Thursday, November 5, 2009

Author Guest Post - Terri DuLong (& a Giveaway - closed)

Congrats to lucky winner - Sandy!

      

Readers, please join me welcoming Terri DuLong, author of Spinning Forward who's guest blogging here today!

About Spinning Forward: Sydney Webster's comfortable New England life comes crashing down when her husband dies suddenly, leaving her penniless and evicted. She had no idea about his huge gambling debts, and is getting no sympathy from her hurt and angry twenty something daughter. With nowhere else to turn, Sydney takes shelter at a college friend's B&B in Cedar key, Florida, where she begins to form a plan. As Syd turns her talent at spinning wool and knitting into a retail venture, other doors begin to open. She steps into the embrace of a community rich with love, laughter, friendship...and secrets. And soon she faces a choice: spin a safety net, or spin forward and never look back. Entertaining and heart warming, this superb debut will win readers over with its real-life challenges and quirky and compelling characters.


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Knitting Comes Full Circle



My earliest memories of knitting come from my mother. From the time I was about 5-years old, I can’t remember a time that my mother didn’t have a knitting project at hand. Even when she worked outside of the home, she’d take along her knitting bag to get a few more rows done during her lunch time.

I’m afraid that one of my most vivid memories in relation to my mother knitting isn’t a particularly nice one. I was about 5- or 6-years old, it was the early 1950s, money was certainly tight and the beautiful choices of yarn that we have today were not available then. One of the projects at that time that my mother was busy with was making mittens for me. Living in New England in the winter certainly made mittens quite practical, and I’m sure she derived a fair amount of pleasure seeing her daughter wearing something she had spent time working on.

Unfortunately, most of the mittens she knitted for me—and they were quite beautiful with a thick cable running down the front—were done with a very drab gray yarn. Sometimes I’d get a pair of red mittens (red is also not my favorite color), but mostly it was the gray mittens that I’d be sent outside to play in.

And being a typical kid, I thought I had come up with a solution to prevent any further gray mittens being forced on me. During the course of playing, I would purposely hide one of the mittens in a snow bank, trash barrel or wherever I thought it would be safely hidden. My reasoning was that I wouldn’t be sent back out with only one mitten and my childish mind felt I’d be better with none than gray ones!

But my mother was forgiving about my excessive loss of a mitten and before long . . . yup, you guessed it. She had knitted me another complete set—in gray. It wasn’t until years later that I realized how much time and effort went into those gray mittens, and I felt pretty ashamed of all the ones I had lost. And yes, I finally did ‘fess up about the lost mitten as an adult. Knowing kids will be kids; she merely shook her head and laughed.

Both my mother and my aunt (her sister) were expert knitters, so I guess it’s not a surprise that all these years later I’m also addicted to knitting and even made the topic a major theme in my recently released women’s fiction novel, SPINNING FORWARD.

My mother taught me to knit about age 11 or 12. I remember working on squares that led nowhere learning to knit and purl. But I have to say I didn’t enjoy it that much. It seemed to take forever for those rows to look like anything. Then came my first pregnancy, and my mother coerced me into returning to knitting. She and my aunt paid for me to attend knitting classes with them one evening a week and by the class completion a few months later—I had made a very pretty white sweater set for my new daughter. I had also learned the other necessary stitches: increases, decreases, cable. Still knitting didn’t hold my attention. Over the years I became much more involved with counted cross stitch, hardanger, crewel, embroidery and macramé. I did discover something though—that I was identical to both my mother and my aunt. None of us could sit and do nothing. Even with one eye on a television show, I had to be working on some type of needlework.

As an only child, when my mother passed away four years ago I was left her large collection of knitting needles, pattern books, accessories, etc. Going through her things, I knew I couldn’t possibly part with items that meant so much to her over a lifetime—and yet, I no longer knitted.

I’m a strong believer of the phrase, when the student is ready, the teacher appears. My teacher appeared about four years ago, shortly after my mother died—it was my old high school girlfriend, Alice, who also happens to be an expert knitter. Talking on the phone one day, she suggested that I give knitting a try once again. She got me excited explaining about all the various and unique yarns available today. Alice’s passion for knitting was catchy and she wouldn’t accept any doubts on my part. So after 40 years, I found myself with knitting needles in my hand once again—and I’ve never looked back.

I admit it . . . I’m addicted to knitting—addicted to the gorgeous yarns, the colors, the textures, the feeling of accomplishment with a completed project. I cannot pass a yarn shop without dropping in—and always leaving with a few skeins of new yarn. I still get frustrated when I make a mistake, but unlike when I was a child, I now have the determination and tenacity to figure it out. Either on my own or via a phone call to Alice 1,500 away.

