Attention US customers: Due to the uncharacteristically high number of lost or damaged packages sent by Media Mail, I have disabled the Media Mail shipping option on my online store. For one or two books, Priority Mail is only a couple of dollars more expensive, will get you your stuff faster, and carries less risk for me. I hope you’ll agree that it’s worth a little more money to spare both of us the possible headache. Thanks for understanding.

Gratitude and Getting Stuff Done

On the subway that runs near my home, there’s a sign that says, “Your tax dollars pay to clean this vehicle. Please do your part by taking your belongings with you.” This always gives me a little cognitive dissonance: Don’t I already do my part by paying my taxes?

At the risk of further cognitive dissonance, I’m going to both thank you for your help and then ask for more. But first, let me give the final update.

Double or Nothing has arrived. On December 15th, a couple of friends and I moved 2.5 tons of books into a moving van, up a ramp, and into my storage unit in approximately one hour. About 10% of those books came home with me and I spent the next 36 hours packing, labeling and shipping books on the coldest days of the year (single digit temperatures with a -20F windchill). Over the next week, I began hearing from excited people who were getting their copies after a long wait (the earliest preorders came in 2 months before shipping). Since then, I’ve been troubleshooting issues with orders, sending promotional copies for reviews, shipping wholesale orders and stocking up my Amazon storefront. Oh, and spending time with my family for my birthday and Christmas, of course.

I posted on my FB page that all I really wanted for my 40th birthday was to get this book done. But now that it’s done, to be honest, what I really want is to help it succeed — not only to help make my small business pay for itself, but to really get these innovative techniques into the hands of as many people who’ll use them as possible. Now I’m going to be teaching a whole lot starting next month, and will, of course, be bringing my books to sell wherever I go. But let me be perfectly straight with you: in order to “break even” I need to sell about 50% of my current stock, or about 1500 books. I’m a bit over 20% there.

So here’s where I ask for your help. I don’t want to seem ungrateful, so I’ll start by saying that if you’ve done any of this already, THANK YOU! And all of this is purely optional; I’m happy to have any help, and every little bit counts more than I can possibly express.

So how can you, as a customer or student or (dare I say) fan, help me? In no particular order:

  1. Like (and follow) me on social media, especially Facebook. I’m happy you’re reading my blog; it means you’re of a mindset that pays attention to long-form text. But I can’t post here every time I have a little bit to say, so you’ll find me more visible and accessible on other platforms.
  2. Tell your friends. I can advertise until my fingers are blue, but the real power is in word-of-mouth referrals. Recommend my books and patterns to friends you think would enjoy them. If you follow me on social media, share my posts so your friends will see them.
  3. Tell your local yarn shop about me. I do sell some of my books and patterns at wholesale to resellers like LYSs and bookstores. Also, I teach double-knitting all over the country; if I’m not coming close enough to you, see if you can get your LYS interested in bringing me in.
  4. Tell your guild. I do speaking engagements and have presented about my techniques and my adventures in the world of knitting design and publishing. I’m not Franklin Habit, but I’m happy to share my love of double-knitting with your guild. Also, see above about teaching — it’s often more cost-effective to bring me in to teach through a guild than through a LYS (or you could collaborate).
  5. If you liked or loved my book, leave a review! New customers often want to know what other people think about a product before buying. If you bought my book from my web store and created an account when you did it, you can log in again and leave a review on the product page! You can also leave reviews at Goodreads or Amazon.
  6. If you didn’t like my book for whatever reason, please do me a favor and contact me personally about it. I’m always happy to take constructive criticism, but too many negative reviews in a public forum can really sink a small business. If I made a real mistake, I’ll own up and do my best to correct it in the next edition.
  7. Are you a podcaster or blogger or in some other way a tastemaker in the knitting world? Get in touch with me! I’m happy to send you a free PDF of my book for review, and we can even do a giveaway game with another copy for one of your readers/viewers if you like. If you’re not a podcaster or blogger but are friends with one, see point #2 above.
  8. Nobody likes to talk about money, but that’s what it all boils down to. If I can’t make sales, I won’t be able to keep doing this. To be honest, I’ll probably keep doing it anyway because it’s something I love — but I won’t be able to increase my output. Buy my books and patterns. They are priced fairly for what they are, and I try to make it easy to get them. Take classes with me, if you can, when I come to a show you’ll be attending or an LYS near you. Take my Craftsy class, even though it’s getting a little dated. If you have some disposable income and a thirst for knowledge, consider helping me to help you.

