Sunday, April 10, 2011

Turning a Frown Upside Down

Me "roping" an Alpaca's legs

shearers working on front legs

Show Blanket Fleece
This one was quite rowdy
Getting his teeth filed
Nails being clipped
More fleece

my new cell phone
                                                                           Last week I wrote about the disappointment from a design that I had returned to me from a major knitting magazine.  It hit hard for a few minutes, and then I went back to work.  The weather was beautiful last Monday afternoon, so I sat in the screened area of our deck, while the kids played with our neighbor in the back yard.  After a few minutes of drawing and reworking the design, I worked up the ideas for another magazine editor that a friend had introduced me to via email.  I scanned in the drawings to my family's ancient laptop, and took a couple of pictures of the swatch with my new phone (see the pic above).   I then typed up an email to the editor of the magazine and submitted the drawings, pics, and design idea.  Then the waiting began.  Finally on Thursday, I decided to drop a note to the editor, just to check in with her.  She, as it turns out, had been swamped at the magazine, but was thrilled with the design and offered to publish it in an issue  later this year!  In order to do this, I changed the cowl to a scarf and added fingerless mitts.  I know that I would wear a cowl but it seems a scarf would be a bigger selling point for most men.  All in all I am a happy designer again.  I still haven't heard from design number 3 which I submitted to Interweave for their winter issue.  If it is rejected, I will post the pattern for that design on Ravelry.  It seems that lace will be in fashion this year and chunky lace is a focus for this trend.
Several weeks ago I was given a brochure by my pastor's wife about shares for Alpaca yarn from this years shearing at a local farm.  As a result of getting this brochure I have made a new friend, Kate Brown.  She is the owner of Beech Springs Alpacas, just outside of Ahoskie, NC.  I took my family for a visit, which I blogged about just a few weeks ago.  Kate had her annual shearing yesterday, and invited me to come and participate.  The shearers came from Indiana, and it seems travel a total of 15,000 miles during a season.  They make appointments and map out their route, a large loop it seems that takes them from farm to farm until they get back home.  They started shearing about 7:45 yesterday morning and finished at 3 yesterday afternoon.  To get the Alpacas ready to be shorn, this is where all the other hands are needed.  I discovered yesterday that the animals must be stretched out with cords, to avoid clipping injuries, prevent flailing (which could injure the animal or helper), and allow the shearers to clip nails and file teeth if necessary.  I helped with putting on the cords and pulling the ropes yesterday.  It was not hard work but, I am a little sore today.  My wife and children came out for a couple of hours and watched the whole process.  My daughter was fascinated and ended up staying through the afternoon.  She took lots of pictures with her own digital camera.  She has a bag of Alpaca fleece to take to school with her pictures for show and tell.   My wife and I, sometime in the near future, will have our own show and tell of  6 hanks of alpaca sportweight yarn, our share in this year's shearing.  I can't wait to see what we get!

So excited about this fiber life I am living.  It gives me great satisfaction to share it with my family and friends.  I promised a free pattern and I am working on it.  I made a cell phone holder earlier this week.  I used some leftover acrylic and it is beautiful to look at but not very sturdy.  So I am working one up to felt.  As soon as it is finished and written I will post the free pattern.  Look for it later this week.  I will also be posting a new coffee cozy pattern, this one is felted, after the knitting retreat. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Design Disappointment, Alpaca Excitement

When I got home yesterday, I found an envelope from Interweave Press.  I had submitted two designs to them, one in February and one in March.  I excitedly ripped open the package to find.......they had rejected my design.  My drawing and swatch were returned in the package.  I think a lot of my disappointment was there was not even a form letter to say, "Thank you but we are not using your design.  Keep designing and submitting."  I realize that they must receive an astronomical amount of submissions, but a form letter would not be that hard to stuff in with your submission materials.  I guess I just spent the time creating and hoped I would be returned the courtesy.  Well, to not be so glum, I am in contact with another magazine that is looking for Designs for Men, by Men.  So I worked up another drawing to make the submission a set and emailed drawings and designs to that editor.  So I am still waiting for news on the other Interweave Knits submission, trying not to be too hopeful.  And to hear from this new editor on the retooled design for her magazine.  I have 2 or 3 more designs I need to commit to drawings so that when the time arises they will be ready.

On a more positive note, this Saturday I will be helping to shear alpacas at a local ranch.  I hope to have some great pics to share with you.  I also have a new touch screen phone.  The holder/carrier for it was $49.99.  I have designed and am knitting my own phone case.  Pics and pattern are coming by the weekend!