Oh my, am I excited about today. I am a knitter, there’s no question about that, but long before I ever picked up a knitting needle, I was a reader. I was the kid who would rather sit and read than do most other things and would often go through multiple books on holidays and camping trips (something that caused me a lot of anxiety when packing because, what if I ran out of books!?).
When it came time to go to university, studying English was a no-brainer, and I remain a voracious reader, and while I’m discerning, I’m not a total snob. I read a lot of new books, but one of my favourite things is to go back and reread books I loved as a kid, and thanks to Audry Nicklin’s new collection Lit Knits, I have added 10 classics to my bedside to-(re)read pile.
Chances are, you recognize Audry’s name, either because you read her blog or because you’ve seen her designs pop up on Ravelry (among many other things, she designed those incredible pie-shawl star maps, Celestarium and Southern Skies). Her latest collection is ten designs, each inspired by a classic children’s novel – including Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Anne of Green Gables and Wind in the Willows. Clearly, Audry and I had similar childhoods, because with the exception of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, I’ve read (or been read) all of her inspirations.
Knitwear inspired by literature is growing genre, but Audry’s take on it is different. Rather than creating garments that are mentioned in the novels, or intended for a specific character, she is inspired by the novels, which makes her designs stories in themselves. For example, Sail to Treasure Island is a blanket that is also a map to the treasure. The border is the ocean, followed by the beach, the forest, and the mountains, and in the middle, X marks the spot. This is the kind of design I imagine wrapping around a child right before bedtime stories. Of course, I also imagine it knit in a lighter weight yarn and wearing it as a shawl while curled up in a chair reading. It’s a beautiful and versatile design, full of thoughtful details that would make it both interesting to knit and a pleasure to wear.
I also love the Motoring Madness fingerless mitts, inspired by Toad’s awful driving in Wind in the Willows. I have been meaning to make myself a pair of fingerless mitts for over a year now (every fall and every spring I wish I had a pair) and these are perfect. Simple enough to be a quick knit, but still stylish and fun. I even have some Acadia yarn in my stash, so it’s clearly meant to be.
Lit Knits is a really comprehensive collection, including socks, shawls, a scarf, a cowl, mittens, a blanket, and an incredible hoodie (that most of these designs are unisex just adds to the possibilities). But not only is there breadth in patterns, there is also a range of design elements. Audry uses lace, cables, twisted stitches and stranded colourwork, offering up a little of everything. Even better, she includes detailed technical instructions, which makes Lit Knits a great collection for knitters looking to expand their skills as well as more experienced knitters. It is so good.
Lit Knits is available in both e-book and print versions, but from now until Sept. 25, if you pre-order the print book you’ll also get a download code for the e-book. I love having both a physical copy of a book to flip through and a digital copy for easy chart printing, so clearly I chose this option. Both versions of the book are available on Audry’s website, and through Ravelry.
As a bonus, Audry has offered to give away an e-book copy of Lit Knits to one of my readers! This is an incredibly generous offer given how much work and time Audry has put into this book, and I think it’s awesome. To win, just leave a comment telling me what your favourite pattern in Lit Knits is (bonus points if you’ve read the source material) by noon EST on Monday, Sept. 16. I’ll post the winner next Tuesday! (edited to add: please include your Rav ID of another way for me to contact you in your comment.)
To read more about the inspiration behind each pattern, head over to Audry’s blog – she’s doing an excellent series of posts with photos from the book (and photos that didn’t make it into the book) and stories about each pattern.
So, what would you knit from Lit Knits?