Again, thank you so much if you’ve already done or plan to do any of these things. Thank you, frankly, for getting all the way down here to the end of this post. I’ve got one more thing to ask, and it’s a little more difficult.

At one of my knitting groups, there was someone who I had always thought would make a great model for my new book. I was delighted when she accepted my offer, and we had a nice morning walking around her neighborhood and taking photos. You can see some of them in my book, and here’s one we both particularly liked. Her name was Allison. One week later (to the hour), she was killed in a horrific traffic accident when a sight-seeing vehicle didn’t see her on her scooter and ran her down on a turn. The book is dedicated partly to her memory. Her parents have succeeded in getting a bill through the MA state legislature to help keep this specific thing from happening again, but there’s also a coalition of non-profit groups trying to improve relations between pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and public transit in the Boston metro area. I have donated to one of these groups, and if you’re looking for a year-end contribution, perhaps consider donating to the Livable Streets Alliance in memory of Allison — and thanks.

Book Countdown: Month -1

If you’ve been following me for the past few months, you’re probably wondering “What’s up with this post title?”

Last month, I did my “Month 0” countdown post, which should have been the end. But the fact is that the book is still not out, and that was known even last month. However, by this time next month the book will be out and, with luck, those of you who preordered it will have gotten your hands on it. So next month the countdown will be done, but this month I have one more update — and no more numbers to use. Hence, -1.

First of all, I’ve got an ETA. The printer has told me that the book will be ready to ship on Dec 8 or 9. 2-3 days after that I should have it in my hands and a day after that I should be shipping. Taking high estimates all around, I expect to begin shipping the book on December 15th. If you want to change your order in light of this ship date (for example, to speed up your shipping), let me know. I’m not 100% sure how that’s done since the eCommerce site is still new to me, but I’m sure we can figure it out together.

Second, I decided to release the eBook early after all. If you’ve been waiting for me to release the book digitally, now’s the time. If not, everyone who preordered the book should have gotten an email with a link to get their PDF copy on Ravelry. As of right now, 192 people have taken me up on that, which leaves 102 people still without the PDF. If you preordered but didn’t get an email about the PDF, check your spam folder and let me know if you need a hand. Of course, if you don’t want the PDF, you don’t need to download it. Just to clarify, I’m going to be letting people download their PDFs early until the preorder period is done, then I’ll be closing that door and using unique codes inside each front cover to allow access to the PDF. These will also be in effect for any of the preordered books which are marked as gifts.

So, in case you need a reminder, preorders officially stop in about 2 weeks, or on the day I receive the books. After that, they’re just called “orders” and will ship as soon as I’m done handling all the preorders. So why preorder? Well, at this point your best rationale is to have the best chance to get a copy before Christmas, if that matters to you. I will absolutely continue to take orders after the preorder period is over, so if you’re not in a rush feel free to wait.

I am working on getting the book listed on and sold by Amazon, but it’s not going to happen before the new year. Amazon simply doesn’t want any new items to deal with until after the Christmas season is over. I’ll send an announcement once it’s available.

Here’s a shot of a friend of mine wearing (almost) everything from the book and a few extras.

2016-08-14-22-20-34

In other news, I’m booked to teach workshops all over the place in 2017, starting in January — and many of them are in the Northeast for a change!

