So I’m at this point now where I have everything for the book in front of me, all in one piece. Or I think I do. I’m still trolling through the photo archive, the endless folders, seeing what I missed. It’s so easy to not see things that are missing from the table when they’ve lived only in your head. Because they are still in your head, so things don’t seem incomplete. Do you know what I mean?

The last technical sections go out for final Team edit today and tomorrow, and the press has ordered our paper. It’s really on rocket power now, we are completely off-gantry.

I’ve used a very successful editing strategy, I think. I accumulated about 25 people who were interested in the project, and used them in teams of 9 to vet drafts. Some are accomplished beaders, some have never done a single stitch, but they are all terrific writers and readers. It was… stunningly successful. And no one felt over-used, or I don’t think that they did. And everyone contributed. Our Team Pages are packed with names.

Here is one of the spreads from the Basics section, the Simple Flat Square. I’d be curious to know if anyone takes credit for this pattern, or if it simply exists, like so many sensible ways to put beads in spots to make shapes. It’s a delicate thing, to say, “This way of putting beads in spots did not occur before it occurred to me.” I hesitate to say it in any case, but sometimes it seems to be true. We haven’t ever seen anyone else ever make a Zigged Band, or a Hornwing, but….   they might have. We are attempting to make no claims, but also to pass out credit when it is due. It’s a balancing act. I again think of Harry Truman, saying,

“It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

Screen shot from Contemporary Geometric Beadwork, Kate McKinnon, 2012Christina Vandervlist’s illustrations are so lovely and bright.

I’m still holding and working on the finish of some of the more personal pages. And, stupidly, trying to decide between a hot red spiral and a black one. This is a much harder decision than you might imagine. The red is so… hot. I’ll probably get half red and half black, because it’s impossible. It’s like saying, do you want your 1968 convertible Camaro to be red with black leather seats, or black with red leather seats? Who could make such a call?

I struggled over the paper. Like hair, I think paper should be soft and touchable. I hate touching things that should be nice and finding them to feel artificial, stiff, slippery or dusty. I don’t like frosted glass or the feel of newspaper, and I hate hate hate coated paper. It’s nasty. But it’s great for photographs. I had to work to find a natural paper that really showed the detail. I think/hope/pray I got it right. I am an amateur by definition in every endeavor because I am always doing new things. I never know what in hell I ought to be up to or avoiding.

One thing I am very good at is ordering postcards, and man, this set is FUN TO MAKE. Jeroen Medema’s shots are mindbendingly good. I can make an entire set just of his whimsy. And I am also good at buying beads, that is a snap. I am ordering more more more Delicas for the cigar box kits, but that will end soon. The kits will all be shipped with the books, so if you want one, get it in December!!!

Cigar Box Bead Kits


I am shagged out from all of the hat-wearing. It’s just a massive amount of work that is never done, but will simply be hacked off quite soon, probably in mid-sentence, and fed to the press. I am the painter who would never finish a painting, the poet who would never release a volume.

The light just flooded my room, the full-on sunshine, sparkling off of and reflected and refracted by the skillion tiny droplets of water left from the raging storm that came on at 2:30 am.  It was so intense that it was light outside; pink light, and the wind was gusting like we were at sea and the air was warm and cool swirled together like an ice cream cone, you could feel both on your arm.

I went out in it, in my nightie, to rescue a few things in the garden, and Miss Fish sat up in bed just exactly like a little Meercat to watch out the window. Now, after 8 in the morning, it’s gentle and soft, and she’s sleeping it off with her favorite toy/communication flag, a Q-Tip.

I wish I had the time to tell you the thousand ways I love you. But I don’t.

Miss Fishtip

23 thoughts on “contemplation

  1. Miss Fish has the most hugable attitude a furry cutie can possibly have… I love your Miss Fish… What is so special about her that pictures of her seem to be alive and sweet?

    • She is an excellent cat with a lot of personality, but she is not universally loved, as she is skittish and prone to bad behaviour. I love her, and she loves me, so I figure that’s all that really matters.

  2. You do genius things, have genius thoughts and genius feelings!!!
    The use of a RED SPIRAL makes YOUR BOOK stand out on any shelf.
    If I see your shelf, I say,” OH, A RED SPIRAL! Has Kate been here?”

    • Well, that’s part of what I worry about, that it will be like HERE IS MY BOOK LOOK AT MY BOOK.
      Which is also awesome. But still could annoy some. Do we care about that?

      • I like the idea of looking at my bookshelf and seeing the red and knowing it’s you. I think if any one is annoyed it’s becaause they didn’t think of it sooner!!

  3. I vote with those that say RED! But regarding 1968 bitchin’ Camaro question: red with black seats. No contest. Until tomorrow, when I might change my mind. :-)

  4. Because of a day-job deadline, I don’t have a lot of time, but I’d be happy to give you a couple of hours (depending on time frame), if you have some sections that could use some Über eyes–just let me know!

    • Great! If you could begin with the sections already uploaded (the six PDFs on the Specials page) and get back to me on those, I’ll send you the remaining sections via email, in a few days. The best way to give editorial comments is directly on the PDF- if you have Acrobat it will let you place Stickies or highlight it or write on it.

      Email me at Thanks!

  5. Hi sweetness. I got the gorgeous flat squares from Diane Fitzgerald’s Shaped Beadwork book when I made the Pyramid Bangle xxx

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