Monthly Archives: July 2011

The Tea Group at CCCWA

The Tea Group at CCCWA

London during the Blitz

Have you read Blackout and its continuation, All Clear, by Connie Willis? They won the 2010 Nebula Award for Best Novel, the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, and were nominated for the 2011 Hugo Award for Best Novel. And my goodness are they good, a historical page-turner. Perfect summer reading. Here are photos to accompany the books, two sets of pictures from London during the Blitz. Britain's finest hour indeed, and I didn't appreciate how much so until I read this novel. Even if you're not usually into genre fiction, I highly recommend them. (via kottke)

Etsy Shop Updated!

Hi All!

Well, like everyone else in the eastern part of the country we are HOT.  So rather then spend time in the studio today I updated my Etsy Shop.  I still haven't figured out how to directly link my shop to Facebook so I am posting the news here!  (Since I figured out how to link from my blog to Facebook anyway....)

Stay cool everyone!...if you can.

Late supper – or is it brunch?

"It was really fun when we got off the plane and we went swimming and the pool was really cold. Now we're getting some food and this lounge is really comfortable." -- Caroline, whose attention I can barely draw from the synchronized swimming on the bar TV.

Late supper - or is it brunch?

A Visit with Author Jodi Compton

Okay, folks, I’ve got something different for you today. Not only is it an interview, but … the author interviewed herself! Our mutual friend, Sara J. Henry, asked me if I’d be willing to host Jodi Compton to help her promote her new book, “Thieves Get Rich, Saints Get Shot.” I said yes, of course! Except … since I haven’t read the book, that made it tricky to come up with good interview questions. No problem, they said. She’ll ask the questions herself!

So, without further ado, let’s give a big Punctuality Rules welcome to Jodi Compton!

Thieves Get Rich, Saints Get Shot: A Q&A with the author! … and, um, by the author….

Q. Who are you? Where is Deb?

A. My name is Jodi Compton. Deb and I have a friend in common, Sara J. Henry, the author of ‘Learning to Swim.’ Sara brokered this deal in which I’d do a guest post for Punctuality Rules. I’m the author of four crime novels, the latest of which, Thieves Get Rich, Saints Get Shot, came out on July 19.

Q. So which have you written about, a cop or a P.I.?

A. Neither. My protagonist is in her early 20s, a failed West Point cadet, and is drawn into troubles not of her making. In Hailey’s War, she protected a 19-year-old girl from a mobster, nearly dying at the hands of one of his men when she was tortured for information.

Q. Good times! So what happens next?

A. Well, Hailey goes back to Los Angeles and falls into a role as the lieutenant of a rising Latina gangster, Serena “Warchild” Delgadillo, who played a significant role in the first book. The fun — lawless and amoral though it is — comes to an abrupt halt when suddenly it’s all over the news that Hailey killed two people in San Francisco. It’s definitely her they’re describing, but she hasn’t been anywhere near northern California. So she and Warchild head north to get to the bottom of things.

Q. If I know crime fiction, there’s a fine-looking guy as well, right?

A. Two. Hailey has a long-unrequited attraction with her cousin CJ, who is tall and lanky and sexy and unfailing decent to women, but unavailable to her because of the American taboo about relationships between first cousins. That’s why Joel Kelleher appears on the scene. Hailey’s initially attracted to him because he superficially resembles CJ, but he develops into a full-fledged character in his own right. He’s a cop, too, which is problematic, since Hailey and Warchild are working the other side of that particular street.

The physical similarity between Joel and CJ plays a small but important role in the third Hailey Cain book that I’m revising right now: Hailey calls Joel by the wrong name at an intimate moment, and that effectually ends the evening. In the following days, Hailey has to ask herself: Is this man real to me, or just a kind of methadone for my CJ addiction? Do I have the right to ask him for a second chance? Do I want to?

Q. Wait — you just said you’re working on the third Hailey Cain book, but earlier you called yourself the author of four crime novels. The math doesn’t add up.

A. Okay, yes: the first two were about a Minneapolis missing-persons detective, Sarah Pribek. Those were 37th Hour and Sympathy Between Humans. They’re a little more traditional than the Hailey stories, meaning that they’re police procedurals. A lot of people ask me if I’m going to write about Sarah again. The unsatisfying answer is, I really don’t know.

