Follow the breadcrumb trail

I think one of the best things about childhood is being read to by an adult.  I have so many happy memories of bedtime stories (and not bedtime stories!) being read to me by my mother and grandmother, the expression in their voices bringing the characters to life, translating the emotions portrayed in words, which in turn captivated the imagination and cultivated an enduring love of books.  Their encouragement of reading and regular infusions of new books into my life made me keen to read, and read I did.  I think I just about devoured the entire school library in my time!

Reaching back in time, I think one of my favourite childhood stories would have to be Hansel and Gretel.

For a fairy tale, it had quite a lot going on – love, betrayal, self-empowerment of children, triumphing over evil, a happy ending.

Hansel’s gathering of pebbles to find their way home and tricking the witch with a bone was ingenious; Gretel overcoming the witch, pure courage.  Victory in freeing her brother; their happy reunion with their beloved father.  I always felt very satisfied when I finished reading it.

Hansel and Gretel was so much more exciting and realistic to me than other saccharine fantasy tales of some unimaginably beautiful princess finding herself in difficulty and having a handsome prince ride to her rescue… quite hard to relate to!

Later on, the Laura Ingalls series was favourite reading material at home (this, and Anne Frank, brought on the craze for autobiographical books), leading on to Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, the hilarious P.G. Wodehouse and James Herriot amongst many, many others.  I was probably a little strange in loving all the Shakespeare plays, but they appealed to me.  Roald Dahl came late in life. Although we had shelves of amazing books at home, my mother did not approve of his books for some strange reason, (my poor sister was given “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” as a gift, and it went in the fire, to our great sorrow) so they were banned reading until I left home and could buy them and read them in the privacy of my own home.  There were some things I would refuse to read. Mills & Boon… say no more.

As each of my children were born, I continued the beloved tradition.  Beatrix Potter’s “The Story of Miss Moppet” was the very first story I ever read my infant daughter.  As she got older, it became one of her favourite stories, and she would coo in sympathy for poor Miss Moppet and her head in the duster,miss moppet

and shriek in laughter at silly Miss Moppet finding the duster empty after the clever little mouse had squeezed out of the hole in it and was dancing a jig on top of the cupboard!

naught mouse in miss moppet

In fact, I bought the compendium of Beatrix Potter stories when I was only 19 years old, and hadn’t even got a partner yet, and it would be a few more years after that before my first child was born!  But the idea of being able to one day read this treasury of beautiful stories to my own children inspired me to get it.  I even have Pat Menchini’s “The Beatrix Potter Knitting Book” of ’80s designs all inspired by B.P. stories and shot on location on some of the National Trust properties that were owned by Beatrix Potter.  Some of them are still very knittable!

Peter Rabbit cardigan
Peter Rabbit cardigan and toning skirt from The Beatrix Potter Knitting Book

So when Audry told me about the book she was writing (Lit Knits), and that it would feature patterns inspired by children’s stories, I was very excited.  So many stories I could think of, so many patterns that one could think up!  What a great idea!  I waited patiently… for two years!  Clearly, this book would be one worth waiting for.

Then, on her trip out to New Zealand earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peek of what she had dreamed up, and I saw that my hunch was right!

White Rabbit Mittens, and with a clock in the palm!?

Rabbit mittens

A Treasure Island blanket!?

Sail To Treasure Islandand of course, the Robin Hoodie, which I loved so much that of course I had to test knit it!

Robin hoodie

The fact that Audry has taken the concept of a story, and embodied its spirit in the design is inspired and speaks of the many hours of thinking she must have put into each and every design in Lit Knits.  This is the point about Lit Knits that captured my imagination.  A knitting pattern book inspired by a story or movie is not new. Only many of these books are basically costume reproductions (not a bad thing, but I’m just telling you here why Lit Knits is different to me).  Audry has taken it a step further:  it’s a book of patterns that embody a story.  You won’t look like you are wearing a story, or a character out of a book when you wear one of these garments.  I like that.

Today, I invite you to “follow the breadcrumb trail” as I am honoured to kick start the first round of Audry Nicklin’s blog tour for Lit Knits!

Audry has very kindly offered to give away one free copy of her e-book to a reader of Kiwiyarns Knits and on each of the other blogs who participate in this book tour between now and 25 September.

So… to enter the giveaway, the conditions are:  leave a comment on this blog saying which of the designs in Lit Knits is your favourite.  To view the patterns, click here for a link to Ravelry or here to go to the Bear-ears website (by the way, did you realise that the patterns can be purchased individually if you only want to knit one of the patterns from her book?)

I will draw a name from the list by random draw on 12 September, and we’ll be in touch for your details!

If you decide that you simply must have a hard copy (that’s me), then there is a special deal on at the moment:

Preorder Lit Knits by September 25 and you will get a complimentary copy of the e-book immediately with your order.  After September 25, the e-book will only be available as a separate purchase.

Visit Vivian at Bits and Pieces on 6 September for the next stop of this tour!

And, if you haven’t already discovered them, pop on over to Audry’s blog, where she has put up the back story to each of her designs.  They’re great reading!