So it’s not surprising that when I was trying to figure out how my main character in my debut novel was going to survive financially that I came up with a knitting solution. As for me, seldom does a day pass that I haven’t sat and done at least a few rows on my current project. Knitting provides me with that quiet time that all authors crave—that time when I can allow my mind to wander, get things straight in my head, let my characters tell me what problems they’re having and how we might solve them together. And never once do I pick up my needles without thinking of my mother. I find each year that passes since her death, I feel the closest to her when I’m knitting.

Life does have a way of sometimes coming full circle and for me, it’s been the joy of knitting that’s provided this in more ways than one.
My mother was a good knitter, and I still have some of the sweaters she knitted for me when I was a kid. Unfortunately, I've always been more interested in reading that knitting. But I have to say, reading about knitting is more interesting to me than the actual process of knitting itself. What about you?

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GIVEAWAY

The Prize

A copy of this book will go to one lucky reader.

To Enter
  • What's your hobby? Apart from reading that is!
  • Please list your email address within your comment so that you can be notified should you be chosen as a winner.
For Extra Entries

Please leave a NEW comment for each extra entry you do.

Deadline   Midnight CST of December 5, 2009.

Eligibility  US only.

Please read the Disclaimer. Good luck!

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66 comments :

  1. I like doing yoga in my spare time.

    bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  2. Email subscriber.

    bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  3. My hobbies are knitting and crocheting.

    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

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  4. Email subscriber

    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

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  5. Photography, scrapbooking, reading, blogging, and
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  6. I'm an email subscriber - thank you.

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  7. I follow (Neas Nuttiness)

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  8. I love taking pictures and I love to go to the movies with my husband.

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  9. Lately, my hobby is entering giveaways and blogging about books : D

    BevE
    merryweatherbookblog (at) gmail (dot) com

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  10. I've got your button - left sidebar @
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  11. Cross stitching!!

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  12. I am a google follower

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  13. I subscribe by email


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  14. I am also a spinner, knitter and weaver
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  17. have button
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  18. have text link
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  19. friend on facebook
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  20. 1 blogged
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  21. 2 blogged
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  25. 6 blogged
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  26. 7 blogged
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  27. 8 blogged
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  28. 9 blogged
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  30. I like stamping as an outlet for my creative side! Reading is still number one!
    Thanks for the chance to win.
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  31. Subscribe via google reader.
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

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  32. I like to scrapbook. Thanks.
    partymix25(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  33. email subscriber
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  34. I follow your blog.
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  35. i enjoy cross stitching

    karenk
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  36. i'm an email subscriber :)

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  37. I like sewing and gardening. Please enter me. Thanks!

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  38. I am an email subscriber!

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  39. I enjoy crocheting and sewing. I'm learning to knit now so would love to read Spinning Forward. It looks really good! Please add my name to your giveaway. Thank you. I am a subscriber too.

    Blessings,
    Sandee

    Muzzley56[at]aol[dot]com

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  40. I don't really have any hobbies. I love reading of course, and doing activities with my children...and I also enjoying walking in the mornings.

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  41. I subscribe via Google! (amweeks)

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  42. You're a technorati fave! (amweeks)

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  43. I follow on twitter & tweeted! http://twitter.com/amweeks/status/5863695921

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  44. Madwoman-doing-cartwheelsNovember 20, 2009 at 5:04 AM

    My hobbies are making jewelry, listening to music and cats who have become almost a full time job.


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  45. Madwoman-doing-cartwheelsNovember 20, 2009 at 5:05 AM

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  46. Madwoman-doing-cartwheelsNovember 20, 2009 at 5:06 AM

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  47. Madwoman-doing-cartwheelsNovember 20, 2009 at 5:06 AM

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  48. Madwoman-doing-cartwheelsNovember 20, 2009 at 5:07 AM

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  50. justpeachy36@yahoo.com

    If I'm not reading, I'm cross stitching. I love the way each pattern comes together. It almost looks like a painting when it's done.

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  51. justpeachy36@yahoo.com

    I am a daily feed subscriber.

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  52. justpeachy36@yahoo.com

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  53. I like to bake and cook!

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  54. I subscribe to A Book Blogger's Diary feed (google reader)

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  57. My hobby is entering giveaways!

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  60. I faved you on Technorati

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  63. I follow you on Twitter and I Tweeted

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  64. The winner has been notified. Thanks for stopping by!

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