Contest!

Now we’re just getting nosy

We’re getting near the end of Loooooove week. What? Here…we explain it all on Monday’s post.

The lucky winner of yesterday’s “Name your fictional town” contest, chosen by Rachael herself: Becca, who wrote, “I would name the town Lester, as a bad joke on the pronunciation of Leicester.”  Congrats, Becca — you’ll be receiving a copy of Rachael’s brand-new book, HOW TO KNIT A HEART BACK HOME!

Today’s the last day of our probing questions with Rachael. Tomorrow, we have an extra-special surprise for everyone and the biggest prize this week! Don’t miss it!


Rachael and Lala

Knitty: How did knitting and romance find themselves together in your novels?
Rachael: I’ve always been a writer, but I was, for a long time, a more “serious” writer. I wanted to write Great Things (which, of course, never got written, as things with such weight attached to them often don’t). Then in 2006,  I took part in National Novel Writing Month (an online challenge to write a novel in the month of November). I knew, that Halloween night, that I had one evening to figure out what I was going to speed-write a novel about. I knew I loved two things: romance and knitting, and perhaps if I wrote about what I loved, the going might be easier. And it sure was. I put a knitter and a sheep rancher together (both need wool, but not for heat; they generate enough of their own), and they took over the story. It was a fun, wild ride, and I realized at the end of the month that I loved my little book, and that it was better written than my serious stuff ever was. Over the next year I doubled its length and did revisions, and eventually took it out to find agent representation, and the rest is history.

K: Has anyone you loved (romantically) ever knit for you?

R: Oh, yes. An old boyfriend learned to crochet just so he could make me a yellow afghan, in honor of the first short story I ever published. And my wife, Lala, knits me socks. In fact, she’s almost done with my Christmas pair! (From 2009, okay, but they’re coming! 75% done!)

K: What is in the water in Cypress Hollow? It seems to attract hot men like bees to honey.
R: Ha! Someone once pointed out to me that it seemed like all the men in Cypress Hollow had great butts. I never knew I was someone who really appreciated that side of a man until I reread some of my work—yes, the heroine always, at some point, is behind the hero, admiring the view. Huh. Illuminating.

And then, of course, there are the men like Elbert Romo and Pete Wegman, the older ranchers and town locals who probably had great backsides in their time, but are now more well known for being loving and kind and funny, and I adore them just as much.

K: Is Cypress Hollow based on a real town or a whole bunch of towns that you’ve spliced together?
R: It changes—when I first created it, I thought I was making it up. Now, I realize that I’ve drawn from many small towns I’ve known. In my head, it’s a cross between tiny Pescadero (south of Half Moon Bay) and the coastal ranching town I lived in during my teens (Arroyo Grande). And when people from small towns write to me and say that I got it just right, that people really DO interact the way they do in my books, it makes me feel fantastic.

K: Would you rather own a yarn store or book store?
R: Bookstore! For sure. No, wait. Yarn store! Seriously, interesting question. I hadn’t ever stopped to consider the fact that my first heroine, Abigail, owns a yarn store, and my second heroine, Lucy, owns a bookstore. I worked in a small-town bookstore for five years, so I know that commerce, that kind of trade, better than I know the yarn industry, but I certainly know the PRODUCT sold in yarn stores. But my brain is so tied now to being at my desk, creating worlds, that it would be hard to work retail in any form. I consider those who own yarn and bookstores my heroes, and I respect their chutzpah and bravery in the face of today’s often stormy economy. I pledge to continue to do my part in the form of purchases!


It’s our last book-day giveaway…maybe today will be your lucky day!

This time, to win, leave a comment to this post by Thursday, March 10th at midnight, eastern time. In your comment, tell us what your fictional heroine does for a living. Rachael will pick her favorite and that lucky person will win a copy of HOW TO KNIT A HEART BACK HOME.

See you here again tomorrow for the big finale! A present for everyone AND the biggest prize yet!

*Spread the joy!*

WWW: Now with added Rachael!

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

The lucky winner of yesterday’s “Name your heroine” contest, chosen by Rachael herself: Jennifer B who wrote “Anjuli – It was in a wonderful novel called The Far Pavilion by M. M. Kaye, and I have always loved it.” Congrats, Jennifer — you’ll be receiving a copy of Rachael’s brand-new book, HOW TO KNIT A HEART BACK HOME!

And now, onto day 3 of the week of Looooooove!


Knitty: Are you ever tempted to pull stories from the news into your fiction, or do you want the world you create to be free of that stuff?
Rachael: I can honestly say I’m never tempted to pull the news in—I listen to NPR three or four days a week, and I feel I’m usually pretty up on the news, but there’s nothing that dates a manuscript more than reading old news (unless it’s being done for a specific purpose, to ground a novel in a particular time). I like my novels to stand alone, politically neutral (although there is an occasional mention of current things that I really love, like Twitter and Ravelry—those things will still be big in a few years, right?).

