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  • knitting1105 10:22 am on August 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Erin Fanning,   

    Knitting Fiction 

    First off, I would like to thank Erin Fanning for a great series of guest posts on this blog.   I encourage everyone to read her new Novella, Blood Stitches.  If you missed the posts, you can catch them here, here, here and here!  And Erin has started a new Facebook page for everyone interested in Fiction with a knitting component.  I just joined!


    How timely, as our SnB has decided to become a book club as well, reading books with a knitting component, have knitting in them, or written by a knitter.  We are starting by reading The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver.  Barbara Kingsolver is a knitter herself.


    I have not gotten very far into the book yet, and knitting is apparently a small part of this book.  But we do have Barbara Kingsolver to thank for our group name Stitch ‘n Bitch, from the book Animal Dreams, which will be coming up soon as a part of our SnB literary component.  We need to understand the origin of our name, it was one of my favorite books, and I look forward to reading it again.


    And of course, Blood Stitches will be coming up as well as a knitting good read.


    How fun to combine literature and knitting!  What is your favorite book that incorporates knitting into it?

  • Erin 8:00 am on August 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Erin Fanning, Knitting history, Mayan weaving   

    A Yarn Weaver’s Legacy 

    4th and final guest post by Erin Fanning, writer and knitter.  Thank you Erin, this has been really fun and I enjoyed reading your posts!


    clip-art-knitting-057714“I knit a story about light and fresh air, yes? Warmth and survival.”

    These words guide Gabby, the nineteen-year-old protagonist in my novella, Blood Stitches, through the labyrinthine Mayan underworld in which she finds herself trapped. The refrain becomes Gabby’s light, illuminating her escape and filling her with hope.

    Originally spoken by her abuela, grandmother in Spanish, the phrase alludes to the magical DNA weaving in and out of their genes. They form an intricate history, a gift from the Mayan moon goddess, Ix Chel, that allows Gabby’s family to knit complex patterns, a story of sorts, complete with plot twists and turns.

    “Yarn weaving,” Abuela calls it.

    It’s a history not unique to Gabby’s family. Mayan women for centuries have told stories through their weaving, a tradition that continues today. Hundreds of symbols represent different aspects of their mythology and everyday world. Diamonds indicate the union of the earth and sky, while toads symbolize the rain god.

    Across the ocean in Ireland, a rich history has also evolved surrounding the stitches used in the famous Aran sweaters. A mixture of fable—the sweaters never represented specific families—and elaborate needlework, the stitches possess a whimsical poetry: blackberry, moss, basket, honeycomb, and tree of life. Their meanings reflect their names with the basket stitch, for example, supposed to represent a fisherman’s daily catch.

    But the art of storytelling through needle and yarn is not something relegated to previous generations. Artists, like Deborah Dick of Tempting Tangles, continue to find new ways to express themselves. Using cross stitch and embroidery, Deborah chronicles elaborate narratives with rich details, such as the Watermeadows Series, where skaters glide under a moonlit sky and a couple serenades each other below flowering trees.

    Although the fantasy of Abuela’s “yarn weaving” may be fiction, the magic found in needlework and weaving across the world tells a rich legacy of endless imagination and creativity.

  • Erin 8:00 am on August 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Erin Fanning, Therapeutic knitting   

    Surviving Stitch By Stitch 


    The third guest post from author and knitter Erin Fanning.

    The earthquake hit L’Aquila, Italy on April 6, 2009. Maria D’Antuono, a resourceful 98-year-old, grabbed her knitting supplies and crawled under her bed. The stone house crumbled around her, yet, when firefighters found Maria 30 hours later, she was not only unhurt but continued to knit.

    “At least let me comb my hair,” she said to her rescuers as they helped her to safety.

    I read about Maria’s ordeal soon after I learned how to knit, and the events tumbled around in my brain, eventually blending into a history of magic and needlework. What if you could not only knit your way to safety but also create a disaster through knitting? It wasn’t long afterward that my novella, Blood Stitches, pushed its way through my fingertips.

    A deeper message, however, waited to be found underneath the rubble of Maria’s cottage. Even though I was a beginner knitter, I already understood how someone could find solace in handiwork: the colorful yarn, soothing rhythm of needles clicking together, and the satisfaction of a finished project.

    Research reinforced my personal experience. A study of women with anorexia nervosa found that knitting helped about 70 percent of them cope with their eating disorder, and the majority of 3,500 knitters surveyed in Great Britain said they felt relaxed and content while knitting.

    “I knit at night when I wake up and am worried, and I feel better after a while,” Tracy, mother of a pediatric cancer patient, told Project Knitwell, a group that helps people find relief from stress through knitting.

    And Stitchlinks—whose mission is to promote therapeutic knitting—has received dozens of emails about the benefits of knitting, such as, “Knitting has always been a source of meditation for me and in times of stress, pain and anxiety it has helped me to focus my attention away from anything that might be stressing me out.”

    So next time disaster hits, grab your knitting and start stitching your way to a solution. At the very least, you’ll feel calmer, and, like Maria D’Antuono, able to face life’s earthquakes until the tremors pass.

