Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mary Jane Socks download-a new era

When I wrote Fiber Gathering, it was an undertaking.  It took months of travel, and constant juggling of responsibilities for my professor, so he could manage the photography and his actual work as a professor.  We had to hire dog sitters and house sitters and work hard to make it come to fruition.  In many ways, it was worth it.  I am extremely proud of that work.  I look at writing my two books as some of my most important career achievements.  I love it when Sammy (one of my twins) says that his mommy writes books in her office.  I hope to be able to get back to that reality when the twins are older and I have more time to actually sit in my office again.

However, the small advance I was given for writing Fiber Gathering just covered our travel and expenses.  I did not make any money from writing the book at all.  Despite what look like reasonable sales of the book--I have never earned anything past that advance on royalties.  Since we travelled all over the US to write the book, most of that advance went, plain and simple, for airfare, car rentals, hotel reservations, and eating while we travelled.  (For those that met us on the road, you know we weren't living extravagantly, either!)

So, when my publisher, Wiley, sold off parts of its catalog to a different publisher, I took the opportunity to ask if that new publisher would grant me some of my rights back.  I am happy to say that my requests were granted.
What that means is that I now have permission to publish and sell a few of my patterns online as pdf downloads on Ravelry.  I also have rights to make audio books too, and that is also exciting. Time allowing, I hope to put audio book versions of both my books online for sale as well.  Since I will be recording them myself, it may take me a while to do this.  However, it gives me hope that there is still an audience for the content of these books in a different medium.  (I will record the text only, not the patterns, as it would be hard to follow a pattern in an audio book!) 

This is all to say that my first pattern download from Fiber Gathering is now available on Ravelry.  The Mary Jane Socks pattern is one of my favorites.  Designed to use every last inch of a special hand dyed sock yarn, this toe-up pattern can also be used for any sock yarn that knits up at the gauge of 30 sts=4".  Since the book came out, it has been knit in Patons Kroy and other widely available yarns.  I know it is a versatile pattern, and it is one of my favorites.  I have worn out 2 pairs of handknit socks from this pattern myself!

If you read this blog and tweet, blog, or use social media in some way, I would be really honored if you might pass along the word that this pattern is now available as a download.  It is a small step, this one pattern, but it goes towards a long overdue launch of some really hard work.
(And, if you were wondering why I haven't been online much, we've had weeks of -40F weather, some serious dates with the plumber over our sewer line, and a bad virus.  I've been trying to think of something non-stinky to say about sewers, viruses, and extreme cold...but now I have something positive to say! We might just need to sell a few patterns to save a few bucks towards a new sewer line in our future. :) 

Check out the new Mary Jane Socks download here! 

More patterns soon, I hope!

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Tuesday, January 07, 2014

what a difference a day makes

I am writing this blog post in bits and pieces when I get a chance.  We just had world's longest staycation with the boys.  My brother wrote me a "happy back to school day note," and boy, I felt like celebrating!  I am so grateful for preschool that it hurts. :)
A few notes from our cold cold last few days.  On Sunday, a friend babysat and we went out to eat after the boys went to bed and walked too far in the cold (my idea) and I seem to have a bit of frost nip on my ear. It is red and hot and hurts, but is not white or blistery, so I don't think I will lose my ear or anything. However, no earrings at this time. Just the idea hurt.
Monday was another weird ordeal: here is the summary from a note I wrote to my brother.

We are under an extreme weather warning, with temperatures between -35F and with windchill, -50.
We had a very tough morning.  The professor's car didn't start (at all) so he heated up mine and we got the boys into it. I went with the professor to preschool as I thought I'd have to drive him to the university (first lecture of the term at midday)
Then, a guy yelled to us as we left preschool that one of our tires was flat. It was.
Three gas stations later, we realized all the outdoor air pumps were frozen and would not work.
We stopped at a tire place, where the professor dropped me off with the car and he went off to find a bus to the university.
I sat there for 2 hours, but now our tire is fixed, and I can pick up the boys.
I hope he made it to lecture on time.
Did I say it was -50F with the windchill?
Oh, and we forgot to turn on the slow cooker last night, so the oatmeal didn't cook for breakfast. I turned it on and it is cooked now.
I am eating it now. It is hot. Hot is good.
(That was just before noon yesterday.) Picking up the boys at school was again hard, and they both fell asleep in their snow suits in the car, and I had to carry them in one at a time and lay them like mummies on the rug in the kitchen and take off their outdoor clothes there. I could not risk leaving anyone outside very long, obviously.I was dripping with sweat just getting them out of school and into the house....

Anyhow, today, I have had a whole morning indoors, mostly on my own, and have made a full meal for tonight.  (rice, chicken, salad, the works.) The silence is blissful.  I have two things to share.
Remember this post?  I am posting a photo of the sweater again as I have remade it.
I never wore it as this deep v-neck with a zipper and a shawl tie.  It didn't work.  The sweater was too heavy and yet freezing around the neck.
I took the zipper out and sewed up the front.  I transformed the deep shawl collar into a high one, which can be buttoned up like a turtleneck if necessary.  The following snapshot (lopsided? sideways? no, finally corrected!) shows how loved it is now.  I wear it often.  It is warm, soft, bulky handspun that is getting pilled and loved and spilled on with use.  Finally--this is how a sweater should be. :)

Also, today, I managed to have lunch.  It is an open faced ricotta/cream cheese/chutney/eggplant salad sandwich.  Again, is this upside down or something?!
(It tasted great though)

OK--for anyone who is checking this a second time, I have finally fixed the photos so that they are right side up.  Took several tries.  I think it is possible I am not quite done with being upside down and ice cold yet. :)

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