Sunday, November 25, 2018

Courting (short story) by Leanne Dyck

 I published Courting in my short story collection Novelty Yarn (2006). It was inspired by historical romance such as Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Recently I polished this short story so I could share it with you.

I-cord worked on two double pointed needles photo by ldyck


The old man nods at the clock. “Not particularly keen, eh. He’s just not the marrying kind.” His cronies--seated in leather chairs, smoking cigars--chuckle as he baits the hook. 
The fish can't resist. “Oh, Father, how could you?” Clutching her knitting she flees from the parlour. Tripping on her hem in her haste she hurries up the stairs to her bedroom sanctuary. Dark images of her future race through her head: there she is an old maid encircled by a large pride. They purr while she clicks her needles. Overcome by doom, she swoons into darkness.
But wait, a gentle knock upon her door recalls her to sensibility.
Excuse me, Miss.” It is Bridget the dutiful housemaid. “A young gentleman has called to enquire if you are at home, Miss?”
The gull! He makes me wait and then when he appears I should run to him? The gull!” she mutters. To Bridget, “Oh is he?”
Yes, Miss.”
Well, tell him I am out.”
If you wish, Miss.”
I do wish.”
The young gentleman will be most disappointed, Miss.”
I care not.”
The young gentleman said he wishes to discuss an important matter, Miss.”
Fine, show him to the conservatory. I will be down presently.”
She sits in front of the mirror, tidies her mussed strawberry blonde pompadour and squeezes her pale cheeks. Nerves somewhat calmed she gracefully floats down the staircase to attend to her visitor. With all the strength she can muster, she enters the conservatory.
Miss Whiting.” Mr. Beaumont bows reaching for her hand and kisses it gallantly. “Sweets for the sweet, m’lady.” He hands her a box of chocolates.
Emily puts the box on the sideboard. “Mr. Beaumont, please join me by the fire.”
As you wish, m’lady.”
Two would-be lovers sit by the fire. His hands are secure draped by a skein of yarn, she busies herself winding.
I am told you have something of importance to discuss.”
And so I have. Your father has given his consent and now—.”
How nice for you both.”
Emily, your beauty has captivated me. Your grace has enchanted me.” He carefully lays the skein on the arm of his chair. “Each night, images of you wake me.” He reaches for her hand. “I cannot live without you.” He kneels. “Please do me the honour of joining your heart with mine in holy matrimony.”
The ball of yarn dances across the floor as they embrace.

photo by ldyck

Alone, Emily knits and reflects on the events of the day. Realizing that her father must have known of Mr. Beaumont's intent all along, she chuckles at the sport he made of her.

forms a button photo by ldyck

'Abby playing in snow' photo by ldyck (2017)

December on this blog...
an essay, reviews, and something special for Christmas

Sunday, December 2
Overachieving (an essay on work ethics)

Sunday, December 9
Book review: The Birth House by Ami McKay
(historical fiction)

Sunday, December 16
Book review:  Motherhood by Sheila Heti
(this book was shortlisted for the Giller Prize)

Sunday, December 23
Something special for Yule...

Sunday, December 30
2018 in review

My Top Secret Knitting Project

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Lure of Yarn (short story) by Leanne Dyck

I published (2006) The Lure of Yarn in the collection Novelty Yarn (audiobook). Recently, I revised it.

'knitting one of my first sweaters"
photo by a niece 

The Lure of Yarn

A friend taught me to cast on. I knit a scarf--just a scarf. But, oh... The feel of the yarn as it slipped through my fingers... The soothing repetitive movements... The singing of the needles... I knit another and another and another.

"Knitting is so relaxing," I said when people asked about my hobby--even when they didn't. "You should try it." I forced yarn and needles at them. Some of them walked away. Others ran.

All I wanted to do was knit. I couldn't stop myself. I wasn't myself. Something else had taken over.

Then came the hard stuff--intarsia, lacework, cables:  stitch after stitch, row after row.

"Let's go to a movie," my boyfriend said. "Dancing? To the art gallery?" There was a note of desperation in his voice. "To the ballet?"

"Wish I could but I have to work late." That was a lie. I snuck off to my local yarn shop where I bought yarn--more and more yarn. I hid it in every closet in my tiny apartment and under the bed--thank goodness it's king-size.

It's too late for me. I'm lost to the click, click, click. But you, my friend, there's hope for you. No, don't touch those needles. Stay away from that yarn. Listen to me:  Never cast on.

Next post:  Sunday, November 25 (approximately 5 PM PST)
Courting (short story) Jane Austin inspired historical romance

My Top Secret Christmas Knitting Project...

