Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Faith and sock heels: Guest Post by Allie Pleiter

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 thread 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!

An avid knitter, coffee junkie, and devoted chocoholic, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction. The enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie spends her days writing books, buying yarn, and finding new ways to avoid housework. Allie hails from Connecticut, moved to the midwest to attend Northwestern University, and currently lives outside Chicago, Illinois. The “dare from a friend” to begin writing has produced two parenting books, fourteen novels, and various national speaking engagements on faith, women’s issues, and writing. Visit her website at or her knitting blog at

Dashing and valiantly wounded, Captain John Gallows could have stepped straight out of an army recruitment poster. Leanne Sample can't help being impressed—although the lovely Red Cross nurse tries to hide it. She knows better than to get attached to the daring captain who is only home to heal and help rally support for the war's final push. As soon as he's well enough, he'll rush back to Europe, back to war—and far away from South Carolina and Leanne. But when an epidemic strikes close to home, John comes to realize what it truly means to be a hero—Leanne's hero.


Allie Pleiter said...

Delighted to be here, Cara. Thanks for having me!

Marianne said...

sounds like a great novel. thankyou

marianne dot wanham at gmail dot com


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