Magical Yarn

Happy Friday, all. Casey here.

As promised, we’ve updated our look. After three years it was time for a change. Please let us know what you think of our make-over.

Now, onto today’s blog.

~~~~~~

I had a realization the other day. It’s 2014. Twenty-freakin’-fourteen!

IMG_1781Well, duh. I’m pretty sure everyone knows that by now. And, despite my seeming disbelief, I know it too.

But it did make think about how much my life has changed in the last few years. Ten years ago, in 2004, I had mostly given up writing.

When I say mostly, what I mean is – I was not actually clacking away at a keyboard. Instead, I was berating myself for being a loser because I couldn’t complete a story. I had a few half-finished or sort of done, but awful, manuscripts hidden in binders under my bed (and yes, they were literally under there, collecting dust bunnies.)

I was paralyzed with doubt and indecision. I was totally clueless about what to do. Should I start another book? No. Because I already had too many incomplete drafts. So, I did nothing and worried. Because that is always so much more productive (not really).

My solution: teach myself to knit and crochet. Yup. Had nothing to do with writing but it was another life-long goal of mine. It all started when I six years old and my great aunts tried to teach me to crochet.

Total disaster. I couldn’t hold the yarn right. Couldn’t make a chain, let allow an actual stitch. I just didn’t get it. No matter how hard they tried to implant their skills into my brain, I sucked at it.

I was a loser/failure <cue sad trombone sound>

I had another chance to learn crochet  in Girl Scouts. Still a disaster but I did manage to make a curly worm bookmark (very lumpy and it didn’t twist properly). It’s now tucked away in my hope chest.

For years and years, not knowing how to crochet ate away at my sub-conscience. Why couldn’t I figure it out? Is there something wrong with me? Ummm. Kind of like my ability to finish a book (that didn’t suck).

I hate not being able to do things. The last straw: when I couldn’t finish drafting yet another novel to my satisfaction, I decided I was going to succeed at something. Damn it.

2004 was the year I went to Michael’s, bought a skein of Red Heart yarn (bright red) and two books – “I Taught Myself to Knit” and “I Taught Myself to Crochet” – and, by golly, that is exactly what I did. I learned!! I made stuff. It didn’t suck once I got the hang of it.

As soon as I mastered the basics, I decided I was knitting in the round. I wanted gloves. So I made them (apparently most beginners don’t go for gloves, but whatever).

Needless, to say, friends and family were inundated with crocheted and knitted “gifts” from me. Yet, the entire time, a little voice in my head nagged at me to get writing.

Eventually, the little voice won out. But not for another five years.

You know what? It doesn’t matter. In the end, I finished a book (Ascension), then another (Mystic Ink), then sold it. Then wrote more and sold more. I credit the little voice. But I also believe that by pushing my boundaries and trusting myself to learn a brand new skill, it gave me the confidence to consider myself a “real” writer and get busy.

And, yes, I still knit and crochet. This is my latest sock:

photo (4)

Is there a lesson to be learned here? Yarn is magic. No, that’s probably not the answer. But listening to the little voices in your head, yeah, that must be it!

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18 thoughts on “Magical Yarn”

    1. You just did! Comments work the same as before. You have to be in the post (click on the title) then there is a “leave comments” box at the bottom. Thanks for stopping by Gail!

  1. Great lesson, Casey! Learning any new skill takes patience, perseverance, and of course, passion. Glad to see you stuck to your guns and came back to writing. We are all richer for it:-)

  2. I love the new look! Great job. Love seeing the scribes on one side and the books on the other. Now, about the article, I wish I could knit. I crochet, but for some reason I struggle with knitting. I’m glad you finished those books, Casey – I love them. Looking forward to reading the next one.

  3. Hey! This new blog DOES look good! I generally prefer crocheting to knitting (I probably shouldn’t say that!), but one of my goals for 2014 is to become a more skilled knitter. I learned to knit when I was little–like 7 or 8, maybe. I read a How to Knit guide and sort of figured it out on my own, and then my mother’s friend Martha gave me some training. Crochet I taught myself when I was in junior high. And I have to say, while I was writing the first draft of Feta Attraction, I was also doing quite a bit of crocheting (my son and his friends wanted hats in all colors, and I was happy to oblige). Large parts of the plot came to me as I went round and round making those boy beanies (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/boy-beanie-v20).

    1. I love to crochet or knit when I’m plotting. There is something magical about taking your mind to another place.

      I love both knitting and crochet – but I do think crochet allows for more sculptural pieces. Like cute amigarumi figures or cupcakes (made a ton of those but then had to hide them because the cats kept taking off with them!).

      On the other hand, knitting (in my opinion) makes better socks (more comfy/less bumpy) and gloves.Sweaters tend to fit (or sit) on the body better.

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