I’ve been participating in FictionKNITstas, the 2013 edition of Fictionistas. The project is a collaborative of independent Canadian publishers who bring female authors together for meaningful book events, and the 2013 edition threw knitting into the mix.
As I already explained back in December, the project pairs each knitter with an author and their book. The knitters read the books and then collaborate with the author to determine a handknit garment that relates somehow to her book. The plan is to have the authors wear/bring these FOs on the tour (for non-knitters, FO stands for Finished Object). I knit for Stella Harvey, author of Nicolai’s Daughters.
Stella has already detailed the collaborative process of the project on her blog and is definitely worth a read. I’ll abbreviate: We first discussed recurring textiles within the novel and what things are important in Greek culture. In the end, we decided on something that had a little more subtle reasoning.
The yarn was the easiest choice—the colour blue has iconic significance in Greece for the water and the sky, the national flag, and also historically. I selected a yarn that was slightly variegated and I think the stockinette stitch area of the item really shows off the colours well.
I chose a local dyer—Indigo Moon Yarns—located on the Gulf Islands here in BC. The yarn is a fingering weight in the colourway “Big Winds Moon”. It was important for me to choose a local yarn company as the main character in Nicolai’s Daughters lives in Vancouver and travels to Greece to learn the truth about her father’s family.
The next choice was the type of item to knit. I chose to knit a shawlette as Stella told me that shawls and rugs were a big part of the culture in Greece.
Choosing a pattern was probably the longest process. As Stella has mentioned, I thought about Multnomah (which I had recently knit) because the feather and fan portion looked like waves or mountains. When my friend posted her finished Nikolai shawl, I seriously considered that too, solely for the name. I decided against it because the lace looked more leafy than mountains or ocean waves.
When I finally looked again at the patterns I’d sent Stella, and re-read her thoughts and opinions she’d sent via email, I decided to bite the bullet and go with Travelling Woman shawl. The name I felt was appropriate, but also the lace was mountain/wave-like in a way.
I did make some errors in the pattern (not due to pattern errata). Many of my mistakes I caught and fixed by tinking back, a couple I attempted to fix and kinda butchered them. Others I left completely and I’m calling them design features because—like a well-developed character in a book—there is no such thing as perfect. But that symbolism is a tad stretched… so just don’t nitpick about the errors.
All in all, I had a fantastic experience knitting for Stella. The Fictionistas Tour begins on Monday, May 27, 2013 in Victoria and concludes Tuesday, June 4, 2013 in Montreal. Each event will have 4 authors and Stella Harvey will be participating in 5 dates and I’ll definitely be attending the Vancouver event:
FictionKNITstas 2013 – Vancouver
Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 | 7:30pm
People’s Co-op Bookstore, 1391 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
Featuring authors: Cathy Ace, Stella Harvey, Gillian Campbell, Nicole Dixon. Hosted by Leanne Prain.