Craft Book Review: What Would Madame Defarge Knit?

knitted friends

Oh you wanted a book review? I didn’t mean to distract you, really. Oh ok a little. I only have one review ready for today. This trio has kept me busy lately. They’re all gifted (or winging their way to their new owners) and I couldn’t wait any longer, I had to share. There will be more (once I stop wearing out all my needles) and they will be available for purchase at Little Acorn Creations. Want to know about how I’m setting up the technology plan for that little biz and redoing the site? please check out my Client Spotlight Series.

Now, without further delay or distraction, a review:

What Would Madame Defarge Knit?What Would Madame Defarge Knit?
21 Patterns & Essays Inspired by Classic Literature

Edited by Heather Ordover of CraftLit: a podcast for crafters who love books
Illustrated by Jen Minnis
Published by Cooperative Press
1 star for book review +1 star for book review +1 star for book review 1 star for book review +half star for book review

This collection is very different from just about every other knitting and crochet book that’s been published.

Where to begin? It is full of awesome and there are good things found within and beyond the slender volume. I know that I’m going to leave out something important.

Heather is the host of CraftLit, a podcast of 200 episodes and counting that draws upon her combined loves and experiences of crafting and teaching literature.

Cooperative Press is the brainchild of Shannon Okey.

An objective of Cooperative Press is to make sure that the designer contributors to a pattern collection are compensated fairly without taking away what the knitter* needs to successfully create their own interpretations of the designs.

To that end WWMDfK has opted to go an original route — in the pages you will not see colour photos of models displaying the patterns but the beautiful line drawings of Jen Minnis which illustrate how each garment, or object look. By lowering printing costs and taking the experience beyond the pages of the book, you get to experience the essays, the patterns, the recipes on a more vibrant level.

This is where the book shines without forcing you just to Ravelry (which is awesome in its own right but the topic of another discussion). It takes advantage of many of the modern multi-media options available to us today through this awesome thing, the internet.

For example, if you go to the book website you gain colour photos, additional resources and links for everything from how to make a picot bind-off to gluten-free shortbread. Additionally if there’s a a large lace chart or much more additional information that would make a whole book by itself, you can check out the WWMDfK links.

If you have a copy of the ebook and an internet-enabled device you are reading it with, then the links are live and you can view all of this from within your book. Well, not totally, as applications will probably launch to view the links, but how often have you looked at an index in a book and wanted to touch the page number and magic! you are there? That’s what this experience is like.

Also, non-knitters do not dispair, beyond the inspiring essays, this is a craft book and not just one of knitting. Inside the covers (digital or print) you will find other crafty goodness inside.

I have a few small quibbles about layout of the book and some aspects of the website, however, these are all things that I personally would do differently and they are nothing to keep me from using the book or buying additional titles from Cooperative Press. The concept that Heather and Shannon have realized rocks my world.

Two things I will point out are that when you get your electronic copy of the book, please know that this does not (currently) include the additional charts listed on the website. You still need to visit the WWMDfK book website and download them. Wait! Don’t get up in arms. While it is somewhat easy to save as and magically poof you have an ebook that can be emailed to someone, to add in all the additional charts and distribute that enhanced copy which is full of more than the print, or to send/allow for download all the additional charts is not that easy.

Second, the text of the pages is dense (like this post) and while there are headings to direct you to parts of the pattern (for example, cuff; unlike this post) they are not bolded or emphasized in any great manner. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of life.

What will I be making from this book? First on my list is some personal knitting the Lysistrata cardigan by Brenda Dayne. Why? Lysistrata is pretty awesome and the cardigan looks so comfortable that I want to live in it, not to mention that it’s a DK weight! I haven’t thought to after that yet. I need to get caught up on knitting so I can squeeze this project in. I think there will be a few pairs of not so ruby slippers gifted…

* yes I am using the term knitter in the broad sense of those who knit, crochet, embroider, make things by hand.

Disclaimer: I assist Heather with the technical aspects of many, but not all of her websites and am compensated in handknit socks. I purchased my copies of the book.

Updated: I forgot to put the stars in! 4.5!

Reader interactions

One Reply to “Craft Book Review: What Would Madame Defarge Knit?”

  1. […] A review of What Would Madame Defarge Knit? 21 Patterns and Essays Inspired by Classic Literature. […]

Comments are closed.