Literary Crochet

My favorite part of reading is creating a picture of the characters and their surroundings in my mind. The author provides the general outlines, but there is a creative freedom in the written word that I love.

Like Water for Chocolate Afghan  

And, of course, each book must include its fair share of crochet, whether the writer directly references it or not. I recently finished reading the Hobbit, and now I am obsessed with undyed brown and gray yarns, leaf motifs, and cozy home decor items.

PieceWork has created an entire issue centered around literature and needlework. Here is the editor, Jeane Hutchins, to tell us more about it.

Literary Needlework

Here is our fourth special issue combining two of my favorite things-literature and needlework. In the previous issues (September/October 2010, 2011, and 2012), we looked at knitting from the perspective of Miss Marple, Agatha Christie's brilliant sleuth; the sampler that Eliza, a double agent in the fi­ctional world of Quicksilver, set in the time of Louis XIV and James II, cross-stitches; and the magnifi­cent crocheted bedspread that plays a prominent role in the novel Like Water for Chocolate.

  A Hooked Hot-Dish Trivet by Beth Health, inspired by Lucy Maud Montgomery's Pat of Silver Bush

For this issue, we have gone even further a­field, ranging from plain sewing in Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders to rug hooking in Lucy Maud Montgomery's Pat of Silver Bush and knitting in Edith Wharton's short story "Roman Fever." And there's much more. I have relished every moment I've spent with these books and stories, their characters, and the connections that all have to various forms of needlework. Along the way, I've added several "must reads" to my growing list, including "Roman Fever."


Once upon a time, I took a class in children's literature. Among our assigned readings was Sydney Taylor's delightful All-of-a-Kind Family. Even though this book and the four others in the series were written for children between the ages of nine and twelve, their appeal crosses generations. They provide a vivid portrait of a Jewish family living in New York City in the second decade of the twentieth century. Mary Lycan's article shines a light on their lives, including Mama's knitting and: "…the crisis of losing a library book they cannot afford to replace, Mama's game of hiding pennies on the front-room furniture to encourage the girls to dust thoroughly, visiting Papa's basement junk shop to choose from a trove of incoming books, buying penny candy and broken crackers for a postbedtime feast, shopping for Sabbath meals among the crush of Yiddishspeaking pushcart vendors, and more."

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE Jeane Hutchins

I love seeing how books have inspired fellow needleworkers! There is always something fascinating in PieceWorkwhether it's a historical technique or a vintage pattern. Subscribe to PieceWork today and discover stories of historical crochet, embroidery, tatting, knitting, and so much more.

Best wishes,

P.S. Have you ever crochet a project inspired by a book or poem? Share your story in the comments.

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