Saturday, August 07, 2010

Wild Card Weekend: What Do You Do When You're Not Writing?

This weekend Liz Fielding joins us to talk about her latest project as a new Grandma - and it's not "what's for dinner?"...

So, Liz - what do you do when you're not writing?

The truth is, usually, not a lot. Writing three books a year takes a lot of time, then there’s the garden to keep under control and once in a while I have to get under the bed and battle with the dust bunnies.

Usually, at the end of the day, all I want to do is put out my hand for a glass of wine while I tackle the food problem – and honestly, I don’t know how my marriage has lasted for thirty-eight years when the first thing the dh says after breakfast, is “What’s for lunch?” Could any three words in the English language be more annoying? Other than “What’s for dinner?”

Food. Enough already.

I used to sew a bit. Do a bit of embroidery. I have tablecloths to prove this. Very worn, very old tablecloths.

But last week I was walking through the arcade in Ammanford with nothing on my mind but dry cleaning, the library, the bank, when I glanced to my left and saw an enticing little display of yarn in a shop window. Soft little balls of wool. Knitting needles.

Reader, I hesitated. I stopped. I went inside. And now, when I’m not writing (getting the best beloved’s breakfast, lunch, dinner!) I’m knitting this sweet little bolero for my six month old grand-daughter.

All has not been plain sailing. It’s years since I knitted – the last project being at Dr Who scarf for the first born. Huge, but not exactly taxing. But it’s like riding a bicycle. You never forget.

Er… I was fine at casting on, making stitches, had no problem with psso, but then came the instruction, “Cast off three stitches at the beg. of next 2 rows.” I sat there, knitting in hand, my mind a total blank. No, I thought. This is silly. I can do this. I put a needle into the first stitch. Nothing.

The best beloved looked across. “What’s the matter?’

“Nothing,” I said. Thinking, stick to food… And then I tiptoed into the next room where my laptop lives and, feeling totally stupid, typed “casting off” into Google. And there, bless her, was a lovely lady demonstrating how to do it.

The back is done, the left side. Confidence is high and now when anyone asks me what I do when I’m not writing, the answer is knitting. I may put it in a book.

Liz's latest book is SOS: Convenient Husband Required.  You can catch up with Liz at her blog at or at her website,


  1. Good luck with your knitting Liz, the one task I am truely rubbish at. If there is any time left in the day it has to be devoted to reading, the to be read pile to going to cause an avalanche soon!

  2. I'm with Susan - can't knit (so littlest is getting lessons from her grandmother this summer!) and spare time is needed to get the TBR pile back to a reasonable size :o)

  3. Liz. The first thing I do when I'm not writing (whether that's fiction or commercial work) Is to get out of the house! I find the more I write, the more I crave the great outdoors - walking, swimming, cycling, the sea. I am also hopeless at any kind of needlework!

  4. Hi Susan

    I'm not a great knitter, but it has been lovely doing something different. All the major bits are done. I now have to sew it up and knit the edge. Not as easy as it sounds!

    I am still reading - a Sara Craven, a Michelle Reid, a Kate Hardy and a Lyndsey Davis are on the tbr even as I type!

  5. Kate, I could never reach the dd to knit! Leave it to grandma and enjoy your books :)

  6. Oh, good grief, Phillipa! You make me tired just thinking about it.

    But I do have the new quilt museum at Lampeter on my "outing" list. Lots of quiet contemplation and, hopefully sitting down. :)

  7. Isn't it a bit greedy to have several talents when others (ahem, me) struggle to find one?
    And the "what's for dinner?" question makes me growl every time, especially when I get it from dh, ds and dd.

  8. Liz, that bolero is the sweetest thing! Your granddaughter will look gorgeous in it, but now I'm having an image of your daughter asking you to make one in her size too. Actually... you could start a new internet business :-)

    Sewing has me stumped I'm afraid -- the dh sews my buttons on for me -- but you've helped me enormously. I need to hem a pair of trousers, have no idea how, but am off to type in hemming into google. Thanks!

  9. Sarah, it's not a talent, it's just something I learned to do as a kid. :)

    And isn't that just the most annoying question in the world? It should only be allowable five minutes before we sit down to eat. All other references should be suggestions of the "Why don't we have..." kind. I don't mind cooking, I just hate having to waste brain cells thinking about it!

  10. Hi Michelle

    Your dh is a keeper! Mine doesn't know one end of a needle from the other.

    And no, my knitting is even slower than my writing. Not a business opportunity!

  11. Liz, I love to knit. I rediscovered my joy in it this winter and am building up a wonderful sock collection made from limited edition hand dyed yarns from all over the world. I think there's a definite link between writing and knitting. I find the more I knit, the better I feel about my writing, LOL. Maybe the two types of creativity are mutually beneficial. I certainly know that I love to see how much a sock has grown in an evening. Tangible progress is heartening, don't you think?

  12. Liz,

    Good luck with the bolero. It looks gorgeous. I've completely forgotten how to knit and only ever did it under my mum's supervision, but you've given me hope I may get back to my cross stitch or tapestry or even crochet one day. Not today though...revisions to do. Great tip by the way about going to Google for assistance. I'll bear that in mind.

  13. Hi Yvonne

    Love the sock collection. There is the cutest pair of stripey socks in that pattern book that is calling to me. And a toy rabbit!

    And yes, watching something grow is terrific. The fact only the hands are engaged and mind can wander (as long as you keep counting!) is great, too.

  14. Annie, I love the fact that I now have a hobby, that isn't also hard work (ie gardening. I hope you get back to your tapestry or crochet.