Laura Nelkin and I first met when I edited a pattern of hers for Knitty.
If you've been published by a magazine, you'll know that the technical editing process is... rigorous. It's not just about the math of a pattern, but it's also about the style sheet. Each publication has its own way of doing things: standard abbreviations, what's capitalized and not, which brackets and where and how.
And I'm picky. You have to be, to be a technical editor.
I know that some designers find the technical editor's attention to detail rather absurd. (In fact, I remember the first time a pattern of mine was edited... I couldn't believe the stuff that I was being asked about, I couldn't believe that the style of brackets could matter quite so much.)
But as Knitty's lead Tech Editor, I care about these details very much. And I ask a lot of questions. I am sure that some designers find the process challenging. I've been told that I'm tough.
Not Laura, though. Laura is a New Yorker. She's just as tough. And she seemed to appreciate my way of doing things.
Not only did my approach not scare her off, it seemed to have the opposite effect. She asked me to tech edit some of her non-Knitty work.
And last year, she emailed to ask if I could set aside "a chunk" of time in my calendar for her. "How big a chunk?"... "Oh, about book-sized."
I will neither confirm nor deny that I squeed with joy for her. Laura is a deeply gifted designer - she creates truly beautiful and original and interesting lace pieces, jewellery and accessories - and I was over the moon to hear she was working on a book.
And that book, Knockout Knits, has just been released. Full of her trademark gorgeous designs, it's a book of accessories for knitters of all levels. There's some lace, some beads, and lots of texture. There's everyday pieces...
and truly special knits.
The approach of the book is fantastic: it delves deep into some specific stitches and techniques - wrapped stitches, lace and beads - providing tutorials and all the guidance you need to work every project. There are projects for all levels of knitter, all levels of challenge, most using only one or two skeins. She begins at the very beginning, and helps knitters build skills as they go.
And at the end, you've got truly beautiful work to be proud of.
I was honoured and thrilled to work with Laura on it, as her technical editor. And I only made her cry once, apparently...