Monday, January 17, 2011

The Writing Process

I've begun serious work on the new bulky projects book.

I believe I will call it "The Goldilocks Challenge," because the book is going to be all about the projects, gift items you can knit on either a USM or another bulky flatbed knitting machine, items to give to Papa Bear, Mama Bear, or Baby Bear.  It's the least you can do after wandering into their house in the forest, eating their breakfast, breaking the furniture, and generally making yourself at home!

So, I calculated and am knitting ALL the sizes of the slipper and have refilmed the process for the Japanese bulky machine.  I admit it was utter joy to knit on it again, and the projects go so, so fast with that wonderful 270 that I love.  But here's a fact:  you don't have to have a fantastic, expensive machine like the Brother 270 to make these projects.  They can be made on a plastic bed machine from the hobby store.

Filming is its own challenge, preserving just enough of my klutziness (it's impossible to get rid of it all, anyway) so you see what real knitters experience with uncooperative needles and big fingers; showing enough detailed steps so you can knit right along, but not so many that you fall asleep; and finally, trying to get as close as that high-def camcorder will focus.  I'm trying for the chin-on-the-needles perspective!  I actually filmed the slipper twice this weekend, the second time using a yarn that I think will be very easy to see in the one tricky part of the operation, the sew-as-you-go side seams.

I've also refilmed the tam for the Japanese bulky, again using the sew-as-you-go seam.  I have sizing and testing to do on the tam, which I think is very cute on little girls.

I've hit the shops several times to buy yarn.  What a joke, my buying yarn of any kind, since yarn is already squeezing us out of house and home. I've littered my guest room with piles of half-knitted balls of yarn, little bundles of waste yarn, piles of knitted samples, tools, even the high-powered lamp sitting up on the bed to bounce extra light off the ceiling and brighten the video shots.  I have assorted Excel charts and Word documents in about four places on two computers at my house.  I have taken over poor John's computer.  Mine isn't powerful enough for the video software, and his, which is a super-fast multi-processor with Windows 7, can only handle the video software running and nothing else.

I'm not a Neatnik to begin with, and when I'm concentrating on a problem, tunnel vision sets in, so I don't even notice my surroundings.  It's a big mess.  I love this process.

I have a way in mind to do the scarves on the bulky machine to avoid most hand-tooling which is necessary on the Ultimate Sweater machine.

Then there's the sizing and samples on the mitten and the other hat, which will also not have the hand-tooling necessary on the USM.

As I compile the book, the next big question is when are there enough patterns for it to be a good customer value?  These few projects are in meticulous detail with lots of sizes.  I have other projects in mind, just have to work the book up and see when I slam into the space limitations.  My books emphasize how-to and lots of photos and written out, unabbreviated instructions use up lots of space.  You gotta be who you are, and my track record is one of readers actually making well-designed and thoroughly tested projects successfully.  

We'll see what we get!  I'll know when the book is ready, and if I don't know, it'll be like Enchanted Edgings - I have friends who tell me bluntly that I'm finished and to publish already.

I might be a bit quiet, blog-wise, for a while, with just photos of the work as it progresses.


  1. I think this book will be very well received!
    As far as how many matter who you ask, you'd get a different opinion. Some people want to pay for individual patterns, some people want a collection even if some will be of little use. I like to see lots of imformation, even if I might not make something as exactly as written, if I know the gauge, the size, and esp. the "how", then I'm happy. So, maybe some/most patterns could be very detailed, but then include some more 'recipes' for other items :)

  2. I have a huge bookcase full of knitting patterns written by many designers that I enjoy thoroughly, using them for ideas and trying out techniques, yet I almost never knit anything exactly as written. It's difficult for someone like me, who loves to "make it up," to make sure that what I'm writing for someone else to follow really works for her.

    A lot of the patterns I have purchased for MK over the years don't quite work. Perhaps the author left out key details, or there were mistakes in the math, or the suggested yarn would not make gauge. I want every pattern to work.

    I was thinking this morning as I tested four sizes of tams and a half dozen sizes of slippers that the customer's success is my success. I hope the patterns in this book will turn into gift staples as you knit for loved ones and dear friends.

  3. Diana, I too love to "make it up" and generally glance over someone else's pattern to get a feel for it and the go my merry way. I have worked your patterns/instructions and find them comprehensive and user-friendly. AND I keep coming back to them. You are a born teacher. Don't be too quiet.

  4. Hi Diana, I'm very interested in your book, but for foreigners and those who use a Knit leader, do you have planned please, diagrams? I love your projects!!! Jack5959 (France).