Rachael Herron chats about the role that knitting plays in her first two novels, How to Knit a Love Song and How to Knit a Heart Back Home. Learn how a personal connection to with knitting evolved into writing stories stitched together with love.
Knit-lit is something I'm passionate about. It's not because it's trendy (even though it is), and I don't write it because I'm trying to fit a specific niche (although my writing does). I write it because I've always loved two things: knitting and romance.
When I was about five, I learned to knit. At about the same time, I remember having my first crush. Hanging upside down from the low-hanging oak branch in the backyard, I told my father I was in love with Tadashi. I would probably marry him, in fact. Dad said that I was too young to know true love. Oooooh--he was wrong! I knew I did! As I hunched over a holey scarf I'd end up never giving Tadashi, I muttered that love could conquer all. Then I went to play jacks and forgot all about my true love as soon as Rodney chose to sit next to me the next day.
Throughout high school, I was too uncool to date. With my braces and bifocals and my trusty knitting, my only leading men were in the romance novels I loved. But then, as an adult, knitting became suddenly hip. My eyes got better, and I lost the glasses. I dated. I learned that V-neck shirts suited me. I fell in love, as often as I could. And knitting, to me, became a symbol for a belief in love.
When I was in a relationship, I'd knit for my significant other. It was a way to keep them warm, for them to know how I felt even when I wasn't around. Soft, even stitches, each one created with that special someone in mind. And when I was single, I knitted for myself as a way of saying that I believed in myself, that I was worthy of the time I put into the work. It was a soft, smooshy, warm gift that was completely selfish. Mine. I created for myself.
And when I put knitting into my first novel, How to Knit a Love Song, it stood for much more than just a currently-trendy pastime. Abigail, the main character, knits because she has to. It soothes her nerves, gives her a place to rest when the rest of her life is being turned upside down. (And the man's sweater she designs in the book just might end up fitting our hero Cade--no spoilers, though.)
In my new book, How to Knit a Heart Back Home, knitting is a tangible object, directly connecting Lucy with her grandmother. In reknitting the beloved sweater that was her grandma's last finished object, and in looking for the lost pattern with the Owen (the returned bad boy of her high school crush), Lucy finds that every stitch is more than just a loop of yarn: each is a connection with her past, present, and future.
Love is made of up tiny things. A swift kiss as we're rushing by on our way to work. A hug when one is most needed. Remembering to take the trash out. A heartfelt compliment. But together, those things add up into a life built on love, just as many stitches lined up next to each other make a garment that is warm, soft, full of meaning and care.
You can pick up your own copies of these two knitastic contemporary romance novels, which are both in stores now!