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14 posts from March 2010

More to Win! March 30, 2010

Guess what I got in the mail yesterday?

An extra copy of Sweater Quest! That's a great thing, because I wasn't willing to give away my copy. I wanted to keep my greedy hands on it. But I *will* give this copy away.

Leave me a comment here, telling me about the most difficult thing you've ever attempted to do in knitting (or if you don't knit, tell me about another difficult thing you attempted and how it went). I'll randomly draw a winner of the book on Friday.

Also, don't forget about what else you can win! My drawing is coming to a close! You could win one of three $25 Barnes&Noble gift certificates or THE LOVE SONG SWEATER itself! Link to How to Knit a Love Song somewhere and give it a review (your blog, Facebook, Goodreads, etc.) and make sure I know you've done it so I can be sure you're in the big hat. (If you're unsure if you're entered, feel free to shoot me an email.)

A review gives you three entries. But if you haven't had time to read the book yet, you can still be entered to win just by finding the book and taking a picture of it, posting it somewhere (or just emailing it to me). Or posting a picture of YOU with the book gives you two entries! 

There aren't that many entries, darlings, not in the big scheme of things. You have a good chance. (As of now, there are only 125 entries for four prizes. Looking good.)

And I'm extending it by three days -- I'll draw on April 4th, since I'm slammed until then, and won't have a chance to do it right. And you want me to do it the best way possible, so YOU can win, yes? Yay!

Sweater QuestMarch 29, 2010

Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously
by Adrienne Martini

Sq Adrienne's a blog-pal of mine, and I've known her virtually for years. But you know what's better than having good friends in the knit-world? Having friends who are good writers. Even better, having friends who are great writers.

I loved this book. In it, Adrienne decides to make Mary Tudor, Alice Starmore's Fair Isle classic, in a year, and while she's a knitter, when she makes the decision to do so, she's not really a Starmore kind of knitter. She's never done a steek. She's not really sure how the now-unavailable yarn substitutions should be made, or what they will do to the authenticity of a Starmore.

People, she's Julie, working her way through the cookbook. Let's face it. It's awesome. It's for us.

And she's funny as hell. She knows how we bond. It's kind of like how moms bond (although she knows knows that not even all moms bond, just mention breastfeeding in a room full of mothers).

Which isn't to say that the knitting community isn't a monolithic entity where all of the members hold hands and sing kumbaya on a regular basis. You can easily start another hair-pulling fight by stating an opinion on buttonholes. And if you want a melee--seriously, the authorities would have have to called--mention your feelings about buttonholes having to be on the left side of a woman's garment while a knitter-mom is breastfeeding a six-year old.


HAHAHAHAHA. Seriously. I almost fell out of bed laughing.

So today, I'm over at her blog, answering questions about my book, and I'm hosting her here, answering some questions about hers.

Welcome, Adrienne!

In your introduction, you said that for a knitter who had only been knitting for thimbleful of years, "Mary Tudor would be a foolish, humbling choice to attempt." Have you always been someone who has chosen things that might be right outside your grasp or was this something new for you?

I've been pondering this questions for almost 12 hours now and still am not sure I've hit on the perfect answer. In short, I've always been of the go-big-or-go-home school but am also not much of a danger junkie. tackling a sweater that is just above my skill level is a low-risk endeavor that suites my personality well. Jumping out of an airplane strikes me as total madness. If I fail at the sweater, life will most certainly go on. It will still be a story, just not one that will keep you warm on cold days. Fail at skydiving and, well, the result are almost certain to be catastrophic.

I don't think you can really learn anything if you always stick to your comfort zone. You have to keep reaching or else you stagnate.

Which came first, the idea for the book, or the idea for the sweater?

The idea for the book came first - but only by microseconds. Once the idea popped into my head, the Mary Tudor sweater popped up next, which caused me to think about all of the issues surrounding Alice Starmore, Fair Isle and Fair Use. Then I was dashing out of the shower to write it all down before I forgot it all.

Where is the sweater living, right this very moment?

It's in a magnetically locked briefcase that I keep handcuffed to my wrist. No, not really. It's someplace far less glamourous, which is on the top shelf of my closet in a plastic bag from "Discount Liquors." I'll be bringing it with me to signings and whatnot, though, and I've been toying with the idea of raffling it off for charity. Not quite sure I'm ready to part with it yet, however.

