SUSAN WIGGS TALKS KNITTING
Editor Trisha Malcolm chatted with best-selling author Susan Wiggs ahead of this summer’s knitting trip to Wiggs’ hometown of Bainbridge Island.
TM: When did you learn to knit?
SW: I have no memory of learning to knit, the same way I have no memory of learning to make up stories. I had that grandmother who just had the knitting magic. We all remember “that basket” from our childhoods, and I just remember delving into it, trying to emulate her gestures. And I can’t even recall when I really started knitting, but I remember looking down at a little stockinette square and saying, “Look what I did!”
TM: Is there knitting in your novels?
SW: You know, it’s so much a part of everyday life for me I barely even think about it, but yes, people knit in my novels. If the characters are sitting somewhere having a conversation in a certain setting, of course somebody’s going to be knitting! I can’t think of a book where it actually takes center stage, but it’s something that people do just to relax and create. My novels are about drama and deep conflict, and for me knitting is the opposite of that. It would be hard for me to write a dramatic, struggling scene where somebody’s knitting. Now I’m thinking that I should challenge myself to do a knitting scene in the aftermath of a big drama…or after a big love scene! Maybe instead of lighting up a cigarette, they should get out their knitting.
TM: Tell us a little bit about Churchmouse on Bainbridge Island.
SW: What a lovely shop, isn’t it? You know, when it started about fifteen years ago, I thought, really? Just a knitting shop? In a town as small as Bainbridge? But they’ve really turned it into a destination and I love it. I’m so proud of that shop, I love taking people there, seeing their faces when they walk through the door. It’s going to be so much fun this summer when we take people there and they get to take it all in.
TM: Any knitting wisdom?
SW: You know….no. I have the opposite. Knitting imparts the wisdom to you. It makes you be patient. It makes you trust, when you’re casting on stitches and thinking this is never going to be right. If you’re looking for more patience and trust in your life, try knitting.
I am so excited about this trip. It’s my favorite place, my favorite time of year. It will be perfect weather, in the 70s during the day, low 50s at night, water everywhere and blue skies as far as you can see. July is always a good bet in the northwest, and the itineraries for both Bainbridge and Seattle are perfect. Everything you need for a weekend is there. It’s pretty much everything I would say to do.