Digital publishing?

Is print still the best way to publish? I’m starting to wonder. The basement is full of books already, so to grow my business I need to either buy some warehousing, or change how I think about the product I sell.

I can get terrific markup on black and white printing, but to go color is more expensive, therefore larger print runs are necessary to reduce the cost per copy. Then I need increased distribution to move those booklets out the door. Digital books are selling for just a few dollars per download, which sounds like pure profit (no printing costs, etc) but really, the printing isn’t the problem. It’s the profit margin, which gets split in half at every step of the sales chain. To make money off ebooks, you need to sell a lot.

Can I price an ebook to earn as much profit as I earn when I wholesale a paper book?

Question: Do you, or would you, buy digital-only knitting pattern collections? And if so (if I may be blunt) how much would you pay? Consider a booklet collection with a dozen patterns.

(I hear the buzz. Do you have a dozen new patterns you’ve been holding out on us? I’m working on it. Hesh up.)

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The Red Sweater

stitch pattern detailI have the hardest time coming up with creative design names.  I can make a swatch, a sketch, write instructions, layout the page, but ask me to name the sweater and I choke.

Such is life.

This beauty has been in progress for a while, and those of you who remember the old blog might recognize the colors.  It’s an original design in the traditional Norwegian spirit. 

Red Sweater work in progressKnit in the fantastic Rauma Finullgarn (which I adore and highly recommend) at 8.5spi, it’s a slow project, but oh! so worth the effort.  I have shifted the colors in stripes, like mottled light filtered through leafy trees.  The finished pullover will also have green embroidery on the centers of the pine bough clusters.  Overall the impression is bold and exciting.  I can’t wait to wear this sweater!

The original sketch.

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The first copies of Norwegian Knitting Design arrived today. My printer made a special 45 minute trip to deliver about 250 copies that I can ship to my retail buyers while we wait for the special ordered case boxes from the manufacturer. Self publishers, or even if you’ve ever considered self publishing, call Vincent at Snohomish Publishing. He is terrific. Preorder buyers, I should have all orders shipped next week. Thank you so much for your support.


Norwegian Knitting Designsis a smallish book, about 7X9″ but packed with amazing charts taken directly from traditional Norwegian knitters. Please order your copy today and help continue this wonderful tradition.

I’m exerpting and updating a beautiful sweater pattern from NKD for Piecework Magazine. My book sample is beautiful, but I didn’t really follow or write a pattern. I just winged it. I’m knitting another sample and documenting what I do this time. I believe this design, first published in URD Magazine, a Norwegian publication, is the first documented pattern for a top down yoked sweater. I have read rumors and seen photos of the Knitting Madonnas, knitting Jesus’ seamless garment, and it is shown as a sweater knit in the round. If anyone knows more, I’d love to hear from you.


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Some actual spinning

Ok, so once I pulled out a wheel from the rubble known as my office-slash-studio? It already had a bobbin and a half of mystery wool on deck. So I finished that second bobbin and plied this hunk o’ gorgeousness. I call it Mystery Wool because it’s random amounts of God knows what breed that I sent off to the processor for blending. Don’t ask me what it is. It’s a mystery. Nice wool, though. I’d guess most of it is Corriedale-ish. Medium length, medium crimp, medium softness. It’s going to be a pinwheel blanket.

And I finished the vesty cardi thingie. Wanna see? I knew you would.

Of course, the best colors are right across the boobs. Happens every time.

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Tuesday is for spinning

Book is at the printer, finally, so today I reward myself with some spinning, a beautiful chocolate espresso brown romney that I bought at a Black Sheep Gathering some years ago. I had a m*th problem between then and now, and had to disassemble my drum carder to clean out all the casings, and the drive band stretched. Drat. In hopes of shrinking it down, I had a Brilliant Idea of hitting it with my garment steamer. Sadly, all this did was melt the glue on the drive band, and it popped in two. Crap. Ok, no problem. I have some two part epoxy (black and white make grey), a paper cup, and a toothpick handy. Mix it up, glob it on, and hold the seam in place with fiber strapping tape for a few days.

So no romney for me today. I’m substituting a latte colored CVM (also from BSG, maybe even the same year) which I sampled once upon a time, as a 4 ply cable construction. It’s soft yet crisp, and will make a gorgeous light weight aran.