What is your daily (or weekly) writing process?

I'm probably not the best person to ask about process, since I don't know that I really have one. I do blog everyday, which I don't really consider part of process as much as an eclectic diary of pictures and stories that I would otherwise lose track of. In terms of actual work - I worked for newspapers (and still frequently freelance for my local rag) for long enough that I can sit and write on queue and with little preamble. My work may lack gravitas and poetry but it is, usually, concise and quick. It's a skill that I was happy to have after having my first baby, when writing time was thin and my need to write was great. Now, with two kids and my day jobs, I appreciate those years knocking out copy even more.

Thanks, Adrienne! (Pop on over to her blog to read my interview and more importantly, to see pictures of her Mary Tudor! And pick up your copy today!)

Your Chance to Win! March 26, 2010

A free copy of Kristan Higgins's new book, The Next Best Thing, over at the PensFatales, today! She tells a good tale of mortification, I tell you what.

Boise RulesMarch 25, 2010

Chred

Oh, my goodness! Do you see that? That's four ounces of a colorway that Lynn Ruggles of I Spin the Body Electric dyed. It's called Cypress Hollow Red which she dyed to match the book. I swear, when she gave it to me, I thought for a second maybe it was some kind of divine coincidence -- how could she POSSIBLY have found such an amazing color that was called the same name as my fictional town that I MADE UP? Then I blushed as red as the book and the Shetland fiber from her sheep as I realized she'd dyed it just for me.

It was such a wonderful reading; want to know why? The store, Fuzz (605 Americana Blvd.), was wonderful, and the owners, Mary and Diane, made me feel so welcome. And the attendees were so great, and it was different from the other readings I've done in this way: For the most part, the people there didn't know me. They had no idea who I was. They'd never heard of my blog. They hadn't already read the book. They didn't know any of my stories. And they STILL got excited about the book. They still smiled at me and laughed at the right spots and they were warm and generous, proving the rule that knitters are just generally AWESOME. They just come that way.

And look at this: Melanie didn't come, but blogged about not coming HERE (with a picture of me and everything).

(You can see in her picture the box that Fuzz gave me, a cigar box painted by a local artist named Marilyn. It's GORGEOUS. And the inventor of the KnitKit was there, too, and I got one of those, also! What a wealth of riches. I hope that I was able to give a little something back, because Boise gave me so much. Honestly. It was such a treat.)

And now I'm going to sit and read Knitting Traditions. Have you seen this Interweave extra single magazine? It looks SO great. I can't wait to dive into it. Woot!

LA, BabyMarch 22, 2010

That really was awesome.

And I have to admit, I was nervous. My plane was delayed due to fog. And I only had a short time to get to LA, pick up a rental car, and drive to the Knitter's Studio, where I was to meet with Crazy Aunt Purl, Laurie Perry, and do a reading. My heart was pounding.

But finally, the plane took off. Long Beach Airport was small, Oaklandish. Enterprise was great, no line. There was no traffic. I made record time.

Laurie, on the other hand, who was only doing the reading as a favor to me, was stuck in NIGHTMARE TRAFFIC FROM HELL due to the LA Marathon.

But she made it. And there was much rejoicing in the Land of the Knitter.

March21-merachael 

You know when you meet a knitter and you just know them? It was like that. It was like, Hey, whassup, look at this yarn, sit down and let's talk a while, and okay, I'll see you soon, MISS YOU ALREADY. She's good people. I knew that from the moment I hugged her, but it was cemented the moment she was in the middle of telling a juicy story, looked behind her and said, "Oh, I'll just finish that in a minute." And I turned around to see MY DAD standing there, and she didn't trip at all, just smiled and went with it.

And I gotta tell you, my dad and his girlfriend Lola showing up unexpectedly like that? A highlight. They brought a fruit basket. I didn't know I liked fruit baskets, but YES, I DO.

And Lola got a shot of me signing, which I didn't really have before:

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And of me and Dad, and I gotta say, there'a resemblance here (Hello, NOT AFRAID OF PATTERNS):

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And a nice shot of Lola in the bookstore where they found my book (I'm tempted to say they planted my book there, since I've just found out that Eliza's Gift is a Doubleday bestseller in New Zealand, but not many other places just yet):

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Edited to add: I guess they didn't place it there -- it was already sitting in that spot! Wowie!

