C’est Ma Vie! 2015 is for Sale!!!

It’s been three months from the idea to fruition.

The fall last weekend backed me up a week. It is exactly seven days after the planned release, and it’s taken most of the day but it’s happened. The files and the covers have been uploaded. Descriptions and thank you emails typed. All that remains is waiting for purchasers; and the next chapter, of course.

Chapter Two: February is almost complete. The designs are almost ready for editing. Can you believe it’s almost March?!

For those of you on Ravelry, a just the patterns version will be available there tomorrow. If you buy the C’est Ma Vie! With Patterns version, contact me via the same email as your PayPal account with your Ravelry username. I’ll send you a coupon code for the Ravelry version so you can have the patterns in your library.

The books are available here or via Payhip. The regular version is $15.00 CAD. The version with patterns is $25.00 CAD. It looks like a huge difference in price but there are thirteen knit and eleven crochet patterns included in the pattern version. That’s a pretty good deal-less than a dollar a pattern whether you do both crafts or not.

A New Month & A New Weekly Plan

Happy February!

I’ve started using a new weekly planner I’ve created in Evernote based roughly on one seen in a webinar and the style of task sorting in Gneo. I’m having issues with judging how long tasks will take. I’m going to have to time myself for a few weeks to get accurate times. But here’s last week’s:

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This is more difficult to show you than I thought it would be. I’ll work on that for next week! Here’s this week’s:

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I hopefully can can get a bunch of these done! It’s all a matter of pacing myself.

January 18 Weekly Review and Planning Session

Hi!

Here is my “completed” planner for last week. One day I’m going to surprise you and actually complete everything!

Jan. 11-17 Weekly Plan
Jan. 11-17 Weekly Plan

i think this may be the most Urgent/Important items I’ve completed in a week! One thing you may notice is something’s are shown as complete in last week’s plan but return in this week’s. I have decided to do things differently with long-term projects. If I have completed as much as possible that week, I will mark them complete but also carry them over to the next week. I’m utilizing the Notes function to track what I’ve completed so steps are not missed or duplicated.

Here is this week’s plan. I am positive I have forgotten to add something. Despite thinking about it all day, I cannot remember.

Jan. 18-24 Weekly Plan
Jan. 18-24 Weekly Plan

It seems long but I’m hopeful I can complete a good amount this week.

C’est Ma Vie! 2015 Ebook

It’s time to start marketing the book. That’s one of those forgotten to do list items I mentioned in yesterday’s post.

C’est Ma Vie! 2015 (It’s My Life! 2015) is a chronicle of my journey through 2015, as I work a full-time job, work part-time at my creative business Bridgwater Crafts, live with chronic health conditions, have close relationships with family and a life besides. It’s about me and how I live as a Cancer survivor-maybe, they think it might be back-with carpal tunnel syndrome, diabetes-type 2, fibromyalgia, lactose intolerance, and spinal degeneration. It’s main purpose is to journal how I grow my business, adapt to my health issues and live my life.

The book will be self-published electronically, each month equalling a chapter. Each month’s chapter will be released the fifteenth of following month. There will be two versions: one with patterns I design (crochet and knit) and one without. I hope to have one crochet and one knit pattern per chapter. The patterns are exclusive to book purchasers until after the final chapter is released in January 2016. Occasionally I work on someone else’s design; credit will be given and links provided to the pattern source.

I see the book as having multiple audiences:
1. Crocheters, knitters and other designers will read it for the business information and the patterns included in the patterned version.
2. Chronic illness survivors will read it for information and inspiration.
3. Caregivers and loved ones of chronic illness survivors will read it for insight into how living with chronic illnesses affects our lives and for the information and inspiration.

But it is primarily for me. This is something I have to do now. I don’t know why yet but that’s just how I feel. I’m already thinking of doing 2016 and 2017 versions. In 2016, the segments will be compiled and available for sale on my website and other ebook sellers. Purchasers of the monthly book will gifted a coupon at that time to receive the compiled ebook free from my website. If there is enough demand I will consider print-to-order as well.

If you think this sounds interesting or you might enjoy reading the book, join my newsletter. All subscribers will receive the dedication and prologue free on January 15th. The ebook will be available for purchase on February 15th.

