Today I’m excited to be share an interview with fellow New Yorker, Reba Linker, as part of her blog (and podcast) tour for her latest self-published book, Follow the Yarn. It’s an interesting book that combines genres by including a biography of Reba’s late knitting teacher, tidbits from Reba’s memoir/exploration of herself as an artist, knitting tips and tricks, and some very fun illustrations.
You can find Reba’s website here. You can also follow that link to subscribe to her newsletter, which will enter you into giveaways for her new book and other prizes. You can also get extra chances to win by becoming a fan of her Follow the Yarn and author pages on Facebook. (By the way, one of the giveaway prizes is a free download of any of my self-published ebooks or patterns.) Follow the Yarn is available for purchase on Lulu.
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Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to knit?
Reba: I first learned to knit as a little girl from my mom, but never developed it as an interest at that time. As I later learned, she did a variation on the Continental style. I re-learned as an adult with Ann Sokolowski, the knitting teacher who inspired Follow the Yarn. Ann also advocated using the Continental style, (she felt it makes a more consistent product, but she also understood students that were committed to the ‘English’ style), so I had the long-ago muscle memory from when my mom taught me, which helped a lot.
UC: Your background is in dance, but you’ve worked in many areas of the arts. How did you transition from dancing into the written and visual arts?
Reba: I closed my dance studio at the end of 2007 and gave birth to my son in early 2008. I wanted to find a way to build a career that did not involve a 9-5 job.
UC: How did you get started writing?
Reba: I just started writing! Actually, I started writing and drawing. When I started telling my son a story about a mommy and daddy who wanted a baby, I thought it would make a sweet children’s book, so I wrote and illustrated Welcome Home Baby! Then – since I am a composting enthusiast – I took a Master Composter certification course and for my final project I wrote another children’s book, The Compost Heroes, which I read to children in schools, libraries, etc. Follow the Yarn was a big leap for me, since it was unlike anything I had previously done.
UC: What was development and publishing process of Follow the Yarn like?
Reba: The whole process has been amazing! As I describe in the book, I literally heard a voice that said “I want to write about Ann!” while I was sitting in my beginner’s knitting class. No one could have been more surprised than me, as I did not consider myself much of a knitter, nor writer! Following that voice and learning to trust where it was leading me has been one of many tremendous gifts I received from the experience.
It started out as a collection of my teacher Ann’s knitting tips and funny quotations – she was such a character – and she had so much technical know-how as well as great practical common sense advice to offer. Then she passed away, and then my father and then my mother after that, so life demanded that it change. While it is still a collection of knitting tips, a kind of knitter’s companion, the book transformed into something much more than that.
There is so much more to knitting than meets the eye. Ann had an uncanny ability to touch people’s lives in an extraordinary way through the everyday act of knitting; Follow the Yarn, too, in part uses knitting as a vehicle to explore life.
Now that the book is finished, the promotion and outreach begins, so the experience just keeps opening new doors.
UC: What advice do you have for new authors?
Reba: Follow YOUR yarn! Trust what wants to come out, see where it leads you. Above all else, do it! Take the plunge! There is so much to learn in the experience. As I write in Follow the Yarn, “The doing and the daring are the keys to unlock the treasure chest!” I didn’t know until I was halfway through what wanted to be said, and I think that may be true of a lot of people. Sometimes we don’t know our story until we start to tell it.
UC: What is your favorite knitting book in your collection?
Reba: I love Barbara Walker’s Learn-To-Knit-Afghan Book, and I am still making my way through her wonderful collection of stitches.
UC: Do you have any knitting, yarn, craft, or writing blogs or websites that you recommend?
Reba: There is an amazing amount of knitting/crocheting skill and thoughtful, engaging writing out there and I can hardly keep up with it all. I am so honored that the knitting blogs on this tour are some of the best. What is astonishing is the kindness and generosity of the people as well. Of course, a site like Ravelry is a never-ending resource (you are welcome to friend me as Reba9).
UC: What’s next for you?
Reba: Follow the Yarn unleashed a torrent of creativity for me. I am already planning my next book, which will expand on the themes of personal growth that I started to explore in Follow the Yarn. And – I plan on making a small pocket-sized book of just the notable quotes – all the pearls of wisdom – from Follow the Yarn.
Of course, I will keep on knitting!
I am tickled by the idea of creating an array of stuffed animals or puppets to match the characters in my book, The Compost Heroes, to take with me when I read the story to children.
Thanks for stopping by, Reba, and we wish you the best!
Check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour:
November 11: Life, for instance AND Sharon McWilliams Show podcast
November 12: My Sister’s Knitter
November 13: Daydream Knits
November 19: Artist First Radio
November 21: Grace, Grit & Gratitude with JaiKaur podcast
November 22: Underground Crafter
November 25: Crossroad Reviews
November 26: Never Not Knitting podcast
December 5: Confessions of a Yarn Addict
December 9: Marcy Nelson-Garrison’s Product Mentor Blog
December 10: Nekomentsu
And, if you’d like to check out the book yourself, don’t forget to enter the giveaway on Goodreads by December 6!