  • Jan 14/15: VKL NYC. I’ll be teaching one class and will be vending my books and patterns at Wall of Yarn.
  • Jan 21/22: Slater Mill Knitting Weekend, Pawtucket, RI. I won’t be officially “there” and may only be there for part of a day, but Dirty Water Dyeworks will be selling my books there.
  • Feb 24-26: Stitches West, Santa Clara, CA. I’ll be teaching all weekend and my books will be vended by Wall of Yarn.
  • Mar 10-12: FiberCamp Boston, Cambridge, MA. I’ll be doing the keynote presentation for the Common Cod Fiber Guild, and vending and teaching at FiberCamp itself.
  • Mar 17/18: Harrisville Designs, Harrisville, NH. I’ll be doing a workshop event (attendees take 4 workshops with me over the span of 2 days).
  • Apr 1/2: WEBS, Northampton, MA. I’ll be teaching 4 workshops at America’s Yarn Store!
  • April 22: Yarnover, Minneapolis, MN. I’ll be teaching 2 workshops at this exclusive event!
  • April 27-30: Stitches United, Hartford, CT. I’ll be teaching all weekend and my books will be vended by Wall of Yarn.

I will also be vending and teaching at the Wayland Winter Farmers’ Market in Wayland, MA — but the date has not yet been set, and I may be teaching at a shop on the MA North Shore. More announcements as I have them, and you can always check my calendar for up-to-date info and links.

If you’re still reading, thanks much for your interest! I hope to have more exciting news for you soon!

Parallax eBook Released!

Three years to the month from its inception, the Parallax project is finally finished. Other things got in the way here and there, but I persevered and last week I bound off Parallax v3.0 and Parallax v1.0. On Friday and Saturday I blocked v1.0 and v2.0 and on Sunday, in the bitter cold, I froze my fingers taking photos of them on the Parkman Plaza statues in Boston.

Last night at 12:30 I finally went to bed, having finished creating patterns, projects and uploading the eBook on Ravelry — and this morning, it’s ready for purchase.

Parallax_Cover

Thank you for your patience and I am sorry for the long delay. I hope you’ll find the wait was worth it. And now, with the release of these long-awaited patterns, I am finally free of (almost) all obligations and can begin to focus on new ventures. In a little over a week, I’ll be at Cat Bordhi’s Visionary Retreat again and beginning to think about a new book project, continuing the vision I had for the first one.

For those eagerly awaiting Parallax v3.5 and v4.0, they’ll be released as standalone patterns once I have the time to work on them. Or, who knows — they could end up in the new book!

Happy Holidays from Fallingblox Designs

As I begin what is likely to be my last post of 2013, I wanted to thank you for making it a great year for Fallingblox Designs. While I haven’t been able to take time to design exactly what I wanted, I’ve been designing lots of new stuff for the Willow Yarns Colorwork club, the KnitCompanion kClub, the My Mountain competition, and an extra for my Craftsy class (which has just passed 5000 students)! With the help of Craftsy, my book sales have been up this year as well.

All this is well and good, but I hear the rumbling now and then: “When is he going to release something new for mere mortals?” It’s true — most of these designs have been exclusive in some way: you’ve had to buy in to something else to get access to them. But never fear — time heals all wounds and I’m happy to say I have some news.

Rustle Of Leaves

Photo copyright 2013 Craftsy Inc

First, I’ve got a new pattern just released on Craftsy. It’s called “Rustle Of Leaves” and is a fascinating keyhole scarf pattern with bold ruffles and a double-knit panel of falling leaves down the center. Craftsy is selling it as a standalone pattern as well as in kit form (with all the lovely Miss Babs yarn). It’s a fairly quick knit, for a double-knit item.

Second, SMC finally released the Moosalamoo pattern as a free download on their site. This is the hat that I had in their My Mountain Hat Contest for which there was much drama a few months back.

The patterns for Willow Yarns and the kClub will also eventually be available and I’ll post about those as soon as I can.

