17 Jun 2010

EuroDonna here, at home and happy in Manchester, England and getting ramped up for our first real day of the trip. It took just about two entire days to get here and settle in. Don’t ask. But we left our house Tuesday morning at 8, and by Wednesday evening we were here, checked into our current B&B, had new sim cards for our 3G iPads and internationally-capable cell phones (no, not my iPhone), and were eating dinner. After that, we came back, installed our sim cards, and went for a walk. By then it was almost 10PM, our goal for “staying up until then” on the first night, and we were about ready to crash.

EuroDonna is alive and well! 1

So today is officially day one of my knitting/writing retreat, which will last until mid-July, when we will go visit friends in Amsterdam and Geneva for a couple of weeks. More on that later.

For now, let’s stick to the topic of my knitting/writing retreat! What am I planning to accomplish? I have a book to finish! I’ve been working on my book about Lithuanian knitting for almost four years now, and this is my fourth trip to Europe. It’s time to get it done.

What does it mean when someone says they’ve been working on a book for four (or 10 or 20) years? Does it mean they’ve been writing their book as a full-time job for all that time? If it does, I find myself thinking that something is wrong with the writer (although I’d be the last to argue with results). I’ve been doing research, filling my mind and my environment and my time with things from and about Lithuania, and doing a hell of a lot of — you guessed it — procrastinating.

I used to think that procrastinating was a bad thing. But, I’d be the last to argue with the results. The time spent working on other things, brooding over the project that’s not getting done, is most certainly not time wasted. In fact, I think I need to stop calling myself a procrastinator because creative work does not get done without that time spent brooding over a project.

I know I’ve written about this before. Blogging is a good way to procrastinate (aka brood). It lets me sort out my thoughts in a public forum and it gives me a way to test out some of my writing. Teaching classes does the same thing. I discover what my readers are interested in out of the material I can choose from for the book. I used to write my books first, then start teaching classes on the material but lately I’ve switched the order around. I start teaching the workshops first, and then hone the material for the book. It has proved to be an interesting experience.

So thank you for spending your time with me procrastinating over the past several years, and for coming along for the ride while I finally finish writing the book this summer. I’m also doing a LOT of knitting because I’ve decided to make all of the models for the book myself, so I’ll be sharing bits and pieces about that experience, along with photos from my current and past travels, as I make my way through knitting about twenty pairs of socks, mittens, and gloves.

The first project is the baby socks for the Twitter KAL. I started and ripped out three times already. I can’t decide how I want to make the cuff. The photo I have from the museum in Lithuania looks like a combination of ribbing and garter stitch, but I was thinking that mitered squares would create a very similar design, adding a modern twist to the project. And knitters in Lithuania have always used a huge variety of techniques for cuffs in their projects, so it would not be very far fetched to imagine them doing a ring of mitered squares for the trim on a pair of baby socks. But in the end, I decided to copy what I saw in the museum. It’s coming out nicely and I will get the KAL started this weekend.

And while I’m working on my next book, I can’t forget about my current book which has just been released by Martingale & Co.: Successful Lace Knitting. I’m setting up a summer blog tour to show off the projects in the book and to share lace knitting tips and preferences from each of the designers who have their projects featured in the book. I wanted to kick off the tour right now, but for various reasons, most of all the fact that I didn’t get the schedule put together yet, I’ve decided to start it after July 4. (Incidentally this will be my fourth July 4 in a row spent outside of the USA. Mostly I don’t care, but I do miss the fireworks. So if you capture any amazing displays on film, please post them to my facebook page.)

And what are you planning to do this summer? If you are going to the beach, that’s more than enough!

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