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Knitting references in books
This is a list of books that contain references to knitting. These are
not knitting reference books! This list was compiled from suggestions from the
knit list and from various catalog listings. It is by no means a
complete listing of all knitting references in books.
The first version of this list was compiled and marked
up into HTML by Lynn Ruggles. It is now maintained by Julie Ourom,
with HTML by Emily Way.
Many of these books are available from the sources listed on
Wool Works' booksellers page.
"Ever since I was a little girl, I loved one thing more than
anything. Wool shops. Yeah, sounds daft, doesn't it? Wool shops.
All those colours, the textures, all that possibility. I felt it,
Dolly, the first time my Mam took me into one for a couple of ounces
of double knitting to make my brother a pair of gloves. It was an
Aladdin's cave. I knew then, I was only knee-high to a grasshopper,
but I knew I was going to make this stuff and better. I didn't
know how, but I knew I was going to. Ach, I can't explain it, but
you must know what I mean."
"Yes, of course. I feel the same about at paper and pens..."
"Right. Then just imagine this. I woke up one morning and I
realised that if something wasn't done, something real and now,
there could be a world without wool shops. Nuclear winter, the
possibility of survivors, all that means to me just the one thing:
a world without wool shops. The minute I thought of that, I knew
I couldn't compromise."
A World without Wool Shops, Dulan Barber
- Art Work, A.S. Byatt
- Knitting plays a major role.
- At Home in Mitford (from the Mitford Years series), Jan Karon
- The first in a series depicting everyday life in a small North
Carolina town. Knitting is described at one point as a comfort
to the soul.
- Bag of Bones, Stephen King
- The hero's wife is a knitter.
- Cheerfulness Breaks In, Angela M. Thirkell
- Plus other titles including The Brandons, High
Rising, Marling Hall.
Each of her books contains at least one knitting reference, often more.
- Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier
- Describes a sweater knit of unwashed fleece.
- Coming Down from Wa, Audrey Thomas
- Knitting at an African girls' school in the 1960s.
- Coming Home, Rosamunde Pilcher
- England during WWII with mention of Red Cross knitting.
- Country of the Pointed Firs, Sarah Orne Jewett
- A young woman's life in a New England seaside village, based
on a diary from the late 1800s, with knitting references.
- The cure for Death by Lightning, Gail Anderson-Dargatz
- Mention of wartime sock knitting.
- Death and the Oxford Box, Veronica Smallwood
- Features knitting as one of the book's themes.
- Fall On Your Knees, Ann-Marie MacDonald
- Brief mention of sock knitting for the war effort.
- The Fever Tree and Other Stories, Ruth Rendell
- "A Needle for the Devil" is densely packed with knitting.
- Green Dolphin Street, Elizabeth Goudge
- High Island Blues, Ann Cleves
- Very brief mention of knitting.
- Independent People, Haldor Laxness, trans. J. A. Thompson
- 1946 Nobel-prize winner, mentions Icelandic knitting.
- Jacob's Room, Virginia Woolf
- Full of knitting references.
- Lambs of God, Marele Day
- Spinning and knitting in a cloistered religious community.
- The Last Continent, Terry Pratchett
- Knitting that doesn't fit is discussed in this novel set in Australia.
- The Last Resort, Alison Lurie
- Knitting mentions, including Kaffe Fassett sweater.
- London Transports, Maeve Binchy
- Includes an enlightened knitter.
- The Man Who Loved Childen, Christina Stead
- Knitting is a part of the characters' lives.
- The Matisse Stories, A.S. Byatt
- One of the stories is about someone obsessed with knitting.
- McNally's Gamble, Lawrence Sanders
- The main character's mother is portrayed as a ditzy knitter.
- The Miss Read series, Miss Read
- Many mentions of ladies' knitting, both good and bad (knitting,
not the ladies!).
- Mister Sandman, Barbara Gowdy
- Entertaining knitting scenes.
- Odd Woman, Gail Godwin
- Knitting and recycling.
