Feroce

A new pattern! This time a colorful hat. I love mixing bright, bold neon with more subtle neutrals; this is yarn I had left over from my Tromen cowl. I decided to make a simple and whimsical hat.

front

Feroce is simply a tube closed at the top. This shape creates playful cat-like ears. Attach pompoms or tassels for even more fun.

back

The stitch pattern, although complex in appearance, is quite simple. Only one color is used at a time and elongated slipped stitches create the clever chevrons. Using a 3-needle bind-off, the top is clean and neat.

top

Here are the details:

Size
S (M, L)

Measurements
18¾ (20, 22¾)” brim circumference; sample shown is 20″

Yarn
Manos del Uruguay, Maxima (100% merino; 218 yds [199 m]/100 g): #M2175 shocking (A), #M2237 reindeer (B); 1 skein each

Needles
US #8 [5 mm] 16″ circular needle
Adjust needle size as necessary to obtain correct gauge.

Gauge
24 sts and 24 rows = 4″ in charted stitch

Notions
Stitch marker, cable needle, tapestry needle

Posted in Pattern | Tagged , | Leave a comment

KAL Winners!!

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 4.57.13 PM

I confess, I have been a bad KAL leader in the last few months. In fact, you probably didn’t even know there was a KAL going on. Anyway, I was “hosting” an Everyday Lace accessories KAL in my Ravelry Group. I never announced prizes, and didn’t participate much…and still people contributed! I’m so very thankful for my lovely knitter fans and friends!

So, what I’ve decided to do is to give everyone that posted a finished project a prize (free pattern on Ravelry). And then randomly pick one person to get a Grand Prize. Then Grand Prize is really GRAND—at least I think so, but I’m biased. It’s a prize pack of yarns that I love to use for accessories.

IMG_8702

The Grand prize winner is: !
Please contact me with your address so I can mail you the yarn pack.

Thank you again to all who participated. I truly appreciate your continued support even when I drop the ball.

Posted in Everyday Lace, KAL | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

FTF: Tea

Today I’d like to talk to you about tea. I love tea. I love bagged teas, loose teas, even crappy tea that comes in plastic bottles, I love it all.

FullSizeRender-1

What is it about tea that I love? Everything. I love the aroma before brewing, the way the flavor seeps out into the cup, and the way brewing feels a little like magic. I love the flavors—complex and earthy. Most of all I love the way tea warms me from the inside and relaxes me after a stressful day.

IMG_7188

Do you love tea?

Posted in Favorite Thing Friday | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Cordiale

Cordiale is a pattern that I released before the holidays, but forgot to blog about. So…here’s my post!

I recently went out to a relatively new shop, Lori’s Yarndezvous, for an Everyday Lace trunk show and book signing. Upon entering I spotted this yarn on the shelf and instantly fell in love. I don’t really buy yarn anymore, but this was too beautiful not to. In fact, I bought two skeins.

image

It was the colors of course. Malabrigo always has lovely colors. This colorway is Arco Iris. It’s an interesting mix of basically every color. Tricky, most dyers would probably end up with a muddy mess, but Malabrigo made a masterpiece.

image

Finding the right stitch pattern for a highly variegated yarn such as this can be difficult. I knew I wanted to make an oversized cowl, but I wanted to avoid pooling and other pitfalls of knitting with variegated yarns.

image

I chose to use a slip-stitch cable to help break up the colors and to give the fabric some movement. The result is simple but beautiful, and perfect for brightening up a dreary winter day. Also, it’s huge and I love it.

Here are the details.

Size
One Size
Measurements
12” tall; 30” around
Yarn
Malabrigo, Rasta (100% merino; 90 yds 82 m/150 g): #866 arco iris, 2 skeins
Needles
US #19 15 mm 24” circular needle Adjust needle size as necessary to obtain correct gauge.
Gauge
8 sts and 13 rows = 4” in pattern stitch
Notions
Cable needle, tapestry needle

Get it Now on Ravelry!

Posted in Pattern | Tagged | Leave a comment

FTF: Frixion Pens

I’ve decided for 2015 to bring back my Favorite Thing Friday posts. Today, my favorite thing is: Pilot Frixion (aka magic) Pens.

