Tuesday, April 4, 2006

a single spring iris Happy April!

Although it's currently grey and stormy here in Maine, and they're predicting possible snow tonight, there's no denying that spring is here. The daffodils and tulips are starting to come up, and a whole new crop of birds has begun showing up at my feeders. And this miniature iris, a single sweetheart by my front door, opened her face to the world over the weekend.

I'm personally quite relieved to see March behind us. Not just for the obvious "thank goodness the worst of winter is over" reasons but because of a personal nightmare in the KR Calendar, which I didn't even discover until mid-January. For reasons too lengthy to go into here, the calendar inadvertently featured two Easters. One in March, and one in April. Which is not good. I spent the entire month of March fearing the news that I'd caused someone to dress up her kids and hide eggs in her front yard unnecessarily.

It never happened, although I did have a few interesting encounters. (Just an aside to store owners out there: It's not wise to ask for a refund on an invoice you never paid.)

So I welcome April with open arms.

For a while I've been making furtive "oh woe, I'm so busy" and "huge things are on the horizon!" hints here without actually naming anything concrete. In honor of April and the end of the Great Easter Fiasco of 2006, I'd like to come clean.

For starters, I've been co-editing the second issue of Interweave's new knitting mag, Knitscene, with Pam Allen. All the projects are in, the photo shoot is done, the tech editors are toiling away, and I now get to write all the text that accompanies the patterns. You know, stuff like, "Naughty or nice? This saucy angora thong won't know the difference!"

(Except that ours is a 100% thong-free editorial environment. At least where patterns are concerned.)

It's been a huge learning experience to be at the center of this process. And yet I feel like I've also stood somewhat aside, as a newcomer and outsider, observing with admiration as Pam Allen and the in-house team work their magic. And it is magic, often of herculean proportions. I hereby promise never, ever to take a knitting magazine for granted.

So that's the first bit of news.

The second bit of news is that I'm writing a book. I know you'll probably roll your eyes and say, "La dee daa, yet another knitter is writing a book. What else is new?" But to me this is a very big thing. I adore books. I hold them in very high esteem. I hold authors in very high esteem. My father and I used to spend hours together in bookstores, leaving with a tall stack of books I'd read cover to cover until the next time I got to visit him. When I went to France for a year, half my suitcase contained books. When it came time to dismantle my grandparents' house, I headed straight for the books and started packing. My house is overrun with books. I love books, I am comforted and inspired by books, and I am unspeakably touched to my very core at the prospect of getting to create one of my very own.

So that's what this year is about, writing my book. It's actually the first of two, but I can't possibly think about the second one until this one is safely ensconced in the publisher's hands—which it will be in September. Knock on wood.

I still don't feel comfortable broadcasting too many details about the book except to say that it's with a major publisher, it'll be about yarn, it'll be extremely helpful and thorough and intelligent, and above all it'll be gorgeous.

'Nuff said.

swatching with Monarch
Because of this book, I'm getting to play with more yarn than I usually do for KR. Why just this morning I had my way with a skein of Alchemy Yarns Monarch, a delicate blend of cashmere and silk that's spun rather like embroidery thread. It looks like it'd be firm, but when you touch the swatch... ahhhh, it melts in your fingers. Lovely stuff.

Do you think she'd send me enough yarn to knit a set of sheets?

Casey at the window Mr. Casey is beside himself now that more birds have returned. This is his current favorite pose from dusk till dawn. He sits on the kitchen table and eagerly observes, silently muttering "here birdy birdy" over and over again. I've taken to setting up my laptop here so I can watch him in action.

(In honor of The Book I finally caved and got a new laptop, because my old one was making loud sighs and taking longer and longer with even the most mundane tasks. My new laptop is perhaps the most minuscule yet. People come up to me in public and ask, "Can you actually do email on that thing??")

And there you have the news for this fine day. I can't help but feel a sense of relief that the worst of winter is over. Now it's time to plan the garden—replacing areas of torn fencing, building a frame for the sweet peas (oh yes, there will be sweet peas!), choosing which onions to plant this season, and finding space for more peonies and at least one Julia Child rose, because, well, anything named after that woman is OK by me.

With that, I tip my mug of tea to you in thanks for reading. Wherever you are, I hope this finds you well.


Laura said...

I also tip my mug of tea to you, dear Clara for your upcoming book! This is such wonderful news and there is no other knitting book I'd rather read than yours, my dear. :) I can say "I knew her when"....all my best thoughts and wishes to you, dear friend.
P.S. That Casey is cuter than ever!

purlewe said...