Sunday, November 11, 2018

A WWII veteran remembers

After my dad's death (on December 11, 1999), I searched for his writing. I found one speech and carefully tucked it away in a journal. Last year, I was hunting for something else and found my dad's words--and I knew I had to share them with you. He delivered this speech on November 11, 1996, to veterans, members of the legion and guests.

(This is a re-posting from last year. I couldn't think of a better way to remember.)

My dad wrote...

(my dad giving a speech--circa the 1980s)

The closing words of every legion meeting.

At the going down of the sun
And in the morning we will
Remember them.

We will remember them--for they were our schoolmates. They were the kids we played with--the people we worked with.

After fifty years we remember them and the debt we owe.

We remember not only those who gave their lives but those who came home broken, wounded, scarred--both on the inside and the outside.

We remember our comrades and the price they paid for us and for Canada--

And we remember the thousands and thousands of others who paid--

The mothers and babies
The little kids
The young people
Mothers and fathers
And the old people
the grandparents

All those who died because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They paid--they paid the price for us. They bought our freedom.

Don't think about the horrible price they paid--it's too awful, too terrible.

But remember them we must--and in our remembering let our hate and revulsion for war grow stronger and stronger until we join with all the people of the world to end this terrible curse of war--until that great day dawns may we ever pray

Lord God of Hosts
Be with us yet
Lest we Forget, Lest we Forget

(the radar base in northern Newfoundland where my dad served during WWII)


Please click this link...

Remembering Them on Remembrance Day

to read my Remembrance Day inspired short story as well as more of my dad's writing.

"knitting one of my first sweaters"
photo by a niece

Next post:  Back to my knitting...
The Lure of Yarn (short story) a cautionary tale of how easy it is to cast on. 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Shared Passion (short story) by Leanne Dyck

Like-minded women meet in the forest to engage in their shared passion.

photo by ldyck

Shared passion

A black blanket envelopes the earth. All is quiet…and still I am drawn by a wordless call. I am careful to wake no one as I leave my slumber. I wrap my shawl around my night-gowned shoulders, grab my purse. Slipping into the night, I leave the familiar and travel deep into the forest. My footfalls are quick and sure. I come to a
natural clearing in the woods. Here they wait. Their skin tone ranges from milk to butter to cinnamon. Some faces have been touched by the graceful brush of age. Other faces time has yet to alter. All are my sisters. I join the circle.

Our craft is ancient. Our magic is strong. We draw from our purses that which unites us. We begin to chant faintly at first and then louder and louder until our words echo from the treetops.

I pledge my knitting for social action,
My yarn for greater warmth,
I knit for the neglected, abandoned and abused.
I knit for those with no voice, no home, no one.
I knit for those with greatest need.

Suddenly from the sky travels a streak of light. It flies from sister to sister briefly touching each knitting needle. Enlivened by the light our needles dance. Sweaters, gloves, scarves, toques, blankets fall from our needles. As quickly as they appear they vanish. Our love sends them to those in need. All too quickly that which drew us bids
us part. Exchanging a smile with my sisters, I slip from the circle back to my bed. The sanctity of this place remains deep within my heart.


Knitting for charities

What groups or individuals would benefit from your stitches?

Ask your friend, coworkers, family members, local hospitals, doctor's office, public health nurse, shelters, transition houses, hospice, local nursing homes, day care centres, police officers, victim assistance programs, social worker, places of worship, food distribution centres, local government officials

Snuggles Project:  Knit blankets for homeless animals
This is a United States-based charity
Contact your local animal shelter to volunteer to knit for them. 

Project Linus:  Knit blankets for seriously ill and traumatized children, ages 0 to 17
This is a Canadian based charity
Do an online search for a Project Linus in your area.

Blankets for Canada Knit blankets for Canadians who need warmth

Where can you find free or inexpensive yarn?

Ask your knitting friends, thrift shops, yarn shops

What kind of yarn should you use?

When knitting items such as toques, mitts, gloves or socks choose a yarn that is durable and easy care. When knitting blankets or baby clothes choose a yarn that is soft.

I found Shared Passion while sorting through computer files and thought you might like it. It was written in the early 2000s (possibly 2005)--and included in my self-published audiobook. I recently polished it, slightly.

my dad circa 1940s

Next Post:  Sunday, November 11 (approximately 5 PM PST)
My dad's Remembrance Day speech
(I couldn't think of a better way to remember than to re-post my dad's speech from last year)

My Top Secret Christmas Knitting Project