’ve seen in the article and most of the ones you can see on this blog (except those for which I expressly say otherwise) will be published in the book. If you want to be among the first to know when the book is ready for pre-order (and when it’s shipping), you can join my mailing list in the upper right corner of this blog.

Thanks for your interest and stay tuned!

An apology to my readers

Not that I expect I have many regular readers, but I owe you an apology. My blog hasn’t been updated in many months because I am working feverishly on my book, knitting and charting and working out kinks in existing designs. I have never been great at blogging, which may be my downfall in the end because bloggers who don’t update every couple of days fall off people’s radar. I am hoping that I will get back on people’s radar due to the merit of what I will be posting. I have had several pieces knit by sample knitters and I am doing several myself (charting as I design them, or knitting them several months after charting them). All in all there should be 12 or 15 designs, depending on how they’re counted, plus technique illustrations and text. As an update, I have one design to finish working out and knitting, two to design from scratch (but they’re small projects) and one other small project to knit up. I have had some success in my initial illustrations (I have an Illustrator brush technique that will allow me to “paint” colored yarn, but I have to work out the stitch structures). I’ll try to post here more often — I do have some finished or mostly-finished projects that are ready for photographs.

Double-Knitting Overflow workshop at Mind’s Eye in Cambridge

The workshop in February filled up and generated a waiting list, so we’re running the workshop a second time on April 17th, again at Mind’s Eye Yarns. I’m not offering workshops anywhere else this season — rather, I’m focusing on preparations and knitting for my upcoming book — so if you want to take a workshop with me this season, Mind’s Eye is the place for it.

This Book CHANGED MY LIFE

The Secret Before ...

My father and I are staggeringly similar. My wife never quite understood it until she met him at my sister’s wedding. At the rehearsal dinner he and I had ordered the same thing, and could be observed pushing the same foods safely to the margins of the plate. We have a similar sort of dry sense of humor, although his is more seasoned by age and having grown up in an era that, frankly, had a more sophisticated bunch of comedians. We are both known to push the boundaries of our respective crafts (he makes Uilleann bagpipes), and we both have packrat tendencies. The similarities go on.

Without going too far into gory family history, my father and my mother divorced early in my own history, and he remarried later on. His new wife had a son in a previous marriage whom I had not met until last year around Christmas, when my wife (then fiancee) went to visit them. He had an intense personality, and on one evening he pulled out this movie he said we needed to watch. We hadn’t heard of it. It was called “The Secret”. I looked at the back and said, “This is a self-help movie, right?”

We couldn’t gracefully get out of watching it once it was on the table. My wife made a valiant effort and sat through most of it, but my father and I couldn’t take it. It was too ridiculous. We hung out in the kitchen and made snarky comments out of earshot.

It has long been my opinion, having worked in libraries and bookstores, that self-help books are 30% common sense and 70% bullshit. They prey on people’s lack of critical thinking and poor logic skills by putting in some things that almost everyone intuitively knows to be true, but rather than continuing in a logical direction, they spin off in far-fetched pseudo-scientific directions and new-age spiritualism. People who are taken in by these books will connect with the 30% and assume the other 70% is true.

So it was only fitting that this year I play a little (short-lived) joke on my father. I didn’t get underway until late in the season so I couldn’t get it to him for Christmas, but he appreciated it anyway. I bought a copy of the hardback version of The Secret from half.com — I think I paid more in shipping than for the book itself — and consulted with a friend of mine who is a professional bookbinder. She sent me some web tutorials for hollowing out books. I used a little from each and added my own little flairs to make the technique my own, but in the end I had a book that looked normal from the outside, but the inside was hollow.

Really, what better thing could you do with a book entitled “The Secret”?

... and After

But what to put in it? I took a walk to my¬†local gourmet grocery and perused the chocolate section. I finally decided to take a gamble on a box of Lake Champlain Chocolates — a taste of home for both of us — that looked like it would fit. Not only did it fit, but it fit perfectly in all three dimensions, and the book closed seamlessly.

I wrapped it with unassuming wrapping paper and on the outside of the paper I wrote “This book CHANGED MY LIFE. I hope you will absorb its wisdom and share its contents with those close to you.”