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Things I'm Loving (and Giving Away!)October 2, 2010

Oooh, there are some things I'm loving right now and I have to share.

First, there's my new purse organizer:


I got it from Divide and Conquer at Etsy, and I heart it so hard. The sides are rigid (maybe cardboard?) so it makes my beloved Queen Bee bag stand up again. It had been collapsing sadly, full of My Stuff, and now it doesn't:


And a view inside:


Believe it or not, that is ORGANIZED, people. I love it. (I bought the small size and it fits perfectly.) 

Also: BOOKS! (and giveaway!)

#1: YARN: Remembering the Way Home, Kyoki Mori


 I finished this the other day, and I adored it. I was also really glad that I waited until after I finished my book of essays to read it, because she writes about yarn and knitting similarly to the way I do, except, um, she does it better. Way better. I think I would have had a crisis of confidence had I read the book before I was done with mine. In much the same way that I try not to read knitting fiction (excluding Barbara Bretton, because I can't get enough of her work) -- I don't want it to influence my writing, even unconsciously. After I'm done with this third novel, I'm going on a TEAR of knit-lit. Can't wait.

But back to YARN: It's the story of a Japanese-born woman coming to terms with her relationship with her American husband, and how everything relates to the death of her mother (O HAI Rachael, just your speed). A couple of short snippets from the book:

"Thread holds together and restricts, while yarn stretches and gives. Thread is the overall theme that gives meaning to our words and thoughts -- to lose the thread is to be incoherent or inattentive. A yarn is a long, pointless, amusing story whose facts have been exaggerated. I had gotten D's in home-ec., math and science because I was concocting a yarn in my head when I should have been following the thread of each lesson. Thread was all I got at home after my mother's death."

Kyoki Mori has a Ph.D. in English, and was teaching in Green Bay, a place with such a small minority population that people stared at her wherever she went. "People in Green Bay couldn't get over the fact that I was an English professor. 'You mean you teach English to Americans? Well, I guess that's all right. You do speak pretty good,' they said. Every time I heard someone say good instead of well, or borrow when they meant lend ('Can you borrow me a pen?'), I wanted to leave town and never come back."

I loved this book: spare, a bit dark, and lovely. Also, she taught me things about knitting I've never HEARD of, which was delightful. Salish wool dogs, indeed! I'll give away a copy of this to one lucky person on my mailing list.

#2 Brave New Knits, Julie Turjoman

I received this book to review and I've enjoyed it so much. I love how Julie talks TO the designers, the people we've gotten to know in knit-land over the years, and I adore how it's kind of a love poem to Ravelry. Ravelry deserves a love poem, don't you agree?

And the patterns are GORGEOUS. I kind of want to make them all.

I got to ask Julie a few questions (I always love hearing from the author):

A. What was your inspiration to write the book?

 As my personal blogroll grew longer and longer, and I found myself spending way too much time reading about my favorite knitwear designer-bloggers, I wondered why nobody had assembled all that talent into book form. Although some have suggested that the internet eliminates the need for a paper book about this subject, we knitters really do love our books. I felt there was a place for a collection of patterns by the blogosphere’s shining lights.

B. What was the most surprising thing you learned while writing it?

 It’s one thing to have a lightbulb click on and think to oneself, “This is a brilliant idea!”, but it surprised me that so many others agreed! Although the designers were incredibly generous about creating their projects for the book, and forthcoming in discussing their knitting lives, I was also surprised and grateful that they allowed me to share so many of their insights and experiences about designing.

C. Because I'm always curious about other people's processes, what's your writing process like?

Because the interviews were conducted in rapid succession over a 3-month period, I used a digital voice recorder for each one to ensure that I would quote each designer accurately, and to help me recapture their individualism. I’d write up a first draft as soon as possible after meeting or talking to each person while our conversation was still fresh in my mind. My writing process after that was to focus on each designer’s professional trajectory and design inspirations, with a bit of personal information to round out their personalities, and to flesh out those early drafts with appropriate quotes and detail until the final version felt right.

D. I know you can't say what your favorite pattern in the book is, but which one would you wear if you went out to dinner tonight?

That would depend on where I was going for dinner! I’d definitely wear either Jordana Paige’s delicate Delysia Camisole or Teresa Gregorio’s sexy Milk Maiden Pullover on a date night out with my husband, but if I was heading into chilly San Francisco for dinner outside at Fisherman’s Wharf, I’d want something warm and cozy like Jen Hagan’s Global Cable Coat, or Hilary Smith Callis’s Koukla Cardigan.

I keep thinking I might be able to give my copy away, but I can't. Here's a Ravelry link to the patterns from the book, and I have to say, I love Joan McGown Michael's Kimberly Cardigan best, but there are many runners-up.

So instead, I'll buy one copy of EACH of these books and send them to someone on my mailing list. Are YOU on my mailing list? (Join here.)

#3 Vampire Knits, Genevieve Miller

Also a review copy from the publisher (thank you!), I'm giving away a copy of the very fun Vampire Knits:


My favorite pattern in the book? The Tourniquet Scarf.


HA! This one cracks me up every time.

Make sure you're on the mailing list! (If you're not sure if you're on it, you can always put in your email again -- it'll tell you whether or not you are.)  I'll draw three winners on Monday night. Whoohoo!


That organizer is amazing (and I love your purse, too)!

Thank you for mentioning the Mori book! I have never heard of it, but it sounds really interesting. My hometown is Green Bay so I know exactly how she feels about the grammar there. My personal "get out now!!" phrase is "It don't matter."

Oh the adorableness of the organizer and purse!!! Tourniquet scarf almost makes me want to buy the book... if I had the money, that is hilarious! BTW, I did smell skunky smell after the Mighty Slims show but wrote it off to marijuana smoking hippies in the neighborhood - I wonder if it was related to the little guy you saw who was friends with the B/W kitty. See you at the El Rio?

Wow thx for the heads up on these things! So many things to organize within bags, so much to read and make yet so little time!

Omigod, I'm sooo loving the Vampire Knits! Ha! Awesome! I'll be smiling about that one all morning...

I have been waiting for Vampire Knits, I am pretty sure I am on your mailing list... this one has been on my amazon wish list since the Alice Mitts were pulled off Rav.

Oh and I love Barbara too!
...wait that's why I checked you out ;o)

Holy crap I would LOVE that organizer! I have a Queen Bee bag that has been looking rather saggy lately. ::covet::

Oooo, I want that Vampire knits one. It's not nepotism if I come up in the random generator, right? I'm on your mailing list!

This is exciting!!

Heading out to find the K.Mori read and Vampire Knits! Thanks Rachael!

Man, that is a good-looking scarf.

Vampire knits! Vampire knits! But I must say that after reading "The Passage," and "The Hunger Games," and some other dystopian books, I'd like to see a book of "Post-Apocalytpic Knits"!

I am sooooo hoping I'm drawn for Brave New Knits! If not, it just became very next on my Must Have Books list! Thanks for the reviews and info!

I keep wanting one of those purse organizers, until I realize I don't have a purse. I carry a school bag at school, a work bag at work, and a diaper bag everywhere else. But they're so cute!

Upon seeing your purse organizer I HAD TO HAVE ONE! I love my purse but everything just jumbles in the bottom. I ordered and it's already arrived and I love it! Thanks for sharing the information1

wow,they are just great!

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