Wednesday, November 20, 2013

November Authors Who Knit: Lisa Van Allen

What's better that authors who knit?  Knitting authors who write novels about knitting!  Today, I get the thrill of introducing you to one of those.  DestiKNITters, meet Lisa Van Allen!

Lisa, what’s on your needles right now?
Which set?  

I’m making a hat for my husband for Christmas (in hopes he will finally stop wearing the old worn-out one I made him years ago that he loves so much). I’m also heading up a “hats for newborns” charity crochet event on my website (trying to reach 50 hats!) so I’m making a few of those. I’m also making an entrelac scarf for myself (so you know this one will be low on the to-do list). And, finally, I’m working on a very simple seed stitch cowl out of chunky yarn (an emergency gift in reserve). 

In theory, I’m also writing books. 

What feels like your favorite/greatest knitting accomplishment?
Learning to read a chart as opposed to a pattern! I struggled for HOURS during one of our NJ hurricanes years ago and no matter what I did, I just didn’t get it. But then, after a good night’s sleep, I picked up my needles the next morning and voila! All of a sudden the chart clicked perfectly. That’s the power of a sleeping brain! 

What feels like the worst knitting mistake/foible/wrong choice you’ve ever made?
Oh, there have been too many to count. But my biggest heartbreak came after working on a wool scarf for my brother that took ages. And when I blocked it, I was a bit overzealous. In a matter of hours I ruined the whole thing! 

Straight or circular needles?
Usually circular, even if I’m knitting flat. I’m less likely to lose a needle if they’re attached. 

BTW—in my house, we refer to them as “knittles” instead of “needles.”  

Metal or wood needles?
Depends on the yarn. 

White chocolate, milk chocolate, or dark chocolate?
Dark, baby!

Coffee or tea?
Tea, in all of its beautiful and elegant forms. 

Have you written a knitting character? 
Oh yes. My latest novel The Wishing Thread is fundamentally “about” knitting. I owe the whole story to knitting. Whenever I knit for someone, I always say a prayer for the recipient, thinking some of that good energy will get caught in my stitches. It wasn’t a far jump from there to, “Wouldn’t it be cool to knit a magic spell?”

Here’s the short synopsis: Three quirky sisters in the storied village of Tarrytown are said to knit magic spells. Some say they’re angels; some say they’re crooks. When the Stitchery is threatened with demolition, the sisters’ relationships with each other—and their beliefs in magic—are put to the test. Will the threads hold?

What’s the last thing anyone would suspect about your most recent book?
That my characters got more knitting done than I did while I was writing it. 

Give a shout out to your favorite local yarn store:
Modern Yarn
182 Glenridge Ave, Montclair, NJ 07042
(973) 509-9276

Want to know more about Lisa and her extraordinary novel (which I'm currently reading and loving, by the way)?  Connect with her at her website here, or on Ravelry as "Lisava."

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