I LOVE pens, all pens, but these pens are special because they are erasable. And not like the old “erasable” pens. Remember those? With the black erasers…that wouldn’t really do anything except rub the paper until the upper layer was scraped off into tiny bits of rubber and paper crumbs. If you tried to erase all visible traces of ink you just ended up with a hole in your paper and a crumbly eraser.

erasable_pen

A box full of LIES

I hated those pens! They promised something they couldn’t deliver.

But these Frixion Pens are different. They are magic. The trick: the eraser isn’t actually removing the ink, in fact, it’s not even an eraser.

WHAT?!?!

The “eraser” is actually a rubbery bit of plastic. It doesn’t degrade and it doesn’t leave little rubber crumbs all over the place. The plastic rubs the ink, heating it up. This heat is what changes the color of the ink from having color, to not. Basically making it into invisible ink.

© JetPens.com

© JetPens.com

I’m a perfectionist, but I prefer using pen over pencil. So I really love these pens. I use them all the time in my planner (a possible future FTF post topic). I love being able to jot down notes and/or appointments without worrying about permanence.

IMG_7880

The kind I use are gel pens and they come in an array of colors and sizes. The ones I use regularly are two 4-color multi-pens and two .7 sized pens.

IMG_8390

You can get the .7 size in most office supply stores. These typically come in sets of three colors: red, black, blue; and pink, purple, light blue. I bought my multi-pens on JetPens. They come with .5 sized red, blue, black, and green inks and are refillable. I purchased some of the .38 refills to fill up my second mult-pen.

Note, the .5 and .38 size pens and refills are NOT interchangeable with the .7 pens and refills.

IMG_8183

Unfortunately, these magic pens do have a shortcoming. Because the ink is heat activated, you must be careful where you store or leave your pens. When they reach a certain temperature anything you wrote with your pens, and even the ink inside the pens, will disappear. Obviously, this is because the heat will erase your ink. People online say that putting your writing into the freezer will bring it back; however, others have told me this is not the case.

Note: Pilot also makes Frixion markers, ball point pens, color-pencil-like pens, highlighters, and stamps! I have no affiliation with Pilot and have not received any compensation for this post.

Posted in Favorite Thing Friday | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Lanugine

A couple of weekends ago I decided I wanted to make a super quick scarf. I found this completely squishable yarn at my LYS, grabbed my ginormous 15mm needles, and casted on. In about 5 hours I had this super cozy, super quick scarf!

lanugine5_web

Lanugine means fluff in Italian. And that’s exactly what this scrumptious Mirasol Ushya yarn feels like around your neck. I’ve never worked with a chainette yarn before, but I am in love.

IMG_7835

What’s chainette? The mill makes a yarn, and then knits it into an i-cord, making a fluffy, ultra cozy, super bulky yarn.

Using just 2 skeins I was able to make a scarf about 70″ in length and 11″ wide. This gives you plenty to wrap around your neck like a bulky cowl.

lanugine7_web

Or leave the ends hanging for a dramatic look.

lanugine3_web

Lanugine is the perfect last-minute quick gift! Here are the details:

Size
One Size

Measurements
11” wide; 70” long

Yarn
Mirasol, Ushya (98% merino, 2% polyamide; 114 yds 105 m/100 g): #1705, 2 skeins

Needles
US #19 15 mm needle
Adjust needle size as necessary to obtain correct gauge.

Gauge
10 sts and 10 rows = 4” in garter stitch

Notions
Tapestry needle

You can get Lanugine today via Ravelry (no account needed)!

Posted in Pattern | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Tempest E-Book Winner!

I’ve done a random selection on the comments from the Tempest Review post. And the winner is…

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 10.41.16 AM

Connie Buckwalter!! Connie, please contact me asap to get your e-book :)

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

On Asking for Help

As an entrepreneur, asking for help is something I find incredibly difficult to do. I’m a self starter, someone who dreams up ideas and implements them, a doer.

Admitting that I need help feels like I’m admitting to failure. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. I need help because I’ve become successful. My business is doing well and I have so much to do that I cannot handle it all alone.

I recently decided to try getting regular help in the form of a part-time assistant. Someone to help me with the Stitch Sprouts office-y work. Filing patterns, packing orders, data entry, yarn winding, etc.

