Books

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

As some of you know, I’ve been working on a book called Sock Knitting Master Class, which will be out in the summer of 2011. In addition to 17 sock patterns by master sock knitters, this book contains insights into how those designers (including, but not limited to, such notables as Cookie A, Kathryn Alexander, Cat Bordhi, Nancy Bush, Evelyn Clark, Anne Hanson, Meg Swanson, and Anna Zilboorg), went about creating fantastic socks. It’s a smorgasbord of inspiration and technique, whether you like to work with cables, stranded colorwork, lace, twisted stitches, slip stitches, intarsia, shadow knitting, or entrelac and whether you like to work from the top down or from the toe up. The cover (below) shows just one of the innovative designs (this one’s by Deborah Newton) you’ll find in the book.
The book is in production now, which usually means that an author’s work is mostly done. But notice the red circle in the lower right quadrant? It says that an instructional DVD will be included. I met with the folks at Interweave today to go over the contents of said DVD. Taping is scheduled for January 11, 2011, and I don’t mind admitting that I’m in a bit of a panic. Not only do I have to knit a boatload of samples in order to describe various stages of various techniques, but I have toTALK in front of a CAMERA. Despite my fears that this is going to be detrimental to overall book sales, I’m told there’s no getting out of the taping. But, between you and me, it’s perfectly fine for you to buy the book and never watch the DVD.

What Have I Gotten Myself Into? Read More »

Featuring Feet

I spent three days last week at the photo shoot for my upcoming book, tentatively titled Designing Handknitted Socks. As much as I’d like to take credit for all the amazing socks that will be included in this book, I’m even happier to report that most of the socks were knitted by true sock divas, including Cookie A, Cat Bordhi, Nancy Bush, Evelyn Clark, and Anna Zilboorg. I don’t want to let the cat entirely out of the bag (or handknitted sock) so I’m not going to reveal all of the designers just yet.
Photo shoots can be grueling in the best of circumstances, but socks add their own hurdles. For one, feet are as far away from the head as they can be. That makes it hard to include the rest of the body in the image if the socks are to be the focus. Second, there just aren’t many ways to photograph feet that look natural. The challenge is to come up with images that are interesting, inviting, and informative.
Thanks to Joe Hancock’s ability to get down and dirty, I think the images for this book will be creative and fun. Here are a few photos I took of Joe taking photos. This is one shoot where I might have liked to be a model.
Thanks to Joe Hancock’s willingness to get down and dirty, I think the images for this book will be creative and fun. Here are a few photos I took of Joe taking photos. This is one shoot where I might have liked to be a model.

Featuring Feet Read More »

Touching the Sun

Of the many essays in Knitting Green, Touching the Sun Through Fiber is the most meditative. It is written by Carmen S. Hall, a dear personal friend and sometime spiritual mentor. Carmen doesn’t have her own blog, so I’ve invited her to share her thoughts on how she “touches the sun” through knitting.
Here’s Carmen:
My family and I just finished driving from Colorado to Cape Cod. I, of course, brought along a knitting project to pass some of the hours, but this project was not planned with my usual attention to detail . . . and it didn’t take long for me to realize that this lack of attention was precisely what enabled me to have a sun-touching knitting experience.  
Normally, I spend a lot of time selecting the fiber with which to knit. I then spend a lot of time selecting just the right shade. Then, I agonize over selection of just the right pattern. Finally, I studiously analyze the gauge swatch to make sure the needles are exactly the right size. At last, I’m ready to cast on.
My recent travel project involved none of this prep work. In fact, yarn and pattern were selected rather blindly. If you’ve ever had the good fortune to travel to Taos, New Mexico, you may have met Martie Moreno, owner of the Taos Sunflower, which has morphed into the Taos Sunflower Too on Etsy. If not, you can get to know Martie through her blog at www.taossunflower.blogspot.com. I could write several pages on Martie’s humanity and explosive creativity—simply knowing that her footprints are set on this planet at the same time as mine gives me deep comfort. Recently, Marty posted about some of her handspun: “I don’t know how to begin to tell you about this skein. It was my passion for an entire week. I have approximately 28 hours spinning and plying time invested in it, and my goal was to try to spin something close to a lace weight, just for the fun of it.” With that introduction, I honestly didn’t care what the yarn looked like—I knew it would be full of seriously good juju and I bought it on impulse. 
A week later, I happened to be celebrating a dear friend’s 50th birthday along with a group of amazing friends (including Ann Budd). We visited a local yarn shop together and were having one of those rare and wonderful times possible only amongst true friends and confidantes. At the shop, I saw a pattern for a    lace shawl (called Traveling Woman and designed by Liz Abinante and available at http://feministy.com) and without so much as a close examination, I paid the copy costs and put it in my bag. Then, with only a cursory gauge swatch, I started knitting the described pattern with Martie’s yarn. 





