Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The Woolly Hat Knitting Club by Poppy Dolan

Title: The Woolly Hat Knitting Club

Author Name: Poppy Dolan

Previous Books (if applicable): The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp, There’s More to Life than Cupcakes, The Bluebell Bunting Society

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release Date: 25th September 2017

Publisher: Canelo

My top five tips for writing AND knitting

When I sat down to work on my top five tips for writing, I realised there’s a spooky amount that’s similar to advice I would give someone new to knitting, so whichever pursuit you’re going for (or why not BOTH), good luck:

1. Get your tension right. In knitting tension refers to how tight or loose your stitches are - pull too tight on your yarn and your knitting will be too dense, but not tight enough and it’ll be loose and happy. Much like writing! You need tension between characters and in the plot to push the book along and hold things together. This doesn’t mean have an explosion on every page, or you’ll leave your reader with a headache, but definitely don’t let your book go floppy with lots of pages of lovely things where not much changes - use conflict, surprises, twists to get an addictive level of tension.

2. Follow the pattern closely. Knitting patterns will tell you how to knit, for how long and where to stop. Write yourself a plan for your novel and try and stick to it as much as you can; make it your knitting pattern. Characters will go off piste and change things for you, but still make sure you are following a pattern of beginning-middle-end for a well balanced story. It’s easy for waffling to creep in but keep an eye on it otherwise it’s the equivalent to a five-foot long scarf. Pretty but useless.

3. Make something you’d want to be seen with. I only ever knit things that I think are cute or that I’d want to wear. That way I can be confident the person I’m giving to is going to like it. In the same way, write the book you want to read. Don’t write a book that you think might sell through the roof. If you think you’ve identified a hot trend, so has everyone else and by the time you write, edit, rewrite, edit again and get the book ready to be published, you’ll have missed the moment anyway. Go with a passion that drives you: the novel will be all the more stronger for it and you’ll have SO much for fun in the process.

4. There’s nothing wrong with unravelling. Even the most conscientious knitter will go wrong sometimes and it can be dispiriting to pull out all your stitches and unravel the hard work that took you so long. And the same goes for writing: you can be having a blast, typing at lightening speed, loving every minute. And only later realise that you have 5,000 words that do not need to be there at all. It hurts to hit that delete key but it’s so worth doing: the overall story will benefit from it.

5. Enjoy every minute (as much as possible). I often start knitting projects full of energy and then a few weeks in, am so sick of moss stitch or fancy cabling that I want to bury it behind the sofa and forget about it. I have the same switch from energy to boredom with my writing sometimes and I have to step away and change my perspective. If you sit down to your laptop and think ‘Eurgh! I’m only halfway through! This will take forever’ then your negative attitude will almost certainly come across somewhere in what you write. Try and remind yourself this is a fun, creative outlet. Yes, you work hard. But you’re not down a dark, dank mine or driving an ambulance on a Saturday night. Find the fun, keep the finished article in your mind and get back to the first-page love.

Author Bio:
Poppy Dolan is in her mid thirties and lives in Berkshire with her husband. She's a near-obsessive baker and a keen crafter, so on a typical weekend can be found moving between the haberdashery and kitchenware floors of a department store, adding to her birthday wish list. She has written three novels: The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp, There's More to Life than Cupcakes and most recently The Bluebell Bunting Society. The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp made it into the Amazon top 100 bestseller chart, so clearly someone other than her mum must have read it. She's currently working on her fourth novel – it's about friends, siblings and crafty things – and drinking far too much tea. You can get in touch with Poppy on Twitter @poppydwriter and on Facebook at PoppyDolanBooks. She doesn't bite. Unless you are a dark chocolate digestive.


  1. Really enjoyed reading this. I have notes for somehow hinge I want to write but needed the courage to write. Off I go.