This week, I’m joined by Henriette Gyland, another author I have known for many years now. She writes in a variety of subgenres such as psychological suspense, romance mystery and historical fiction (as Ella Gyland). Her most recent historical novels focus on Denmark during World War II, and as she’s Danish herself, she says that she’s thoroughly enjoyed writing and researching these stories. Today Henriette is going to tell us what she does when she’s not writing. Over to Henriette …
Well, everything else, really! I have a house and a small garden, as well as three cats and a couple of young people who come back home from time to time, so there’s plenty to do. And then there’s The Other Job – I work as a technical translator on a freelance basis, and when work comes in, I often have to drop everything else and just get on with it.
But what I really like to do with my time when I’m not writing/translating/tidying up after cats (delete as appropriate) is to KNIT. You could say I’m obsessed with it, and that would be pretty accurate.
I learned to knit when I was about eight years old. My mother had been working on a project, handknitting identical jumpers for me and my younger sister, both made of cotton in a muted rose red and with a pre-made appliqued butterfly sewn on the chest. She’d already finished my sister’s and was working on mine. She seemed to be taking forever, though, so I decided to lend her a hand when she was busy with something else. How difficult could it be? It looked easy enough.
To cut a long story short I made a terrible mess …
Fortunately, my mother understood that I wasn’t just being naughty but genuinely interested so she sat me down by the kitchen table with a ball of yarn and the thickest needles she had, and taught me a simple garter stitch (i.e. knit only, no purl).
I’ve never looked back. Knitting is what I do to unwind, to be social (I’m a member to two knitting groups, one involving wine …), to give my busy hands something to do, and even occasionally to cheer myself up on days when I’m in a low mood. In other words, knitting is essential to my happiness and mental health – it’s been a lifeline, particularly these last couple of years of uncertainty and lockdowns.
Medical experts agree. See these posts online, https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/knitting-reduces-anxiety-depression-chronic-pain-slows-dementia-research-knit-for-peace-uk-a8254341.html or https://mhanational.org/blog/mental-health-benefits-knitting
I’ve always got at least two projects on the go at the same time so I can choose between Easy, Intermediate or Advanced based on mood – if I don’t have a project to indulge myself with at the end of a long day, I can get a bit jittery. In my office I have boxes full of yarn, numerous knitting books and magazines for inspiration, and a whole basket full of knitting needles in practically every size. These are my treasures, like Uncle Scrooge and his swimming pool full of coins 😊
So, what do I make? My wardrobe is bursting at the seams, and I’ve got to the stage where I don’t actually need anything, so I’ll have to start making clothes for other people soon. A warning to my family: there may be soft parcels under the Christmas tree this year …
Working from home I’m most comfortable in layered clothing. Sitting still all day can make me feel a bit cold, so an extra layer helps, but pottering around the garden during a screen break makes me feel hot, so I wear mainly tops and cardigans. And of course, it’s quite nice to have these items in several colours – I’m nothing if not colour-coordinated. Don’t wish to scare the cats too much 😀
Some readers might look at these pictures and say, “I don’t think I can ever do something like that” and then give up. Please don’t. There are plenty of tutorials online, and some magazines also have a tutorial section, e.g. Knitting Magazine or The Knitter, which are very helpful. It doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby either. With several crafts fair all over the country you can usually pick up a bargain, like end-of-line yarns and discontinued colours, and if you stock up on bargain buys (I do!), you’ll have enough for several projects. The one I go to religiously is The Knitting & Stitching Show at London’s Alexandra Palace, but you can see many other fairs advertised in various knitting magazines. Then there’s eBay and Facebook selling groups like the UK Yarn Exchange where people are getting rid of yarns they no longer need. Some charity shops also sell yarn, although that’s a bit pot luck.
I hope I’ve inspired you to pick up a set of needles, and wish you happy knitting!
Thank you, Henriette – I would echo all of the above, including the wool everywhere, but my favourite craft is crochet. In fact, I know so many writers who also indulge in wool crafts, I’ve even joked about forming a wool and writing group. Mx
About Henriette Gyland
Originally from Denmark, Henriette Gyland has lived in London for many years, surrounded by her family, cats, books and the Scandinavian hygge she tries to create everywhere she goes. As a linguist she loves playing with words and language, and she’s addicted to story-telling. She also believes strongly in social responsibility and sustainable living.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/EllaGyland
Books by the Author
Inspired by the incredible true story of how the people of Denmark saved their Jewish neighbours during WW2
Helsingør, Denmark, 1943
In the midst of the German occupation during World War Two, Inger Bredahl joins the underground resistance and risks her life to save members of Denmark’s Jewish community and help them escape to Sweden.
Inger’s granddaughter, Cecilie Lund, is mourning her death when a mysterious discovery while cleaning out Inger’s flat leads past and present to intersect. As long-held secrets finally see the light of day, Cecilie learns the story of her grandmother’s courage and bravery, and of the power of friendship, love, and standing for what’s right…even when you have everything to lose.
An inspiring tale of the resilience of the human spirit and the power of community.
Amazon UK: mybook.to/THSC
Amazon US: tinyurl.com/yc7yv3tr
Is there life after the circus has left town?
Circus performer Justine Belmont works with big cats, but when the circus is disbanded and the old lion is sold to a private menagerie at a stately home in Norfolk, she is asked to spend a few weeks settling him into his new environment. When she arrives at the estate, however, she receives a mixed welcome.
The groundsman Tom Yates resents her presence as he doesn’t feel he needs her help with the lion. He revises his opinion when he sees the bond between her and the big cat, and she and Tom grow closer, although Justine remains torn about her feelings for him. The lady of the house, Priscilla – who is married to the reclusive owner, Lord Brooks’s, grandson – is not so easily convinced. She perceives Justine as a threat for the male attention and her plans for the manor. And her two young daughters are a little too curious about the lion for their own good.
When unsettling events occur, Justine begins to wonder if there is more to Priscilla’s animosity than meets the eye. Can Justine keep herself and everyone else safe until it’s time for her to leave again and start a new life elsewhere?
Buying Link: Amazon: mybook.to/ALINJFC