The People Who Made My Book Beautiful

 

I get so many comments on how beautiful my book, Yarnitecture: A Knitter's Guide to Spinning: Building Exactly the Yarn You Want is that I want to introduce you to the people who made the beautiful happen.

 

 

Someone you might know with out knowing is photographer John Polak, Storey Publishing’s veteran fiber photographer. He is the master behind the gorgeous photography in The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Design and the Spinner’s Book of Fleece. He knows exactly how to show the texture and vibrancy of fiber and can show the difference between top and roving and a worsted and woolen spin. He is also hilarious.

My book designer is Carolyn Eckhert.

  Photography by John Polak, from   Yarnitecture  , © by Jillian Moreno, used with permission from Storey Publishing. ”

Photography by John Polak, from Yarnitecture, © by Jillian Moreno, used with permission from Storey Publishing.

Carolyn has a long career designing books with Storey Publishing, but this is her first fiber book. While she’s not a fiber person, she is obsessed with texture, which gave her a unique approach and vision for my book.  She loved working with all of the braids, colors and yarns in the book and ran with the idea of Yarnitecture as it relates to building; you can see it in the page designs. She wanted to show the hand and face of the maker – I had no idea I was going to be spinning in the book, until she told me to sit and spin, no makeup person, no special wardrobe just me looking like me. She also let my swatches be uneven and let me leave my ends out, I love her for that.

 

 

She is amazingly and uniquely creative. Carolyn wrote a book called, Your Idea Starts Here.  It's a great book to work through existing and develop new ideas.

 

 

 

 

Here are John and Carolyn working their magic during my photo shoot.

Thank you for making my book beautiful!

 

 

 

 

Friday Fun: A Movie

I've set aside part of every Friday to refill my tank after the week. Something that is just for me.

Today I am going to see a movie at 11 am, which feels seriously wanton to me. Going out to the movies is something that I enjoy immensely, but it's easy to let fall away. I woke up happy this morning, knowing I had movies plans.

Because I'm not used to flinging away time on a working day, I will be knitting a big swatch for a pattern during the movie. Now don't get me wrong, I waste a lot of time during a working day. I usually fritter it away, rarely do I plan to just step away and relax. It's exciting.

My swatch is for a cabled cowl. My first swatch was the standard 4x4, done simulating knitting in the round.  Something isn't right, but I won't be able to tell what's wrong until the swatch is bigger. I know part of it is gauge, because isn't it always?

What are you doing for yourself today?

A Making Goal for 2017

I have a making goal for 2017, one that I hope will kick me out of my swatching rut. I want to make 12 things to wear. Most things will be accessories and not all will be handspun. I do hope to knit two sweaters, one in handspun and one in commercial yarn. One year I want to join those intrepid knitters that make 12 sweaters in one year - that excites me but I know it's too much for me to go from 4"x4" swatches to 12 sweaters. Look at this old dog learning new tricks!

I have already spun for two projects, a cowl (the big blue swatch) and a hat. The fiber in the photo is destined to become singles and knit into a lace scarf.

There are several dyers that are new to me or have fallen out of my spinning rotation that I want to spin, at least 10. The spinners that read the KnittyBlog gave me a fantastic list of dyers to try. I need to line up my first few.

What will you be spinning and making in 2017?

 

Fridays Are for Refilling the Tank

For this year I've decided that Fridays are for refilling the tank. I'm going to spend time adventuring, hanging with people or just looking at beautiful things for some part of the day. Last year Friday seemed to be all about just crawling over the finish line, spent from the week. I want to celebrate Fridays, reward myself a little, pause and smile.

I started my Friday today with this beautiful 5 minute film about Harris Tweed. Tweed yarn and fabric are beautiful and earthy, they are some of my favorite textiles. In this film you get to see tweed fabric being made and hear from the people who make it. Please enjoy the sheep in boats!

Enjoy your Friday!

 

 

My Word for 2017

It's been a long time since I've made New Year's resolutions, they never work for me. But I do like to have a word that sets intention for my year ahead. My word for 2017 is Make.

I knew last fall that Make would be my word for this year because I want to make something more than swatches. I've been swatching it up almost exclusively for a couple of years. When the election happened I was devastated. I felt Make fit more in my year to come because I want to make a difference with Trump in office, or make trouble. I can also make time for friends and family, make changes, make choices or make believe. Make just feels right for me this year. Isobel even made me a sign to hang above my desk.

Do you make resolutions or have a word for the new year?

My Year in Books 2016

Reading is one of my greatest pleasures. I read to learn, to escape, to relax, to challenge myself, to connect, to dream, I can't remember not reading.

