Some days are more orderly than others

Ethnic Knitting Discovery, by Donna Druchunas, has just been published and I’m already working steadily on the next two (or three, depends on the day) books that are scheduled (using that word loosely) to come from Nomad Press. In addition to keeping up with the progress of Ethnic Knitting Discovery as it heads out into the world.

(Asides: There’s a great review of Arctic Lace in the Fall 2007 issue of Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot. I have heard that there is a review of Ethnic Knitting Discovery in the December 2007 issue of Library Journal, but the magazine is nearly impossible to locate at the libraries here . . . because, sensibly, the librarians are reading it. Ethnic Knitting Discovery has been submitted to its first awards competition, the Independent Publisher Awards, or IPPYs; which both Arctic Lace and Knitting in the Old Way have earned IPPY recognition in previous years.)

I have to start way ahead of when a new book will come out. There’s lots to be done between now and then, which is why the word "schedule" is only approximate . . . until early January, when I have to commit (and I will commit) to releasing a book next fall.

Spring’s out of the question for a new book; the deadlines have passed, and I was still working on Ethnic Knitting Discovery. Before I take the step of committing to a release date, I want to be reasonably sure that I really can produce the book on time. More than reasonably sure—nearly certain, barring the unforeseen. It’s not like I’ve got a staff I can turn the job over to. And on the other end, announcing a pub date sets all sorts of industry wheels in motion that are really hard (and costly) to stop.

So I’m currently engaged with the rough editing and preliminary layout for the next book in Donna’s series of step-by-step introductions to the techniques of ethnic knitters. I want the book 90 percent done before I fill out the forms to send to the distributors. I do already have a cover: wonderful! Inspiring, too, for the micromanaging that’s required to get the interior design in okay shape.

Here’s part of what I was dealing with yesterday:


1. That’s the stitch-count worksheet for one of the Icelandic sweaters (I’m on chapter 4, which means I’ve already roughed in the two general-information chapters at the front plus chapter 3, Lithuania). There’s a closer view of it coming in a minute. The arrows are significant.

2. This is the segment of the manuscript I’m working on. Mostly I keep things electronic. But with the projects, it’s good to be able to look at several sections simultaneously. Printing out the eleven or so pages for each project also helps me break down the large process into smaller parts that can actually be completed. And I can scrawl helpful notes on the paper as I go.

3. This is a big envelope balanced between the monitor and the printer. At this time of year, during most of the daylight hours the sun comes through the windows at an angle that produces too much glare on the monitor for ease of working, even when the monitor is canted away from the window. I don’t like to work with the blinds down, although that’s what I was doing last week, so this is the low-tech fix.

Here’s the promised closer view of that stitch-count table with the arrows:


The top arrow is the top limit of the table on the page. The middle arrow is the bottom limit of the table on the page. The bottom arrow is the actual bottom of the table. Hmmm.

I spent some time yesterday exploring different typefaces, to see if there was a solution that would let me keep each table on a single page, as I arranged to do for Ethnic Knitting Discovery. I’m not convinced that there’s an acceptable-to-me solution . . . in other words, the best option may be letting the worksheets expand onto two pages. This changes the layout guidelines and constraints for the whole book. (I did review a lot of lovely type. It either doesn’t have the character sets I need or doesn’t have the necessary legibility or I can’t afford it.)

Each book has new challenges. I’ve already had to change the type I’m using for the main text in order to be able to typeset some Lithuanian words.

By the way, the lines that run horizontally across the pages on the screen are gridlines. The ones that run vertically are guidelines. They all help me maintain a logical visual consistency in the layout.

Changing topics completely, the flowers from last week continue to offer up surprises:


Those two lilies were just buds in the original arrangement. The dark specks on the petals are both color and texture! It’s cool.