When I started working on It Itches, I knew next to nothing about how a book is published. After many months, I can now proudly say that I know almost next to nothing.
Recently I learned about the BLAD. To me, BLAD sounds like the name of a dashing Hungarian spy, or perhaps an onomatopoeia describing the sound of vomit. But my patient editor, Anne, explained that it stands for Book Layout And Design. The BLAD is a little sampler of the finished work that Interweave will use to mesmerize wholesale buyers into ordering hundreds of thousands of copies.
Needless to say, I support them in this mission.
So when Anne asked for an author portrait to put into the BLAD I was delighted to comply even though I am my least favorite subject. Interweave's publicity team specifically states that it does not want high school yearbook poses, and indeed my own is a perfect example (on so many levels) of What Not to Do.
(The expression on my face perfectly conveys the joy I felt at being a tuition-paying pupil of my lousy high school. I remember the photographer told me to smile and I snapped, "I am smiling.")
So I decided to create what we in the click-click biz call an "environmental portrait" of myself in my natural setting. However, there proved to be too much traffic in the ice cream aisle at the supermarket; people kept knocking over the light stands with their shopping carts. So I went with Plan B and set up a shot at my drawing board.
To get the proper angle I had to elevate the camera on a tripod about seven feet off the ground, which of course meant to reach it I had to climb up my library steps. All told, with makeup and hair styling and wardrobe consults and such it took four hours to come up with one acceptable frame.
I sent it off to Interweave, and got a sweetly apologetic e-mail response from Anne. Apparently I had misunderstood. The photograph was nice, but...given the nature of the book, they wanted a drawn portrait. How about something like that avatar I'd used on Ravelry. That sure was cute!
This is the avatar she meant.
Honestly, how is the Pulitzer committee supposed to take me seriously with an image like this?
I don't love taking pictures of myself, but you may have noticed I quite enjoy taking pictures of other knitters. And guess what: there are more 1,000 Knitters public shoots on the calendar.
- March 15, 2008: Yellow Dog Knitting in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Nota bene: Dixie (who I can't wait to meet) is asking folks to sign up in advance, so please check out the shop Web site for full details.
- March 18, 2008: Windy City Knitting Guild in Chicago. The meeting is open to all; sittings will be first-come, first-served and space will be limited. If you haven't checked out the Guild yet, perhaps this would be a good time to visit. The meeting runs from 6:45–8:55, but I'll begin at 4:30 and have to stop about 8:30 in order to pack up the set.*
- April 12, 2008: The Yarnery of St. Paul, MN is graciously hosting me at Yarnover from 9 am–5 pm. Yarnover is a daylong event held annually by the Minnesota Knitters Guild, with a free vendor market featuring 24 unique purveyors of fiber from across the Midwest, as well as the opportunity to register for classes with regional and national knitting teachers; for more information, visit www.knitters.org. The Yarnery will soon have model releases on hand for those who'd like to participate; they'd appreciate it if folks would sign up in advance.
- May 31, 2008: The Knitting Nest in Austin, Texas. You read it right, y'all...Texas. I can't wait. We'll be shooting from 10 am to 5 pm. Yeeeeeeehaaaaaaaw!