37 thoughts on “Follow the breadcrumb trail

  1. thanks for giving us a chance to win the book 🙂
    there are a lot of nice patterns in it, but my very fav is Sail To Treasure Island.. although it looks like a mighty knitting undertaking 🙂

  2. I found your blog today following the trail of the fabulous Robin Hoodie on Ravelry. I love the pattern, I think your sample is stunning, and I’m excited to have found a wonderful new blog to follow. Thanks for the adventure!

    I’m having a hard time choosing, but I think my favourite might just be Motoring Madness. My mother read Wind in the Willows to us, as her father had done to her. Those are happy memories.

  3. Just had to comment when you mentioned you purchased children’s books for the future. Me too! My children were well supplied before their arrival. And yes, my tastes are similar
    Reading further, I love the concept of Lit Knit! Fantastic. Love the blanket. A vert special heirloom
    Now you have me hooked on a trail of breadcrumbs 🙂

  4. I love them all but deep sea wanderer is really wonderful
    I like you loved ll the Beatrix Potter stories especially Squirrel Nutkin

  5. Dahl, Potter, Graham, Tolkien, we loved them all. But my children’s absolute favourite was Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, by May Gibbs. From Australia, and written in about the 1930s (I think) it’s the adventures of two gumnuts, and a gum blossom, as they fend off enemies like the big, bad banksia men. It’s classic, timeless, and beautifully illustrated.

  6. The Robinhoodie is my favorite, although the Avonlea is more my style. Great memories are stirring, of summers in the tree house with Treasure Island, reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder books to my children, and now Toot and Puddle for the grandkids.

  7. “The Secret garden” was always my favourite story

    sail to Treasure Island would have to be my fave to knit- and a soft merino mix yarn would look great and nice to knit-thank you for the opportunity to win this great book of patterns 🙂

  8. What a great book! I like Avonlea the best, I think, although there are a number of close seconds! I have a fondness for LM Montgomery, as I’ve been to Green Gables (I lived in Canada for a number of years). Some of my first books, read to me by my Grandma, were the Beatrix Potters. Grandma inspired a huge love of reading in my sister and I. When you wrote above about being read to with expression and characterisation, you could have been writing about her! Wonderful memories.

  9. I really enjoyed your story about your daughter and Beatrix Potter. I’d have to say my favorite design is either the Treasure Island blanket or the Secret Garden socks.

  10. My favourite is Avonlea because I loved Anne of Green Gables – I had a friend with long red hair, just like Anne! I hadn’t thought about the Lake of Shining Waters for years until I read the description of this pattern. The shawl is beautiful, would be a challenge for my knitting abilities but a good challenge.

  11. Oh wow, what a fantastic idea and what fabulous patterns. I can see myself knitting things for gifts for some grown up boys who loved 20,000 leagues and Treasure Island. But first up might be those mittens.

  12. I really like the Robin Hoodie and think it would look great on my husband, but I love the whimsy of the “Down the Rabbit Hole” mittens.

  13. What lovely childhood memories ! And how nice to pass them on by reading to your children ! In fact, I admit I still like being read to, guess I’m not the only one, seeing the succes of audiobooks… 😉

    One of my favorite stories would be Alice in Wonderland and I absolutely adore those mitts !

  14. Oh I would so like to win this book!….Thank you for the opportunity…….Thank you also for taking us on a literary journey of the books of our childhood….I totally agree…there is nothing like a good book….and sharing one with a child is the best!….I can’t wait to see my grandchildren soon and do just that!


  15. Mille grazie for the giveaway.

    As a confirmed bibliophile who loves the Anne of Green Gables series, I’d have to opt for the Avonlea as my fave.

  16. What a wonderful opportunity and great patterns. My favorite is the Motoring Madness mitts. I have a fascination with traveling stitches and love seeing the wheel tracks on the back. Hard choices, but love the mitts.

  17. My favourite would have to be the White Rabbits Mittens. I knit a commission pair of Alice in Wonderland Mittens by Jennifer Lang for a friend once ( project is in my Rav projects) and she would simply ADORE a pair of these mittens as a Christmas surprise.
    Thanks for the chance to win this lovely book.

  18. Wow these are so cool – I ♥ the White Rabbit mittens. I really like the idea behind these – recently a friend knitted a Thneed (from Dr Suess’ ‘The Lorax’, minus the Truffula fibres) for her son. Looking through these even took my mind off the extremely nasty skunk smell that has burned its way into my nostrils this morning waiting for the school bus. Perhaps a scented cowl should be my next project?

  19. Oooh, the Black Beauty socks are rather lovely, although the Robin Hoodie is very tempting to make as well, especially after seeing yours!

  20. It’s hard to choose a favorite pattern. I love the Hans brinker hat and it looks easy and fast. My oldest name is Alice so the wonderland mittens would be a nice gift. But secret garden and wind in the willows is one of my favorite classics.

  21. I really don’t know! I was looking through all the posts about the photo shoots, and in the beginning, my favorite was Sail to Treasure Island. It’s such a lovely book too, although I haven’t read it in quite a while. But then I saw the Down the Rabbit Hole mittens, with the watch face on one palm, and I think they became my new favorite…But I don’t really wear mittens, and I could always use another blanket wrap thing. But that watch face is rather cute…

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