And then I get an email from school. No hot lunch today, can I bring some lunch for Heather. Sigh. Tuesday is for spinning?

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Now what?

Norwegian Knitting Designs is off to the printer, and I am on to the next book. I have a couple of projects in mind, and I’m researching for some articles for Piecework. A knitter’s work is never done.

So of course, that means knitting for me. Behold Crunchy. It’s based on Croci by Cosette Cornelius-Bates, on Ravelry at Cosette Cornelius-Bates. The yarn is handspun, a roving made up of roving and batt ends that I bought at a Black Sheep Gathering in years past.

Below are some details of the crunchy yarn goodness.

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Ok to Print


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While We Wait


I knit this short sleeved top last year? The year before?  It’s from a free baby sweater pattern on Ravelry, named Lucille.
Love it. The yarn is Rowan Calmer.  Love this sweater so much I’m making another one with long sleeves.


And the yarn here is Shelridge Farms.  Something easy and non stranded while I wait for the second proof.

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Heather Update


The knitter’s daughter finds her craft.

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Thoughts on Japan

The newly resurrected is already on the robot list. I got this comment yesterday, in response to my thoughts about suffering and caring. And clearly it was a bot, because the commenter doesn’t get the gyst of my post. In which I agree with the commenter.

It’s not difficult at all for a lot of people to just switch off the TV and forget about the horrible things that happen in this world. I, however, do not believe in closing my eyes to the suffering of others. Post-Sendai, there are many Japanese left without food or shelter. Not all of us are fortunate enough to be able to spare the money to donate, but any contribution that you could make would be appreciated! If you don’t have money to spare, please keep the Japanese in your heart and spread the word along to your friends!

Ok, aside from the annoyance of robot responders, which I will address at a later time. And I will. I do have some thoughts on the crises in Japan.

First, like anyone with a pulse, I am horrified by the earthquake and resulting tsunami. And terrified by the nuclear collapse that’s happening right now. I’m not watching it on TV, though, because that just makes me anxious and unable to act. I agree with the commentbot that donating to reputable organizations (the commenter link goes to a site that lists Red Cross, Mercy Corps, etc.) is a fine and noble thing to do in such crises.

Japan, though, is a rich country. And while Red Cross tents might be a useful loan in the short term, they don’t really need us to give them back the money we borrowed from them at this time. They’re making money off the interest.

What Japan needs, and the world needs, is to get off these toxic energy sources. Oil, nuclear, coal, and even gas, are just toxic. Period. The stuff is dirty, with dirty, filthy waste, and the industries are largely run by dirty, filthy people. What Japan and everyone else NEEDS to do is open our eyes to this fact, and the fact that we have a clean, essentially-eternal source of power in the sun, the wind, and the ocean currents. Instead of toxic nuclear plants that are being feverishly cooled with ocean water, if Japan switched to using those currents as their energy source, there wouldn’t be a radiation problem to worry about. I know some will say the middle of a crisis isn’t the time to criticize, but when the crisis is over, attention will turn away. The world survived Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and now Fukushima is melting down, and we’re still considering nuclear power in the United States. Europe is undergoing emergency inspections and halting new plants. We must do the same. We’ve just got to stop this stuff.

I’m not a historian, but I play one in knitting books. The Fukishima plant is owned by Dai-ichi, which is one of the giant Japanese megacorps, with subsidiaries in countless industries. (Pharmaceuticals, Fishing, Nuclear energy, Hotels and hospitality, Insurance, to name a few. Just Google Dai-Ichi or Daiichi and see what you find. I believe this is one of the companies that survived WWII to become an equivalent of Rayovak in the US. A huge, bloated, bazillionaire, life sucking corporate entity.

Japan doesn’t need your money. Japan needs to hold Dai-Ichi responsible.

As a closing note of irony. Click again on the Dai-Ichi Life Insurance link. Read that headline. Thinking People First. Under the Corporate Citizenship page, the company brags about its recycling and green energy initiatives. This is the worst kind of greenwashing imaginable. A sibling company touting its green practicies, while the nuclear plants are melting down. How long do we as world citizens put up with this?

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