FullSizeRender-7Even looking up at what I just typed about being successful, part of me feels like this is admitting to defeat.

I’m an optimist when it comes to people. I think the best of everyone…until proven otherwise. But I truly believe that most people are genuinely good, caring folks. Here’s the thing…

People WANT to help.

They want you to ask them. Helping you helps them. Denying people who offer help is like taking something away from them—the feeling of being needed, of being able to offer something, of being able to help.

Accepting help is like accepting a pact of friendship. It’s saying you trust the other person.

I trust you so much, I’m relinquishing some of my closely guarded control and placing it in your hands.

So today, I’m trying this asking for help thing. I will let you know how it goes.

For more on The Art of Asking, check out this awesome TED talk by the amazing Amanda Palmer.

Posted in Wednesday Wisdom | 1 Comment

GAL: An Indie Designer Interview

The Gift-A-Long is still going on! Have you joined the fun? Remember it’s more than a sale, it’s a KAL/CAL and contest too!

Today I have an interview with one of the hundreds of designers that are participating in this years’ event. Erica Mount is a new-to-me designer who creates beautiful works of art on the canvas of the mitten! Having never designed mittens myself, I am in awe of Erica’s talent and creativity. Please have a gander at her designs and check out her Ravelry group.

Here is a link to Erica’s Gift-A-Long bundle. Remember, you can use the coupon code: giftalong2014 to get 25% off until November 21st.

HZ: You design beautiful mittens! What draws you to the mitten over other projects?
EM: The first pattern that I knit in stranded color work was a mitten pattern, Hippocampus, by Tori Seierstad. I think this set me on the path.

I love that mittens can be useful and beautiful at the same time. They are also very visible, so I can enjoy looking at them when I wear them.

Mittens are a good match for my personality. I get bored quickly and prefer starting projects to finishing them. I’d probably never finish anything as big as a sweater.  You may notice that some of my mitten designs are different on each hand. This was done to keep me from getting bored after knitting the first one.

HZ: What inspires your designs?
EM: Growing up in Nova Scotia, I saw my fill of lighthouse artwork, and always thought of it as something for tourists to buy. When I moved away to where there was no ocean, I appreciated it more. Then I very badly wanted a mitten with a lighthouse on it and could not find a pattern, so I had to make one. That’s how Moonlit Coast began.

HZ: When did you begin knitting? Designing?
EM: I was taught to knit a few times before it stuck. In 2010, I was pregnant and I wanted to knit something for my baby, so I learned again. My first attempts were without patterns. I remember making my mother some horrible, lumpy, mittens in bulky yarn, that were full of holes. She said that she liked them, but that can only be because she loves me.

Then I discovered Ravelry and its pattern search. I knitted several stranded mittens from patterns. In 2012, My toddler niece asked me to make her flower mittens, and I couldn’t find any patterns that fit what I was looking for. I drew a simple orchid chart in excel and published it to Ravelry, in case anyone else needed flower mittens.

HZ: What’s your favorite yarn?
EM: For colorwork, I really like Cascade 220 fingering. It’s got a great color selection, is soft, and just a little bit sticky.

I recently tried Fleece Artist merino 2/6, which is local to me, and absolutely gorgeous. I really can’t say that I have a favorite, though, because there are so many great yarns that I love for different reasons, and I’m sure I’ll discover more.

HZ: What’s next for you?
EM: I’ve got a couple more mitten patterns that I’m working on. One called “The Swordsman in Love”, which is similar to The Spear Maiden’s Heart. I’m trying a selbu style thumb for the first time on this one. People who have seen it say that it reminds them of a playing card.

In future, I would like to try a hat or cowl, possibly socks, (likely in color work), but I’d like to finish up the mitten ideas that I’m working on first.

Posted in Interview | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Gift-A-Long 2014

giftalong2014

This year I’m proud to be contributing to the Gift-A-Long! What is this? It’s several things.

First, it’s a sale. The sale runs from 11/13-11/21. Everything in my Gift-a-Long Bundle will be 25% off for this time period only! The coupon code is: giftalong2014

Second, it’s a knit-a-long. Knit any of the gift-a-long patterns, including mine, and be entered to win prizes! Check out the gift-a-long group for more details.