- Persuasion, Jane Austen
- Knitting for charity and as an amusement.
- Plain Jane, Joan Barfoot
- Main character is a knitter and book is full of knitting
mentions, particularly sweaters she's knitting for a friend in
- Random Passage, Bernice Morgan
- Mentions of knitting with rags in outport Newfoundland.
- Roman Fever and Other Stories, Edith Wharton
- A daughter's views of her mother's knitting.
- The Shipping News, E. Annie Proulx
- Lots of knitting references.
- Small Ceremonies, Carol Shields
- A mystery is created around a quantity of yarn found in a
character's husband's desk drawer...since no one in the family
- Some Tame Gazelle, Barbara Pym
- Many mentions of knitting as a part of ordinary life in her
earlier books; fewer in the later ones.
- Staggerford, Jon Hassler
- Knitting and small town life.
- Storm Tide, Elizabeth Ogilvie
- Maine lobstermen talk of knitting bait bags and trap bags for
- A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
- Arguably the most well known knitting reference; not unusual
for non-knitters to refer to a knitter as a Madame Defarge.
- The Twisted Sword (The Poldark series), Winston Graham
- The last book in this series includes a description of handknit
stockings and gloves.
- Was It Something I Said?, Valerie Block
- Mention of knitting as therapy after a plane crash.
- A World without Wool Shops, Dulan Barber
- A wonderful description of wool shops.
- A is for Alibi, Sue Grafton
- Description of a very intricately knitted mauve Aran sweater.
- Aunt Dimity's Death, Nancy Atherton
- Knitting mention.
- The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Laurie King
- In Sherlock Holmes style; also A Letter for Mary where
a suspect makes mistakes in her knitting.
- The Bookman's Wake, John Dunning
- "The night was young, the game wasn't over yet, I was more focused
with each passing block. I wasn't going to sit in my room all
night knitting an afghan."
- The Brother Cadfael series, Ellis Peters
- At least one mention in Potters field of an old lady knitting.
- Buried in Quilts, Sara Hoskinson Frommer
- "'I still can't believe it,' said Annie Jordan, knitting without
watching. Like Edna, she couldn't bear to sit idle -- and she
didn't count mere meetings as work."
- Candle for a Corpse, Ann Granger
- Delightful mention of hand-knit sweater given as a gift.
- Carpool, Mary Cahill
- One of the main characters knits, and another quilts; the book has
numerous mentions of their projects. "The nice thing about
knitting is, you can do it anywhere. And you can do it faster
when you're away from your own phone."
- C.O.P. Out, Nancy Herndon
- A seniors' knit-in in front of the police station.
- D is for Deadbeat, Sue Grafton
- Knitting as an aid to learning patience and an eye for detail.
- Dead Winter, William G. Tapply
- Nice description comparing knitting to solving murders
- Deadly Appearances, Gail Bowen
- Brief mention of knitting.
- Death of an Expert Witness, P.D. James
- One of the characters is a knitter.
- Deception on His Mind, Elizabeth George
- Comment that knitting is a usual part of a woman's possessions.
- The Devil's Workshop, Kate Gallison
- Knitting mention.
- Doomed to Die, Dorothy Simpson
- A suspect is a knitwear designer.
- Everywhere That Mary Went, Lisa Scottoline
- Knitting mention.
- Farewell to Yarns, Jill Churchill
- Numerous knitting mentions.
- The Grub-and-Stakers Spin a Yarn, Charlotte MacLeod
writing as Ailsa Craig
- Zany book with some scenes set in a yarn shop.
- The Hand of Death, Margaret Yorke
- The wife of the main character knits, including charity knitting.
- Hasty Retreat, Kate Gallison
- Knitting figures into the plot.
- Ho Ho Homicide, Corinne Holt Sawyer
- Brief mention of knitting by a night-shift nurse.
- Holly Jolly Murder, Joan Hess
- Somewhat snarky comment about knitting.