Finally, I’d like to announce that I have added a few more dates to my Spring workshop schedule:

Tues, Feb 4 (evening workshop): Kent, WA (Makers’ Mercantile)

Thurs, Feb 20 (daytime event): Boston, MA (Greater Boston Knitting Guild)

Sat, Feb 22: Wayland, MA (Wayland Winter Farmers’ Market Farm Fiber Day)

Mon, Feb 24 (evening workshop): Cambridge, MA (Mind’s Eye Yarns)

Sat/Sun, Apr 26/27 (tentative): Fairport, NY (Yarn Culture)

Thu-Sun, May 15-18: Manchester, NH (Interweave Knitting Lab)

 

Thanks again for a great year and I hope yours has been as good or better. I’m looking forward to 2014! So whatever holiday you celebrate, or even if you don’t, have a happy one and I’ll see you again soon!

Spring 2014 Workshops, early warning edition!

Whew! It’s been a long year and a long time since I’ve taught workshops, it seems. In honor of the close of my first decade on the knitting scene, I’ve revamped my workshops and will give several new ones a shot this coming Spring. Right now, I’m gearing up to leave for Thailand (in about 7 hours) and before I go off the grid for 2 weeks I wanted to let folks know about my confirmed workshop weekends in Spring of 2014. Some of these are fully confirmed and some are merely tentative; some are also far enough in the future that shops haven’t begun advertising yet. If one of these is your shop (or near you), you’re welcome to pursue them to get more details. I’ll be adding the details I have to my events calendar, but I’ll also post up here with a summary of all my workshops once I have them all confirmed.

Without further ado, here’s the list of locations where I’ll be teaching in Spring of 2014:

Sunday, Jan 12: Madison, CT (Madison Wool)
Sat/Sun, Feb 1 & 2: Eureka, CA (Northcoast Knittery)
Sat/Sun, March 22/23: Mt Holly, NJ (Woolbearers)
Sat/Sun, March 29/30: St Louis, MO (Greater St Louis Knitters’ Guild)
Sat/Sun, April 12/13: Northampton, MA (WEBS)

I’ve also got some tentative (unconfirmed) dates at my local yarn shop, Mind’s Eye Yarns in Cambridge, MA — and I have several more weekends in later April and May that haven’t been grabbed by anyone. They’re far enough in the future that if you’ve got a local shop that’s interested in running double-knitting workshops by me, you can put them in touch and we’ll hammer something out.

Keep your eyes on this space and perhaps I’ll see you in the Spring!

Leaves (and prices) are falling

It’s officially Fall now, and a young man’s fancy turns to … well, knitting, in this case.

I hope your fancy is turning to double-knitting. Here in New England, the weather is getting noticeably cooler, and we’re starting to see hints of the coming foliage color in the trees (Actually, in the cemetery I ride through every day, the leaves have been falling since mid-August. Go figure). Before we know it, we’re going to be bundling up and watching our breath escape in clouds of steam — and wishing we had some warm winterwear. If you’re not in a climate that gets cold (or a hemisphere where the oncoming season is Winter) you’ll have to excuse my Northeast-centrism, and make your own excuses for double-knitting.

To encourage folks to get double-knitting, I’ve done some recent legwork (ok, mostly mousework — my legs don’t do much when I’m on the computer for hours on end) to take many of the patterns available only in my book and create standalone patterns as well. So if you’ve been itching to make something from my book but didn’t want to spend the money on the whole thing, maybe it’s available now as a standalone pattern! Also, I’m having a pattern sale to show you my appreciation for your love of my designs.

FBD-FallSale-Banner

First, go check out my new patterns page — I’ll add more to it as I get more photos and design more patterns, but for now it’s looking really good and working really well on most browsers I’ve tested. If it’s not working for you, you can just visit my Ravelry designer page for most of the patterns. Also, please do email me if you have problems with the page so I can make sure it works for as many people as possible.

Second, remember the phrase “One if by hand, two if by tree”. What does it mean? I have no idea. But remember it.

