One of the fun things about working at Google is that you get to work with smart and creative people. The photo below was created with Cloud Spin, a demo project that shows how to use Google Cloud Platform to build services for mobile apps.
The folks running the demo at the GDG conference were bemused when I showed up with my sock and a ball of yarn.
This is my representation of juggling a craft-filled life.
It would have been even more fun if I’d had several unfinished projects to juggle, but I had to work with what I had on hand.
The way the technology works is that you have a set of mobile phones arranged in a half-circle. You jump, and each phone takes a wee bit of video. The app controlling the phones inserts an audio “beep” as a marker when you jump. Then the phones upload the videos to code running in the cloud, which extracts the frame corresponding to the audio marker from each video and compiles it into a single animated GIF.
The team that created this demo did it on a nearly nonexistent budget, in three weeks. I edited the blog posts they wrote about the project. If you’re interested in the technical details and/or building your own version check them out:
And yes, seeing this photo does make me want to eat better and get more serious about exercising regularly. But you know what, if I wait until I’m thin to do fun things, that might be a long time… and I’d miss out on adventures in the meantime.
P.S. I have totally fallen down on my NaWriDaMo pledge. Epic fail. I blame the wool fumes at the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival.
For previous book releases, I’ve made a pilgrimage to the local bookseller to take a celebratory picture standing next to the book on the shelves.
With my time almost completely taken up with working at Google and spending time with my family, I’m not sure when I’ll have time to get to a local yarn or book store. So if you see a copy out in the wild, give it a pat for me, will you?
This book is the culmination of four years of work, research, weaving that went well, weaving that didn’t, fear, day jobs, procrastination, more work, and heroic efforts on the part of my editor.
I hope you like it.
P.S. Got my 30 minutes of novel writing in yesterday and today. By the skin of my teeth today, but done!
My new book, Inventive Weaving, is scheduled to be published tomorrow, though I know that some folks who attended Rhinebeck or pre-ordered the book on Amazon have already gotten their hands on copies.
This upcoming weekend I’ll be promoting the book at the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival, in The Dalles, Oregon. It’s one I’ve never been to and I’m interested to explore it. There are some great teachers there. Friday afternoon, I’m taking the Knit Smart class taught by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Friday, from 4pm-7pm, I’ll be participating in a book signing with all the luminaries teaching at the festival.
Saturday, I’ll demo weaving overshot on a rigid heddle loom from 11:00-11:45, near the registration desk.
Linda Gettman, one of my former students, is teaching rigid-heddle classes at the festival . I’m so proud of her! If I teach someone to weave, and they go on to teach others, does that make me a weaving grandma?
And yes, today’s 30 minutes of novel writing are done!
November is National Novel Writing Month. It’s an annual event where writers pledge to write a novel (40K or more words) in a month. There are websites where you can register and find other enthusiasts, and cheer each other on.
I have never participated in NaNoWriMo, but I’ve always been intrigued. I like the idea of committing to something, and being part of a community of writers. But the idea of writing for speed, at the probable expense of quality, doesn’t work for me.
But this year, I think I’ve found a way to participate. Instead of pledging a word count, I’m pledging 30 minutes a day.
Each day in November, I’m going to carve out 30 minutes and sit my butt in the chair and write. Perhaps it’ll only be two sentences, perhaps a whole chapter. I won’t end up the month with a novel, but I’m hoping to end up with a sustainable habit that can eventually lead to one.
I call it NaWriDaMo, National Write Daily Month.
And yes, I’ve already done 30 minutes today, on something that might, one day, be a novel.
This summer, I spent time in Seattle coffee houses and libraries going through the page proofs of my forthcoming book: Inventive Weaving.
This is the step in the publishing process where all of the photos and text are laid out as they will be in the finished book, and the author gets to go through and catch any little errors that have crept into the manuscript.
It’s an exciting time, the first time you see your book in print. I held by breath as I first opened the big envelope from the publisher. The team at Storey did a wonderful job with the layout, coming out with some innovations I’d never seen before, like running swatches of the fabrics along the outside edges of the pages to make the book easier to scan.
The photos of the projects and stacks of fabrics were gorgeous. Seeing the page proofs is the first time you think to yourself: “This book is really going to happen.”
It’s also a lot of work. As the author, you have to go through the book word-by-word and image-by-image, scanning for errors, no matter how small. This is the last chance you’ll have to fix them.
After many long hours of review, I mailed a PDF of my changes to Gwen, my editor. After Storey incorporated my fixes, I took another look. I’ve published books before, I know that no matter how careful you are, no matter how many times you review the copy, some errors will slip through.
It started when Eric sent me a link in email. The subject line was “another keyboard”. I’ve been looking for a new keyboard ever since my beloved Touchstream LP began dying. It’s 12 years old, so I can’t complain.
Having suffered with RSI in my late 20s, I’ve become a big fan of ergonomics. It’s why I switched to typing Dvorak instead of Qwerty.
At work I’ve been using the Kineses Advantage LF (with the cherry key stem). It’s a lot like the Touchstream in terms of light pressure to activate the keys and putting your hands in a neutral position. I even got a pedal that I can use to press the Shift key. It’s a whify thing, I was thinking about buying one for home, until I saw this…
It’s beautiful. It’s ergonomic. It was designed by an indie husband and wife team. You can program the light show that plays across the keys (or turn it off). It’s based on Arduino.
It’s open source. They give you the source code and a screwdriver when you purchase one. Which means that instead of going obsolete over time, this keyboard can actually improve. And if you like to tinker with software and hardware, you can improve it yourself.
One of the things I love about handweaving is the beautiful tools, lovingly created by craftsmen or small companies. Beautiful woods, things that feel as lovely to touch as the things you make using them.
Thanks to a couple of peer bonuses from work, it’s mine. Or at least, it will be when they ship in April 2016.