Death is Visiting Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley is currently airing on PBS. This two part series is based on the book of the same name by the fantastic P.D. James, whose DCI Adam Dalgliesh novels kept me up way too late during my college days. The book (and show) pick up at Pemberley after Darcy and Elizabeth have been married several years, and finds them mired in murder and mystery and the hysterics of those darned Bennett relations.


Darcy and Elizabeth from Masterpiece's Death Comes to Pemberley

There is something about the colors and textures of Jane Austen’s time period that is infinitely appealing. While people often upholstered their furniture and papered their walls in identical patterns, creating bold and lush statement rooms, they also often wore muted, earthy tones. Everyday dresses and jackets were often made of deep blue and green, rich brown and gold, colors that came from plants and fabrics that would stand every day wear and tear. 

There were delicate accents that crept into day to day life, and functional beauty surrounds Austen's characters. I especially like shawls and accessories that pop up throughout Pride and Prejudice as well as the rest of the Austen canon. Those old English estates that look so beautiful and elegant were also airy and drafty and, well, old.  A hand knit shawl was a perfect way to add a splash of color, some interesting texture, and all important warmth.

Georgiana Darcy's Fancy Shawl, The Best of Jane Austen Knits

Interweave's upcoming book, The Best of Jane Austen Knits: 27 Regency-Inspired Designs, gathers together some of our favorite patterns from the pages of our Jane Austen Knits special issues. It's easy to imagine Ms. Austen's characters making and wearing/using these beautiful garments and accessories, adding class and color to their wardrobes. 

I wanted to showcase a few of the book's Pride and Prejudice-centric patterns in this post, since Death Comes to Pemberley has been on my mind this week. First, here is Georgiana Darcy's Fancy Shawl by Karen Joan Raz. This rectangular lace wrap is made from a lace weight yarn, giving it an airy and delicate look. A fancy bind-off is accented with small pearls, added after the fact. The pairing of lace and pearls, and the use of a silk yarn, make this a perfect piece to dress up an Austen-inspired dress or modern day jeans.

Georgiana Darcy's Fancy Shawl by Karen Joan Raz

I was drawn to Catherine Salter Bayar's Pemberley Reticule for a few reasons. First of all, I love beautiful tote bags. I might have a tote bag collecting problem, truth be told, but what's so great about them is that they fit inside one another, meaning you can always have and store more of them! Also, a green bag is entirely appealing to me (green might be another one of my favorite things). It's an all around win.

From the book: "Reticule is an old term for a small handbag, which alludes to the fact that they were originally made of netted fabric—Latin rete, meaning net, became reticulum, or netted bag. Knitted as gifts for sisters and friends, rarely for themselves, women would only be able to carry a few coins in them. Not exactly practical for modern day use, so this larger-than- Regency style scales-up that net to create a bag that goes from market to beach, adding gothic floral-lace motifs, which grace and stabilize the base and top."

Pemberley Reticule, The Best of Jane Austen Knits
Pemberley Reticule by Catherine Salter Bayar
A Sensible Shawl, The Best of Jane Austen Knits

Celeste Young's A Sensible Shawl is knit in a color that has appeared in every Austen film/TV adaptation I've ever seen. One of those rich, earthy colors I previously mentioned,  this color immediately makes me feel warm and cozy. This worsted weight shawl knits up quickly yielding a warm and infinitely wearable shawl. It stylishly crosses the body and ties in the back, making it "rustic and lovely—the perfect balance of beauty and function."  From its I-cord ties to its scalloped edging, this shawl is an ideal accessory to dress up any outfit.

(Also, our model in this image is reading Death Comes to Pemberley, which is so fitting it almost hurts!)

A Sensible Shawl by Celeste Young


The Best of Jane Austen Knits

This book is full of garments and accessories inspired by Jane Austen's time period as well as by specific characters from her works. There are projects for men and women, big projects, small projects, projects to keep and those to give. You will also find stories about the clothes, yarns, and day to day happenings that filled Ms. Austen's life. This is one of those books that you can easily get lost in, and I highly suggest you do so. There's only one more episode of Death Comes to Pemberley to look forward to, but the twenty-seven projects here will keep you inspired and happily immersed in Austen long after the series ends!

Knit happy,


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