Just a Few Things Changed

This is a photo of my plan from last week:

Week plan ended 14-20
Week plan ended 14-20

As you can see only three things on my to-do list were completed. There’s two reasons for that:

  1. The Book

  2. Fibromyalgia/cervical degeneration

Adding the book into the plan, of course, shifted my time around. The prologue is almost complete. I discovered it’s harder to type about the Cancer aftermath than expected which has slowed the process. But I hope to have the prologue complete tomorrow or Tuesday. I already edited draft one in an effort to get back in the flow and out of the freeze. It didn’t work but does mean I only need to edit the new stuff.

I learned with Fibro when you’re body is done, your body’s done. If you try to push past the pain, the fatigue, too much your body rebels. I don’t know if it’s the fibro rebelling the massive (comparatively) amount of typing or the cervical degeneration but for the last two days it feels like someone’s trying to pull my arm out of its socket. It hurts from my ear to my fingers on my right side. Maybe I’m just sleeping funny. I don’t know. All I know is it hurts more than normal. And my normal hurts enough already, thank you very much.

I start physiotherapy tomorrow morning finally then am helping Mum watch my three year old nephew while my sister works. The Day Care Centres here are all through the municipality and are closed for the next two weeks. So I don’t know how different I’ll be pain wise tomorrow. But I learned before Siri is actually a pretty good transcriptionist. Worst case, I’ll have her type up the end of my prologue and I can just cut and paste it.

Here’s this week’s plan:

Weekly Plan Dec. 21-27
Weekly Plan Dec. 21-27

I should probably start calling these weekly dreams instead of plans. I never seem to make a dent in them. But that’s life with chronic diseases, especially when one is a pain disorder than the others all cause extra pain! If nothing else I want to get my Christmas knitting done and the prologue before Christmas. Then I can start catching up on the design knitting.

I expect to have lots of knitting time while munchkin plays games on my iPad. He’s only allowed if he sits beside me at the table and if he’s been a good boy. It’s good incentive to be a good boy when you know Auntie’s iPad is the reward.

The Book and How it Changes the Design Process

We have a Newsletter Header! I’m trying to use it as the newsletter signup button in the sidebar but it keeps disappearing on me. Let’s hope my last attempt works!

Newsletter Header
Newsletter Header

Due to the trouble with disappearing buttons or super-sized full-screen on an iPad buttons, I was unable to get the usual Designs in Process post ready today. But I can still give you a synopsis:

Damia, sample 2 is almost half the completed length. When I realized I had no realistic chance of finishing it in time for yesterday’s department Christmas lunch I put it aside. I work instead on cramming out dishcloths to take to sell. That resulted in a sore shoulder and a total, including those previously complete, of six. So I didn’t bother bringing them. I didn’t want fighting over them to occur. I’ll make more in these next few weeks before I return to work and bring them in at that time.

I worked a little on Arielle today-just a few rows.

That unfortunately is about all that came about design wise once I started the book. The book is a game-changer design-wise. Now I’m slotting previously started and planned designs into an outline of monthly chapters for the book. Which may change the timing of when I had planned to release designs. I would prefer to have two patterns per month, most often one crochet and one knit, although occasionally there may be just one. The book will have at least fifteen patterns.

Which means I need to figure out pricing for a basically thirteen chapter book-the prologue looks like it will be long-with fifteen to twenty-four patterns. Pricing the pattern-free version is much easier but I can’t just add the price of fifteen patterns to that. It would be way too expensive. Oh well, I have a few weeks to get that figured out.

I already have three proofreaders for the prologue which I hope to complete tomorrow or early Sunday. I want to email it out to the proofreaders on Sunday. That should give me a good timeline for editing and re-proofing, final changes and formatting. And hopefully a mid-January release to newsletter subscribers. Then the book will be available for purchase. So if you want to be one of the first to read the prologue become a newsletter subscriber. The first newsletter goes out January 1 and the prologue mid-month.

Who Am I? What is Bridgwater Crafts?

Who am I?
I’m Kimberley!

I’m an Introvert.
I’m a creative.
I’m a reader.
I’m a writer.
I’m a maker.
I’m a crocheter.
I’m a knitter.
I’m a designer.
I’m a daughter, a sister, a sister-in-law, an aunt and a great aunt.

I’m a thyroid cancer survivor (maybe). They think it may be back. But it’s to small to biopsy. I live with chronic diseases and syndromes. I have arthritic cervical vertebrae degeneration with bulging discs and possibly nerve irritation, carpal tunnel syndrome, Diabetes Mellitis Type 2, fibromyalgia, and myofascial pain disorder. I am in constant pain. I am on twenty different medications, vitamins and supplements.