I immediately understood that I was creating something special—I was touching Martie’s spirit at the same time as I was surrounded by women who mean so much to me. It was a powerful sense of time shared with people who bless my life and, I realized, I was knitting this very experience! No doubt, this shawl is destined to be one of my favorite projects…ever. I’m glad it’s still on the needles and, like a favorite book, I’ll be sad to see it come to a close. However, I rest easy in the knowledge that I can touch a beautiful spinner and deeply treasured friends and can wrap myself in this kind of warmth and goodness whenever needed. Yes, I am touching the sun.  –Carmen S. Hall

Touching the Sun Read More »

More on Knitting Green

KnittingDaily.com is sponsoring a 10-Day Blog Tour of Knitting Green, which will include stops with many of the book essayists and contributors. The timing couldn’t be better.

A couple of days ago, my sister called to rave about Knitting Green. The idea for Knitting Green came about when she visited and we mused about what my next book might be. Initially, we focused on the projects–things like shopping bags to replace paper or plastic bags; kitchen cloths to replace paper towels; and of course, sweaters, shawls, socks, and scarves to replace turning up the heat. But as the book took shape, I wanted to include something about the ecological dilemmas surrounding the yarn itself, similar to the issues brought up in The Omnivore’s Dilemma, in which Michael Pollan investigates the carbon footprint of four very different meals.

Although she leaned to knit before I did, my sister didn’t take to it in the same way and I’ll wager she hasn’t picked up needles for a couple of decades. But I was interested to hear that even as a non-knitter, she found the book interesting and informative. Besides pointing out her favorite projects (ones that I suspect she hopes I’ll knit for her), she was most enthusiastic about the articles. Like a lot of people, she hadn’t given much thought to the “greenness” of knitting other than the idea that it was more ecologically sound to make something yourself than buy it a big box store. Before reading Clara Parkes’ essay The Gray of Green, she hadn’t considered that yarn itself has a carbon footprint, which can vary greatly depending on how the fiber was raised, processed, and distributed. I don’t think she’ll ever look at bamboo fiber the same, and she’ll certainly expect me to know the origin of the yarn in anything I knit her from now on. She found Pam Allen’s essay The Meaning of Organic equally enlightening. With so many regulatory hoops to jump through, it’s no wonder organic yarns cost a bit more. And she felt that Kristen Nicholas’s article Ode to Sheep is essential reading for anyone who gets lamb (or any other meat) wrapped in plastic and styrofoam at the grocery store.

I encourage you to digest the other educational articles in Knitting Green as well. In Darlene Hayes’s article It’s All About the Color, you’ll learn about the joys and pitfalls of natural dyes. A Shop Owner’s Dilemma by Lisa R. Myers offers insight to the practical limitations of running an environmentally conscious shop and explains how you can help your local yarn shop grow in a green direction.

For lighter reading, Sandi Wiseheart considers the difficulties inherent in eco-friendly knitting in It’s Not Easy Knitting Green; Carmen S. Hall offers a meditative look at how natural fibers connect her to past generations of knitters and bring her closer to inner peace in Touching the Sun Through Fiber; former earth-mother Kristeen Griffin-Grimes muses about the days before electricity and there was no time to knit for fun in Knitting Stone-Age Style; and Amy R. Singer suggests ways to use leftover yarn in earth-friendly ways in Too Much of a Good Thing?

For more ecological food for thought, I invite you to join the Knitting Green Blog Tour (sponsored by KnittingDaily.com), where you’ll hear from many of the book’s essayists and contributing designers in the days to come. Click on their names and visit them on the dates below:
June 6: Kristeen Griffin-Grimes (Knitting Stone-Age Style, page 109; Caterina Wrap, page 110)
June 7: Kristen TenDyke (Soap Nut Vessels, page 22)
June 8: Mags Kandis (Paris Recycled, page 142)
June 9: Cecily Glowik MacDonald (Solstice Skirt, page 18)
June 10: Veronik Avery (All-(North) American Hoodie, page 50)
June 11: Kimberly Hansen (Knitting enthusiast and reviewer)
June 12: Sandi Wiseheart (It’s Not Easy Knitting Green, page 67)
June 13: Carmen Hall (Touching the Sun through Fiber, page 89; Carmen doesn’t have her own blog so you’ll visit her via Ann Budd)
June 14: Katie Himmelberg (Eco Vest, page 14; Better Baby Rattle, page 56)

More on Knitting Green Read More »

Desperately Seeking Becky

I imagine that at least some of you know that sick hollow feeling that comes from planning a party that nobody attends. I have to admit that I’m having similar feelings now that it’s been a week since I announced that Becky McKnight is the winner of the drawing for Knitting Green and she hasn’t contacted me with her mailing address. Imagine the explanations that I’ve come up with—Becky really doesn’t want the book; Becky is on an extended cruise to some remote south sea islands; Becky passed out in a fit of delight when she learned that she won the drawing and no amount of wool fumes can revive her; Becky lost interest in reading my blog; etc., etc.

