Knits In Time

 Here's Amy Clarke Moore, the editor of Spin-Off, to tell you a bit more about her recent project, Jane Austen Knits:

Carol Rhoades's Flower and Lace Cuffs.

I remember many years ago standing in front of a glass case in a London museum, looking down at precise handwriting in a simply bound small book, and thinking "Wow, that looks like my handwriting!" and discovering that it was Jane Austen's. Oh my, I was looking at Jane Austen's thoughts, scratched onto paper, centuries earlier. I had just spent a week traveling around England, visiting textile workshops, apothecary shops, antique bookstores, pubs, graveyards, tea shops, English gardens, museums, and outdoor markets and marveling at the number of sheep everywhere. It was heaven on earth, and this was before my Jane Austen obsession was full-blown.

One of the great things about working on Jane Austen Knits was imagining a time when every garment, pillow, quilt, carriage rug, lace trim, curtain that a person came into contact with was made by hand—and not only that, but each also was handspun and naturally dyed. If I had a chance to travel into one of Jane Austen's novels like the heroine in the recent TV series, Lost in Austen, I would have spent less time asking Mr. Darcy to swim in a pond and more time examining the textiles.

In Jane Austen Knits, among all the beautiful projects, are the designers' stories about what Jane Austen's novels mean to them—which character they identify with or the style of garment that they are alluding to in their interpretation, meant for wear in today's world.  For example:

Ann Kingstone's "Marianne Dashwood Stockings."
Kathleen Dames's An Aran for Frederick.

Ann Kingstone's Marianne Dashwood Stockings. Ann researched wool stockings in Regency England to bring elements of historical accuracy to her design. She included "clocks," embellishments on the inner and outer legs of the stockings, punctuated with a heart, to allude to Marianne's passionate nature. Carol Rhoades designed her Flower and Lace Cuffs imagining the drafty houses with no central heating system in nineteenth-century England. Kathleen Dames designed An Aran for Frederick thinking of the naval hero from Persuasion. She included cables to represent the love between Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth as well as Frederick's position in the navy when he first met Anne.

And you'll find so much more in Jane Austen Knits

Happy knitting!


 P.S. If you're having a hard time finding Jane Austen Knits in your local store, check to see if they have reordered it. We've gone back on press with it to keep up with the demand. Also, digital copies are always a great option.

 P.P.S. We've posted the call for entries for Jane Austen Knits 2012 on our website, We hope you're tempted to submit an article or propose a garment design.