What Is It About Jane Austen that Resonates with Knitters?
|Editors' note: We've invited Spin-Off Editor Amy Clarke Moore to talk about a very special project she's been working on.
A bit over a year ago, a little idea that I had to create a special knitting magazine inspired by the novels of Jane Austen was given the support and resources it needed to become a reality—we've just gone to press with Jane Austen Knits, a special issue from Interweave. This issue has thirty-five gorgeous, yet classic, projects from many gifted knitwear designers who jumped at the chance to combine their passion for knitting with their love of Jane Austen's novels.
And 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.
While the garments in this magazine are inspired by stories and fashions that are over two hundred years old, they're made to be worn now. Take for example Annie Modesitt's linen work apron—you might wear it to gather apples in your orchard (or grocery store) or to dress up a plain outfit with a little bit of lace.
You may not even be familiar with reticules, but when you see this modern version of one, I'm sure you'll want to make one to carry your latest knitting project or perhaps your smart phone and keys.
And what wardrobe is complete without a shrug? Or two?
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