Thanks for the update. I love the pictures as well.

My cat has been at the same post.. and some days her noises are different than others I figure she is alot like Dory in Nemo trying a little more sparrow, a little less starling.

Sheets?? How dare you waste that one sheets! Send that yarn to me for proper love and care. :)

Clara said...

Hey Laura, hey Anj, thanks for the visit and the notes!

Shelia said...

Yeah - news from Clara! The book is wonderful, and I am sure that it will be lovely (are you going to take the pictures? I love your photos).

I have crucus at (for now, anyway) house, too.

Bess said...

Well - what's the point of a book if there isn't an angora thong in it? I simply demand one. If you can't come up with it I'll write the pattern for you!

all kidding aside, sugar, congratulations big time. If this is going to be anything like your previous thoughts on yarn - I know it will be an imperative addition to the knitting library.

Clara said...

Hey Shelia! My iris says howdy to your crocus. Or would that be croci? And Bess, it looks like you'll be contributing an angora thong pattern to my book. Congratulations! It'll be your finest work yet.

Jane said...

Who is going to be the model, then? ;)

Anyway, that's fabulous news, Clara! Will you come to Long Island to do a book signing? Pretty please? I know, I know, it won't be till next year...

Congratulations, happy writing, and don't work too hard!

Clara said...

OK! Jane has volunteered to model Bess' angora thong! I'll send the photographers over right away. ;-)

Jane said...

Yikes! You want people to read the thing, not burn it!

Clara said...

Typo - I know you meant "read the thong." And that's brilliant. Bess, add Intarsia words to your design!

Anonymous said...

Now I can really look forward to a book by you Clara! And happy about your work w. Interweave's mag. You (or us?)gotta figure out a way for your fans to buy an autographed copy of the book. Terry in SF

Clara said...

Thanks Terry! Perhaps I'll have to travel to SF and deliver a hand-signed copy. Preferably during the winter when Maine is buried in snow. ;-)

Shelia said...

I tried to comment yesterday but blogger threw me out - a Sign? Anyway, your book is a testament to your creativity and hard work. I'm glad that you are being recognized!

Margaret said...

Hi Clara -- Happy Spring! And Happy Easter -- as many times as you like! Frankly, I buy your calendar for the pictures (inspiring!), so didn't notice your liturgical glitch. Didn't expect Easter Services twice, or anything...

And bravo on the book-work! You are a brave soul! All the best!!

Martha said...

Honey bun,
Wa hoo! A book by our Clara! And a roar was heard by the crowd (ROAR ^..^ ).
Ah, books (said in the same tone as Homer Simposon speaking of donuts) - I agree, madam, they are important fixtures in my life too.
Natalie & Jeremy say hey to their Maine man along w/ sending a lovefest-filled, meow-a-thon to him. They are making their little billy-goat meows at the back door as they watch all the birds who have returned for another Philly summer (goofy birds).
And toward your book writing, I raise my No. 2 pencil, freshly sharpened, & wish good words to you.

Amie said...

Geez, I go out of town and Clara gets all prolific.

And I want you to ignore every one of those "Oh, it's okay"s up there.

I want TWICE the easter candy, and I want it now!

Clara said...

Sorry, I ate all my candy for Easter. You know, in March?

Teyani said...

Oh how cool - I too, am a book hound, and simply get weak in the knees at the thought of publishing one.. listen now for the sound of loud clapping hands, roaring cheers from the crowd and woo-hoo's from the other side of the country ! YEAH! Can't wait to see it published!

Clara said...

Hey Teyani! I can hear the cheers from here! (Or it could be the crows in the field - but I'll pretend.)

Minh said...

*two* books in the works?! Clara, do you have one of those "time-turners" like in Harry Potter? How do you do it?

I look forward to reading your book (and hope it will feature your photography!)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Clara. No one deserves this more.


Clara said...

Thank you Miss Lissa! Your note makes me smile. And Minh, I'll tell you how I do it after I actually do it!

Mama Bear said...

Clara, wonderful news on the book! I'm another book lover. One book store I visit a little too regularly asked my daughter if I was a book reseller because of all the books I buy.

May your book bloom right along with your garden and be ready for harvest in the fall.

Mama Bear

Mary said...

That swatch is just stunning, and I'm dying to touch it. You have the best job! My cats (Casey and Ali) also like to stare and mutter at the birds - isn't that the cutest thing?) Can't wait to see your book. I wonder what kind of review it'll get on Knitter's Review? ;-)

Mary said...
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