Third it’s a game. There are several ongoing games which also result in prizes. Again, check the group for more details.

Remember, the sale runs from the 13th to the 21st – patterns bought before the 13th or after the 21st will NOT get the discount!

Games and contests run until the end of the year!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

On Saying No

Today’s post is as much for myself as it is for everyone else who happens to stumble upon my blog. This is something that I struggle with on a daily basis, perhaps you do as well.

No is one of the hardest words to say because unfortunately, it often means saying no to money. For me:

…as a designer, saying no to a contract is saying no to money.
…as an editor, saying no to a client is saying no to money.
…as a business owner, saying no to a customer is saying no to money.

Q: Why would anyone ever want to say no to money?
A: When saying yes means saying no to yourself.

I love this quote by Paulo Coelho.

when-you-say-yes-to-others-paulo-coelho

I love it so much I made it my phone’s lock screen as a constant reminder.

Saying no to yourself and your well-being will only lead to stress, anger, resentment, and frustration. I don’t want to resent my job, clients, or customers. I’ve found that I could push and say yes to everything, however, this usually ends in my hating everything and everyone—not a healthy lifestyle.

Remember, you cannot do all the things all the time. Sometimes it’s ok to say no.

Posted in Wednesday Wisdom | 2 Comments

Tempest: a review + giveaway

Today I have a book review to share with you. Tempest is a new book collaboration with designer Holli Yeoh and yarn-dyer-extraordinaire Sweet Georgia.

Tempest E-book Cover - Front

Sweet Georgia yarns have been a long time favorite of mine. I used her Merino Silk Fine in my Pequea pattern. Her colors are simply stunning and the yarns in Tempest are no exception. Holli presents 11 beautiful patterns that perfectly showcase these yarns.

I love that Holli chose to use both the solids and the variegated color ways. Variegated yarns are notoriously difficult to design with, but Holli does so with ease.

My favorite project in the book is probably Breakers.

20140814-tempest priscilla-2972

I’m in love with this super cozy cowl. It’s simplicity makes the perfect canvas to show off the deep rich colors of Sweet Georgia.

You can see all the beautiful patterns on Revelry. But be sure to also check out the Tempest website where you can join the community for extras like video tutorials and forums.

Giveaway

Want to win a digital copy of Tempest? Leave a comment below telling me which the Tempest projects is your favorite. Next Monday (11/17) I will select a winner, so be sure to comment before then!

Learn More

To learn more about Tempest, to read other reviews, and for other opportunities to win, be sure to check out the other posts in the blog tour:

Friday, Oct 17 Hunter Hammersen, Violently Domestic
Monday, Oct 20 Megan Goodacre, Tricksy Knitter
Saturday, Oct 25  Kate Atherley, Wise Hilda Knits
Monday, Oct 27 Stephannie Tallent, Sunset Cat Designs
Saturday, Nov 1 Julie Matthews, Knitting at Large
Monday, Nov 3  Very Shannon
Saturday, Nov 8  Davina Choy, Sheep & Stitch
Monday, Nov 10  Heather Zoppetti Designs
Saturday, Nov15  Donna Druchunas, Sheep to Shawl
Monday, Nov 17  Shannon Okey
Saturday, Nov 22 Anniken Allis, Confessions of a Yarn Addict
Monday, Nov 24 Lucy Neatby, Happy Stitches
Saturday, Nov 28 Knit Social Event Company
Monday, Dec 1 Miso Crafty Knits

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

Election Results

Ah, the day after election day. The day when social media lights up with disapproval, name calling, and plain old nastiness.

I think many people forget how voting works. Unfortunately, in a majority-rules system up to 49% of the population could be unhappy with the results.

However, please remember that if your candidate was not elected, it’s because you are in the minority. This doesn’t make you wrong or stupid, it just means there were more people that voted the other way. And that doesn’t make them wrong or stupid either.

The important thing to remember is this. Whoever wins the election is there to represent you, whether or not you voted for them. Your voice is still welcomed to give suggestions, ideas, and criticism. Write or call your officials’ office, let your voice be heard. Help them serve you better. But DO NOT throw up your hands and refuse to take part in helping the community, the state, or the nation. DO NOT hate on your fellow citizens. And remember, you were in the minority.

