Sunday, January 23, 2011

Too Good to be True

On Friday, I got the first pages for Sock Knitting Master Class to review. This is an exciting point in book production because all of the pieces are finally assembled and it's possible to see what the book will look like in the end. Up to this point, I've only seen the cover.

For "first pages", I'm given a color printout of each spread (two pages) of the book. I always look forward to seeing how the photos, illustrations, and design elements (typeface, color, etc.) bring the text to life. Armed with a red pen, it typically takes me a full day to read over the text and check all of the images and design elements for proper placement and consistency. You'd be surprised how many typos sneak in. (You'd also be surprised at how much I tend to tweak the text.)

The last page of every Interweave book is always reserved for some sort of promotion of other Interweave Books. This has never sat well with me because it means that right off the bat, I lose a page. But I've come to accept it.

But this time the jokers at Interweave threw me for a loop. Instead of the typical marketing of other books, they filled this page with an image of Meryl Streep promoting my own book! I apologize for the bad photo but it's the best I could do while giggling. Meryl's "quote" says: "Ann Budd is the master of sock knitting. She taught me how to knit. Every knitter should own this book."

Ah, if only.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Another Silver Lining

If you've ever worked with a publisher, you know that business revolves around page counts. This has been particularly challenging for me over the years and I've developed a bit of a bad reputation for always asking for additional pages in the books I write and edit.

For Sock Knitting Master Class, Interweave drew the line and told me I absolutely, positively could not go over 160 pages. So, I edited and rearranged the text and even cut a really nice sock pattern (Pseudo Slouch Socks) by Amy R. Singer of (the pattern will be made available through the Interweave website) to comply. As I was taping the DVD last week, the layout designer was working on the interior design of the book. And guess what? She determined that the book needs 184 pages. That's 24 more pages than budgeted.

Under normal circumstances, I'd have to cut a few more projects and edit down the text to fit. But, because I have already mentioned every one of the socks and most of the techniques on the DVD, they can't be cut. I'm giddy as I type this--the book has officially changed from 160 to 184 pages. It will still be available in July.

If I didn't hate being in front of the camera so much, I'd say this is a foolproof way to add pages to my next book.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Silver Lining

I'm happy to report that the DVD for Sock Knitting Master Class has been taped. But it's far from done. Someone still has to edit out all my mistakes. And there are a lot of them.

As much as I've been dreading the whole affair, it wasn't all bad. Interweave did a nice job of mounting images on the wall and making the set look comfortable and inviting.

Remember how I mentioned on January 5 (True Confessions) that I'd float right off the planet if Meryl Streep were to take a class from me? Someone at Interweave must have read that blog because look at the image they put on the teleprompter!

That's her! Every time I looked up, I saw Meryl smiling at me. There were times when I had to stop to giggle (and we had to cut and start over). The best part was that when I managed to ignore everyone else, I could pretend that Meryl was mesmerized by my every word. But I'm spoiled now. If Interweave has any hope of getting me in front of a camera again, they'll have to bring in the real thing.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Outside my Comfort Zone

Tomorrow (that's Tuesday), I tape the DVD that will be packaged with Sock Knitting Master Class. Other than the time I was interviewed by a weatherman at 5am for the NYC Knit Out about 10 years ago, I've never spoken in front of a camera (I never watched that tape; a pidgin dropped a bundle on my shoulder later in the day, which I took to be an omen).

To be honest, I'm most comfortable working quietly behind the scenes. I do not like to be the center of attention and talking to a camera under bright lights is about as center-of-attention as you can get. But, I'm trying to be mature about the whole thing. I got my hair and nails done, took a make-up lesson, and bought a new blouse and skirt (I'm embarrassed to say that I enjoyed so much cheer this holiday season that everything I own is a bit, shall we say, snug).

Then I knitted 13 step-outs in preparation for talking about ways to knit in rounds, how to pick up stitches along heel flaps, and ways to finish the toe of socks worked from the top down and ways to bind off an elastic cuff for socks worked from the toe up. I'll also talk about designing with cables, lace, etc., and the principles of designing for socks knitted from the top down and from the toe up.

I'm telling you all this so you'll know that you don't have to watch the DVD. But do, please, buy the book!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

True Confessions

Sometimes, well...most of the time...when I knit after dark, I start to doze off. This becomes a problem in the winter months when the days are so short. To keep myself awake (and amused), I often put a movie DVD in my computer. And that's where my confession comes in--I watched Mama Mia for about the twentieth time last night. I can't help it. It still cracks me up, and I'll never, ever get tired of seeing Pierce Brosnan's backside in a pair of bluejeans. And I have a soft spot for Colin Firth, too (I've also watched the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice about twenty times). But my favorite by far is Meryl Streep. That woman can act, sing, and dance! What's more, I have it on very good authority that she KNITS, too.

As long as I'm confessing, I might as well share my wildest fantasy as well. I would float right off the planet if Meryl were to buy one of my books or take a class from me. Of course, I'd need to start teaching in NYC or Hollywood for that to happen. But, I'd be just as excited if she were ever to read my BLOG. Oh, dear. I'm starting to sound like Julie Powell pining over Julia Child (played by Meryl herself) in Julie & Julia.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bellefleur Shawl

The triangular shawl I knitted out of Quince & Co Tern is now available on their website at And, boy, do they take a nice photo! You can get some close-up images if you go to their website and click on their blog.

Start the new year right--buy lots of patterns and lots of yarn!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Well, here it is, another year gone by and I wonder how each year passes more quickly than the previous. I hope you all have many happy memories of 2010 and I hope that 2011 brings even more joy. As I look back, I am struck by the many ways that knitting enriched my life this year. In addition to starting this BLOG, I've spent the year editing and writing knitting books, going to retreats, teaching workshops, gathering new friends, and spending many peaceful hours with yarn and needles.

To cap this season of giving, I've donated a Knitting Basket to the Heifer Foundation. The "basket" consists of four fibery animals: a sheep, an alpaca, a llama, and an angora rabbit that will "provide families with ample wool and endless opportunities to build a better life." What could be better?

I wish all of you a happy new year and I thank you for enriching my life.