It’s finally autumn, the season of chilly breezes, changing leaves, crackling fires, and hot apple cider. It’s also prime knitting season, as any crafter can attest. “Heroines who knit” is a popular trope in romance, and if you’re a knitter with romantic temperament (or a devoted romance reader who’s into the fiber arts), you’re probably familiar with the work of knit-happy writers such as Debbie Macomber, Barbara Bretton, and Kate Jacobs. In fact, you may be planning to listen to one of these authors’ audiobooks this fall as you sit cozily next to your fireplace, sipping your beverage of choice and casting on your next project. And the project you’re planning to work on may be one of these.
The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits 2013
There’s some controversy over whether Harry Potter books can be considered romances. My feeling? It’s true that the books aren’t romance novels as the term is generally understood, but boy howdy, a lot of folks have paired off by the end of the series. Plus, you’ve got Snape, who Tragically Did It All For Love. (If you don’t yet know what Snape Tragically Did…read the books, already.) So for our purposes today…they count.
And thank goodness for that, because Interweave Knits’ Unofficial Harry Potter Knits 2013 is full of magical patterns that are guaranteed to make romantically-minded knitters swoon. Looking for warmth and color? Try designer Hannah Poon’s lovely Bluebell Flames wrap. Interested in a little whimsy? Kendra Nitta’s colorful E.L.F. cap and Rachel Coopey’s deliberately mismatched Fred & George socks will bring a smile to your face even as you’re working on them. Perhaps you crave a challenge: two patterns by Catherine Salter Bayar, the lacy, dramatic Lestrange Cloak and the intricately cabled Sorcerer’s Sweater for men, are head-turners and show-stoppers. And with its ingenious owl motif on the back, Ginny’s Cardigan, from Mari Chiba, is one you’ll reach for often when the days grow short and there’s a chill in the air.
Due to international copyright restrictions, The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits is only available in the United States.
Literary Knits by Nikol Lohr
In Literary Knits, designer Nikol Lohr has used classics of literature as a jumping-off point to create an eclectic and altogether unique collection.
Although not every pattern here refers back to a romance novel—witness the bug-adorned yoke on the Gregor Sweater, inspired by Kafka’s ooky The Metamorphosis—many of them will appeal to romance lovers.
A number of favorites are represented in this book. Austenites will appreciate the Elizabeth Bennet Summer Blouse, with its low-cut, fitted bodice and Empire waist, while fans of Louisa May Alcott will enjoy mitten patterns dedicated to both Meg and Jo March. The russet-colored Anne Shirley Puff-Sleeved Top pays charming tribute to L.M. Montgomery’s beloved heroine, and the Francie Nolan Tam honors the plucky protagonist of Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. The hooded Galadriel Dress is simply gorgeous. The most interesting pattern in the collection, however, is the Emma Shawl. Based on Gustave Flaubert’s doomed Madame Bovary, this piece grows out of a central motif based on—wait for it—an arsenic atom. Clever, morbid, and wearable; what’s not to love?
Unofficial Downton Abbey Knits
Whether you’re Upstairs, Downstairs, or knitting for the troops, Interweave’s new Unofficial Downton Abbey Knits is sure to contain something that catches your eye. This collection contains some stunners, including Kyoko Nakayoshi’s delicate Garden Bouquet Shawl, Annie Modesitt’s embroidered English Garden Wedding Kimono, and the fanciful Genteel Beaded Finger Purse from Kristine Byrnes. More modest pieces, as would befit a member of the housekeeping staff, include Amy Gunderson’s Walking Out Eyelet Panel Blouse (which is shown in a soft brown, but would really pop in a brighter color) and a 1918-Style Bolero Jacket from Laurie Sundstrom, the funky construction of which works just as well today as it did 100 years ago. Better, even.
And of course, this is Downton Abbey we’re talking about, so a gorgeous Mourning Blouse, designed by Annie Modesitt in a hand-painted silk yarn, is included. We hope our readers have a less frequent need for mourning-wear than the unfortunate inhabitants of the Abbey!
Like The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits, this publication can only be purchased in the United States.
What will you cast on this fall?
Unofficial Downton Abbey knits photos by Joe Hancock; Unofficial Harry Potter photos by Nathan Rega, Harper Point Studios. All photographs from Interweave publications © F+W Media, 2013.
Literary Knits images courtesy of Nikol Lohr
Kate Nagy is embarrassed to admit how many WIPs (works-in-progress) she has going right now.