K: Will Cypress Hollow have its own web page…or blog?
R: Actually, Mildred tweets! She gives us the low-down on Cypress Hollow.

K: How do you find the time to work full time, write novels, knit and still be a pleasant and lovely person?
R: You’re TOO KIND. Normally, in life, I run pretty fast. I wake up ready to go, and I go-go-go until bedtime. I’m not good at relaxing (until I try really hard, and then I get TOO good at relaxing and don’t want to do any work—that happened last week).

But really, the first thing to go is the knitting. After all, I have to write, and I have to work (luckily, I can sometimes knit in the down times at work, which is a blessing—at least a little bit gets done), but I don’t actually HAVE to knit to survive, you know. But we all have lots of hours in the day, it’s just about how you use them. No matter what, I have a pair of socks-on-the-go in my purse, and I knit them when I’m at the movies or standing in line. When I’m hanging out with friends, I knit. I write early in the morning, before work. Sure, I get tired, but it’s what I love, and it’s worth it. Also, I don’t have kids, like a lot of my writer friends do. I don’t know how THEY do it.


A few hundred thousand of the millions.

In honor of the centenary of International Women’s Day, a group called SitAndKnitABit in the UK has organized the 100 Million Stitches project.  Designed to mark the anniversary, and bring attention to the challenges and discrimination that women have faced over the years, and that continues today.


Let us introduce you to Mary Westwell, of Manchester, UK. For more than 10 years, Mary knitted dolls for sick children in the Manchester area, which she had her sons deliver to the children – entirely anonymously. She knitted over 2,000 dolls and toys over the years, and despite bids to find out who was behind the scheme, managed to keep it a secret. Mary gave her grandchildren permission to reveal her secret shortly before her death last month, at the age of 98.


In you’re in the UK, add WoolFest 2011 to your calendar, June 24 & 25, held in Cumbria. This year’s event promises to be the biggest ever, with a whole new floor of vendors added at the venue.


Let’s give away another copy of Rachael’s new book!

This time, to win, leave a comment to this post by Wednesday, March 9th at midnight, eastern time. In your comment, name the fictional town where you’d set your knitting-based novel. 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!

*Spread the joy!*

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?

*Spread the joy!*

Welcome to the week of LooooooVE

we love this book.

Nope, it’s not Valentine’s Day any more…it’s the week of love in print, specifically in the pages of Rachael Herron’s newest novel, HOW TO KNIT A HEART BACK HOME, set in the fictional town of Cypress Hollow. Both Jillian and I got to read the book early, and we absolutely loved it. So we decided to make big hoopla when the book was finally available to y’all!

This week, we’re celebrating the convergence of knitting and romance with daily giveaways, and peeks into the love-filled mind of author, knitter, spinner, and general all-around nice person, Rachael Herron*. Today, we start with a little getting-to-know-you stuff.

Knitty: Part of each novel you’ve written is focused on an original knitting pattern that you design. Where in the writing process does the sweater design fit in? Do you create the character around the sweater or is the sweater based on the character, or do they grow together as you write the novel?

Rachael: It’s interesting—the way the patterns have grown along with the books is completely organic. If I’m struggling with the book, I’m struggling with the pattern. The man’s raglan gansey in HOW TO KNIT A LOVE SONG went smoothly, as did most of the book writing. The women’s cardigan in HOW TO KNIT A HEART BACK HOME was tricky for such a simple pattern—I had problems solving obvious issues, and had the same issues in the novel. (Plot? What? Collar? Really?) And when the book finally came together, so did that dang collar issue I’d been having [see the sweater below right]. It’s like the writing and knitting paralleled each other exactly.

Rachael in Lucy's sweater...the pattern is in HOW TO KNIT A HEART BACK HOME

It’s fun, though. In the first book, Abigail is a knitwear designer, and the man’s sweater she designs ends up fitting our hero Cade to a T. In the second book, bookstore owner Lucy loves the last sweater her grandmother ever made, loves it so much she’s desperate to recreate the sweater. And when I wear the prototypes of these sweaters, it’s as if they catch some of the spirit of these fictional characters. I find it extremely fun.

K: Can we look forward to a Cypress Hollow pattern book one day? Or a yarn line?

R: I dream sometimes of a collection of Eliza Carpenter patterns. In the new novel, the heroine Lucy finds a rare copy of a precious pattern book (fictional, of course), but it makes me long to have the book for real. Wouldn’t that be lovely? A coffee-table book called Silk Road, with Eliza’s best patterns mixed in with stories of her life…. And then I remember that she’s fictional too, and that I’d have to write it. But maybe someday!