Q. Hailey is very Angeleno. Is that where you’re from?

A. No, I grew up east of San Francisco. And Hailey grew up east of Vandenberg Air Force Base, more than an hour north of L.A. If you look at a map of California, and see the westernmost “heel” of the state, that’s about where she’s from. The choice of L.A. as Hailey’s chosen, adult “hometown” grew out of an unrequited crush I have on L.A. It’s such a big, warm, freewheeling, pan-cultural place and, I think, unfairly maligned by outsiders. I go down there as often as I can. Whether I’ll ever live there, well, I’m really not sure.

Q. That’s the second time you’ve said “I really don’t know” or “I’m really not sure.” Would you describe yourself as more wishy or washy?

A. What’s the difference again?

Q. Uh, it’s, uh … Well, that’s all the time we have! I hope readers have really enjoyed this. Thanks, Deb and Sara, for this opportunity.

New Pots! "Farm Ware"

Ardis Butler James, RIP

Why oh why did no one tell me the University of Nebraska, Lincoln has the only academic quilt-studies program in the world and - more importantly - the International Quilt Study Center & Museum? All in all, Ardis Butler James, its founder, has left an impressive legacy.

Road Trip

So it was time to order clay, and rather then wait for delivery (and pay for it) I decided to pick it up myself.  THE TRIP IS GORGEOUS.  This drive brings tears to my eyes from the beauty.  I know it sounds dramatic.  But I can't help it.  My clay is in Front Royal, VA and the drive there from Charlottesville is amazing.  No interstates.  Only a state highway and alot of windy country roads.  It did me a world of good.  It was the first of a couple of cooler days.  The air was refreshing and clear. SO I was able to take Layla with me for company too.

Pictures while driving is not too smart.  What you aren't seeing are the fields of Queen Anne's Lace (great for dyeing I hear but I couldn't find a good pull off to harvest some...) the rolls of hay and the cows and horses........

New clay means I have been working on alot of pots.  Another baby commission, pots for a Farm Market and slowly preparing for THREE shows in October.

Pictures soon.....

What I did this Summer

I had really intended to post at least once a month, if not twice but then this pesky thing called summer happened and the time flew and I did not blog. So as we have turned the calendars to September I owe you for a summer's worth of things done:


I-91 Shop Hop (the very short version, honestly) and Knitting

Vasya and I hit all of the Connecticut stores on Friday with a break for elevensies in Branford. We mostly drove on and off of I-91 without much detour or exploring, because while I'm from Connecticut I hardly ever have a reason to drive in that part of the state. We drove into Northampton, where we stayed Friday night, the back way beginning our scenic tour. Our host brought us to his son's wedding shower in Easthampton, which made for a very long day indeed. In the morning we dismayed at the closing of Jake's, but had great breakfast at Sylvester's before heading to the Northampton yarn stops. We drove the back-way in Massachusetts stopping at a Lavender Festival in Buckland, drove through Shelburne Falls and walked around Turners Falls a bit. Knit or Dye in Brattleboro happily had to drop out of the even due to the owners having a baby, which for us was a good thing because it meant we made it to Green Mountain Spinnery, our favorite stop, before it closed and to all the shops by the time they closed on Saturday!

Photos with more info here.

We then had some planning to do and so drove back down to Brattleboro to find a coffee shop to duck into for some wireless. Sadly, all we did in Brattleboro was walk around in the rain though I would definitely like to return (perhaps a post-storm recovery trip). Moving on we poked around my mom's high school, Northfield, to see what was happening with the old campus in its transition from high school to college campus. We finished up the day by driving to the Boston area to hang out with one friend in the theater she works for after hours (fun!) while we waited for our host for the night to get in from a party. When we finally made it to where we were staying for the night we thought we'd go to bed right away we were so tired, but we managed to stay up for a bit longer visiting making it another extremely long day. Sunday morning meant brunch and then off to meet up with some of the lovely ladies who are CSA members or fans of Juniper Moon Farm for tea. We gossiped, shared our projects, spun, knit and laughed a lot. Very sleepily we drove back home Sunday night.