I work full time outside the home.

What is Bridgwater Crafts?
Bridgwater Crafts is my creative business. It is the home base of all my creative endeavours.

What is this blog’s goal?
Designing
I’m blogging publicly to create a record of my design life that is accessible to my pattern buyers and other new designers. I want a place I can make announcements; share upcoming designs; a place that can be an online home base for my pattern line.

I’m a new designer. I started this June. I plan to write about things I learn as I grow as a crochet and knit designer. I’ll post about new techniques; give peeks into new designs; announce sales and new releases. I’ll host crochet/knit alongs. I’ll host contests. I’ll write about inspirations and about my life inside and outside the fibre arts.

Writing
I used to write all the time. Then I stopped. I’m starting again.

I really enjoyed writing daily last month in the blog. And I’ve really missed it since the challenge ended Nov. 30. It cemented the decision that I need to start writing again.

Some of what I write will appear here. Some is going to be a book about my life with chronic conditions and how the fibre arts impact my life. Some, I hope, will appear on other blogs and in articles.

I would love to connect with other bloggers. I want to connect with people in and out of the fibre community. I would love to connect with others with chronic diseases and other writers.

Starting Jan. 1st, we will have a newsletter. Please join the list here.

This Week In Review

Thank you to everyone who has taken the poll. I know it’s a holiday weekend for my American readers so I’m not considering the poll “closed” until Monday night. I want to give everyone a chance to vote. Actually I’m not sure if I can lock down the poll. It’s my first poll. Another thing to add to the to-do list!

Last week I trialed the program Gneo for my weekly to-do list. I really like the program. My only issue is my to-dos were too broad. Here’re what my Gneo master list looks like with this week’s (including today’s) things crossed off:

Weekly plan Nov 23-29
Weekly plan Nov 23-29

What you can’t see is that I also worked on a number of things without completing the task. You can’t see that:

  • I read two chapters of Market Yourself.
  • I almost completed knitting Elspeth sample 1 and very roughly wrote the pattern.
  • I started reviewing Vogue Knitting.
  • I started the Social Media Plan.
  • It doesn’t show I found even more quotes but haven’t had time to add them to the editorial calendar or schedule them in WordPress yet.
  • It doesn’t show that the Lauch Plan is a “no time to advertise” launch plan I designed so I could get Drusilla out in time for Holiday Gift-making. It needs a lot of work before the next launch.

So, this week I’m going back to making my weekly plan in Evernote. It will be a Master Plan of all the things that need doing and will break them down into tasks. Those tasks will go on Daily Plans in Gneo. I think this will create a plan using the best features of both apps and will be less overwhelming than always looking at the Weekly Plan.  So I’m going start that tonight so I can finish it up tomorrow before a family dinner and can post it in the evening here.

A difficulty is I will be travelling for two days this week by car (4-5 hours each day) as a passenger along with a three-year old who loves, really loves to play on Auntie’s iPad mini (with supervision and usually only sitting at a table or Emergency Care waiting room). He knows I have games on here for him. It makes him feel special and like a big boy. He doesn’t know 99% of those games were free apps of the day.

So I don’t know how much work I’ll be able to do on the iPad in the backseat with him or at the hotel overnight. I think he’s going to be getting a lesson on taking turns. And when it’s his turn I’ll read for fun on my Kobo or knit. So I’ll still be able to cross things off my daily lists!

I’ll let you know how it all works out next week!

Designs in Process

It’s time for another design in process Friday. Today we’re going to talk about three designs-Elspeth, Drusilla and Bettina.

Let’s talk about Elspeth first. I started last weekend. First I tried where you cast all the stitches onto one needle then split up onto two. I don’t remember the name of the technique. I learned it for the Beekeeper’s Blanket. One day I’ll show you my lonely hexipuff and it’s quarter-puff buddy.

That cast on didn’t go very well. I had trouble separating onto two needles. I think I cast on too tightly for this method. Next I tried the Figure 8 cast on. From memory even though I’d never actually done it before. Yeah, that didn’t go very well. I should have asked to use Mum’s Cast On, Bind Off book. But I didn’t think of it.

So the next day, at home, with my Cast On, Bind Off I tried a few cast ons. I settled on the Figure 8 and cast on. It’s a good thing I kept a card nearby because I cast on way more stitches than necessary.