Posted in Wednesday Wisdom | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Writing on the iPad – Part 1

As many of you may know, the new iPad Air just came out. Of course, my husband needed the new one —and so, I got his old iPad Air!

I decided I wanted to use it more as a business tool. I had an iPad 4 before, but didn’t use it for much of anything because I didn’t like typing on it. The first thing I bought for my new iPad was a great keyboard. Here is my current set-up.

image

This is the Belkin QODE Ultimate Pro Keyboard. I LOVE it. First, it has all the regular keyboard keys —and they all are in the same place as a regular keyboard. This is important. I had actually ordered the non-pro version of this keyboard but had to return it because of key mapping issues.

The key mapping I use is called Dvorak. It’s a great system, and I find it to be way faster and more ergonomic than the stupid QWERTY system (which was designed to slow you down, btw).

The non-pro keyboard had split the punctuation keys in a weird way such that my “s” key (; [:] in qwerty) was down beside the space bar and there was no “z” (/ [?] in qwerty) key at all! For most people, this lack of z might not be an issue, but because my last name starts with Z, it is quite necessary to me.

This keyboard has two magnetic “holds” or angles for the iPad to rest in, making it feel just like a tiny laptop. I can even flip it so that the iPad is in portrait mode.

The keyboard has a backlight, which I don’t turn on, but is pretty cool. I decide to keep mine off because it drains the battery faster.

I also like that there are function keys specific to the iPad—and they just work without having to install any kind of software. For example, there is a key for the home button. And, surprise, it works just like the home button—press once to go home; press twice to open the running apps carousel.

Other keys include volume control, spotlight, music playback controls, and screenshot.

The keys themselves have a very nice feel when pushed. They don’t feel squishy or soft, which I find impressive. They are also a decent size, small, but not too small. I didn’t have to spend any time getting used to typing on it, it just feels natural.

With the help of the ultimate pro keyboard I’m finally set up to get some real work done on the iPad. I’ve figured out how to do all my writing (manuscripts, blogging, e-mail, and even spreadsheets) on the iPad. I’ll share my workflow, along with what apps I use, next time!

Posted in Monday Musings | 1 Comment

Everyday Lace Accessories KAL

With the holidays drawing near, I thought it would be a good time to get some accessory knitting done. To encourage others to do the same, why not have a KAL?

Starting November 1st, and going until December 1st, knit any of the accessory patterns in Everyday Lace.

Here are the rules:

  • Knit any of the accessories projects from Everyday Lace starting November 1st
  • Tag your project with EverydayLaceKAL
  • Post your progress in this thread – we want to see!
  • Post a picture of your final project(s) in the finished objects thread (to be made) by December 1st
  • For every project you finish you will be entered to win a prize!

Head on over to the Ravelry group for more information and to participate!

Posted in Blog Tour, KAL | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Graphic Knits Prize Winner!

The winner of the Graphic Knits Book is

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 12.24.51 PM

Merry! Merry, wahoomerryf on Ravelry, you are the winner! I will be sending you my copy of Graphic Knits along with…surprise! your 3 Yellowstone color picks!

Merry said she would use Snow, Eagle Peak, and Forest Fire for her Woodstar Mitts. With this yarn you should be able to make both the hat and the mitts!

Please send me your mailing address to hzoppetti@gmail.com.

Posted in Blog Tour, KAL | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Brioche Chic – An Interview

I love brioche knitting and have recently started teaching this topic at events and yarn shops. This interesting stitch is supremely squishy and luxurious, plus it makes playing with color even more fun! I am delighted to review and participate in Mercedes’ blog tour for the her first book, Brioche Chic.

Brioche Chic - jacket art

I LOVE this book. First, it breaks brioche down into very simple steps – much like how I teach it. And second, it doesn’t bombard you with unneeded information. Those who have taken my class can attest for my dislike of frivolous-information-bombardment.

Mercedes’ writing is clear, concise, and easy to understand and her patterns are beautiful and modern.

My favorite project from the book is the Deep-V Pullover.

Brioche Chic - Chevron Deep-V Pullover beauty shotI love the innovative construction and the flattering look of the finished piece. Along with more beautiful women’s sweater patterns, Brioche Chic also includes accessories and several hansom manly designs. Check out all the patterns on Ravelry.

