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Literary, Knitterary!

Some time ago, I began keeping a list of fantasy knits from books and movies. I was thinking about knitted and crocheted items mentioned in stories and characters who knit or crochet. Good old Miss Marple!

So this is the beginning of my dream collection of literary knit and crochet designs. It’s okay to count movies too – or think of your favorite books that have been made into movies and remember the glorious period costuming! *Happy Sigh* Here’s my working list. What are your knitterary dreams?

1. Mrs. Bantry’s Hat (from the Queen of Crime’s Miss Marple mysteries) would be a cloche covered artistically with flowers–particularly “bluebells, daffodils, lupins and hollyhocks”, or “a kind of herbaceous border.” How I love Agatha Christie. Here is Gwen Watford as Dolly Bantry (pictured on left). Her hat is sadly untrimmed with flowers!

Mrs. Dolly Bantry of the Old Hall and Miss Jane Marple

2. Mr. Holmes’ invalid blanket (from Jeremy Brett’s tv series of Sherlock) — it’s a giant granny square!

“It won’t do, Watson!” He couldn't have meant his blanket, surely.

3. Mrs. Ramsay’s stocking. I do not care for Virginia Woolf, and I hated the book To The Lighthouse. But Mrs. Ramsay was knitting socks, so there’s a redeeming quality!

4. Ahhh, Ondine. Knitted minidresses, aran sweaters, fair isle sweaters, shawl collared sweaters, watchcaps, gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous movie, and great story too! For those who love fairy tales and myth! Starting with In Bruges, I discovered that I really like Colin Farrell when he plays an Irishman (it was pretty fun to see him sing as an American country music star in Crazy Heart, too). Anyway, in Ondine, he plays Syracuse–a fisherman who lives in a small village on the coast of Ireland…I think you can see where I’m going with this. I was convinced that this movie would have some pretty gorgeous knits and I was not disappointed. In fact, I was elated!

Okay, love, love, love Ondine’s knit dress! Even with tattered edges, and though we never get to see it dry, it’s beautiful!

This is how I want to look after almost drowning.

Next comes Syracuse’s classic watchcap. The coloration of the movie is so beautiful and there are many deep greens in the costuming and scenery (truly gorgeous Irish coastline), I can’t quite make this color out, it seems, brown, green and gray all at once. I really love it.

One of the least geeky watchcaps I've ever seen.

And another shot of the garter stitch dress and an allover cable tweed pullover for good measure.

I'm not certain this needs a caption.

5. Sir Gawain’s autumn jumper. I mean, come on. Sir Gawain the Green Knight? Am I not supposed to think of an emerald green allover cable and seed stitch pullover?

6. Knitting with the Vengeance – A Tale of Two Cities. I envision this project as some sort of knitted flag/blanket. It would probably have to be as red as blood. Garter stitch, I’m assuming, since she manages to knit away so furiously! I suppose having her teeth filed into points helped her break yarn when the scissors weren’t handy.

7. Jo March’s blue army sock – “I can’t get over my disappointment in not being a boy; and it’s worse than ever now, for I’m dying to go and fight with Papa, and I can only stay at home and knit, like a poky old woman! And Jo shook the blue army-sock till the needles rattled like castanets, and her ball bounded across the room.” Please, Jo! You’re hurting us here…the dropped stitches off the dpns!

8. Greta Conroy’s shirtwaist – Anjelica Huston plays Greta in her father’s wonderful film, The Dead (a short story by James Joyce). I adore this film, and there is so much Irish crochet lace! I watched the movie years ago on loan from a college professor back when I was oblivious to cinematic crochet/knitting interest, so when I purchased it on amazon and popped it into the dvd player, the amazing beauty and care they put into rendering such a sentimental part of the very Irish-ness of the film. A very strong theme of the story is Gabriel (the main character), and his rejection of his Irish-ness and becoming a “West Briton” and the alienation he feels from his own people, and eventually his wife. It actually brought tears to my eyes; it was one of those moments where everything just came together and I loved it so much. I loved this story, I loved this actress, I loved this crochet!

Second lady from left and third from right both wearing amazing crochet lace...hard to see, so watch the film!

9. T.S. Eliot’s Typist. She is one of my favorite characters from The Waste Land; a modern young woman making her own way in sordid London of the 1920’s. Knit and crocheted undies — stockings, slippers, camisoles, and stays. Combinations are one-piece underwear suits.

“The typist home at teatime, clears her breakfast, lights
Her stove, and lays out food in tins.
Out of the window perilously spread
Her drying combinations touched by the sun’s last rays,
On the divan are piled (at night her bed)
Stockings, slippers, camisoles, and stays.”