While I will not make the Shop-Hop an annual event for myself, it was definitely a good way to learn about the shops involved and think about which I'd ever go back to.


I had to give up on the two-at-a-time socks for a bit. I managed to get nicely in and then somehow ended up with the socks backward on the needles. The women at my local yarn store are very helpful, but also very traditional knitters and could not figure it out either, so I brought my yarn and needle with me to the tea and got help, had everything organized and then managed to turn it around again. I will definitely try again, but I needed to switch gears for a bit.

To do something different and easy I made a ruffled scarf using yarn I got during the Shop Hop, which looks fabulous with the shawl pin I won from Nature's Buttons. It was easy and quick to make and I think it looks great with the half-wool half-silk yarn. The only downside to the pattern is that it uses quite a bit of yarn.

I'm also quite a bit into a Danish Tie Shawl, which is very easy knitting but should make a cozy shawl for reading in bed or staying in my pajamas just a little bit longer.



We had three weddings to attend this summer, starting with Janie and Tim's Lilly Pulitzer themed wedding, which was fantastic. It was low-key, very them, local and fun.

Next up was my brother's wedding! It was in the Troy Public Library and a bit of an ode to Troy all around. We stopped by Great Barrington after and unknowingly we arrived in time to see the 250th Anniversary of Great Barrington parade, which was all the pomp and glory Great Barrington could put together and just about perfectly so.

Last, but not least was my very good friend's wedding with a sweet butterfly theme and a lovely backyard reception.


Hosting & Visiting

We hosted Vasya's cousin from Russia for a week of her two month US visit. Vasya brought her from Ann Arbor, where she was visiting with family, to New York to see the Statue of Liberty, Time's Square and other New York landmarks. In Mystic we tried showing her local non-tourist things, but we did take her to Boston to walk the Freedom Trail, which as a 17 year and non-American must not have been the most exciting but is a good way to see the city, and Watch Hill (to see the ocean!). On her return trip to Ann Arbor she and Vasya's brother went to Niagara Falls rounding out her US tour to: Ann Arbor, Chicago, New York City (driving so she saw some of the middle there), Mystic, Boston and Niagara Falls!

We just returned from our final trip of the summer, a long drive out and back to Ann Arbor to visit with Vasya's family - mom, brothers, cousins from Russia, grandparents - and to bring the last of my belongings from his mother's basement to Mystic. I had brought almost everything here in car trips, but my tiny pile of furniture required a van and a place to go once it got to Mystic both of which I put off organizing until it was absolutely necessary, though I will say it is great to have everything in one place again.

While in Ann Arbor we had several great trips to Silver Lake, toured the Cranbrook Gardens, and investigated cat adoption through the most amazing Humane Society shelter I have ever seen at the Humane Society of Huron Valley.


The Usuals

Per usual we
  • Went swimming a lot at the Noank Town Dock
  • Danced (including a trip up to the Greenfield contra)
  • Made a visit out to Fishers Island while my cousin and her family were there
  • House and pet sat quite a bit
  • Went to Shakespeare in the park
  • Potlucked, cook-outed and generally enjoyed summer's bounty with friends

Overall a busy and fun summer, but I am excited for fall, my favorite season, and a change of pace.

Out of Line?

You might not know, but I have a site where I review knitting books. So, imagine my surprise when I got this co-written email the other day.

As a “LYS owner” we are thrilled to read your messages about upcoming books and your reviews. It helps us to stock our shop. However, we STRONGLY OBJECT to your policy of linking to Amazon. Until Amazon starts supporting the small merchants instead of taking our local business, we will be forced to unsubscribe from your blog. We hope you understand.

Now, it’s a polite enough email, I suppose. Not profane. Not obscene. Not outright rude. Except…

Pick Your Battles.

Now, is a labor of love and, except for getting some review copies, entirely unpaid. The only income stream the site has is the affiliate links that help defray the cost of the webhosting, and I tell people right up front. “Please, if you’re thinking of buying any of these books, please consider using the links here at Knitting Scholar–I’ll get a couple dollars from to go toward the cost of this site. My grateful thanks go with every order!”