Today I have an interview with the author, the fabulous Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark!

HZ: When did you start designing? and when did you fall in love with brioche?

MTC: I started designing almost as soon as I understood knitting basics (altering patterns, trial and error on made-up projects), but didn’t begin publishing until I owned a yarn shop, around 2004. I designed patterns for the shop and started submitting some designs to magazines. Eventually I realized that designing was what made me happiest, so in the last couple of years I began to design and teach knitting full time.

HZ: What do you find most challenging about design?

MTC: The most challenging part for me is always the writing, trying to make sure that my ideas are clear and that they make the most sense to someone knitting the project for the first time. Tech editors are priceless for making sure that this is a reality! They go through my words (and my math) to make sure that the final instructions are as clear and concise as possible, even with tricky constructions.

HZ: Which pattern in your book is your favorite and why?

Brioche Chic - Reversible Infinity Scarf beauty shot

MTC: I love the Reversible Infinity Scarf. It’s the type of accessory I wear ALL the time, and I can’t wait to knit one for myself (I need more time in a day!). I also love that it’s a great intro to two-color brioche, so I can’t wait to see my students’ projects for this design!

HZ: If you could lunch with any knitwear designer, past or present, who would it be and why?

MTC: Elizabeth Zimmermann. Besides having an enormously unconventional mind for knitting, I think she would be a hilarious conversationalist, judging from her written work. The “Opinionated Knitter” indeed!

HZ: Many knitters find brioche tricky to wrap their brains around. What words or tips would you give a beginner?

MTC: Go slowly, and give your hands (and brain) time to adjust to the unusual stitches and constructions. As with trying many new things, there is an inevitable “awkward stage” where things feel clunky as you get used to them, but soon your fingers will find their rhythm, and the stitches begin to make more sense and fall into place. Use sharp needles, several markers, and smooth, non-fuzzy yarn to give yourself a clear view of the stitches.

HZ: Any more books in the works?

MTC: Not yet! I feel like life is still catching up from the frenzy of the last one. I am designing some individual patterns and working on new teaching materials (for brioche and other subjects). But, of course, as soon as I get a good book brainstorm I’ll be in touch with my publisher in a heartbeat!

Thanks, Mercedes, for stopping by the blog today. Tomorrow, the Brioche Chic tour continues at Little Acorn Creations.

Posted in Blog Tour, Reviews | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Graphic Knits: KAL + Giveaway!

I rarely get to knit for myself, so when presented with the opportunity for this KAL, I took it!

Graphic Knits - jacket art

Graphic Knits
By Alexis Winslow
Interweave/F+W; $24.99

Graphic Knits is the first book by designer, Alexis Winslow. I love Alexis’ patterns, and was excited to hear that she was writing a book.

Graphic Knits contains 20 beautiful patterns ranging from small accessories like fingerless mitts and mittens, to many beautiful sweaters. My favorite in the book is the Orly Cardigan— simply stunning.

Graphic_Knits_-_Orly_Cardigan_beauty_shot_medium2

© Joe Hancock

You all know how much I’m into fingerless mitts…I even make them out of socks…so it’s no surprise that I decided to make the Woodstar Mitts for this KAL.

Graphic_Knits_-_Woodstar_Mitts_beauty_shot_medium2

© Joe Hancock

Using my Yellowstone yarn, and slightly more muted colors (Reese Creek, Eagle Peak, and Old Faithful), I cast on using size 3.75mm needles, one size up since I’m a tight knitter.

Knitting goes fast, and these mitts are awesome. I love their short ribbed beginning and end, although I’ve changed mine to twisted rib. (I’m pretty much incapable of knitting a pattern without making changes.)

My favorite detail? The formation of a little motif on the thumb gusset. How cute is that?

IMG_7497

The “seam” stitch becomes the gusset and hides the beginning of round jog quite efficiently.

I have only to finish my thumb ribbing before this mitt is finished. After which I will promptly cast on for the second!

Want to see more KAL projects from Graphic Knits? Check out these future posts!

Want to WIN my copy of Graphic Knits? Leave a comment below with what 3 colors of Yellowstone yarn you would use to knit your own pair of Woodstar Mitts! I’ll pick a winner next week – so be sure to comment before midnight on Friday the 10th!

