Spinning a tale with Rachael

The love started yesterday…if you’re wondering what’s going on today, take a peek!

The lucky winner of yesterday’s “Name the book you’d write”, chosen by Rachael herself, is “Needle Me Knot, Little old ladies using unique methods to kill.” She loved both the title and the premise.  Although it was DIFFICULT to pick, sez she. Winner is Sherry from Idaho. Congrats, Sherry — you’ll be receiving a copy of Rachael’s brand-new book, HOW TO KNIT A HEART BACK HOME!

And now, onto day 2 of the week of Looooooove!


Rachael and the cat of her heart, Digit*

Knitty: Your first novel was full of sheep and fiber and spinning!…but nothing in book two. Will it return?

Rachael: The spinning comes back in the third book, WISHES AND STITCHES (out in October). In fact, we see Eliza spinning, and the fiber she spins becomes integral to the plot (and hides a secret). And hey, I just learned to weave on my darling little Schacht Cricket loom! So there’s nothing saying that weaving won’t play a role somewhere, someday soon…..

K: Do you spin? What wheel(s) do you have?

R: I am passionate about spinning, although I’m only intermediate at it. The more classes I take, the more I realize that I’m a production spinner more than anything else. While the action is soothing, I really love having the finished product (I’m similar in knitting this way, too). I’m fast, and I use the long-draw method. I have two wheels, both Ashfords (my mother was from the town they’re from, Ashburton, New Zealand): a Joy and a Traditional. I’d love a Majacraft someday—I think they’re lovely.

K: What are you spinning right now?

R: Ooooh, I’m spinning a GORGEOUS yellow-brown merino/silk batt from Lisa Souza. I’m addicted to her batts. Now there’s something I can spin without worrying about what I’m going to make from it—I just love spinning her stuff. Such colors! Such softness! (However, now that I think of it, I believe I’m going to spin it up and use it as the weft in a scarf with a dark brown warp. Oh, YUM.)

*One of the most amazing things I’ve ever read was the day that Rachael’s cat Digit, lost for months and thought dead, came home. You must read it.


Today, we’ve got a copy of Rachael’s new book for another lucky KnittyBlog reader!

This time, to win, leave a comment to this post by Tuesday, March 8th, at midnight, eastern time. In your comment, tell us what you’d name the heroine of the novel you’ve always wanted to write. Rachael will pick her favorite and that lucky person will win a copy of HOW TO KNIT A HEART BACK HOME. Good luck, y’all, and stay tuned…we’ve got prizes every day this week with a special big surprise on Friday, and lots more Rachael!


How would you combine these colors?

Jillian sez: There will be more spinning fun next week. I’ll be continuing my investigations into marling. I want to explore how to use natural colors to make a variegated colorway go further and how to blend two colorways to create depth of color. Anything you’d like to see?

(185 Posts)

141 thoughts on “Spinning a tale with Rachael

  1. Carolyn

    Annalise, I just love that name and she sounds like she would love to knit and have a wonderful fun filled enriching life.

    1. Dorothy

      Carolyn – Annaliese is my daughter’s middle name!

      I would name my Norwegian knitting, coffee-drinking matriarch Ingebord. She’s very industrious!

  2. Jaclyn

    Victoria. It’s such a classic name, and such a classy lady would absolutely be a knitter and spinner!

  3. Fleur

    Nigella as in the cook book ‘Noodles and needles’ with my glutenfree (noodles made of rice or buckwheat) recipes and of course some patterns!

  4. Jen

    Okay- it’s probably really obvious but every romance novel I ever wrote in high school, the heroine was named Scarlett. (After Ms. O’Hara- whom I adored.)

  5. Sonja

    I’ve always liked the name Quinn for a girl, and I think it would be a great name for a strong heroine!

  6. Lauren

    Joseph Graham – a young woman named as a boy by her parents to save her from a too-sheltered life in the pre-Civil War South.

  7. Kiki

    Meet Kalista. She is a pixie.
    Unfortunately, she is afraid of heights and therefore refuses to fly.
    She is also not one of those fairytale beautiful pixies described by many poets, but a rather small and round. Pointy boots hurt her feet and under no circumstances will she wear light pink

  8. Rita

    I met someone named Jessamine last month. I love that name and think it would be a great name for a character in a novel

  9. Helen

    My heroine would be named Brae Baker. The word brae probably originates from the Old English work bregdan, which means to move quickly. Brae Baker is a quirky knitting shop owner, and she never sits down. She’s always moving and doing something!