That’s all I’ve got for tonight, will be thinking about new installments!


little elves have little feet…

Little Elf Christmas Booties

Early November seems like just the right time to start your holiday knitting, doesn’t it? Make these sweet booties for your favorite little elf to wear all throughout the season. No matter how late you start, you’ll have them finished before Santa manages to squeeze himself down the chimney! I love receiving feedback on my patterns, so if you make it, please let me know how it goes!

Little Elves

Easy – knitting skills include changing colors and simple shaping, but a little beginner’s crochet is involved–don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Time Commitment – I call this a 1-movie project…larger sizes might want to let the end credits roll.

0-6 months (6-12 months, 1-3 years)

Finished Foot Length
3.5″ (4″, 5″)

Patons Classic Wool (100% wool); 223 yards [205 meters] 100 grams): Colors A and B shown here in #00230 Bright Red (Color A) and #00240 Leaf Green (Color B): 1 ball each for all sizes.
Small amount trim yarn (Color C), shown here in Bernat Soft Bouclé #06703 Natural.

Needle Size US 8 (5 mm): straight
Crochet hook size US H (5 mm) or whatever your Color C label recommends if using a different yarn

Yarn needle

18 sts and 33 rows = 4” [10 cm] in Garter Stitch

CO – Cast on
Sts – Stitches
Rep – Repeat
K – Knit
K2tog – Knit 2 together
BO – Bind off
SC – Single crochet
CH – Chain

Stripe Pattern
Rows 1-2: With Color A, k 2 rows (1 garter ridge).
Rows 3-4: With Color B, k 2 rows (1 garter ridge).

Bootie Pattern: Make 2
Using Color A, CO 32 (36, 40) sts.
Knit 1 (1, 2) row(s).
Work 2 (2, 3) repeats of Stripe Pattern.

Shape Foot
Row 1 (RS): Using Color A, k 14 (16, 18), k2tog twice, k to end…30 (34, 38) sts.
Row 2 (WS) and all even rows 4-12: K across.
Row 3: Using Color B, k 13 (15, 17), k2tog twice, k to end…28 (32, 36) sts.
Row 5: Using Color A, k 12 (14, 16), k2tog twice, k to end…26 (30, 34) sts.
Row 7: Using Color B, k 11 (13, 15), k2tog twice, k to end…24 (28, 32) sts.
Row 9: Using Color A, k 10 (12, 14), k2tog twice, k to end…22 (26, 30) sts.
Row 11: Using Color B, k 9 (11, 13), k2tog twice, k to end…20 (24, 28) sts.

Size 6-12 mos. ONLY
Pause here and wrap bootie over recipient’s foot, if possible. Is there a large gap between the ankle/leg and the the bootie? If so, you may wish to taper the bootie a little bit more using the following decreases before working the cuff. If you like this extra bit of room, knit the following rows without shaping, then proceed to Cuff section:
Row 13: Using Color A, k 10, k2tog twice, k to end…22 sts.
Row 14: K across.
Rows 15-16: Using Color B, K 2 rows.

Size 1-3 yrs. ONLY
Pause here and wrap bootie over recipient’s foot, if possible. Is there a large gap between the ankle/leg and the the bootie? If so, you may wish to taper the bootie a little bit more using the following decreases before working the cuff. If you like this extra bit of room, knit the following rows without shaping, then proceed to Cuff section:
Row 13: Using Color A, K 12, k2tog twice, k to end…26 sts.
Row 14: K across.
Row 15: Using Color B, K 11, k 2 tog twice, k to end…24 sts.

Cuff: All Sizes
Work 1 repeat of Stripe Pattern.
Using Color A, k 2 rows.

BO 18 (20, 22) sts in purl, purl 2 tog and bind off final st, leaving a 10″ tail for seaming. Note: purling 2 together before binding off final stitch produces a tidy corner.

With right sides facing each other, seam bootie from cuff to toe using tails, you may want to take care to line up garter stripes when seaming, but then again, you may not! Weave in ends. Turn bootie right side out.

Trim Your Bootie
Attach yarn color C at center back of cuff edge. Insert hook and pull up a loop. Ch 1, sc in each bound off stitch around…20 (22, 24) sc. Join last sc to first sc with a slip stitch. Note: If you end up with a few more or less sc’s than recommended, don’t fret-go with what makes your bootie look best! Exactitude is not critical at this stage, cuteness however is critical.
Round 2: Slip stitch in each sc around. Slip stitch to join round and fasten off. Weave in ends.

A Quick Note:
Some elves like to frolic at this time of year. If your elf is ready to walk, run or dance about the house, I suggest applying some puffy paint to the finished bootie soles to avoid slips! Puffy paint is inexpensive and available at most craft stores.