Literary Knits by Nikol Lohr
Subtitled "30 Patterns Inspired by Favorite Books," Literary Knits is just that: a collection of patterns inspired by novels, specifically the author's favorite literary characters. The patterns are grouped into four categories: women's accessories, women's shawls and garments, items for men, and items for children.
I've included a list of the all the patterns contained in Literary Knits below (with links to the Ravelry pattern pages), but first, let's go over the patterns that I find most appealing.
First off, I'm quite taken with the cover-girl Daisy Cloche, though I'd knit it in a different color. It's referential, but still very wearable. My other must-knit is also a hat: Edmund Crown/hat. The "secret" of double-knitting the brim allows a whimsical item to masquerade as a wardrobe staple. The only way I'd love it more is if Lohr had included different instructions for sizing up (going up a needle size isn't a particularly useful suggestion when one wants to size up two or three sizes).
Another stand-out item is the Lyra Hood. It's not on my to-knit list unless one of my nieces becomes a His Dark Materials fanatic, but that doesn't mean that I don't adore the pattern. I love how Lohr incorporates Lyra's daemon into the pattern. That secretive (not subtle) move makes the hood perfect for someone who truly loves The Golden Compass and its sequels.
I also like the Katie Rommely Gaiters and think they might be something I could incorporate into a steampunk outfit.
In general, I like the sweaters included in the collection. I'm most drawn to Ishmael, though the silhouette wouldn't be flattering on Russell. I also like Gregor (another show-stopping look), though it's not something Russell would wear. For me, Lady Brett Ashley (sans horizontal stripes) or Elizabeth Bennet.
As for the shawls, I lean toward Emma Bovary's and Jane Eyre Shawl's. Emma Shawl is very clever. I like the concept (it begins with a section referencing arsenic) and the trapezoidal shape, though I don't know that I'd actually knit it. Jane Eyre Shawl, however, is definitely one for my queue. It's practical (the recommended worsted-weight merino-alpaca blend would be perfect for my work environment), has a good shape, is pleasing to the eye, and the pattern is simple without being too simple.
Now for the full pattern run-down (with some commentary)...
Literary Knits for women:
- Anne Shirley Puff-sleeve Top (Anne of Green Gables), the name says it all, I'd like it better as a girls' top as it does read young (and having a young model definitely doesn't help sell me on this as an adult top);
- Catherine Bed Socks (Wuthering Heights), first pattern in the book and a good opener;
- Daisy Cloche (The Great Gatsby);
- Elizabeth Bennet Blouse (Pride and Prejudice);
- Emma Shawl (Madame Bovary);
- Francie Nolan Tam (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn);
- Galadriel Hooded Dress (Lord of the Rings), which is beautiful, but not anything I'd be willing to tackle;
- Jane Eyre Shawl (Jane Eyre);
- Katie Rommely Gaiters (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn);
- Jo Mittens (Little Women), even more boring that Meg's;
- Kitty Muff (Anna Karenina);
- Lady Brett Ashley Pullover (The Sun Also Rises), the horizontal stripes are subtle, but still;
- Lucy Honeychurch Shawl (A Room with a View), which did not make a good first impression (I might have been more interested in this pattern if the photographs/illustrations in the book highlighted that it was a Pi shawl);
- Meg Mittens (Little Women);
- Meme Shawl (One Hundred Years of Solitude), love the book, but not crazy about the shawl; and
- Tess Fingerless Gloves (Tess of the d'Urbervilles), which didn't impress me because a friend of mine has knit the pattern upon which this one is based (Knitted Mitten and Bracelet from Godey's).
Literary Knits for men:
- Billy Pilgrim Socks (Slaughterhouse-Five);
- Dorian Gray Fingerless Gloves (The Picture of Dorian Gray), these are similar to Tess', but are less of a direct translation of the original, which is nice, but the lace is very unmanly;
- Gregor Sweater (The Metamorphosis);
- Ishmael Sweater (Moby Dick);
- John Thornton Scarf (Call of the Wild), a good gift project;
- Sal Paradise Vest (On the Road), just a vest; and
- Sydney Carton Cowl (A Tale of Two Cities).
Literary Knits for kids:
- Edmund Crown/hat (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe);
- Eppie Bonnet (Silas Marner);
- Laura Pinafore (Little House on the Prairie), a cute little girl's dress that stands out from a sea of similar patterns by having a square pocket on the tummy;
- Lyra Hood (The Golden Compass);
- Oskar Pullover (The Tin Drum), I especially like the yarn choice, which would make the pattern work sized-up as an adult sweater as well;
- Phoebe Coat (The Catcher in the Rye), which is felted; and
- Scout Cardigan (To Kill a Mockingbird) with mockingbird motif.