K: Have you planned the whole series out? How many books can we look forward to?

R: I’ve got three more books (for a total of six) planned out at this point. I’m super excited to start working on them! The third is completely done and will be out in October: WISHES AND STITCHES. This one comes with a wedding shawl pattern (designed by Romi, since while I love knitting lace, I’m not up to designing it well yet).


So to start the week off right, how about we give away a copy of this book, eh? I say yes! Jillian says yes! Rachael says yes!

To win, leave a comment to this post by Monday, March 7th at midnight, eastern time. In your comment, tell us what you’d name the novel you’d write that would combine knitting and your favorite genre [romance, horror, mystery, whatever…it’s up to you!]. Just the title, please.  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, and lots more Rachael!


*Rachael Herron received her MFA in writing from Mills College, and has been knitting since she was five years old. It’s more than a hobby; it’s a way of life. Rachael lives with her better half in Oakland, California, where they have four cats, three dogs, three spinning wheels, and more instruments than they can count. She is a proud member of the San Francisco Area Romance Writers of America and she is struggling to get better at playing the ukulele.

*Spread the joy!*

What’s on our needles, a winner and a new giveaway!

It seems our needles are laden with socks at Knitty. Here’s what we’re knitting right now:

Jillian is knitting 2 socks on 2 circular needles in Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport:

Colorway: Rockwell. Please don't notice the boo-boos from knitting in a movie yesterday.


On Kate’s needles: two pairs of socks for spring.

 

There’s the Knit Picks’ “Time Traveller” colorway – a limited edition from last fall inspired by our favorite Time Traveller, The Doctor .

But which Doctor, 10 or 11?

And a pair of socks in just about the loudest yarn imaginable: Filatura di Crosa Maxime Print in a “citrus circus insanity” (or something). Kate’s working them both at the same time on dpns, using the War & Peace inspired method. “I love this method – it guarantees no second sock syndrome, and lots and lots of amazed gasps from other sock knitters.”

Amaze your friends! Two socks in one!


Amy’s working on her Leftovers vest in Rowan Calmer…the first time she’s had the pleasure of making a sweater with this lovely stuff.

 

yes, everyone's already told me it looks like ice cream. they're right.

She managed to score closeouts on Calmer at the legendary home of such things, Colourway, when her friend Brenda casually mentioned it was near the train station in town. There was much plotzing and the yarn score ensued. Enough for a stripy vest for £20. I know!

For insurance, and because she’s like that, she added another ball of [discontinued! who discontinues black??] black and one of super-pale pink, recommended personally by the goddess of color, Barbara Gregory, once she got back Canada-side.


Our winner of one large and one small HiyaHiya Interchangeable Needle sets is comment #1779: Patricia Congratulations, and happy knitting!

 

A bunch of Knitty readers got hit by another winter storm last night. Jillian got 8″ of snow, after having two days in the 50’s F last week.

To help ease the pain of more winter weather we’re having a giveaway!

How about a kit to knit the 3 pairs of the Shelburne Mittens in our latest issue?

Cozy mittens for the family!

If chosen, one person will win enough Rowan Felted Tweed Chunky to make 3 pairs of mittens [7 skeins]

This prize is courtesy of the lovely folks at Rowan Yarn and Westminster Fibers.

Here’s how to win: leave a comment to this post by Wednesday, February 23, at midnight eastern time, and you could win! We’ll choose a winner at random, make them answer a skill-testing question, and post the results next week.

Prize value: $79.60

Good luck, good knitting and keep warm if you’re snowy!

*Spread the joy!*

Valentine’s Day Ninja Bonus Contest!

Ooh, we’ve got a doozy for you today, knitters.

Are you sitting down?

this is the large set, sizes US9-15

At right, you see the lovely HiyaHiya Interchangeable Needle set in sizes US 9-15. There’s another set available in sizes US 2-8. So what’s the prize? What could you win?

BOTH sets! No, really! I know!

Here’s what HiyaHiya say about their needles:
“HiyaHiya Steel Interchangeable Needles feature keyless screw-on connections and swivel cables.

Our 5″ small set includes 7 sets of tips in sizes from 2-8US (2.75-5mm). Our large set includes 6 sets of tips in sizes from 9-15US (5.5-10mm).

Each set includes a practical and portable brocade case, needle tips and 4 cables (to make 18, 26, 34 and 42 inch needles). Assorted fabrics.  Tip length is approximately 5 inches.”