    • knitting1105 1:14 pm on August 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I love this story! I know that knitting has always helped to calm me, and it is a good reason to have a project always close at hand!


    • Erin 4:31 pm on August 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks! And you are so right: always have a project close at hand!


  • Erin 8:00 am on July 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Erin Fanning, ,   

    Knitting Memories Into Yarn 


    Afghan for my niece… almost finished!

    The second guest post from author and knitter Erin Fanning.


    “Did you finish it?” my nephew Jonah asked me.

    No further explanation was necessary. I knew what he wanted; he’d been asking the same question for months.

    This time, though, instead of saying, “No, not yet,” I nodded and beckoned for him to follow me outside to my truck, where I dipped into the backseat and pulled out a red-white-and-blue knitted afghan.

    Jonah, excitement flitting across his face, wrapped it around his shoulders and swooped back inside, as quick as Superman, to show the afghan to the rest of his family.

    My nephew Max, standing nearby, asked, “Will you make me one too?”

    I hesitated. It had taken me more than a year to knit Jonah’s afghan, and I was ready to move on to smaller projects. But how could I say no to Max’s request, his expression so serious and voice tentative?

    “Of course,” I said, “What colors would you like?”

    Soon another red-white-and blue afghan clung to my circular needles. The choice of colors reflected Max and Jonah’s shared love for American history, as well as Jonah’s interest in super heroes. Next came a blue afghan for my niece Kadance, the yarn perfect for an outdoorsy girl with energy as expansive and boundless as the sky.

    In a sense, the blankets act as mirrors, a slice of my nieces’ and nephews’ personalities, perhaps even a form of storytelling, an approach to knitting I borrowed from my novella, Blood Stitches. In an early version of the book, the main character, Gabby, snuggles next to Abuela, grandmother in Spanish, as she knits. Together they interpret the yarn: green reflects the color of Gabby’s eyes, and specks of pink become tulips dotting a field. Gabby eventually learns that Abuela’s knitting has a deeper meaning with magical results.

    On a smaller scale, it’s an idea that can add a touch of magic to anyone’s knitting, from beginners to experts, making each project unique and memorable and, particularly for children, a way to engage the imagination.

    I hope one day my nieces and nephews will understand that the afghans I knit are reflections of them, our shared experiences woven together, memories, I pray, they’ll keep forever.

  • Erin 10:13 am on July 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Erin Fanning, , Lyrical Press,   

    Interview with Erin Fanning 

    I am pleased to welcome Erin Fanning as my first guest blogger on this site!  Erin is the author of a new novel, Blood Stitches.  Erin will be posting once a week for the next few weeks talking about her work.

    Blood Stitches-highres

    When did you start knitting?

    I began knitting about eight years ago, after wanting to for years but thinking I wasn’t crafty enough to learn.

    What drew you to knit and what is your favorite thing to knit?

    My grandmother was an expert at needlework, and I always admired her ability. One of my greatest regrets is not taking her up on her offer to teach me how to knit and crochet, but school, activities, and insecurity about my lack of artistic ability got in the way. However, I finally forged ahead, and now my main knitting projects are blankets for my many, many nieces and nephews.

    When did you start writing?

    I’ve been writing forever: poetry when I was in elementary school and journalism in high school and college. From there, I branched out into magazines, primarily outdoor writing, including a mountain biking guidebook, then moved on to short stories and nature essays.

    What genre do you prefer to write in?

    My story ideas seem to gravitate toward young adult fantasy.

    AuthorPhotoFanningErinWhat is your favorite type of book?  Your favorite book?

    I love a literary mystery, but, as I get older, I find myself reading more and more nonfiction. Although, my favorite book of all time is Persuasion by Jane Austen, so I guess I would say that I just love to read.

    What made you decide to combine knitting and writing?

    Around the time I was learning how to knit, I read about an elderly woman, caught in an earthquake, who kept herself calm by knitting until she was rescued. From there, my imagination took over, and I envisioned someone with the magical ability to create a natural disaster through their knitting.

    Give a brief synopsis of your new book:  Blood Stitches.

    Here’s the synopsis from Amazon:

    “It’s called El Toque de la Luna—The Touch of the Moon. At least that’s how nineteen-year-old Gabby’s older sister, Esperanza, refers to the magical powers she inherited from their Mayan ancestors. Esperanza says women with El Toque weave magic into their knitting, creating tapestries capable of saving—or devastating—the world. Gabby thinks Esperanza is more like touched in the head—until a man dressed like a candy corn arrives at their Seattle home on Halloween. But “Mr. C” is far from sweet…

    Soon, Gabby and her almost-more-than-friend, Frank, find themselves spirited away to a demon ball, complete with shape shifters—and on a mission to destroy Esperanza’s tapestries before they cause an apocalyptic disaster… And before it’s too late to confess their true feelings for each other.”

    • Erin 3:39 pm on July 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for hosting me!


    • Erin 3:41 pm on July 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on Erin Fanning and commented:

      I’m moonlighting for the next few weeks over at “Knitting before Knitting was Cool”–a wonderful blog for all things knitting.


    • musingrunner 6:48 pm on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Can’t wait to read, thanks for putting this on my radar.


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