Casting On Again

Here is the knitting project I'm working on now. It will be a shawl, knitted in two 30-inch rectangles, then sewn together at right angles.

I haven't had a knitting project on my needles for such a long time. When daughter Hannah and I went out for our annual day-long holiday shopping day (complete with brunch), we wandered into our favorite knitting store, and I came out with this wool/silk blend, and a pattern written by the shop owner for me on the back of an envelope:

Using size 11 needles, cast on 54 stitches (I cast on 62), and knit in the stockinette stitch (knit one row, purl one row) until you've got about 30", then cast off and repeat. Sew both rectangles together at right angles.

This is a pattern I seem to be following with my novel right now. I have cast on characters and plot lines and tension and mystery and color and setting. The first rectangle is finished. The second is only a few rows from being done. And then I must tie both rectangles together -- I think I will fringe them -- and then, oh please-please-please may I have a whole, complete, beautiful, strong novel.

I am so close I can taste it. And every morning as I sit down to write, I feel as if I am casting on again. Casting on the entire story, draping it around my shoulders, like the shawl I am making, racing for the finish with the fringe flying out behind me.

This is the finish I thought I would arrive at a month ago, of course. But the sudden loss of an editor, coupled with fall travels and holidays on its heels, put such a dent in my rhythm and work pattern... not to mention I have now an entirely new voice in this novel... the voice of my new editor.

I think we will work together just fine. He is new to me, and not. I've been working with him all along, but in the big-picture way. Now we are rolling up our sleeves and working together on the nitty-gritty, and getting used to one another and our differing patterns and nuances and ways of seeing. It's a lot of work. And it's good work.

I was thrown off my game for a while, but I am back in the groove again now. I am so close to done I can taste it.

Meanwhile, I make split pea soup -- this is what's going in the soup -- carrots, celery, onion, salt/pepper, garlic, and a healthy wallop of marjoram. Meanwhile, I listen to the rain batter the roof. Meanwhile, I wonder when I will have time to put up the tree, decorate same, and begin our Christmas season.

But maybe we have already begun. We have had our shopping day. We have fine, steady rain -- such a gift. We have plenty of healthy, hearty food -- I even made cornbread. And we are all warm and dry and able to work, to tell our stories, to help one another through the days ahead. Each day we cast on the day's responsibilities, and each day we knit through them.

I'm good with that. That's just about everything.


  1. Thanks for sharing the shawl instructions. I belong to a Prayer Shawl group and am always looking for new, but simple patterns to use up my bits of yarn. Knitting is such a good analogy for the process of writing--and life. Relationships, occasions, crisis are all woven and tangled together at times across the background of time. Finding the words to accurately convey the story that's in you mind and heart to others is something you do very well. It can't be rushed to meet a deadline without sacrificing the integrity of the product. Sometimes you need to remind editors if they have not been on the writing end of the pencil! I'm looking forward to your new book!

  2. Thanks, IndyAnnie. So well said. In the end, a story takes the time it takes. Thanks for the validation.

  3. I've loved your blog for awhile now, and today, I've given it a Butterfly Award for Coolest Blog. Thanks for everything you do to inspire writers everywhere!!

  4. Dear Jama,

    I am almost two years late answering this post from you giving One Pomegrante a Butterfly Award for Coolest Blog... and I would like to have some amazing reasons for not responding before now... but the only true reason is that I didn't see your reply until now! I'm so sorry. I'll celebrate anyway, and I thank you so much for the recognition.

    Deborah Wiles


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