Yay! So Laurie and I had a great reading (with WONDERFUL attendees -- THANK YOU to those of you who came -- it meant the world), and then I went to see a great bluegrass show (put on by Ed Hems! LOVE HIM) with lovely Snargle Sarah (I manage to see her every 2.5 years, it seems) and her charming husband. I ate figs and brie, and drove a powder blue rented Hyundai (which I valet parked -- HAHAHHAHA) and signed stock at the Century City Westfield mall, and felt oh-so-very LA. And for once, I didn't hate LA. In fact, I liked it.

I kinda loved it.

It was great. Next up, Boise.

Don't Forget! March 18, 2010

Hiya! There are three upcoming readings you might want to know about, including a newly added one....

This Sunday, March 21st, Crazy Aunt Purl and I will be doing a little flamenco dancing reading at the Knitter's Studio in Los Angeles at 2pm. We hear there's a marathon, and you should look up the road closures here (but hopefully the roads will be open by then) and you can use the valet park (guys in orange on 3rd Street, $3.50). I'm TOTALLY jazzed about this, and I hope you can come!

Then, as my whirlwind world tour continues, I'll be in Boise, Idaho this Thursday, March 25th! At FUZZ, 605 Americana Blvd, at 2pm. Please come by -- it's a great shop, and I hope I get to say hello to some local knitters.

NEW SIGNING - EAST BAY! - Mark your calendars:

Saturday April 10th - A Verb For Keeping Warm, 2703 7th Street, #133, Berkeley, 2-4pm. Woot! Close to home! Huzzah! You should come!

And now, I'm just thinking about getting through my work week and getting myself to LA. I haven't taken a plane flight to Somewhere for a while, and even though it's just an overnight trip, I'm really excited about it. While I love to travel with Lala, and even though I'm looking forward to going to see family in Boise later this week, there's something SO exciting about traveling by myself. Wandering in the airport alone. Choosing to buy an eleven dollar bottle of orange juice, just because I can. Slouching low in an airport seat, pretending to be a spy (what? You don't do that?). Airports always shake loose creative ideas, don't they? Is it being surrounded by all those people that you don't know? All those families and stories around you, close enough to touch, all the eavesdropping you get to do... I love it. I can't wait.

How The Book Launch WentMarch 17, 2010

Oh, my goodness. It went past how-much-fun-do-you-think-I-can-stand right to THIS IS MORE FUN THAN DOWNHILL-SKIING WHILE KNITTING.

I've never skied downhill while knitting. I think that would be a mighty dumb thing to do, and I'm not encouraging anyone to do it. However, I think it would be FUN, and I can imagine (because I'm a big imaginer) that last night kind of felt the same way. (Of course, I think that winding balls of yarn REALLY FAST on the from the swift to the ball-winder is almost the same kind of thrilling, and I don't drive more than 70mph, so I might not be the person to talk to about excitement.)

But because you might not have been there (but 96 of your friends were! WOOT!), here are some pictures:

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Me, outside Bookshop West Portal. FABULOUS place to launch a book.

DSCN3954 

Look at everyone! I was so wildly nervous they could probably hear my heart beating in my ears at the back of the room...

DSCN3964 

But then I started reading, and it was fun.

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Lisa, Julie,and Sophie, of the PensFatales.

75662835 

Before people lined up to get their books signed. And they really did! Line up, I mean! I signed for a long time. It was AMAZING and overwhelming and wonderful.

It was one of the best nights of my life.

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Sisters and Gaynelle, my mother's best friend, who did a marvelous job of standing in for the little mama.

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It was a wonderful, wonderful night. Oh, I love all this. Thanks, y'all, for being part of it.

Wanna Hang Out? March 15, 2010

There are three great places we could hang out this week.

#1 - MY LAUNCH PARTY.

Bookshop West Portal, 80 West Portal, San Francisco

Tuesday, March 16th, 7pm

(but get there early, like 6:30, for parking and free wine, because it'll start at 7pm sharp).
I'll do a short reading! You bring a Q, I might have an A! I'll have a gift or two to give away! They'll have the book for sale there, and I'd love to figure out how to really do a proper signing, and you can watch me blush like a hot pepper. (Please don't not come. I'm terrified no one but my family will come. Oh, augh. Nervous.)

#2 - BOOKCLUB GIRL!