Elspeth too big
Elspeth too big

So, I ripped all the way back and tried again and again. And finally found the right number of stitches to be too big for one card but just right for a bunch. It flew from there. Now I’m working on the top part of the envelope.

Elspeth half-way there!
Elspeth half-way there!

I can comfortably fit 25 business cards in her! I hope to finish the knitting and pick out a button from my button stash tomorrow.

Next up is Bettina. I started Bettina a few months ago. I roughed out the pattern as I went. But when the sample was done I looked at it and it wasn’t quite what I had envisioned. But it was still too good to toss. So I put her aside and started to try to get closer to what I was think of when I started her. And thus came Drusilla. They are different enought to know they aren’t the same but similar enough to be related. Sisters maybe?

Drusilla has been tested and tech edited. Now I’m polishing her up. I hope to release her this weekend. If you need a quick knit for a sudden gift Drusilla would be perfect with a bar of fancy soap. Need a hostess gift or a work gift?

Drusilla preview
Drusilla preview

When Elspeth is knit twice I’ll put out the call for testers. Then I need to finish poor Bettina, she’s waited long enough. And simultaneously I’ll be working on Damia sample 2. I need something that doesn’t require a lot of counting for the drive on Monday and Tuesday and for hotel knitting. I’ll also be bringing dishcloth cotton for Christmas gifts but I find I can only work so long on cotton before my hands rebel. And my shoulders rebel any knitting quickly these days. But I must pack more than I could possibly knit. It’s a knitter rule!

Thank you to all who partook in the poll. I appreciate the input. I love all the themes but I know seven day a week posting isn’t practical once I return to my day job. I can’t keep all the themes but don’t want to unknowingly drop something that’s a reader favourite.

A Monday Magazine Review – Knitscene Winter 2014

Knitscene Winter 2014
Knitscene Winter 2014

25 knits are in this issue.

The Daring  to Design column features Emma Welford. She has four designs, Haubergeon Sweater, Cuirassier’s Cardigan, Ornate Greaves and Gothic Gloves in this issue. I like the Haubergeon Sweater; at first glance its a simple sweater. Then you see the sleeve detail. The Ornate Greaves are interesting looking leg warmers! I wonder if I could modify the Gothic Gloves into mittens. It should be a simple mod. I like the look and the colour work but it’s the fingers again! Emma is transitioning from full-time employment to full-time designer. If these four designs are any indication of her talent she should have no difficulty!

The Purbeck Pullover by Beatrice Perron Dahlen has a purl detail I really like. And its seamless construction is a plus.

Zsuzsa Kiss‘s Carrara Shawl is gorgeous but the yardage!!! Maybe if I substitute out the double-strand of lace weight for another.

I like Annie Watts‘s Siena Mittens. I like how she created the striping pattern. It’s a great use of leftovers or mini skeins.

Paros Hat by Robin Allen is interesting. I think I might knit this one but not in grey and lime!

Kristen Orme‘s Kolmården Jacket is another which uses double stranding of two colours to create a marled look. This may join my queue too.

The Scene features Tolt Yarn and Wool in Carnation, Washington owned by Anna and Greg. I wish I lived much closer to the west coast. It sounds like an amazing store. And she’s opening an online store soon! They have a store-brand Tolt yarn spun from their own sheep! And are working on another. This new one will be a Clun Forest/BFL cross and was due to be ready for their first anniversary on Nov. 9th.

Ooh, I really like the colour work and cable combination in Ravenna Cowl by Katya Frankel! It’s definitely queue material!

Ann McDonald Kelly took the beginning mosaic knitter in mind when designing the Neon Mosaic Scarf! The colour work is only on the ends with a solid middle. Ann has written an article on mosaic knitting using this scarf as an example for the magazine as well.

Thyri Pullover by Hilary Smith Callis is classic with the twist of long cuffs and thumb holes. This one may be on the needles soon.

Wendy Bernard‘s Lise Hat and Armwarmers are also designed for beginning colourworkers.

Blogspotting features Norwegian blogger Matilde Skår. Matilde has been blogging since 2005. She can be found at www.xn--matildeskr-95a.no and there’s an English translation option for those of us that don’t read Norwegian. She blogs the process of making things, small dyi projects, knitting, jam making and everyday life.

This was another successful magazine purchase. There are several patterns I’m interested in knitting.