- How to Murder the Man of Your Dreams, Dorothy Cannell
- The vicar's husband knits.
- Ice, Ed McBain
- The main character's wife knits him a watch cap for Valentine's Day.
- Impact, Stephen Greenleaf
- Another murder with a knitting needle.
- J. Alfred Prufrock Murders, Corinne Holt Sawyer
- Knitting mention.
- The Miss Marple series, Agatha Christie
- Lots of knitting by Miss Marple in this well-known series.
- Mrs. Malory: Death of a Dean, Hazel Holt
- Mentions yarn stashes.
- Mrs. Malory wonders, Hazel Holt
- Main character owned a yarn shop.
- Murder Among Us, Ann Granger
- The murdered woman ran a wool and craft shop -- you'll have to
read the book to see if this caused her death.
- Murder Gets a Life, Anne George
- KIP at an airport.
- Night of Four Hundred Rabbits, Elizabeth Peters
- Main character is a knitter.
- "A Needle for the Devil," Ruth Rendell
- In the short story collection The Fever Tree and Other
Stories. Several knitting references, but the details are inaccurate.
- The Red Scream, Mary W. Walker
- Knitting mention.
- Sadie Shapiro's Knitting Book, Robert Kimmel Smith
- Also other titles including Sadie Shapiro, Matchmaker.
A zany senior has adventures, solves mysteries, and knits.
- Serpent's Tooth, Faye Kellerman
- Mention of favourably-received handknit cardigan.
- The Silent Cry, Anne Perry
- Brief mention of knitting socks using bone needles in this
William Monk/Hester Latterley Victorian mystery.
- Stitches in Time, Barbara Michaels
- Sock knitting.
- Thrones, Dominations, Dorothy L. Sayers and Jill Paton Walsh
- Knitting under stress.
- Tourist Trap, Julie Smith
- Brief mention of male knitting baby clothes.
- The Trouble with Going Home, Camilla T. Crespi
- Dreaming of murder with a knitting needle.
- The Veiled One, Ruth Rendell
- Considerable knitting content; the murder weapon is a knitting needle.
- While the Patient Slept, Mignon Eberhart
- The narrator is a nurse who knits during home-nursing work;
the author is a knitter and knows what she's talking about.
Science fiction and fantasy
- Friday, Robert Heinlein
- A menacing knitter.
- Drums of Autumn, Diana Gabaldon
- Sock knitting in 1700's, including description of males learning as
- Queen of the Summer Stars, Persia Woolley
- Heroine knitting on her queenly throne.
- The Unknown Shore (Aubrey-Maturin series), Patrick O'Brian
- Pirates teach a captured child how to knit.
- The Very Thought of You, Lynn Kurland
- An 11th century tapestry-destroying bard learns to knit when
transplanted to 20th century Scotland.
- Angelita's Magic Yarn, Doris Lecher
- An Andean folk tale, where the heroine is the fastest and finest knitter
in the village.
- The Mitten, Jan Brett
- A Ukrainian folk tale where a young boy begs his grandma to
knit him snow white mittens -- and promptly loses them in the snow
where they become a home for animals.
- Amos' Sweater, Janet Lunn
- Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery
- Also Rilla of Ingleside. Various knitting and crochet
- Apple Tree Christmas, Trinka Hakes Noble
- A young girl knits during a blizzard in the 1880s, using wool from
one of the family's sheep, Mrs. Wooly.
- Boys Don't Knit, Janice Schoop
- Or do they?
- Christmas Trolls, Jan Brett
- A Scandinavian story with knitting mentions.
- Daisy and Her Needles, Keith Balding
- Delightful story about a granny knitting a fire, tea pot, husband...
- Derek the Knitting Dinosaur, Mary Blackwood
- Rhymed couplets of a dinosaur who knits during the onset of the
ice age while his pals frolic.
- Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, Margaret Sidney
- Plus other titles; knitting mentions.