  10. Kathy Rodgers

    Mine would be Annabel. Old fashioned, but my daughter named Annabel is a contradiction as she is a tom-boy. She is a good knitter too! But she refuses to purl……KathyR

  11. Anna

    Angharad–it’s Welsh and it means “greatly loved.” I’ve always loved the name, and it’s tempting, if I ever have a daughter, to name her that. But it’s probably better to name a book character “Angharad.” I’ve actually used the name in an unpublished novel I’ve written–she’s a very ordinary sort of person who manages to be extraordinary when her circumstances demand it.

  12. Karen J.

    I have always loved Jade. It sounds vaguely ethnic, strong, beautiful, and evokes images of the smooth, shiny stone.

  13. Daria

    Isidora. With a name like that you come out quirky, strong and creative. A stout tweed skirt will only get you so far.

  14. Beth Rudo

    Claire. The name sounds smart, independent and traditional at the same time. Plus it’s hard to add a diminutive “y” sound at the end. Who says “Clarey?”

  15. Grace

    Sometimes the Black Irish in me is quiet enough to hear the music of my Welsh ancestry. So the name would be Gwyneth which means happiness.

  16. Amy

    Jacqueline Elaine – after my grandparents. My grandfather’s name was Jacques and my grandmother’s name was Elaine… and they were two of the craftiest and most creative people I ever had the honor of knowing.

  17. Chloe

    Winter McEntyre. Lives in Utah. Grow organic herbs, flowers and knits. A spinster, she sees the UPS and the FEDEX man more often than anyone else.
    She has a border collie, Mollie, and a small herd of quirky wooled sheep. They started out as just a way to keep the weeds down and the fruit trees trimmed up, but soon became fiber producers.

  18. danielle nabozny

    Two choices: Clare…..have always loved that name but no one else in my famly does, so we dont have any Clares….Lenore/Lenora – my aunt’s name that I always thouht sounded so elegant even tho she was always known as Nory!

  19. Megan

    Laci Tweed, often called “Hurricane Laci” by friends and family for her quick-knitting fingers and the scraps of yarn and xeroxed pattern copies she leaves in her wake.

  20. Sue

    If our son had been a girl, he would have been named Jenna – so I’d name my heroine Jenna…

  21. Linda W

    My favorite name for awhile has been Hannah. Too bad I only had boys, so I didn’t get to name a daughter Hannah.

  22. Carol

    My grandmother’s name was: Annie Gertrude Bernice Noreen Gardener Blue. “Gert” is ok as long as it is Drew Barrymore as Gertie in ET. My pick for a heroine name is Annie Blue.

  23. Brandi

    How about Elsie for a first name. I’ve only ever found one person with the name(my grandmother). The name sounds kinda wallflowerish(is that a word?), but my grandma was anything but a wallflower. She is a strong woman.

  24. Ginger

    I’ve always like the name Alexandra; it’s rare, but not too unusual, and there are so many good nicknames you can use for it (Alex, Andy, Andra, Lexi)

  25. Tania

    Amilia (sounds so gentle and feminine) Nickerbocker (tought like the life she has as a detective)

  26. Becky

    Perdita is the name I chose for the murder mystery I haven’t gotten past the outline stage. She’s a novelist, and now probably a knitter, and murder follows her around. She hates her name, but I love it. Perdita means lost woman.

  27. Tia

    Arden. It’s a graphic novel, but, y’know. 15 year old girls adventuring through dreamland need a sturdy name. 🙂

  28. Knitpim

    Her name is Edith.
    I’m a great fan of Edith Piaf, who also loved knitting. She knitted to almost everyone she knew, and I would like to write a story about her, with her patterns included. And her songs! What a voice!!

  29. Denise

    The name of my heroine would be “Larkin”. Heard it on a tv series and liked it ever since. Sounds sexy but mysterious at the same time!

  30. jenn

    alanna — from tamora pierce’s books about female knights. in one, alanna learns how to weave!

  31. Bekky

    Lorna Mitchells. She’s my complex, confusing, strong, rebellious knitter. I still have to find a worthy plot for her…or maybe she’ll find one all on her own. 🙂

  32. Amanda

    I’d name her Hero after the heroine in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. I always wished she had more of a speaking role in that play. She’s be a character who isn’t afraid to take control of her life.

  33. jennybookworm

    I would write a character named Elizabeth – then she could be Liz, Ella, Ellie, Beth, Betty, Lissa, Lib, Liza… !!

  34. Dawn T

    Paige York would be my main character in a Medical Mystery. She is a doctor and mother of 2

  35. Kate

    Rose Murphy – her sisters are Lily, Daisy,and Iris. Iris is the oldest; Rose is next; Lily is the calm soothing middle child; and Daisy is the youngest. Rose is a little demanding and brings her sisters all home.