I'm a big fan of Goodreads (I'm Jillian Moreno there), it helps me track what I've read; I remember doing it with index cards in Jr. High - 1 card of each book filed away in a box. And it helps me remember what I want to read; I've had to stop instantly library requesting or buying every book that looks interesting. I just can't read that fast. Every year I participate in the Goodreads reading challenge, set a reading goal and try to hit it. This year my need to read was bigger than my goal. I set a goal of 75 books and ended up reading 93. Next year I may try for 100.

I read a variety of things, kids, YA, graphic novels, mysteries and fiction. I don't read a lot of non- fiction, I don't count every book I review for Knitty and I listen to audio books. If you want to see everything I read you can peek here. Here are a few standouts for me for the year. I won't try to describe them.

My Name is Lucy Barton and The Girls were the best fiction I read this year, I wouldn't want to choose between them. I discovered two new mystery series, the Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James modern British police detective series and the Maggie Hope historic British series. The Maggie Hope series, starting with Mr. Churchill's Secretary is especially wonderful if you are a mystery fan who enjoyed The Crown. My favorite listens were the full-cast American Gods and a couple non-Jeeves P.G Wodehouse books. Cursed Child was a satisfying, familiar read and the Notorious RBG made me determined for the coming year.

I do have one absolute favorite book for 2016, my own, Yarnitecture: A Knitter's Guide to Spinning: Building Exactly the Yarn You Want. It was published in late August after two years of non-stop work. I am proud of the book and the work. I am thrilled at the positive response I've received for it and I'm having a great time meeting spinners while I teach around the country who have been inspired by the book.

So many people had a hand in making this book and supporting me while I did my part, I want to share them with you. During 2017 I'm going to talk about them and lots of pieces of the book here on my blog.

What were your favorite books of 2016? What will you read next year?

Spinning for a Project: My First Samples

I finally had some time to sit down and spin first samples for my Beekeeper's Smock. The Cormo/Romney fiber is delicious to spin!

As a reminder yarn I'm trying to match is:

  • WPI: 8-10, Aran weight
  • Yards Per Pound: 600
  • Ply: 2-ply
  • Ply angle finished; 22 degrees
  • Ply bumps per inch: 5
  • Ply direction: S

I'm trying to spin a yarn that is close in WPI and knitted gauge. The other specs don't matter as much to me. I do want a durable yarn with good stitch definition. A bonus would be if the yarn was lighter (a higher YPP number) than the yarn called for.

I spun two yarns using the same singles, the only difference between the two is ply twist. Why? My ply back sample looked close to the size of the yarn I’m trying to match. I thought I might have it on the first go! I plied one yarn to balance and one with a little overtwist to get better durability and better stitch definition.

 

bk looser collage.jpg

The looser plied yarn has these specs:

·       WPI: 7

·       YPP: 700

·       Bumps Per Inch: 4.25-5

·       Gauge: US 6/4mm, 2.25-2.75 stiches per inch

The yarn is too big and at the same time looks too loose in the knitted swatch. The swatch doesn't feel floppy, but it doesn't feel like it would hold up to wear and tear.

The tighter plied yarn has these specs:

·       WPI: 8

·       YPP: 725

·       Bumps Per Inch: 6-7

·       Gauge: US 6/4mm, 3 stitches per inch

I like this yarn and swatch much better. It feels durable enough to be an everyday sweater and I like how the stitches look.

What does it all mean? I’m really close, but I need more samples. I don’t mind making a lot of samples, especially if I’m going to make a sweater. I want the yarn sample to be close enough to my dream specs that I would feel confident spinning a lot of yarn to match it. I may knit a second swatch using the tighter plied yarn and knit it at a tighter gauge, but I have a nagging feeling that just knitting tighter won’t work.  I’m going to spin a tiny bit thicker in my single and see if I can’t up my WPI a little. I still want a tighter ply for stitch definition without making the yarn too heavy. I like the grist of these yarns, a bit lighter than the commercial yarn.

 

I’m looking forward to some TV binging, spinning and knitting time over Christmas. I hope you have a happy and peaceful day or two in your pjs!

My Own Tiny Library

I've always wanted a tiny library of my own. We live on a circle with not much traffic, so there's no point in putting a little giveaway library in front of my house. I'm a big fan of books and reading. I've worked for bookstores and a publisher, volunteered at the school library. I love to put books into people's hands.  One year we gave away books for Halloween, it was a surprising hit. Books have always been an important part of my life. My favorite question is , "What are you reading?"  I write books, I review books and my husband is a book rep; we have a lot of books flowing in and out of our house and garage.

If we lived on a street with more traffic I would have a fantastic tiny library out front. Instead, here's my version, the back of my car. Along with the usual detritus that floats around a car, I have a big box of books. When I run into friends, neighbors and acquaintances out and about in the worldI ask, "do you need a book?" and let them rummage in the back for something that strikes their fancy.

It's not elaborate or cute, but it gets the job done and is really satisfying.

What are you reading?