Third, go buy some patterns! Every pattern I have available on Ravelry is $2.00 off (except Corvus, which remains free), and even my 52 Pickup pattern book and kit are discounted. I’ve even discounted my kit’s base price $10.00 before the sale, so you’ll get a total of $12.00 off if you use the code. What’s the code? Oh right — “twoifbytree“.

A couple of notes and caveats. The “View Cart” button is only for 52 Pickup (the physical patterns I’m selling) right now. Eventually it’ll be for paper copies of my patterns and other hardcopy stuff I might print but for now it’s just a convenient thing for 52 Pickup. Any other pattern eligible for the sale is sold directly through Ravelry. Which brings me to my other note: Any pattern not sold through Ravelry is not eligible for this promotion, nor is Extreme Double-Knitting. This sale is going on through Sunday, Nov 3rd.

Thanks for reading and I’ll be in touch again soon!

Contract this!

Shawl-1Huzzah! With this piece, all of my 2013 contract designs are finished! And with more than a month to the deadline, as well! This one was so much fun to design and knit — and is the largest knitted object I’ve ever made. It’s a double-knit shawl in Willow Yarns Everest, and it’s 35″ tall with a 56″ wingspan. It’ll be headed to Willow Yarns, never to be seen again, once I finish working up the pattern (the chart is going to be a doozy). Apologies for the background; the only place large enough to put this for photographing is on my bed, and the cat wouldn’t be moved so I piled the sheets around her in the corner. Check out the other side here.

Now that that’s over, I’m free … to start knitting again! I’ve got the long-neglected Parallax eBook to finish, a secret project I’m working on in Bijou Basin Ranch Tibetan Dream (so secret that even Bijou Basin doesn’t know about it) and — serendipitously — I was just accepted to my second Cat Bordhi Visionary Retreat this coming February. So I need to double down on my new technique development to have something new and groundbreaking to show the other Visionaries (and yes — this does mean I’ve got my sights set on a second book in the not-too-distant future).

Yeah, I’m never going to be without deadlines — but for now, even though there’s a lot to do, I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders because the deadlines are now only self-imposed. Thanks everyone for your patience — 2014 is going to be a fun year to be a double-knitter.

Summer knitting, winter garments

I’ve recently finished a couple of pieces I thought you might like to see, and I’m well past the middle on my other current project. I’m going to make this quick and to the point, for a change!

At TNNA, there was a contest flyer circulating around the designers and some free yarn offered by SMC. I took the yarn, not certain I’d be able to do anything with it, but willing to give it a shot. It’s bulky, neon, acrylic-blend yarn. In short, nothing I’d normally work with. But I had some ideas, and if I either couldn’t hit the contest submission deadline or didn’t like what I came up with, at least I’d have a hat I could wear to raves in the future. So I knit a prototype, but it was too small. The rave I went to that weekend didn’t have blacklights and was probably 90 degrees indoors, so no loss that I didn’t have a hat that fit. Around that time, SMC extended the contest deadline to the end of August, so I requested more yarn from them and knit another. This one was too big, and the rave it was destined for was outdoors but again had no blacklights so again no big deal. I made the final one and the size is “just right” — but now I have no more raves in my immediate future. So I submitted the hat to the contest after all, and I’m not too worried — if it wins, I get some more publicity, and if it doesn’t win I get a chance to wear the hat to a party that actually has blacklights — and I’ll probably rework it in different yarn and in double-knitting to release as a pattern in the future.

My Mountain contest entry in SMC BostonI’m modeling the hat in question here. It’s using increasing and decreasing to make a motif of pine saplings and tall pine trees meeting at the crown. It was lots of fun to knit and the bulky yarn made it really fast to knit up (not to mention that it’s stranded, so even faster). You can check out another view closer to the crown here.

Intarsia/duplicate stitch insanity for Willow Yarns

Intarsia/duplicate stitch insanity for Willow Yarns

Meanwhile I was finishing up the stitching on Pattern 5 for Willow Yarns Colorwork Club. I had originally planned not to do an intarsia project but I felt it was probably a good thing to teach simple intarsia and duplicate stitch for the sake of completeness. Thanks much to my friend Doria for weaving in close to 100 ends for me (don’t worry, I paid her to do it)!