  36. Kay

    Gwendolyn Lacknaught, a rich Victorian heiress who is unknowingly the target of an assassin sent by her supposedly-dead husband….

  37. Sarah

    Ksenia. Gleaned from my college Russian textbook. It can also be spelled Xenia (see also Aleksander/Alexander), but I prefer the Ks spelling – partially because you can nickname the character K.

  38. Kately

    Penelope or Penny; not too clever today; but then sometimes heroines come with the simplest names otherwise really like Athena

  39. Denise Katz

    I would name my heroine Willow – she would start out as a weeping willow and as the plot got resolved her grace and beauty would win out with a happy ending…Plus I always liked Willow from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

  40. PattiHN

    Eliza Doalot, instead of Eliza Doolittle–I always thought Doolittle was an unfair name to pin on her! This is a character who must politely correct everyone on the pronunciation and spelling of her name–often.

  41. Steph N

    Zilpha, old-fashioned but with good strong consonants.

    Or, Griselda, shortened to Zelda, for the same reasons.

  42. Sarah

    Jane St. Clare – because that’s the name I would use if I ever have to go into hiding.

  43. DonnaMak

    Purl Bickersticks (which happens to be my knitting alias). She has sisters named Lacy and Kitty Bickersticks and together they solve mysteries like “The Case of the Mean Merino” or “Alpaca Bag for You.”

  44. Bronwyn

    August Isaac has been my main character for years. I’ve yet to write her a story though… lol 🙂

  45. Liz

    Jane. because I love the simplicity. Although my name, Liz, is pretty simple. So maybe something unexpected, or after my god daughters: Guinevere and Willow. Hmm… maybe I should write a story about them…

  46. Caryn

    I have a character in my non-knitting WIP: Brenna.

    I’d never met or heard of anyone named Brenna when I started writing about her, and since then I’ve met two. I still get a little shock every time I meet one.

  47. Regan

    Zoe March. She imagines that she’s related to the Marches of Little Women… Perhaps she is…

  48. Kathryn in Minnesota

    Toni, after Toni Stone, the first woman to play baseball in the Negro Leagues, and perhaps the only woman to get a hit off pitcher Satchel Paige. She was inducted into the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1993, and is honored in the Baseball Hall of Fame as well.

  49. Rachel

    My “Coming Unraveled” protagonist would be a lawyer (law student?) named Alexandre Rose. Her parents expected and planned for a boy, and didn’t have a girl’s name picked out! And because they were so unprepared, Miss Alexandre Rose has no middle name. She would be a very feminine feminist who rather breaks all the rules (IOW, making both liberals AND conservatives mad at her!).

    I may have to actually write this!

  50. Lizz

    Lila Smith. Lila makes me think of lilies which to me seem like a “dark” flower since they are associated with death. Smith because it was my great grandparents name.

  51. Liz V

    Saturday Smith. I have no idea what I’m doing with her, but I’ve always liked the way her name rolls off my tongue.

  52. Rosie

    Joshuana Adjeba. She’s a South African mother of two, she spins yarn the way her Mama taught her. She’s inspired by a lovely conversation I had with a lady this morning on the bus!

  53. Char Haas

    my friends and I play a game, where we create historical romance characters out of exit signs: my current favorite heroine is Fredonia Berlin, the second daughter of the German Lutheran pastor, who is hopelessly in love with the villain, Brownsville Waupun, the half breed son of a local Indian chief and the pastor’s sister, who was stolen as a child in a raid. No one in the English community knows she survived.

  54. Pam

    I watched my first roller derby this weekend and spent the time when I wasn’t cheering on my niece, making up derby names. Perhaps my chosen name “Dirty Needle Knitter” would be fun for a fictional derby girl & knitter — since it’s highly unlikely I’ll use it myself.

  55. marné

    My heroine would be Lily Viola, after my grandmothers. I always loved that they both had flower names, and, in fact, both adored flowers. What could be more romantic than flowers? I love flowers and my grandmas :o)

  56. Carry

    Agnes Whittaker. I love the old fashioned names best. I probably will never write a book, so we named our newest baby goat Agnes.

  57. terri

    Hepzibah Flurge (the fake name the girl in a short story gives to the guy who’s trying to hit on her at the beach). It would take someone pretty interesting to survive with this name 🙂

  58. Leslie A

    Nora, my pug, is my hero. She’s helped me through so much. Therefore, I would name the heroine Nora. Of course, she would also have a pug because pugs are so snuggly and they love to root around in yarn!

