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!

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

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

Completely up to you!

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 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