- Homer Price, Robert McCloskey
- Features a giant ball of yarn and a knitting teacher.
- Knitwits, William Taylor
- A boy learns how to knit so he can make a sweater for an expected
sibling -- without the knowledge of his hockey team.
- Lottie's New Beach Towel, Petra Mathers
- Lottie, the chicken, knits a sock.
- The Lorax, Dr. Seuss
- A knitting frenzy causes environmental damage.
- The Mitten Tree, Candace Christiansen
- An old woman secretly knits mittens and hangs them on a tree
for the children waiting at the school bus stop.
- Mr. Nick's Knitting, Margaret Wild
- A male knitter makes friends with a female knitter while commuting by
- No Roses for Harry, Gene Zion
- A bird unravels the unwanted sweater that Harry's grandma knit for him.
- The Queen's New Clothes, Tom Dunsmuir
- Dotty the Queen cat has an unsatiable appetite for yarn, and
knits weird garments for everybody in the kingdom.
- Safe Return, Catherine Dexter
- A young girl pushes herself to knit mittens to will her mother's
return from across the sea.
- The Saturdays (Melendy books), Elizabeth Enright
- Kids' knitting.
- Scaredy Cat, Joan Rankin
- Sheep in a Jeep, Nancy Shaw
- Plus others; with a knitted lamb.
- Sunny's Mittens, Robin Hansen
- Grandma teaches a young girl to knit; includes patterns.
- Tale of Alain, Arnold Zimmerman
- Time travel tale; includes directions for making the hero's striped
- Thomas' Snowsuit, Robert Munsch
- The Tusk Fairy, Nicola Smee
- A little girl's knitted elephant unexpectedly unravels and
the tusk fairy comes to the rescue.
- Wool, Annabelle Dixon
- Describes how wool is made into a sweater.
- Auntie's Knitting a Baby, Lois Simmie
- Zany rhymes about a bad knitter.
- At Home in the World: A Memoir, Joyce Maynard
- Known because of her affair with J.D. Salinger; Maynard's mother
was a knitter and the book includes knitting-related
- Birds, Beasts and Relatives, Gerald Durrell
- Amusing description of knitting by his mother.
- Jenny Walton's Packing for a Woman's Journey, Nancy
- Includes many references to her knitting.
- My family and Other Animals, Gerald Durrell
- Hilarious description of author's mother knitting in a car.
- No Ordinary Time, Doris Kearns Goodwin
- Biography of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt; includes photo of
- Personal History, Katharine Graham
- The author, longtime editor of The Washington Post and
Newsweek, mentions her mother-in-law knitting as a decoy
on the back of a rum runner in the Florida Everglades during Prohibition.
- A Schoolteacher in Old Alaska: The Story of Hannah Breece,
- Knitting in Russian Alaska in the 19th century.
- Voyage of American Promise, Dodge Morgan
- Solo long distance sailor describes mittens handknit by his wife.
- A Welcoming Life (the M.F.K. Fisher scrapbook),
- Photos of the author knitting on the beach.
- What Fresh Hell Is This?, Marion Meade
- Biography of Dorothy Parker, an avid knitter who carried her
knitting bag everywhere.
- And Now All This, A.W.C. Sellar
- The practice and fury of knitting (woology).
- Born at the Right Time: A History of the Baby Boom Generation,
- Mention of postwar shortages of knitting supplies.
- The History of Hand Knitting, Richard Rutt
- The Knitting Sutra: Craft as Spiritual Practice,
Susan Gordon Lydon
- Knitting and meditation as contemplative aids.
- Notes from a Small Island, Bill Bryson
- "Am I alone in thinking it odd that a people ingenious enough
to invent paper, gunpowder, kites and any number of other
useful objects, and who have a noble history extending back
3,000 years haven't yet worked out that a pair of knitting needles
is no way to capture food?"
- Prevention's Your Perfect Weight
- Knitting as a dieting aid (!).
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Emily Way (email@example.com)
Last updated June 4, 1999