If any of you dear readers knows Miss Becky, please, please beg her to respond to me at annbudd@annbuddknits.com so that I can stop imagining the worst. Her copy of Knitting Green is all packed up but has nowhere to go.

Desperately Seeking Becky Read More »

Earth Day

Today is Earth Day. Here in Boulder, Colorado, the daffodils are up, ornamental fruit trees are flowering, leaves are making their way out of the buds giving a green halo to other trees, and the grass has turned from brown to green. I love the promise of renual hearlded by this time of year. We do live on an amazing planet.

And to help keep this planet beautiful, take a minute to check out my new book Knitting Green: Conversations and Planet-Friendly Projects. It’s full of essays and projects that show how knitting can be included in the green revolution. You can learn about it (and purchase it online) at the Interweave Store.

I think this is cause for another give-away. Write a green tip in the comments box below and I’ll put your name in the hopper for a drawing for a free book (autographed if you like). If your computer won’t let you respond in the comments box, send your tip to me at annbudd@annbuddknits.com. I’ll draw a name and announce the winner on April 30, 2010.

Earth Day Read More »

Answers to Questions

Recently a couple of the comments to my blog posts have included questions. Before I forget (I am getting to be of an “age”), I thought it might be helpful if I answered here in case any of the rest of you have the same questions.

A few days ago FiberHappy inquired about an error in my sock book. I couldn’t figure out how to respond to her comment directly so I hope she is reading this. If you’re having trouble with a pattern in one of my books and can’t find a correction on the books page of the Interweave website (click on Corrections), please email me directly at annbudd@annbuddknits.com. Unless I’m out of town, I check email multiple times a day and will get back to you right away. Although several people read through all the instructions and at least three people check all of the math, errors do find their way in printed books. In fact, we used to joke that the way to find a mistake in a book was to print 10,000 copies, then open one up. Sigh.

A couple of weeks ago Minh asked about getting signed copies of my books directly from me. Thank you for your confidence in me, Minh. After much deliberation for about 10 minutes, I decided that I didn’t want to have to deal with the obligatory tax issues of doing business independantly. But, I have a brilliant alternative. If you purchase one of my books directly through Interweave and tell them that you want it autographed, I will sign it for you (I go to Interweave about once a week). If you want to give me additional support, order the books through the books link on my webiste and I’ll get an additional 10% of the sale. Whoo-hoo, we both win! Send me an email as well to let me know how you’d like the book inscribed.

Answers to Questions Read More »

Amazon Book Sales

Periodically I look on Amazon to see how my books are performing in relation to other knitting books. I about fell out of my chair today when The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns was #1 among knitting books and #182 in overall book sales (that includes books by such notables as Steig Larsson, Jodi Picoult, and John Grisham)!
How did a 6-year-old book rise to such lofty heights? I can only surmise that it has to do with marketing. Knitting Daily featured The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns yesterday and again this morning. I don’t know how many tens of thousands of people read Knitting Daily, but it must be a lot to affect such a dramatic surge in book sales.

The moral? If you plan to write a knitting book, sign up with Interweave because they continue to promote books for years after they are first published.

I think it’s time for another celebration!

Amazon Book Sales Read More »

Advance Notice: Knitting Green!

Advanced copies of Knitting Green arrived at Interweave Press last week. The other 15,000 copies are on the slow boat from China (literally) and will be available next month in time to celebrate Earth Day.

Needless to say, I’m pretty excited about this book. Instead of judging between “right” and “wrong,” Knitting Green will help you understand the complicated issues so that you can make educated choices for yourself. Articles by Pam Allen (former editor of Interweave Knits and creative director for Classic Elite Yarns) and Clara Parkes (editor of Knitter’sReview.com) explain some of the misconceptions about organic and “green” yarns. Essays by author and shop-owner Lisa R. Myers, natural-dyer Darlene Hayes, and author/designer/sheep-breeder Kristin Nicholas bring to light some of the pros and cons of putting green practices into use. Additional essays by Sandi Wiseheart (former editor of knittingdaily.com), Amy R. Singer (editor of Knitty.com), Kristeen Griffin-Grimes (frenchgirlknits.com), and avid knitter Carmen S. Hall provide a smorsgasbord of food for environmental thought.

In addition, there are 22 terrific projects (it’s photographed here with my Blue Cloud Afghan) that either make use of an organic or “green” yarn or are designed for an earth-friendly purpose. The projects include Veronik Avery’s All-North American Hoodie that is knitted with yarn that is grown, processed, and distributed only in North America; Nancy Bush’s Videvik Shawl that provides a lightweight layer of warmth; Deborah Newton’s Commuter Knapsack that encourages travel by bike or public transportation; my Honor-the-Buffalo Socks and Mitts that make use of buffalo fiber that would otherwise go to waste, and Kristin TenDyke’s Soap Nut Vessles that just might change the way you do laundry forever.

And talk about green–if you order this book through the Books page on my website, the kind folks at Interweave will give me a kickback of “green” currency!

Advance Notice: Knitting Green! Read More »