Wednesday, March 17th, 7pm EST (4pm on the West Coast)  LINK HERE

This is way cool. I'll be on the radio, and you can either call in live and chat about the book, or email questions in to the show, AND THEY'RE GIVING AWAY FREE YARN! KnitPicks gift certs, to be exact.

#3 - LOS ANGELES WITH CRAZY AUNT PURL!

Knitter's Studio, 8118 West 3rd St, Los Angeles

Sunday, March 21, 2pm

This is GOING TO BE SO AWESOME. Me, and Crazy Aunt Purl, Laurie Perry, together at last. We'll read a little, chat a little, and yuk it up a bit, too. I can't wait for this one. (I just realized I have no idea where I'm staying that night. I didn't even realize it had come up on me this quickly! I'm flying by the seat of my pants here, people! Wild and crazy, footloose and fancy-free!)

Either way, I'd love to chat with ya, wherever you are. 

And now, I'm going back to sitting on the covered front porch that we redid this weekend. As soon as I hang the curtains, I'll show you a picture. We've reclaimed the room we used for dumping stuff and we've made it into a place to read, write, and watch the world go by. I'm so happy about that. I have sun shining on my neck and cats sitting in the warm spots near me. It's good.

Atlanta Bound!March 11, 2010

Hey, guess WHAT?

I'm going to Stitches South, all three days! (And there's just the slightest chance I might get over to Maryland Sheep and Wool, too, just for Sunday, but that's still up in the air -- let's hope!) At Stitches, I'll have a table at Carolina Homespun, and I'm so excited, for a couple of reasons.

Reason #1 - I've never been to Atlanta. What should I do there? I've always wanted to go there, and I can't WAIT to see the city.

Reason #2 - I adore Morgaine and Carolina Homespun. I actually bought my first wheel, my Ashford Joy, from her. The funny part about it is that we're both from the Bay Area, but I fell in love with the wheel (and the price) at Maryland Sheep and Wool, and I couldn't wait to buy it until I got home, so I bought it there. (I am not always sensible about these things. On the same trip, I packed a container so full of wool and taped it shut with duct tape that I begged the airport clerk not to open it. "It'll EXPLODE!" I said. NOT A GOOD IDEA TO SAY THIS AT THE AIRPORT.)

I carted my new wheel through security (I got some strange looks from the screeners, but they let me pass), and then pulled it out in the waiting area. People stared at me while I spun, and several people commented that I shouldn't be allowed to have such a contraption in the secured area.

Spinairport

Then a security guard approached me. He wore a turban and frown. I assumed he was going to shut down my spinning operation, since the TSA does, after all, have the ultimate authority to decide what can and can't be done or taken on board a plane. Instead, he leaned forward and said conspiratorially, "I used to spin. In my homeland. But I used a charka. Do you know what that is?" Proof again that fiber folk are the BEST.

#3 Charlie is there.

One Week LaterMarch 9, 2010

And I've been having SO MUCH FUN. Honestly, this has been a great week. I've heard from a lot of people already about the book, and y'all are liking it! Really liking it! That thrills me to my toes. And also, you all read SO QUICKLY. Some of you read in the tub. And in your cars. Or in the parking lot on lunch breaks. I've been fascinated to find out where you're reading it. Some of you read it to other people (I wonder which bits? That could be blush-worthy, if you know what I mean...).

Don't forget to give it a review somewhere (Amazon, goodreads, librarything, your own blog, etc.) and email me about it at yarnagogo@gmail.com to make sure I enter you to win your chance to win the sweater Abigail made for Cade in the book (or gift certs for book $)! See THIS POST for more details.

Cadesweater

And also, sign up to be on the mailing list, where I give something away every month, just for fun! I'm not spammy, ever!

Me, meanwhile,  I'm just sitting and knitting. And soaking it all in. And trying to have FUN. Someone asked me the other day what I did for fun, and besides reading in bed before falling asleep, I couldn't really remember -- I've been working so much, either at the job or on the writing.

I didn't like that I said that. That's not me.

So Sunday night, I opened a bottle of wine, cast a loving glance at the pile of my beautiful books, shut my computer, and turned on the Oscars. I dragged out my sorely neglected Ashford Joy, and I spun and plied three skeins of yarns. I had the best time. It felt like pure joy, the fiber (mostly merino, but there was a batt of pure purple angora in there that went right up my nose and made me happy) flying through my fingers, long-draw, slubby, and happy. I'm not a technically perfect spinner, but boy, it does my heart right.

