Sunday, April 30, 2006

The onions went in
on a perfect spring Sunday
Clara is happy.
This haiku brought to you by the Society for the Preservation of Words.

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.