Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The First-Ever Edition of Authors Who Knit: Tracy Barrett

I've long wanted to introduce you to some of the fabulous knitting authors I meet in my travels.  As a new feature for 2012, you'll meet one knitting author each month. Let's get started!

DestiKNITers, allow me to introduce you to Tracy Barrett.

What’s on your needles right now?
I'm working on a cardigan called "Eala Bhan" from the updated edition of Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino. I had to pause to make Christmas and Hanukkah presents but I'm back to it now. It's very complicated but so well designed that it's fun, and the yarn is a dream to work with.

What feels like your favorite/greatest knitting accomplishment?
I made a jacket for my slender six-foot tall daughter (in other words, not a standard size), and she had very precise requirements for fit. It involved math skills I hadn't used since high school (which is a lo-o-o-ong time ago now!) to make it all come out right, and it fits her like a glove!

What feels like the worst knitting mistake/foible/wrong choice you’ve ever made?
Using cheap yarn is always a mistake. I have a sweater that looks great right after it's been re-blocked and de-pilled, but in a short time it stretches out and pills again.

Straight or circular needles?
Anything but double-points. I'll keep knitting on a circular long after the work has gotten too tight on them just so I can avoid the DP's as long as possible.

Metal or wood needles?

White chocolate, milk chocolate, or dark chocolate?
Usually dark, but if I'm eating it for emotional reasons (which is the main reason to eat chocolate, right?) I'll go for the comfort-food aspect of milk chocolate.

Coffee or tea?
There are authors who drink tea???

Have you written a knitting character? 
Not yet, but a lot of my heroines are accomplished at other needle arts. I mostly write historical fiction, and women (and some men) have always made crucial contributions in those areas to human survival and to the economy of their families, so I make sure that my heroines like and are skilled at spinning, weaving, sewing, and embroidery.

What’s the last thing anyone would suspect about your latest book, Dark of the Moon?
The huge amount of research I had to do! It's a retelling of the myth of the half-man, half-bull monster known as the Minotaur, but I set it in the real, not mythical, world (and my Minotaur isn't a monster), and I had to learn a lot about Bronze-Age Crete. I love research, though, so it wasn't painful.

Give a shout out to your favorite local yarn store:
Haus of Yarn
265 White Bridge Pike
Nashville, TN 37209

Dark of the Moon is described as the tale of the half-man, half-bull Minotaur, as told in alternating points of view by his sister, Ariadne, and his killer, Theseus.  School Library Journal called it "deft, dark, and enthralling." Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy!

Visit Tracy's website at or her blog at


Alison Lyne said...

Hi Tracy
Lovely blog post! I can't wait to see your "Eala Bhan". I just luv Alice Starmore's designs! And don't forget to mention Odysseus's wife doing the weaving (and unweaving) thang in your "King of Ithaka"!
Alison Lyne

Tracy Barrett said...

Yup, Penelope was quite the tricky weaver! And Poly (the love interest in King of Ithaka) is a good weaver too. Even my haughty Princess Anna in Anna of Byzantium is accomplished at needlework!