May 22, 2011

Massachusetts, Writing and Knitting- Margay Leah Justice Shares Her Theory

Here are the details on my latest project-how knitting and writing are similar.
I jumped into this with a gung-ho attitude, confident in my past successes and then it happened - I hit a wall. An email from my older daughter prompted me to try again. So here is my take on how two totally different crafts are alike:
First and foremost-the key is patience. Don't try to take shortcuts. Pay attention to what you are doing. Don't focus on the finished project or what to do with it. That's how mistakes are made.
Each begins with an idea upon which the foundation is built. For knitting I search for a pattern and gather my supplies. When I write, I decide which idea to tackle and gather the tools to accomplish that.
In knitting, you begin by casting on the stitches to build the foundation of your project, and then the first row establishes the pattern. In writing, you decide where you want to start your story, and then you lay your foundation with a hook that draws your readers in and establishes the story.
Sometimes the project doesn't progress the way you expected. While knitting a hat after several rounds of knitting, I realized the project didn’t resemble the picture. How does this relate to writing? One word: Revision. Like my knitting, I worked the pattern until I got a product I liked. Writing is the same. Thank heavens for second drafts.
If you follow through, pay attention to the details and persevere, in the end you get a project you are proud of.
Similar? With knitting and writing, a whole lot of something is made from nothing.
I hail from the beautiful state of Massachusetts where history is literally around every corner. We have the Freedom Trail in Boston - which I think everyone should walk at least once.
We have the historic towns of Concord, Lexington and Plymouth.
Our museums are worth a trip.
If you like sea life you can check out the New England Aquarium or visit the Institute at Woods Hole.
Into science? Visit our Museum of Science.
Into literature? Check out the homes of Edith Wharton, Louisa May Alcott, Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
If you want to learn more about the Salem Witch Trials, you can visit the very place where they occurred or if you want to discover more about our rich shipping history, you can visit Gloucester. Gloucester has its very own castle.
If you visit in autumn you have the added bonus of leaf-changing season - definitely not to be missed!
Massachusetts is a beautiful state with warm summers and cold winters, perfect for knitting and writing ---there, another similarity!
Margay Leah Justice is the author of Nora's Soul, published by Second Wind Publishing, LLC. Look for Sloane Wolf, to be published by MuseItUp Publishing Fall 2011.


  1. Hi, I love traveling to Mass and just walking around Boston. The freedom trail is great if you don't know the city and keeps you from getting lost. The narrow streets in the North End, their neighborhoods and their grocery stores are also a must visit. I can taste the pasta now.

  2. I've never tried knitting, but that's solid advice on writing. Another of my favorite eastern states, too. Lots to see and do up there.

  3. I agree with you completely. Revisions are what make a great book. You should have a plan (blueprint) of where you want the story to go, but even then, you'll run into roadblocks. Revisions are the only way out of it.

    Have never been to Mass, but would love to see it and all of New England. :)

  4. Nora, I totally agree about the Freedom Trail. And there really is so much to do in Boston - and beyond! It's a great state for history buffs - we have a lot of it here!

  5. jrlindermuth, so happy you liked the writing advice. And if you're ever wanting to try something new, try knitting. It's fabulous!

  6. Tina, I have to say this is a great state to visit (and live in, but I'm partial). If you really want to visit, you should try coming in the fall when the leaves change - it is spectacular! And the farther North you go, the more vivid the colors.

  7. Good blog...loved your reference to knitting and writing...and you're right. I've ripped out as many sweaters as I've rewritten books. I spent a lot of time in MA when my son was at Berklee College of Music in Boston. If you want a dose of history...then visit MA. Went whale watching from Gloucester, spent great vacations on Cape Cod, loved the atmosphere of Salem and the calmness of Walden Pond. And Boston...a great, walking city...especially the Swan Boats and Freedom Trail...oh and who can forget a visit to Filene's Basement.

  8. I love your comparison of knitting and writing!

    I've been through the airport in Boston and then traveled from there to New Hampshire, but that's the extent of my Massachusetts experience.

  9. I have been to Boston so many times. I love the area and I love the history. Springfield has the Shriner's hospital. is pent a lot of time there with my daughter.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  10. Ah, Fran, you bring back so many memories to me! I remember doing all of those things and more, often on school field trips.

  11. Debby, I like to visit Boston myself when I can - it's a great city.

  12. Heidiwriter, if you ever get a chance to visit Massachusetts, you should. There are so many different things to do here!

  13. Fun post. I've done knitting and writing and have to agree!

  14. I loved this blog, as I also am a knitter or try to work at it and never put the two together till reading your post. You are so right in how working your writing and knitting are almost the same in how everything is to come together. Nicely put.

  15. Thank you, JoAnne! I am an avid knitter myself (I've even taken a turn into designing my own projects) and I've been writing for years, so it just seemed natural to me that the two would have similarities.


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