What Would Madame DeFarge Knit Book Review and Giveaway


 Heather Ordover knows her literature; the teacher and host of Craftlit Podcast has been helping knitters “Stick a Book in [Their] Ear[s]” for 274 episodes!

With her at the helm, this collection brings together designers inspired by literary figures from doomed lover Isolde to brave heroine Little Red Riding Hood to form-shifting Dr. Jekyll. The tone of What Would Madame DeFarge Knit blends a deep love of  the classics with a modern, irreverent spirit. While some designs, like Jane’s Ubiquitous Shawl, play it pretty straight with a historically-influenced lace pattern, others, like Frankenhood, offer a tongue-in-cheek project complete with light-up neck bolts.

With 21 accessory and garment patterns from socks to wraps to reversible cowls, there’s plenty to satisfy almost any knitter. My favorite is Chrissy Gardiner’s Wilhelmina Shawlette, a captivating triangular lace confection inspired by the heroine of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Heather and her contributors don’t confine themselves to knitting, tossing in a crochet pattern or two, a number of recipes, such as for spicy pumpkin soup, and related craft projects, like cutouts for a full shadow-puppet reenactment of Peter Pan’s Mermaid Lagoon, inspired by Victorian family amusements.

The book purposefully remains black-and-white, with woodcut illustrations; it works well to look up the patterns on Ravelry as you go to see the projects in their colorful glory. If you’ve ever been moved by words in a book, had a crush on a literary character or spent time mentally decorating Pemberley, this volume will speak to you.

Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Cooperative Press, we have an electronic version of the book to give away!

Please leave a blog comment about any of the following;

Your favorite project from the book

Which book might inspire you to design a pattern (not necessarily one that’s in this collection)

Another Cooperative Press title you’d like to check out as well as this one

How much you love Craftlit podcast (I know I do!)

The Random Number Generator will pick a pattern Monday morning, March 4th.

And Heather’s inspiration doesn’t stop with one book; watch for the companion volume, What (Else) Would Madame DeFarge Knit to hit shelves next month!


Have a great weekend,



22 thoughts on “What Would Madame DeFarge Knit Book Review and Giveaway

  1. Heather’s podcast is one of my absolute favorites and has been for years… and I’ve been eager to look at this book for a long, long time. Delayed gratification, you know.And I mustn’t neglect to mention that I love hearing the give-and-take of colorful commentary in your own wonderful podcast too, of course!

  2. Green for Life, by Victoria Boutenko. I’d knit a kale-green shawl with veins of lighter green, just like the cover.

  3. Though I’ve never tried it, I’ve seen some really nice items knit or crocheted from strips of fabric. I wonder what Scarlett O’Hara could have made if she had torn Miss Ellen’s Portiers in to strips?

  4. I am in total love with the podcast. If not for it, I would’ve never read pride and prejudice or the Scarlett letter! Or flatland, the mysterious case of dr Jekyll and mr Hyde, and the woman in white…or many others that I knew the premise, but had never actually read the book for myself! And the Dracula, oooohhhh, the Dracula, best damn audiobook *EVER*!! I’m now listening to it for the third, or is it fourth, time right now. Total wonderful earcandy for work or crafting time. I love craftlit and heather!!

  5. I love the Wilhelmina Shawlette! I am looking forward to “What (else) Would Madame Defarge Knit”, too!!!

  6. I love both Heather and Cooperative Press. They have been very inspiring within their own area of expertise. I remember when I first started listening to Craftlit and want to share that excitement with every reader I know. The same can kind of be said of CP. I recently attended Stitches West and their booth was hard to leave. Together they form an unstoppable force for crafty goodness. 🙂

  7. I have just returned to listening to Craft Lit after a hiatus from podcasts and am so glad to be back. I have really missed it so I have some catching up to do!

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