Jane Austen Knits, 2011
On the Cover:
Jane Austen Knits 2011
LITERATURE AND KNITTING seem to be a perfect pairing—especially when you consider the work of Jane Austen. Perhaps this is because knitting, like reading, has a meditative, quiet quality to it. Jane Austen’s novels resonate with knitters for the same reason that they have resonated with readers around the world for centuries—Jane Austen captures the essence of humanity: quietly, succinctly, and with rich humor.
Her stories are timeless. Through them we gain insight into a world (specifically the Regency era, 1795–1837, in England) that was governed by social class and strict rules of decorum. But at the same time, Jane Austen weaves narratives about people pursuing happiness despite obstacles, remaining true to themselves while still loyal to their family and friends, and struggling to know themselves—stories that transcend time, place, and situation.
For knitters, the films inspired by her books are the perfect companions as we snuggle into blankets on the couch with a cup of steaming tea as the snow piles up outside, adding stitches to the garments that hold our dreams and wishes. Immersed in the narratives, we are allowed to escape to a seemingly simpler time and imagine quiet moments to create and contemplate.
On a personal level, I can’t say that I always loved Jane Austen as well as I do now—my English teacher Ms. Winters probably doesn’t remember quite as clearly as I do that I burst into tears when I had to reveal in her tenth grade literature class that I had tried to read Pride and Prejudice in one night and couldn’t keep all the characters straight. Fortunately, I rediscovered Jane Austen’s work during college with the help of my sister, Julia (who shares a birthday with Jane), and the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice. After that, it was a slippery slope, and I fi nd that many of my furniture and clothing purchases (in addition to books) have been infl uenced by my love of Jane Austen. For instance, I bought an antique writing desk for my living room where I handwrite letters on occasion—it is also where my Jane Austen action fi gure (a birthday gift from my sister) resides. We used a number of my frocks as the undergarments for the photo shoot (however, in this I was outdone, as Joanna Johnson—who helped hugely with the yarn selection and photo shoot—had sewn Regency-era gowns so that she could attend a reenactment of a Regency ball).
Once this issue is put to bed, I’m looking forward to casting on for a spencer, or at least my very own reticule, and listening to Sense and Sensibility (a favorite for the portrayal of sisters) while I enjoy a cup of Earl Grey tea. Happy knitting,
Amy Clarke Moore, editor