Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Return of Madame Defarge

If you are a fellow listener of the Craftlit podcast, then you may have heard about a series of books of patterns inspired by literature. The third book in the series, Defarge Does Shakespeare, is now in preorders on the Cooperative Press site and is due to be released this Friday. This week, I'm taking a peek at some of the patterns in the book and sharing them with you. The book contains both knit and crochet patterns for all kinds of things -- garments, shawls/stoles, gloves/mitts, even a tea cozy -- but surely it will come as no surprise that what I've chosen to focus on is socks.

First up: Chrissy Gardiner's Malvolio's Yellow Stockings

(c) Caro Sheridan

In the play Twelfth Night, the poor character of Malvolio is tricked into believing that his mistress, Olivia, is in love with him. In one of the letters she supposedly sends him, he is told to appear wearing yellow stockings and cross garters. These socks are a great interpretation of what those stockings might look like. The stitch pattern on the front has almost an embossed look to them, while on the back are some delicate cables.

(c) Caro Sheridan

These socks are knit toe up, and there are even instructions for how to adjust the calf shaping to fit your leg so that you can appear happily cross-gartered in your yellow stockings!

Malvolio's plight is clearly a great source of inspiration, because he also served as the idea behind Elizabeth Green Musselman's The Yellow-Gartered Dude Abides.

(c) Caro Sheridan

This pattern combines two of my loves: sock knitting and stranded colorwork. These are also knit toe up, and the clever cables at the top of the back of the leg do double duty to shape the calf. There are two versions of the sock, with or without side ties, and they knit up quickly in sportweight yarn.

(c) Caro Sheridan

Another nice feature of these socks? The fancy part is all at the top, so if your wardrobe needs to be pretty sedate, you can easily hide those fun cables under a pant leg.

Finally for today are Becky Greene's Lover's Tangle Socks:

(c) Caro Sheridan
The inspiration for these socks is A Midsummer Night's Dream, in which four characters' love lives become, well, tangled. Becky has beautifully represented this in her cable motif, in which four sections twist and interweave.

(c) Caro Sheridan
Given my recent affinity for cables, you can understand why these socks are so appealing to me. I also really like Becky's description of the cable pattern and how well it mimics the plot of the play: "The cable pattern is made of four strands that weave in and out of each other, tie into knots, separate, but finally come together into a stylized heart shape."

There are three more sock patterns in the book (including one by someone you might know!), so stay tuned for the next post! In the meantime, you can sign up for the Defarge newsletter here to find out about freebies, giveaways, and other Defarge news!

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