Now, I can understand people who have independent bookstores wanting to shake their firsts at the internet behemoth for taking business away from them. I understand that there are people out there who object to on principle because it is so big, it’s so corporate, it’s taking over the universe, et cetera, et cetera. But this is a yarn shop, we’re talking about. One that presumably sells knitting books along with their yarn and needles, yes, but books wouldn’t be their primary income-maker.

Direct Your Anger Properly

Protesting that I am using links to Amazon because it takes away their business seems, well, absurd. It’s not like I’m the only place their customers would hear about these books. In fact, in this day and age, heading to an online store is almost a reflex, if only to hear what other people think about books you’re interested in. It’s not like people aren’t going to think of without my help.

Most people who go to yarn shops want to look at the yarn. They may definitely browse through books while they’re there, and of course they might buy some, but you can buy most of those books at bookstores, too. You can check them out of the library. You can borrow them from friends. Did these two email-writing shop owners send a protest to their local Barnes & Noble, too, for selling books that people could be buying in their shop? Or protest to the local library for letting people see them for free?

Business is Business

I hate the common excuse that “business is business,” because it’s too often used to excuse heartless strategies, but still … everyone has a right to earn a living. The line in their email that truly gets me, though, is “Until Amazon starts supporting the small merchants instead of taking our local business…

Um, Amazon is in business to make money, just like you. I don’t think they’re deliberately trying to put small shops out of business (thought I agree they’re not helping). But why should any big store “start supporting” you? To think they owe you anything is absurd. These ladies might as well be complaining because A.C. Moore sells yarn and is taking their customers. I’ve even seen yarn at Walmart and at Target, and I’m quite sure those shops aren’t worrying about the little yarn shop down the street. And I’d bet these ladies haven’t written to them to complain–or to other local yarn shops for taking their customers, either.

Examine Your Own Behavior.

Here’s the other thing: They say in their email that they are “thrilled” to see my lists and reviews and that they “use them to stock their shop.”

Couldn’t I argue that they are profiting from my hard work? And taking “business” away from ME?

You can’t have it both ways. If you’re going to take advantage of my time and effort, that’s great. It’s exactly why I run the site, but you can’t then turn around and complain that I make a few dollars a month off of it. (Maybe I should be complaining that they’re not buying their store inventory using my Amazon links?)

Spreading Inspiration is ALWAYS Good for Business.

Ultimately, they’re forgetting the most important thing.

Selling knitting books means selling yarn. Sometimes knitters will buy the yarn first and then look for the pattern to match, but they just as often start with a pattern that they need to go find the perfect yarn for. That pattern could come from anywhere–a book, a magazine, a designer’s blog, a website. But putting inspiration in the hands of knitters is just going to sell more yarn. I understand that they’d rather people bought the books from them, but ultimately, that’s not the point.

Information Should be Free.

The modern world is requiring all of us to rethink things, but freedom of speech should not be one of them. I would never insist people buy books only using links from my site. I would never tell them that they must buy from Amazon. I would never discourage them from buying them in person from a bookstore or a friendly yarn shop.

What I AM doing, though, is trying to spread the word as far as I can. I tell people about the books to catch their attention and whet their appetites, and then I send them to (1) someplace where they can buy it, and (2) someplace they can read other people’s opinions before making a decision. I’m not providing restrictions. I’m providing options–and making sure people know about books they might not have heard of.

People are Free to Make Their Own Choices.

At the end of the day, people can and should make their own decisions about where they buy things. Buying local is good for the environment. Buying from a big-box store is good for the wallet. Buying in person is good for browsing. Buying online is good for convenience … you know all the arguments as well as I do.

The point is to let people make up their own minds. Heaven knows I’m not pressuring anybody to use my Amazon links–I’m just grateful when they do.

And if these shop owners feel they have to unsubscribe to my blog feed out of protest for my using links to their “competition?” That’s their choice, too. But trying to limit the dissemination of information, or to direct it in only the direction they want it to go? Especially on a website that they admit they’ve found useful but are not remotely connected with? It rather smacks of small-mindedness, narrow-vision, and censorship, don’t you think?

Am I crazy, that this email bugged me so much? What do you think?