Moving forward by small steps


I always figure that it doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you’re moving and are headed in the right direction.

Sidestepping a book production problem

As a follow-up to the font-scrambling problem, I have done something I’d heard about but never attempted: I moved all of the charts for Ethnic Knitting Discovery (book samples PDF1 / PDF2) into Illustrator, converted the type to outlines, and replaced the typeset charts in the InDesign file with graphics, which are not font-dependent.

The job’s done. The charts look like charts again, instead of jumble puzzles written in the wrong alphabetic system. That particular problem will not recur just as we’re about to go to press. Whew.

It was even easy. Usually when I do something I’ve just heard about peripherally, the rumor has been missing some critical steps that make the process more complicated than it sounded like, especially because they are unknown. In this case, the job was simple and it worked.

ANY book consists of a million moving parts that need to be kept constantly in line. A knitting book consists of at least ten million. Maybe more like ninety-three million.

There’s always something new to learn, not only about knitting but about putting together books.

I just learned a new chunk—a small but important chunk.

The next important chunk pertains to how to get the files turned into correctly configured PDFs for two-color printing. Four-color and one-color printing are easy. Right now, the program wants to output my two-color job as a four-color mix. The fix is probably simple; I just don’t know what it is yet.

Sock-knitting for mindless, colorful, steady, reliable progress on something around here

Meanwhile, knitting on the socks progresses, slowly:


The socks have been in roughly this shape for a couple of weeks.

The blue socks, from LynnH’s Colorjoy! hand-dyed yarn, are ready for the grafting off at the top. (Yes, there’s enough yarn left to use as an accent on another pair of socks. Yes, there’s plenty of yarn in one of LynnH’s skeins to make socks for feet the size of mine, which means there is a remarkable amount of yarn in one of her skeins.) With 90- to 98-degree F heat around here (32 to 37 degrees C), I won’t be wearing them until it cools off, at least another week or two, so there’s no rush.

The red ones (Opal) do keep getting longer. That one bigger sock covers at least twice as much foot as it did when I took the photo.

"Steady and reliable" progress includes in its steadiness and reliability a bit of ripping and re-knitting, because when I’m as distracted as I am about book complications I don’t always pay adequate attention to anything else. That’s okay. Ripping is sometimes forward motion.

Reading, still

And I’ve been reading, in scraps of time and to maintain a modicum of sanity.

I had an amazing run of really good books, up to and including Sy Montgomery’s The Good, Good Pig.

Then I tried several that just didn’t grab me, and so my daughter began to kindly hand me books. Our taste in books doesn’t always match, but she’s a discerning reader and there’s a high probability that I’ll read her recommendations all the way through. That’s no small thing.

The Shadow Thieves
, by Anne Ursu, was amusing. If you’ve run past Harry Potter and aren’t re-reading yet, or are waiting until the frenzy calms down, check out Ursu’s The Chronus Chronicles. Based on Greek mythology, with multiple twists. I’ll probably read #2 when my daughter has finished it.

Austenland, by Shannon Hale, was lightweight and diverting. It’s one of those "here’s an interesting concept for a book" brainstorms that has been effectively accomplished. Classed as "chick lit," it would have been a great airplane read, although I haven’t been traveling. If you’ve read a bunch of Jane Austen and seen a few of the film versions of her novels, that’s a plus. It would probably work fine for you even if you haven’t, as long as you want well-written brain-candy.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
, by J. K. Rowling (I think we don’t really need a link for this one):  I hadn’t planned to read this book so soon after its release. I usually wait a year or so after a book’s initial flurry, except for things I read as advance reading copies; I am just generally a bit out of step with my surroundings. But the book was sitting on the dining room table (my daughter works in an independent bookstore and picked up a copy a few days after the initial rush) and I needed something to read.

Rowling pulled off a fine conclusion to her massive saga. Great imagination, good complex characterization, intricately developed plotting that carried throughout the series, and so on. Terrific writing job. Enjoyable and satisfying reading. I skipped one of the intermediate volumes in the series, but some day I will go back and start from the beginning and read all the way through to appreciate the way in which she built her narrative.

Return to the fray

And now I need to quit fiddling around and work on the book files again. They’re still a long way from press-ready, and I’ve just returned from an unplanned 48-hour detour through Illustrator.

Next: Build the two missing circumference arrows and put them in the file.

After that: Make a cover file for the advance reading copies.

After that: Nope. That’s enough to think about right now. I have a list of what comes after that, but I don’t need to look at the list yet.