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Lily Pinched my Alpaca Hummingbird!

No sooner had I been singing the praises of the greyhounds and their distinct lack of interest in my yarns when I discovered a pile of tangled mess and a half finished sock on the living room floor. Nooooooo!

I only went to the toilet for a few seconds, and Lily even poked her head round the door whilst I was there before Dizzy barged her out of the way and she ran off and secretly and pulled out the very centre of my neatly wounded ball and obviously kept on doing it and doing it until my ball was inside out. What an unholy mess I found about 20 seconds later!

I had to get that ball rewound and so the socks which should have been finished today are not and a lot of my knitting is b
ehind as a result.

I thought I had constantly watched these two for weeks now, locking away bins, moving my yarns upstairs, putting lamp shade collars on their heads to stop them chewing their stitches. I am exhausted with my own vigilance, like a mother wit two toddlers and when my partner comes home after being away and I am going to be dong the old "It's your turn to watch them now, I've been doing it constantly..." routine just like a real

Lily is a Tea Leaf (rhyming slang for thief if you didn't know), the little Minx!

No knitting................

....has appeared here for quite some time. None of mine anyway. However, I have been busy busy busy on the knitting but alas all is confidential until published. I have even been doing some big knitting as in sweaters! No photos of it are allowed up here though. I can confirm that I finished a small item for a Vogue publication Knit Simple and so that will be my first pattern to appear in a US print magazine. i have also received my payments from the Anticraft, which means my three designs are definitely included in their book.

I am fast approaching a deadline on a big project of my own, the first stage anyway, but that won't be released for public viewing until Autumn 2008!

So knitty people, I have not abandoned the craft in favour of dogs, I am still knitting with the greyhounds at my feet. Luckily, they haven't developed a taste for woo
l although Lily keeps putting her whole head in one of my bags, she does love to hide and block out the light. Anyone who loves sight hounds, especially greyhounds do visit my other blog and if you can foster or give a home to any of them my pup's 'brother' is up for adoption as well as many other loving hounds. I give you random pics of my swatches and sketches that are not being used at the moment.

I am excited that Abi is back in the country, and she too is going to help me out on some knitting. We had a bit of a disaster, poor Kerrie from Hip Knits custom dyed some yarn and knitted a beautiful garment for my project only to post it and for it to go missing in the post! So Abi has kindly offered to knit a replacement. I also have had to have four of my other projects re knitted due to a problem with the dimensions. I just haven't had much luck, it hasn't run smoothly but I do have lots of donated yummy yarns for more projects. The whole collection will be revealed in 2008. The good thing is, once someone gives me a 'story' I can come up with endless ideas to attach to it and I didn't know I was quite this resourceful.

I also didn't realise that I could draw a little bit. Having been chucked out of art classes at the age of about 13 for being a bit rubbish at art, it never stopped me from wanting to draw and sketch. I had private lessons with a young arty genius Royal Academy watercolour painter who was a farmer's son in my village, and he thought I had a little bit of talent and I did do a couple of OK oil paintings. However, I never really had that conceptual quality until I met a talented teacher Eric Peaker who used to teach at Fortismere School where I worked with deaf children. He inspired me to think conceptually and even said he would mentor me if I decided to go for GCSEs in Art as an adult to make up for my lack of support whilst a child. Sadly he died in a car crash during the school holidays, rushing back from Devon to be with his A-level students and support them in his own time. Anyway, I am using my drawing skills to help me knit. My type of naive diagram making skills are invaluable to sketch an idea.

In the meantime, I will have to write about other people's knitting instead!

Gorgeous Greyhounds........

Is the name of my new blog. In an attempt to avoid boring you all senseless with my dog enthusiasm I am going to write a blog about two lovely dogs we are adopting this week.

Lily is a nervous bitch who is about 20 mths old and has come from the racing industry but has been treated badly in Ireland. As a result, she is very wary of men and a bit snappy and is extremely hand shy at best. I am slowly winning her over after meeting her twice and Steve has been allowed to touch her but he has to be very careful with h
er. She is a blue and white greyhound like the third dog from the left in the above photo (that isn't her though).

