Knitting a Novel: on and off the needles

Did I tell you that I finished my novel again? This isn’t the first time I’ve finished it, of course. The first finished draft was the equivalent of a scarf knitted up in open lace-work. Silky threads to hold everything together, but full of holes.

019

A lace infinity scarf: cast on, enjoyed and cast off to be gifted to someone whose name I can’t say here, lol. I bought this beautiful silky wool at the Itsy Bitsy Yarn Store in Whitehorse.

When it was as ready as I could get it, I sent it out to my two critique groups and examined their comments and reactions for places where the tension was uneven, the weave too loose. Places where I’d dropped stitches, or gotten them twisted.

Then I took the framework and did it up again, weaving in the loose ends, picking up the dropped stitches. In that way, the novel went from lace to garter stitch. Sort of. These are very loose metaphors, you understand.

023

Another gift for someone whose name I cannot mention here. 🙂 The pattern is Wheat by Tin Can Knits, knitted in Berroco Vintage Chunky wool that I bought at Knit2Yarns in Kamloops, BC.  It’s actually a lovely heathery dark forest green, though it looks pewter in the photo.

Garter stitch is nice because it has texture. It’s elastic enough so you can push it around a bit and yet firm enough to handle it. Easy to rip out and easy to knit back up again.

Then I sent it back for more critique.

Critique comments can be very interesting. Often times uplifting and exhilarating when the reader gets it and is obviously excited about what they’re reading.

Also interesting is when the reader giving the critique is annoyed because the character is not behaving the way they would behave if they found themselves in a similar situation. I love these types of comments because it means they’ve got the socks on their feet, are trying them out. They’re engaged in the story, and that means I’m doing it right.

012

Socks, knit with Fabel superwash from my stash. Another Christmas gift to add to the pile. 🙂

Although there’s always the occasional reader who will try to push this work of speculative women’s fiction into the action-adventure genre, thus frustrating both of us, lol. I try to see these comments as a reflection of reading preference rather than a criticism on writing style, but it does sometimes make it a bit difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, if you don’t mind a cliché.037

So anyway, what I’m doing with the novel right now is like blocking the finished scarf or sweater. Soaking it and laying it out to dry, pinning the edges straight, smoothing out any bumps or wobbles. I’m happy with it. I’m really happy with the ending, even if though I’m still fussing a bit with the final fit. Like putting the sweater on and shrugging my shoulders, seeing how it feels.

And now, are you wondering what’s on my needles at this very moment? Just what is keeping me company every evening as Mr. C and I binge-watch old episodes of 24?

008

The Noël shawl. A name appropriate to the season, don’t you think? Also another project whose recipient shall go unnamed.

Lovely lovely lovely. My favourite so far, and my very first shawl. The wool is Hawthorne Fingering, from Knit Picks.

006

What’s on your needles?

Knitting and Novel Writing… and Lord of the Dance for the letter L

Hi!

So, you remember a couple of days ago when I told you about the green sweater I wanted to knit? I’m so glad I decided to switch patterns. Somehow the way this sweater pattern is written reminds me of how I’m writing my novel.

What?

On sweaters I’ve knit in the past, you start at one end and you knit until you’re finished, hopefully at the other end. A lot of writers write this way, as well. They cast on with the first chapter, knit up the body of the work, throw in a few interesting twists and turns (maybe a cable stitch or two,) then cast off with a nice, tidy ending. Hopefully, everybody lives happily ever after and there are no loose ends.

Well, in the Grace Cardigan that I’m knitting, the first thing you do is knit up a small piece, add some shaping, and then set it aside for a bit while you work on something else. While it’s resting in the knitting basket, you cast on another little bit, only this time using a  technique called the “provisional cast on.” This leaves the cast-on edge “live” so that you can go back later, pick up those stitches and knit in the other direction.

That’s exactly the way I’ve been writing my first novel, Holding Space. I wrote a bit on the beginning, then set it aside and spent some time in the middle. Then I went back and worked on the beginning again. At some point, I picked up those stitches that I left “live” and knit/wrote them going in the other direction, until eventually the two halves met up. Then I worked on the ending.

Now I’m working on the polishing. That would be the knitting equivalent of burying the loose threads, sewing up the seams and doing the final blocking.

Gee, I feel very writerly for noticing that! (is writerly a word? Oh, who cares!)

LLord of the Dance

I chose this pose for the letter L today simply because I love the name!

Also because it’s a balance pose and I love balance poses. Maybe because I’m pretty good at them.

…although some days I feel like the little sister in this video… (It’s only 27 seconds long and honestly…ya gotta watch it! I dare you not to laugh!)

If you need to, use a chair or the wall to help you with your balance.

…or a horse, if you’ve got one handy…

God, this is fun! Balance poses are all great for working the core!

http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/lord-of-the-dance-pose/

http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/lord-of-the-dance-pose/

 

x