Let’s knit together! I’m hosting a KAL for the Woodstar Mitts in my Ravelry group. Stop on over and let’s have fun picking out colors and working up these great fingerless mitts together!

Posted in Blog Tour, Reviews | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

On Tour

This is, of course, a little late, but I’m on tour for Everyday Lace! Stop by any of these events to see me, get your book signed, and see some of the projects in the book.

New events are being scheduled all the time so be sure to check out my events page regularly.

Posted in Everyday Lace | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Journey of a Book

Today I thought I would share with you the entire book process. Everyday Lace has been in the works for two long years! When I first announced that I was writing a book, people asked when it would be out; when I said two years, they were surprised and confused as to why it takes so long.

The process is a long journey, but it’s well worth the wait. –At least I think so, and I hope you do too! The following post is my experience, which may or may not be typical.

The proposal
Before I got started on a formal proposal I sent a query letter to the acquisitions editor at Interweave.

Why did I pick Interweave? Two reasons. One, because I do a lot of work for their print magazines and have developed a pretty good relationship with them. Two, because they make beautiful books. I knew that I wouldn’t have to worry about the photography, layout, book design, or paper quality. They make superior, best-selling titles and I hoped my book would be one of them.

A query letter is like a mini proposal. I stated my idea, gave my thoughts on possible projects, and included a mood board of my past designs that fit the concept. My query letter was received favorably, and I was told to go ahead with a formal proposal.

The formal proposal is much longer. I swatched and sketched fifteen projects, wrote a sample introduction chapter, and detailed my proposed table of contents. This alone took some time, and was just a little bit stressful. Having never planned an entire collection before, preparing this many projects at once was overwhelming.

Here are a few of the proposal sketches:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My proposal was accepted. Notes were given and the contract was signed.

Choosing Yarn
Picking yarn for twenty projects is HARD.

EDL_MoodBoard

First, I developed an overall pallet and mood. Then I had to find yarn to match both the project and the pallet. Yarn weight, color, blend, hand, texture, all had to be considered. Yarn for a project would be set, but then colors had to be switched around because yarn for a different project didn’t have the color I wanted, and on, and on. There was much grumbling and rearranging. Spreadsheets became my best organizational friends.

Finally, I had all the yarn and projects picked out. Yarn was ordered and began arriving at my house. My husband was already starting to become wary of the process at this point. So. Much. Yarn.

Knitting
The knitting phase took place over the next nine months. Twenty projects…in nine months. So much knitting. So much writing.

The key to not going insane was organization. I had everything separated by project. I had spreadsheets calculating what needed to be done by what time. Without these things I think I would have easily become overwhelmed with the project.

During that time I also decided to start a business, have major surgery, and design several things for magazines. Needless to say, things were a bit stressful in the Zoppetti house.

I considered having sample knitters help me. But something in me (a problem with releasing control) drove me to knit all the projects myself. The hardest obstacle, discipline. The deadline seamed so very far away. Forcing myself to complete things at intermediate deadlines was really the only way all the projects were completed in time.

Manuscript
After knitting, there was still a book to write! Writing patterns, tutorials, sidebars, this all happened quickly, writing is much faster than knitting. Once I finished, I handed everything over to my editor, the incomparable Ann Budd. At that point, I didn’t know what to do with myself. Without a book to work on, my days felt strangely empty and without purpose. So, I sent a proposal for a second…

Editing, Photos, and Layout
Over the course of the second year, I was consulted on edits to patterns and text. I got to approve all changes at every stage. First, everything was in Word documents, then I was able to look over everything again in final layout with photos.

Some designers choose not to go through the traditional publishing route because they don’t want to relinquish control over these things. Honestly, I was glad to pass it on to experts. I knew the folks at Interweave would do a great job, and they didn’t disappoint. Also, by having other people do these things for me, I was able to concentrate on my next book!

Finished Book
Today, my book can be found in yarn and book stores around the globe. It’s available on InterweaveAmazon, and at other major retailers and probably at your favorite local yarn store!

The whole process was an enjoyable journey and one that I was eager to take again. My second book will be released about this same time next year!

Posted in Everyday Lace | 3 Comments