Oh, yeah. :)

My First SigningMarch 6, 2010

My first signing is today, at Caps Restaurant, 144 Oak St., Brentwood, at 3:30pm.

I am SO excited.

And I'm so happy that I don't have to do it alone! I won't be reading or anything like that -- I'll just be sitting in a room with six other fantabulous authors (including Sophie Littlefield and Juliet Blackwell of the PensFatales -- we're bound to get in SOME kind of trouble), and if someone wants my book, I'll sign it for them, and that will be it. Barnes & Noble is bringing fifteen of them. I hope I sell at least a couple. But if I don't, I'm sitting there knitting and watching the Big Girls work.

Hoo boy. I'll let you  know how it goes.

A Great NightMarch 3, 2010

My sisters, Christy and Bethany, and the PensFatales (minus three) came over last night to go book hunting with me and Lala. First, there was champagne.

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Then we went to Books Inc. in Alameda, where I really didn't think they would have it. Small indie, you know. I didn't have my hopes up. But Bethany found something. Here I am, so flustered I CAN'T SPELL MY LAST NAME TO FIND IT. When I did, I was completely convinced they'd planted it. (Why, I'm not sure. But I thought they did.)

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Then we went to Borders in Alameda, where they had a lot of them! Face out! (Always the best way to be placed.)

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There weren't many after we left. I signed them all. OH THE HEADY THRILL.

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  Then we celebrated a little more. But only a little bit. The rush of the book was enough for me.

Oh, oh, oh. This is the most fun ever. (But I have to admit, this morning I'm already at my desk doing actual work, which feels great because for the last couple of days I've been too excited to really do anything productive. This feels good, too. I'm getting back to normal. Happy sigh.)

Don't forget to enter the Love Song Sweater contest! See previous post! (And OMG, people have already read the book and liked it and told me so! YOU PEOPLE ARE AMAZING! xoxo)

Today's the Big Day! March 2, 2010

How to Knit a Love Song is here! In a store near you!

I've wanted this day to come for sooo long. You know that. I don't have to tell you that. And from everyone I talk to this is how today will go: I'll wake up with a big jolt. I'll sit straight up. I'll race into the kitchen with a spring in a step and joy in every cell of my body.

And then the cats will yell at me and I'll feed them and then I'll make some coffee and do some work. Just another day.

AS A PUBLISHED AUTHOR, THOUGH.

Ahem.

Let's celebrate with a contest! A BIG ONE!

I'm giving away three $25 Barnes & Noble gift certificates AND THE LOVE SONG SWEATER itself! I made it as the book prototype (I mean, Abigail made it for Cade....), and it's just lovely. Strong enough for a man, pretty enough for you!

Cadesweater

RULES FOR ENTRY:

1. One entry for taking a picture of the book in the wild (in a bookstore) and posting it to your blog, Twitter, or Facebook with a link to an online seller

2. Two entries for taking a picture of YOU with the book and posting it to your blog, Twitter, or Facebook with a link to an online seller

3. Three entries for posting a review (anywhere, your blog, Amazon, GoodReads...) of the book

Send me notification when you've posted your links to yarnagogo@gmail.com and I'll add your entries to the hat! I'll draw the gift certificate and the grand prize winners in a month on April 2nd! That's it!

And now I'm back to pacing circles into the floor. Lala, the sisters, and the PensFatales are taking me out for champagne tonight. We're going to hunt for the book in bookstores. If we find it, we're celebrating. And if we don't, we're celebrating, too. So really, it's a win/win.

I can't fit it all into a woot, but WOOT! (And to all the knitters I met at Stitches West, hello. I love you. You made my whole year. Honestly.) 

Oh, frabjous day.

Have a ListenMarch 1, 2010

If you're jonesing for something to listen to while knitting, I've been interviewed a couple of times recently.

In her come-back podcast, Marie Irshad interviews me on Knitcast. (That was fun -- we met for the first time years and years ago and have met up a couple of times. So nice to talk to her again.)

And Heather talked to me on CraftLit, too. She's so smart and fun! I didn't admit to her I've never read Persuasion because someone like me should have already read it, but now I want to.... 

I really should cut back on the giggling, but I think it may be impossible.

PS - T minus ONE DAY.