featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Author Leslie Langtry stops by today as our guest crafter. Leslie is a dedicated knitter and the author of hilarious, romantic, mysterious mysteries about a family of assassins. She assures me, though, that she personally has never assassinated anyone, either professionally or for recreation, with her circular needles. Read more about Leslie at her website. -- AP  

I Knit - Ergo My Characters Knit

I love to knit.  My grandmother knitted and crocheted and taught me how to make a chain when I was little.  Of course, she didn't teach me what to do with it or when to stop, so by the time I finished, my crochet chain circled the house half a dozen times.

Five years ago, I decided to teach myself to knit.  I bought the book, STITCH N BITCH by my new idol - Debbie Stoller, some yarn and needles and spent the Thanksgiving break making my first swatch.  For the next two years - I knitted rectangles.  I've since come a long way adding purses, a gargoyle ski mask for fellow writer Jana DeLeon, and a huge praying mantis.

 Since I knit, which means all the cool kids knit, I decided that my characters must knit too.  In my Greatest Hits Series, about the Bombay Family of Assassins, characters in three of my books are knitters and actively knitting.  Even the dude.  He's a master at it.

In 'SCUSE ME WHILE I KILL THIS GUY, for example, soccer mom/assassin Gin Bombay knits a lot.  She tells a sneering teenager in a doctor's waiting room (he teases her for knitting, "My grandma knits!  What are you knitting, Grandma?")  "I'm knitting a cock ring.  Your grandma ever knit that?"  In one of my favorite scenes ever, she strangles a bad guy with circular knitting needles and sadly observes that now she has to destroy the scarf she was knitting on it so there wouldn't be any DNA evidence.

Leslie's gargoyle ski mask for author Jana DeLeon

Cy Bombay - Carney with a Ph.D. in philosophy (and resembles Daniel Craig) is a master knitter in I SHOT YOU BABE.  On a trip to Mongolia, he's excited to get some lush fibers to knit and felt a bag for his cousin Missi.  This mirrors life as I spend hours at my favorite yarn shop, stroking the buffalo yarn and wishing I could afford it.  To their credit - the Yarn Shoppe has never asked me to leave - no matter how weird this looks. 

Praying Mantis

Perhaps my favorite inclusion of my favorite hobby is in the third book, STAND BY YOUR HITMAN.  Missi Bombay - the family's assassin and inventor is a contestant on a cheap, Canadian knock off of Survivor.  For one of the challenges, the teams are presented with two telephone poles, sharpened to points on top, and colored rope.  Missi figures out that she and her teammate have to manipulate the huge poles to knit the rope into a swatch that misspells a clue.  That was the hardest scene I've ever written about knitting.  It's hard enough to explain to knitters what to do, but to explain how to hold two telephone poles and a huge rope and make them knit?  I'm still not sure I nailed it.

I will always knit.  So will my characters...or else.

Thanks for stopping by, Leslie! And by the way, readers, the next book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series by Lois Winston and starring yours truly is Death By Killer Mop Doll. Check out the deadly object on the cover in the sidebar. And don't forget to post a comment to be entered in the drawing for a book from out Book Club Friday guest author this week. -- AP 


Kwana said...

Great post and as a knitter myself you've pulled me in. These books sound like so much fun!

Leslie Langtry said...

Thanks Kwana! Isn't knitting addicting? It's easier than yoga!

Liz V. said...

Sounds like a fun series, although my grandmother never succeeded in teaching me to crochet or knit. At least my sister learned.

Patricia said...

WOW! I never heard of this series but it sure sounds cool. A family of assassins? Definitely a unique theme for a series. I have to get one of your books because this blog was enough to make me a fan.

Leslie Langtry said...

Liz - I was hopeless once too. Had to wait until I was older. You can do it!

Patricia - Thanks! Let me know what you think!

Camille Minichino said...

I thought my job, using the tiniest needles to make miniature dollhouse afghans was tough -- but telephone poles? Thanks for the perspective!