How do you win? Simple as pie. Leave a comment to this post by Tuesday, Feb 15th at midnight eastern time, and you’re eligible to win! We’ll choose a winner at random, make them answer a skill-testing question, and post the results next week.

Prize value: $160.00

Good luck and good knitting!

*Spread the joy!*

Knitting Monday: What’s On Our Needles and a Giveaway!

It’s Jillian and I’m on a finishing kick.

Monkey see, monkey do

I finally finished my Monkey socks. My first pair of sock knit two at a time on two circular needles. I love the technique, a little fiddly at first, but then smooth sailing.

I’m really hoping it will help me knit more socks because I have a chronic case of single sock syndrome.

I’m going to try a pair of toe up socks next. I would love pattern recommendations for a first time toe up sock knitter.

I used Dream in Color Smooshy in Chinatown Apple. The sock blockers up there are from Signature Needle Arts. Yes, the magical needle people.

We have a giveaway today!

One lucky blog commenter will win:

The stylin' LJ Kaelms bag by Jordana Paige

A LJ Kaelms bag by Jordana Paige in your choice of color.

Here’s how to win: leave a comment to this post by Wednesday, February 2, at midnight eastern time, and you could win! We’ll choose a winner at random, make them answer a  skill-testing question, and post the results next week.

Prize value: $89.00.

Good luck and good knitting!

*Spread the joy!*

Starting the year off with yarn & a giveaway!

Remember I was going to spin some Southern Cross Fibre BFL and Merino?

Well I did:

BFL left - it's a little hairy, and Merino right

Then I did some plying:

This marl I like!

I couldn’t wait to see what these two would look like as a piled yarn. I spun and plied most of this over 3 days – I actually woke up with sore calves in the morning! I love these colors together, and yes, they even marl in some places. I’m not usually a fan of marled yarn.

It’s about 500 yards, 15 wpi. I spun the singles woolen and piled it to balance, because I wanted a softer yarn to be knit into something where abrasion/piling won’t be an issue and that needs drape, this shawl – Annis.

I really enjoyed the thinking about the structure of handspun yarn and how it presents itself in knitting. More please.

How about a contest to kick off our spinning year?!

A $30 Gift Certificate to any store at The Fiber Cooperative!

Here’s how to win: leave a comment to this post by Wednesday, January 5, at midnight eastern time, and you could win! We’ll choose a winner at random, make them answer a  skill-testing question, and post the results next week.

Good luck and happy spinning!

*Spread the joy!*

It’s official: we’ve gone nutty.

And now it’s Monday, and the last contest isn’t even over yet, but we’re doing it ONE MORE TIME! Because we take holiday madness quite seriously over here at Knitty.

Here’s how to win: leave a comment to this post by Wednesday, December 29, at midnight eastern time, and you could win! We’ll choose a winner at random, make them answer a terrifically difficult [cough] skill-testing question, and post the results next week.

What’s the prize this time, you ask? It’s a kit for the gorgeous Cuckoo Mittens from the current issue!

we are cuckoo for these mittens. no, really.

Cuckoo mitts kit

contains this gorgeous yarn:
The Loopy Ewe Solid Series Fingering [100% Superwash Merino; 220 yds per 55g skein]
MC Robin’s Egg Blue; 1 skein
CC Blackberry; 1 skein

Retail price for kit: $20.50

We’ll choose the winner at random, which means anyone has the same chance  to win as anyone else! So enter, and good luck to you all!

*Spread the joy!*

Ninja strikes again! Another contest!

What is this…Thursday contests every week? Not even close. We just feel like giving away stuff and it happens to be on a Thursday again this time! I know, we’re out of control. It’s fun.

Here’s how to win: leave a comment to this post by Monday, December 27 at midnight eastern time, and you could win! We’ll choose a winner at random, make them answer a terrifically difficult [cough] skill-testing question, and post the results next week.

What’s the prize this time, you ask?

this loveliness is the Emerald City colorway

1 skein of Lisa Souza Superwash BFL sock yarn
Fiber: 100%Blue Faced Leicester Superwash wool hand dyed
4 ounce skeins/ 465 yards
Needle size for socks 0-1 US /2.0-2.25mm  suggested
Care: Machine wash and dry
Value: $18 US

Can’t wait to see if you’re the lucky winner? Lisa Souza herself has given us a special discount to share with you: Free Shipping through January 6th, if you mention KnittyBlog when you place your order.

Good luck everyone!


The lucky winner of the Briar Rose contest from last Thursday: Nancy H, comment #6176. Congratulations, Nancy! Happy knitting!

You didn’t win? Well, at Briar Rose has given us a special discount to share with all our readers: 10% off through the end of December. Just use code KnitBR.

*Spread the joy!*