Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Allie Pleiter on Faith and Sock Heels

Faith and sock heels
I thought I'd share with you a piece that I wrote for fellow author Cara Putnam's blog last month.  It's a personal favorite. 

I’m often asked where my story-lines come from, how I pull my unusual plot lines out of the mist of my muse.  I know people are looking for some stunning formula, some admirable technique, but I haven’t got one.  I just pull on a threat and start unraveling, following where it leads.

I was standing in the First Division Museum in Wheaton, IL, looking for a thread to tug.  I knew I wanted to write about WWI, but not much more than that.  My knitter’s eye caught a WWII olive sweater vest in an exhibit, and when I read the description “hand made according to a Red Cross pattern,” I knew I’d found it.  A little more research turned up the WWI “Knit Your Bit” Red Cross knitting campaign poster to produce wool socks for soldiers, and the rest is HOMEFRONT HERO.

Wounded war hero John Gallows finds himself in the unenviable position of having to learn to knit socks in public so that boys will join the ranks of Red Cross knitters.  You can imagine his lack of enthusiasm.  Nurse Leanne Sample takes her knitting very seriously, and isn’t about to let an arrogant poster boy make fun of her efforts.  She sees through Gallows’s bravado to his very deep pain.  It takes faith on both their parts to see why they make good partners.

At one point in every knitter’s life comes the challenge to “turn a heel,” or do those wondrous stitches that take a two-dimensional tube around a corner to make a three-dimensional sock.  It’s complicated as a whole, but simple when taken in small steps.  It looks daunting--and it is.  But it is doable, and a wonderful thing when accomplished.  Still, a knitter has to have faith in her instructions and in the truth that each row builds toward an end she might not yet see.

Sound like life?  Sound like faith?

John’s journey to making a sock isn’t about yarn and needles at’s the perfect metaphor for his journey toward Christ, toward love, and toward healing (or in this case is it “heeling”?)

I hope you’ll enjoy this tale of wartime love that’s so near and dear to my romance-writing, sock-knitting, story-collecting heart!


  1. Allie - great post! I love learning where other authors get their inspiration and your story sounds WONDERFUL. I'm definitely hooked and will have grab a copy.

  2. Wonderful "knitting" around socks, life and faith.

    In me Crafts have an healing effect so for me indeed is like Life, like Faith. And it must not be coincidence that as time goes and life conditions get harder people turn to what they avvoid and even disliked before - like a return to a safe haven...

    Wishing that this blessful story reaches and heals many hearts in dire need of socks, hope and story - definetly a winner.


  3. This sounds like a wonderful story, Allie! I love that time period. Thanks for sharing more about your book idea and how it came to you.

  4. I admire knitting. And we do have to put a lot of "threads" in our stories. But alas, Elnora gets the hives when she tries to knit a sock. You impress as always, Allie!!

  5. I love the sound of this story hadn't heard of the men doing the knitting but I know it happens. I know even here they did these sorts of things during the war.

    On a side note mum worked in a shirt factory during part of the war and they made shirts for the soldiers to wear. They weren't meant to but many of the girls put there names and addresses in the shirts (I guess on the label). I dont know if any ever got a letter but I did know mum did this also on a few shirts.

  6. Allie, I googled to find out about WWI and knitting. Glad to know I hit it right!

    I would go on but you know I would gush about your book so I will just encourage everyone to buy it, read it, gift it to a knitter.

    peace, Julie


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