Holding the Attention of My Impatient Knitter

In my last post, I described the first part of my approach to capturing the interest of my impatient granddaughter F whom I hope will succumb to the knitting bug.  The second approach is through books.

defargesAs a bookish child who read her way through a thick tome of the classics carefully selected by my father, I read of knitters in many of the books.  There’s Mrs. Fairfax in Jane Eyre (C. Brontë); Madame Defarge in A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens – pic source); The Courtship of Miles Standish where Longfellow raises untangling yarn to new heights of eroticism; House Taken Over (Cortazar), where sister Irene knits with wool bought by her brother; a village full of knitting ladies in Gaskell’s Cranford; and let me not forget the most industrious (and sainted) mother of lovelorn John Ridd in Lorna Doone (Blackmore).

Lorna Doone was my favorite book in 4th grade.  From time to time I snuck in books by Agatha Christie and there was Miss Marple, knitting industriously.  While Christie wasn’t on my father’s approved list of reading, I escaped his attention by climbing our Gravenstein apple tree and reading books far off the ground while happily munching on apples.

I suspect I could not get either of my grandchildren to read through my father’s list of “children’s” required literature by the time I was 13.  I found, however, many books for my grandchildren that include knitting that seem more “fun” for young children than, say, Dickens or Blackmore.  (I also found several whose stories revolved around weaving or KnittingNellspinning.)

F already has Knitting Nell (Julie Jersild Roth), which currently is one of her favorite books (in anticipation of her learning to knit, I think – hope?!)  Here are my favorite knitting-centered stories for children granddaughter F’s age (pictures from Amazon):


Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters (K.G. Campbell)

Milo Armadillo (Jan Fearnley)

Mr. Nick’s Knitting (Margaret Wild)

MrNicksKnittingShall I Knit You a Hat?  A Christmas Yarn (Kate Klise)

The New Sweater: The Hueys, Book 1 (Oliver Jeffers)


The Surprise (Sylvia van Ommen)

YestasSweaterYetsa’s Sweater (Sylvia Olsen)

I hope to find Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters and Yesta’s Sweater at the Black Sheep Gathering in June.

Any recommendations from other knitters?


About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
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24 Responses to Holding the Attention of My Impatient Knitter

  1. The light hearted mysteries in small towns. Like the character Agatha Raisin.


  2. Tea cosy novels??


  3. What a great way to learn another language for kids. 🙂 I’m a massive fan of the Brit crime novels. And the tea cosy novels.


  4. I know the feeling. Believe me, I was the only one in my 4th grade class who was absolutely in love with the Lorna Doone story!


  5. Sounds like another great book to put on he list – and good to show that it is not only girls who knit!! And I like historical setting too.


  6. Thank you! I wasn’t familiar with the series until you wrote me – I just read about it. I am putting that on the list too!


  7. You say indoctrination, I say education! 🙂


  8. It is so much fun, of course! I just finished the outfit I knit for her birthday. It is TOO cute. 🙂


  9. I don’t think my dad thought it was “serious” literature. I discovered British crime novelists in Norway one summer – turned out my grandfather had purchased a whole stack of British novels to ensure his children (my mother and uncle) would read English. I also found Nancy Drew in the pile!


  10. Fiber arts REALLY cut into our reading time. 🙂


  11. One of my favorite yarn stores has a great little section for kids. My granddaughter loves that yarn store!


  12. Wow – I just saw that book today and put it on my list of “get” … 🙂


  13. Thanks for visiting!


  14. cleo14 says:

    I remember A House Taken Over. I was the only one in my ninth grade english class who read it with any enthusiasm… 🙂


  15. Carina says:

    I just bought “Knit your Bit” by Deborah Hopkinson the other day. It’s about a little boy learning to knit in World War I. He and his friends form the Boys’ Knitting Brigade, competing with the Purl Girls in the Central Park Knitting Bee (which actually took place).
    A lovely, somehow old-fashioned picture book with watercolor illustrations. Short sentences and lots of “white” help to focus on the knitting kids. My boy (8) had me translate every word of it and really like the story.


  16. Violet Mackerel’s Mum is a happy knitter!


  17. knitish says:

    Alas, I have no children and, therefor, no grandchildren but I enjoyed your list nonetheless. The ladies of Cranford happen to be amongst my favorites as are Mrs. Defarge, Mrs. Fairfax and the ubiquitous Miss Marple (my father was more of the Sherlock Holmes kind of reader so he approved). How I managed to miss Lorna Doone is beyond me but I will have to go in search of this fictional knitter. I hadn’t heard of sister Irene either but the title “House taken over” should speak to knitters everywhere who are constantly trying to rein in their stashes!
    Thanks for the great post!


  18. caityrosey says:

    Thanks for those recommendations. I’m always looking for fiber themed children’s books for the proper indoctrination of my friends’ kids.


  19. starproms says:

    I love that Miss Marple knits while she thinks. Your grand-daughter is very lucky that you are taking such trouble to teach her these things. When she grows up, she will surely thank you for it!


  20. I’m curious, why wasn’t Agatha Christie on your father’s approved list? Where would we be without books! 🙂


  21. Marie-Adeline says:

    I should by some of these, just in case for little Sarah. And I need definitively to read The Courtship of Miles Standish ;-))


  22. domesticnews says:

    I keep a few books on my sewing room shelves like this, for any young visitors, sigh, no g’kids yet. I’m going to recommend for one of our local shops. 🙂


  23. whatzitknitz says:

    Alana Dankos has a book called Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf that you might like.


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