Last but not least, the gorgeous Pattern 6 for Willow Yarns — a full-size double-knit shawl with tessellated Scandinavian traditional “snowflakes”. It’s about 2/3 finished now. Having done this, I’m actually pretty psyched to get working on the other shawl pattern I have in my mental queue. You can also check out another view of it (with the tip flipped up so you can see the opposite side).

Final Pattern for Willow Yarns' Colorwork Club

Final Pattern for Willow Yarns’ Colorwork Club

Apologies to Anna Dalvi, who is a fellow Cooperative Press designer and already has a similar shawl which I didn’t see until after I’d designed this one. It’s still pretty different due to the type of tessellation, but it has a similar feel. Not to worry, Anna, since I’m not selling this one myself I doubt it’ll make much of an appearance on Ravelry anytime soon.

Looking forward to getting done with all this contract designing so I can get back on the Parallax patterns! October, here I come!

P.S. I’ve just revamped my workshop offerings as well as my website where they are offered. It does this funky CSS popup thing for each workshop offering, which was what I originally envisioned but couldn’t figure out how to do. Anyway, I’ll be sending out my 2014 Spring workshop dates to shops on my Workshop List soon, so if you want to be one of the first people to take one of my new workshops, get your shop to sign up soon!

Taking a break from knitting for a bit

… to do a blog post! Hah, gotcha!

DuvinoMuscat1Anyway, I’ve got a whole bunch of news, and I’m going to start with this new pattern. Well, it’s only sort of a new pattern. If you’re in my Craftsy class, you might recognize it. Originally, I designed the Duvino cowl/headband/cuff thing with a grapevine — you know, with grapes — rather than just a sort of “could be grapes, could be ivy” look. But I fixated on the yarn I wanted to use, and I couldn’t get the colors I needed in the contrast I wanted, so I changed the pattern and went in a different direction. Well, because I thought people might be interested in seeing my creative process, I showed the prototype version with the grapes on it in the intro video, and that resulted in this influx of requests for “the pattern with the grapes on it.”

I should have known.

So, as soon as I had a moment to breathe, I recharted the pattern with the grapes in it, made a few other little tweaks, and reworked it in some different yarn. I’m afraid I didn’t dig very deeply — I was in a hurry — so I just threw it together with Cascade 220 and Araucania Nature Wool. Of course, any worsted-weight yarn will work fine, and I trust that people will be happy to make their own colorway and yarn substitutions if they want to.

In keeping with my Parallax v0.5 model outing, I ventured further afield and found the statue of Abigail Adams to model the cowl for me. It was a gray and rainy day, and there were some aspiring thespians having conversations with the other nearby statues so I edged in, snapped a few shots, and headed off.

This pattern is available on Ravelry, but it’s also available for free to anyone taking my Craftsy class.

In other news, I’ve got a couple of last-minute class additions — if you’re in the Boston area, and especially if you’re one of those people who never cross the river, I’ll be at Newbury Yarns teaching my Intro class and my Advanced 3-color class on June 8th and 9th! I haven’t taught there in years and I look forward to teaching in her new shop. Space is limited so sign up now!

The kClub (where I’ll be showing off some new modifications to the 52 Pickup pattern) is now open for registration, and if you’re interested in attending a live webinar with me and trying some other neat things with three-color two-pattern DK, you should sign up.

930277 CW2 CoverAnd last but not least, my Willow Yarn Colorwork Club patterns continue to come out — the newest one is this lovely pair of mittens. If you join now, you’ll still get the previous patterns as well as the next 4 that haven’t come out yet. Learn stranded colorwork, corrugated ribbing, intarsia, and of course double-knitting, from yours truly.

Thanks for your continued interest and I’ll see you next time I can get around to posting!