My mother was a New Zealander, and one of my first memories is sliding down the wool chute in my uncle’s barn. I loved the feeling of landing on top of the lanolin-full wool, and that strange silence as almost all sound was absorbed by the fiber. I come from a long line of knitters, my mother herself was raised on a sheep ranch, and my first name means ewe.

I was born to knit.

It kind of skipped a generation, though. My grandmother knitted all the time. Rare was the moment that her needles weren’t clacking, and I loved the soothing sound of it. My mother could knit, but didn’t. She showed me the basics, knit and purl, when I was five or six, and then she passed over Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting Without Tears, and I learned the rest from reading.

Knitting is just something I’ve always done. It’s not even something I think about that much. I always have something on the needles, a jumper or socks, and it’s part of my life.

So when I wanted to write a series, the only backdrop I could imagine was knitting. In the Cypress Hollow Yarns series (Eliza’s Gift came out last year, Lucy’s Kiss is coming out soon), my characters are knitters to the bone, as I am. In the new book, Lucy discovers an unpublished treasure trove of knitting patterns of the legendary Eliza Carpenter, and Owen, the black sheep of Cypress Hollow (and Lucy’s old flame) must untangle the puzzle of it while deciding how much of themselves to gamble on love.

And while they don’t tumble down any wool chutes (as an adult I realize that wool isn’t very clean at that stage of the processing, and I don’t think that would be a romantic moment), I still love being able to include the backdrop of my craft in my writing.

Of course, it’s also the backdrop of my own life, so I’m partial to it. Are there any knitters out there? When did you learn? Are you still knitting now?

Rachael Herron received her MFA in writing from Mills College, and has been knitting since she was five years old. She lives with her better half in Oakland, California, where they have four cats, three dogs, three spinning wheels, and more instruments than they can count. She can be found at  Rachael is published in Australia by Random House.