Desmond aka Dessie, we are calling him Dizzy (as he is a rascal) is a bouncy and excitable boy who is a blue brindle, like the first dog on the left hand side of the above picture except that he has lighter colouring with gold coloured eyes. On first meeting people he likes to have a he
adbutt followed by an attempt to lick you to death! His confidence will do wonders for Lily although we are going to train the jumping up and head butting out of him as we have friends and relatives with young children who might not appreciate it. Pics of the actual dogs to follow.

My other blog Gorgeous Greyhounds will be listing homeless dogs who are finding it difficult to get a home due to the competition being so fierce (9000 racers retire each year, all competing for homes). Also, I will be chronicling the dogs behaviour and training, mainly so I can look back and see the progress however slow but also I hope their story will give inspiration to others thinking of helping these beautiful creatures and offering to give them a happy and healthy retirement.

I can't tell you how excited I am! I am hoping that my Special Projects can be knitted whilst watching the dogs snooze. They should be sofa hounds until they get outdoors although I will be trotting to the garden on the hour every hour to make sure they do their business. I have just had locks put on 3 doors in the house, as it is time to gather my yarns swatches and other bits of knitting strewn around the house and keep them all in one place. Lily is a slipper thief, she will have those balls of yarn if I am not careful!
Woolly Wormhead's New Book

Here are some tantalising glimpses of some new hats that Ruth Paisley has been working on. Did I say that she is currently writing a book? Well, she is, and the projects are looking good. My preview is that although these projects are all distinctively Wormhead's style, they have a wide enough range of colour and technique for you not to think each one is just another hat. There is something for everybody here. There will be an emphasis on something a little different as well that you won't be expecting and I am not going to say what that is in case someone is searching for a story and want's to use it. Wait and see, you won't be disappointed!

I'm not allowed to talk about my own 'special project', confidentiality agreements and all that, but Ruth is allowed to talk about her 'special project' as she is self publishing hers with a production team she has selected herself. At least it means I finally get to stick a bit of knitting on the blog.

I would rather be self publishing in some ways, some advantages of which are:

  • Setting your own deadlines, generally handling your timetable without a mad rush
  • Choosing your own yarns, designs, shades and sizes
  • Knowing which designs are going to be used well in advance
  • Being a party to every agreement and attending every meeting where important decisions are made about your book
  • Having total control over the content, and knowing the story is yours to write
  • Choosing the design layout including the cover
  • Not having to pander to other markets outside the UK
  • Choosing the models, handling the photography, choosing pics
  • Feeling totally proud that the publication represents you
But some of the advantages of having a publishing deal are
  • Knowing that when the knit, pattern, copy and sketch are done your part is finished
  • Getting honest feedback
  • Someone giving right amount of encouragement to get things done and setting the deadlines
  • Dealing with someone who really knows the business
  • Getting yarn donations from the more difficult yarn companies
  • Receiving advice on the commercial value of each project
  • Having an outline of a book and a good story supplied where necessary
  • Production handled up to the highest quality
  • Having a photographer, an editor, production designer and a support team with years of experience and getting good PR and a good launch
  • Having a commercial pattern checker, sometimes a grader (for those pesky size variations)
  • Protection of copyright and support regarding legal claims
  • Distribution deals throughout other territories, especially the US market
  • Handling your distribution and collecting royalties
  • Having a well known publisher on a CV to secure further deals

I am happy at the moment that my work is done by the end of the actual project, any more than that and I would frazzle. I can just hand mine over and get them photographed and published and at the moment that suits me.

However, for all those lists of ideas for pattern collections or other books that I don't have a publisher for, that might be very specialised, that don't appeal to a wider audience, and for which I absolutely must have creative control, then perhaps self publishing is the way to go. One drawback of doing that of course, is that you are never going to know if your work is truly rubbish as it might not sell just because you know nothing of commerce. Asking people face to face whether they like your work does not always get a totally honest answer whereas a publisher, will not print something they think is not right and might have more of a commercial interest in your work.

It is all just speculation and opinions though. Once the book is published, the only way to measure its commercial success is the sales against the distribution.
Having said that, most of us want to have a publication we are truly proud of and only a few of us really want to judge our work by it's commercial success alone .