Thursday, February 21, 2013

Allergy season approaches.

And to that end, old-fashioned handkerchiefs, aka hankies, may be making an appearance in my life. I’ve been thinking about them for a while now, given my love of reading historical romances. Everyone has a hankie in those stories, from the large, white squares of the gentlemen, to the dainty, embroidered bits of linen of the ladies.

With spring around the corner, and the advent of pollen, I predict an increased need for a moisture collector.

In my hunt through the sewing cupboard for buttons for my recently finished knitting project (huzzah!) I came across a box of handkerchiefs that had belonged to my mother-in-law. The box itself is a piece of history – shallow, with a hinged lid and a quilted cover. Something you’d leave on top of your dressing table so a fresh hankie would always be at hand.

Anyway, I pawed thru the collection of hankies and became lost in the patterns of the printed cloth, the delicate lace edging and fine embroidery. Some of the hankies would be suitable for only a tear. Literally one tear, with no nasal involvement at all. Others would hold up to a few good blows.

 So I’m thinking of giving a few of the hardier variety a launder and a press, and tucking a couple into my handbag.  So much classier than digging a wadded up and tattered paper tissue from my pocket, don’t you think?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

When I'm not writing, I'm knitting.

I'm so close to the end of knitting my sweater, I can taste it.

Not really, I've yet to chew on the yarn. Bruno-the-cat quite often attempts to eat the strands as he plays along with me - it's evident that I'm having great fun playing with all that yarn. And there are two sticks to bat at, and catch, and chew the ends of. Of course he wants to play too! Mogget-the-cat doesn't get involved until I lay the work down, and then she promptly claims it as her bed.

The picture is of the two sleeves, worked at the same time, so I won't have to walk with a weird slouch to camouflage any row counting mistakes.

Not that I make mistakes. Nope.

I've four inches to knit on the sleeves, then I assemble the parts (back, two fronts [it's a cardigan], sleeves). At that point I'll pick up stitches along the neckline (oy!) and knit a shawl collar.

By the way, my favourite colour is purple.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Writing, and books on writing.

Whenever I get really stuck in my writing, the sort of stuck that can’t be fixed with a liberal application of chocolate, I turn to my writing craft books. I have several, from broad sweeping tomes like “Story” by Robert McKee, to shorter, more focused books like “Conflict and Suspense” by James Scott Bell. (I love his writing style. I also have his “Plot & Structure” and “Revision & Self-Editing.”) I find that reading the advice of these authors somehow un-sticks that bent synapse in my brain and I can get back to my WIP, often with fresh ideas and more energy.

If I need more in the planning/plotting department for a new story, I’ll dig out “Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook” by Donald Maass. Heavens above, this is a marvelous book. Worksheets to fill out, questions to answer, excellent examples, all combine to get the brain juices flowing. 

I’ve come across another writing craft book that has joined my list of necessary references. “Writing Active Setting, Book 1: Characterization and Sensory Detail” by Mary Buckham. I’d taken a few online classes by this author, and was excited to hear she’d put some of her vast knowledge into book form. The section on using sensory detail to enhance the setting was full of fabulous ideas, which I will be putting to use as I revise my current WIP.

Now I’m waiting for the release of the second in the series, “Book 2: Setting to Show Emotion, Add Conflict, and Show Back Story”.  *drums fingers*