  59. Tamar D.

    Marlowe Glass. I actually started writing something with her a couple years ago but it fell apart, and now I think I’d like to frog it and start anew!

  60. Crystal

    Shirley Lemain (oh, I hope that’s not the name of someone famous, I don’t keep track of the famous peoples)

  61. AlisoninOZ

    My current story has a heroine called Daisy Holland – she is named after my godmother’s Romany (Gypsy) mother. When my parents married she predicted they would have 2 daughters – I was born six years later and my sister 20 months after that (2 daughters, no sons). My fictional Daisy is sweet but unpredictable.
    A Viking story I am writing has a heroine called Feena (I have no idea where that came from, she just told me what she was called). A story set in Saxon England has a heroine called Ailith. My characters pick their own names sometimes and sometimes I force a name on them (sometimes they rebel – the hero of the Viking story was supposed to be called Viljhalm – he didn’t like that, and chose another name).
    Finding the right name for my characters is half the fun of writing stories!

  62. Linda L.

    I considered writing a novel where the hero’s name was Charlie Sheen, but I don’t do hysterical fiction.

  63. Debbie

    September Lee. One of my daughter’s childhood friends has that name and I always liked it and her. Besides, September is my birth month.

  64. Michelle

    My heroine would be named Ariadne, her friends might call her Addie for short. This name was recently used in the movie Inception, but I loved it long before the movie came out.

  65. Leah

    Stella Rose– my great grandmother’s name, from whom I’ve received something hand knit or crocheted every year since my birth.
    She is a wild woman who lived near a Native American Reservation in the 30s where she fell in love and came home alone but with a turquoise engagement ring. *sigh*

  66. Renee

    Julia Morgan, even though it is a real person’s name. She has always fascinated me== a woman in a man’s field, succeeding because of her ability, her vision, and her courage. But what about her personal life, her witnessing of the excesses of the 20th century and what it meant to her? That would be the book I would want to write. And congratulations to Rachael, from one Mills grad to another.

  67. Tish

    Timothy (Timmi) O’Rourk, who wears red high top Chuck Taylors and worn Levis and drives a beat up old pick-up truck that she maintains herself (because before I let my daughters drive my old truck they had to show me that they could change the tires and the oil so I couldn’t expect any less from a heroine could I?).

  68. rcat

    Elliane a archaeologist come home to care for elderly relative and ends up solving mysteries in community, People who know her best call her “Hellion”

  69. KathyR

    If it was set in Ireland I think I would name my heroine Aibhlinn (Ave-leen) – love the name, for some reason. Otherwise, she would be Eliza (not Doolittle, though!).

  70. Wyldchai

    Her name is Elisandre. Don’t blame her for the length; when you are a princess your parents name you something traditional that sounds good when announced by chamberlains at state events. She prefers to go by Lissa for short, and her adventure begins when she is eaten by a dragon. (And no, it’s not a ghost story!)

  71. Lizz

    I was a NaNoWriMo winner for six years straight, plus I wrote a few novels outside of November… and then I met my SO and starting knitting and they began to eat up all of my time! The last book I started to plan out had a main character Britta Nimmons, who worked in a chocolate shop, and begins the book with the discovery of her best friend’s corpse.

  72. Sofia

    I’ve been trying to write a story about a girl named Gertrude. I never did give her a last name, but if she had one it would be something German and guttural sounding.

  73. CaroleP (ohio

    Flora, my late grandma taught me to knit. She was born in Germany, with a bit of *white witch in her, but could be very creative!.

    *as in nice, not evil

  74. emilou

    Flossie Moon (nee Snow). Turn of the century rural Ohio. 1920s. Divorced from Blackfoot Indian husband, Floyd. Raising 3 little girls on her own in the country while traveling into town for work — sometimes staying away for a week at a time.

    She was my great grandmother and that is the only story I know about her. She — and her amazing name — have always been of great fascination to me.

  75. Ebee

    I came up with the name Erinelle a while ago. Although I have yet to seriously use it in a “novel”, I daresay I’ll use it someday. 😉

  76. Missy

    Eva Ann MacAllister
    Eva is my Gramie’s name, and she was the first knitter in my life, and is still one of the most awesome people I know. I hope to be just like her when I am older.

    Ann is my middle name, my Mom’s middle name, and my maternal grandmother’s middle name. Though I don’t know my grandmother well, my Mom is the other ‘most awesome’ person in my life, and someone else I hope to be like!

    MacAllister is my mother-in-law’s maiden name, and I just like the sound of it! She is the person who taught me to knit! I tell everyone I won the marriage lottery because not only is my hubby fantastic, I have the greatest in-laws ever!

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