Visit from Shelly Thacker

I’m very excited today to have a guest blog post from Shelly Thacker. Shelly was writing for Dell when I sold to them in 1997 or so, and I always enjoyed her comments and company. As you’ll see, we have a bit in common. I’d lost track of her over the past few years, so was very excited to find her on Ravelry. (And really, why did that surprise me? I KNEW Shelly was a knitter.) Like me, Shelly is making a lot of her backlist titles available in digital editions. Like me, she knits and has stash. Unlike me, she’s publishing a new title herself, too.

So, please welcome Shelly Thacker to Alive & Knitting!

Deb, thanks for the opportunity to visit today! One of my favorite parts of the indie ebook revolution has been the chance to reconnect with friends from my New York publishing days. You and I have always had so much in common: knitting, writing, and medieval history — three of my lifelong passions.

I’ve actually been knitting even longer than I’ve been writing professionally. I learned in college, when I spent a semester abroad in Grenoble, France. Living in the French Alps was an unforgettable experience — and it later inspired the setting for my first ebook release, HIS FORBIDDEN TOUCH, a medieval romance about a mercenary who’s assigned to protect a princess during a dangerous journey through a snowy mountain realm.

Before I arrived in France, I had never been all that interested in knitting. At the time, knitting was still viewed as a hobby for grandmothers in rocking chairs. But in Europe, all the girls my age were knitting — on trains, in buses, during class. It was everywhere. And the sweaters they were knitting were so stunning! Chic and colorful and contemporary. Those fashionable French yarnistas turned all the “grandma” cliches upside down and inside-out. I just had to try it.

So I asked the mom in my French host family to teach me — and as soon as she put yarn and needles in my hands for the first time, I was a goner. I’ve been knitting non-stop ever since. My ever-expanding yarn stash, much to my husband’s chagrin, now fills an entire closet here in my home office.

The funny thing is, even though I was already a fairly confident knitter by the time I came home from France, I had to take a beginning knitting class — because I couldn’t read American patterns. I had learned everything in French, and the U.S. knitting terminology and abbreviations made no sense to me.

Today, I’m a mom of two young daughters, so I tend to focus on quick projects like scarves, hats, and mittens. My knitting resolution for 2011 was to make more sweaters, like the Idlewood that I’m wearing in my author photo. I also dabble a bit in design, and I thought I’d share a favorite pattern that’s perfect for a quick holiday gift:

Lazy River Scarf
by Shelly Thacker (aka ShellyMN on Ravelry)

This scarf is so easy, I almost named it the Lazy Knitter. It’s just alternating bands of K1P1 ribbing and garter stitch, two of the most basic stitches in every knitter’s repertoire. Use them alone and they might put you to sleep – but when you use them together, they effortlessly create this wavy fabric with rippled edges. This scarf is completely reversible (identical on both sides), and would look lovely at just about any gauge. So grab a skein or two from your stash and knit yourself a river!

Sizes
One size fits all (sample shown is 5.5” X 57”)

Materials
About 200 yards worsted-weight wool (sample was knit in Berroco’s Bluefaced Leicester, now discontinued)
Size U.S. #8 needles

Gauge
Completely up to you!

Instructions
Cast on 33 stitches (be sure to CO an odd number of sts if you make your scarf wider or skinnier)
Rows 1-4: *K1P1* ribbing
Rows 5-8: Knit every row (garter stitch)
Repeat these 8 rows until scarf is desired length. End with 4 rws K1P1 ribbing and BO in pattern. Weave in ends.

Shelly Thacker’s bestselling romances have won praise from Publishers Weekly, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Locus, and The Oakland Press, who have called her novels “innovative,” “addictive,” “memorable” and “powerful.” After ten years, two New York publishers, and more than 1 million copies in print, she recently joined the digital revolution as an indie author. Look for her Stolen Brides series of medieval romances at your favorite e-bookstore. She invites readers to visit her at http://www.shellythacker.com and friend her on Ravelry, where she’s ShellyMN.

You can find Shelly in all these places:

Shelly’s Website
Shelly’s Blog
On Twitter
On Facebook

16 thoughts on “Visit from Shelly Thacker

  1. Great cover on HFT, Shelly! And what a pretty sweater you’re wearing. I’ve knitted 27 of the Rozetti Marina scarfs for presents but am going to try your Lazy River pattern with some pretty dark pink yarn. Good luck on the book!

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  2. Shelly, you make ME want to learn to knit. I’ve tried, but could never get the hang of it. I do, however, crochet. And don’t tell anyone (shhhh) but so does my husband. Neither of us crockets anymore, but when we first got married, we crocheted together quite a bit. He’s very good and much better at following a pattern than I am.

    And I will ditto that one of the best things about breaking into ebooks is reconnecting with authors like you and Deb. I’m having a ball living in the midst of a publishing revolution.

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  3. Okay, what is it about writers and knitting? I’ve been writing longer than knitting, but only by a few years, since I started writing at about age 5 and taught myself to knit when I was 11. (And had to relearn later when I realized I’d been twisting stitches.)

    Thanks for having Shelly visit, Deb. Speaking of reconnecting with people after a long time!

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    • Well, hello, Justine! It has been a long time.

      And here you’re a knitter too. I’m thinking we should have a knit-in at a writers’ conf one of these days!

      d

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  4. Thanks everyone! Glad I could offer a little inspiration to knitters and writers alike. If anyone would like to share pix of your finished Lazy River scarves, I’d love to see them! Come on over to my Facebook page and show them off.

    Julie, your secret is safe with me! That’s so sweet that you and your DH used to crochet together — you’ve just got to use that in a book. 🙂

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  5. Great to see you, Justine! Hope you’ll be releasing some of your fabulous backlist titles as ebooks soon. I’d love to buy them for my Kindle!

    Let’s all grab Elizabeth Boyle and Susan Sizemore and form a knitting circle at NINC next fall. 🙂

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  6. Hi all! How long has it been since we were all together at Dell? Actually, let’s not count. LOL. I’ve spent the last week getting my old Dell books together for release–sort this is truly a reunion. As for the knitting circle–count me in.

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    • Haha, Elizabeth – fortunately we were all child prodigies! Wonderful to cross paths with you again.

      I’m quite enjoying the process of re-releasing my backlist. Not just the involvement in the cover process – although I love that – but also reading them again and falling in love with those heroes all over again. 🙂

      d

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  7. Yes, we were all child prodigies, LOL!

    Next year’s NINC conference is in White Plains, NY in the fall – October, I think? Don’t see any details on the website yet.

    NINC is the only writers’ organization I belong to now. They’ve really responded to the changes happening in publishing & they’re definitely supportive of indie authors. Love the newsletter, can’t wait to go to the conference!

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    • Excellent news! Thanks, Shelly.

      I rejoined NINC this week. It’s been a while since I let my membership lapse, so I’m excited to get back in the loop. The newsletter was always awesome.

      d

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