Book Lover’s Day is coming up on August 9th, so we are wondering… Which of your favorite characters are crafters? The most beloved fictional characters of all time become special to us because they win our hearts. One sure-fire way to make a character relatable is to give them a wildly popular hobby – like crafting! Check out this list of some of our favorite characters who knit and crochet, and add yours in the comments.
It’s no surprise that many of Jane Austen’s characters are knitters, though it’s certainly hard to choose a favorite among them. And of the characters who don’t knit themselves, they seem to have a wealth of opinions about the pastime! In ‘Emma’, the main character describes the perfect Jane Fairfax: “One is sick of the very name of Jane Fairfax. […] if she does but send her aunt the pattern of a stomacher, or knit a pair of garters for her grandmother, one hears nothing else for a month.” Who knew knitting gifts could get you on someone’s bad side!
‘To the Lighthouse’ by Virginia Woolf centers around a devoted knitter, Mrs. Ramsay. In fact, many of Woolf’s characters knit, which might be a nod to the patriotic crafting movement that arose during World War I.
Jan Karon writes in ‘At Home in Mitford’ of knitting as a comfort to the soul. But it can also be a tactic, as in ‘The Odyssey’ by Homer. The wife of Odysseus waits many years at home for him to return, and when potential suitors come a-calling, she tells them she’s busy – knitting. She knits all day, and then frogs all night. Since she’ll never finish her project, she can’t consider their offers. That’s one way to avoid a bad date!
Penelope was the inspiration for our newest sock yarn, Penelope Yarn.
Miss Marple, from many mysteries by Agatha Christie, is a devoted knitter, proving unequivocally that crafting keeps your mind sharp.
Another Brit fond of needles was Charles Dickens. Some of his most memorable characters are crafters. Mrs. Peggotty from ‘David Copperfield’ crafts with great love, while Mme. Defarge from ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ uses her knitting to keep a list of aristocrats the revolutionaries will destroy.
Perhaps the most favorite characters of recent literature, who also happen to craft, are Hagrid, Hermione Granger, and Mrs. Weasley from ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’. While on their journey to Diagon Alley, “Hagrid took up two seats and sat knitting what looked like a canary-yellow circus tent.” Mrs. Weasley’s knitting throughout this series has inspired lots of fan-created patterns. But this is the particular book in which Hermione also tries her hand at stitching – with atypically disastrous results! Readers might be relieved to learn that Hermione isn’t perfect at everything.
Lots of stories by L.M. Montgomery feature characters who craft. If you remember, the women of Prince Edward Island are voracious crafters! In ‘Anne of the Island’, the girls visit Patty’s Place,
“where by a cheery little fire sat two other ladies, both of whom were also grim and ancient. […] each was knitting without haste and without rest.”
Anne and her girlfriends imagine these two knitting on a grand tour of of the continent, in front of all the major monuments as they take in the sights. There’s also knitting and crochet in Montgomery’s ‘Emily of New Moon’ series.
Another wonderful series about young ladies is Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Little Women’. These sisters are knitting almost constantly, since at that time it was one of the main ways to keep your family clothed! Remarkably, Jo turns a heel while reading aloud – we’d certainly never try it. There’s also ‘The Witch of Blackbird Pond’, a YA novel by Elizabeth George Speare.
If you have a young crafter in your life, or want to foster the crafting spirit in a young person in your life, there are a couple titles that are musts. First, ‘The Mitten’, by Jan Brett. This beautifully illustrated Ukrainian folk tale is the story of a young boy who begs his grandma to knit him snow white mittens. Of course, he promptly loses them in the snow, but then the mittens take on a whole new purpose.
Then there’s ‘The Lorax’ by the incomparable weaver of childhood rhymes, Dr. Seuss. In a world where fibers from trees can be used to mass-produce necessary knitted garments, society must ask itself how to make what it needs while preserving the environment, as well.
We’d love to hear about your favorite characters are knitters or crocheters! Please share in the comments below, so we can add to the list. Happy Book Lover’s Day, to all the readers out there. May your book list be long and your stashes be full.