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,
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!
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!
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!?
A Treasure Island blanket!?
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!