Sewing & Knitting In Fiction

Hot Key books

Children’s books are a great cultural barometer, I find. If there’s something in the water, it will probably spill over into a kids’ book. So when I spotted that Hot Key Books had published two books recently, one on a sewing theme and the other about boys and knitting I thought, Hey! This is a big deal! I also thought, Hey! I’m gonna get them to send me copies to review! 

So, I’m going to start with Boys Don’t Knit. Great title, great cover, great premise. A boy gets in trouble and has to choose his punishment. He chooses knitting classes because he fancies the teacher. Written in diary format (Adrian Mole, anyone?) it’s very entertaining, with lots of knitting detail and research. I don’t think I could claim this is true crossover, appealing to adults just as much as children. But I love the concept, and I love that it exists as a book. If you know a 12+ boy or girl who likes the sound of a funny book with a knitting vibe, this is the one for you. I’m not sure I’d have typed that sentence a few years ago.

The Midnight Dress came to me because most of my publishing friends have now cottoned on to the fact that I am also an obsessive seamstress. ‘I’ve read a book you’d love,’ an author told me recently. ‘It’s called The Midnight Dress.’ This is a Young Adult story of Rose and her father, arriving in Queensland. The local dressmaker (and rumoured witch) makes Rose a dress for the Harvest Parade, but only on the condition that Rose will do her a favour in return. It’s a tense, but beautiful narrative:

The thread makes a soft noise in the taffeta. Ah yes, it says, again and again.

This is a beautiful and unusual novel and I LOVE to see the unusual published. I’d happily recommend this one to adult readers, as long as they enjoy a touch of magic realism.

But if you’re looking for a true adult novel on a sewing theme, that will make your toes curl in delight, watch this space. A review soon to come on a very special novel indeed, sneak peek below. Can anyone guess who’s wearing that pink suit on the cover?

Mystery Book

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28 Responses to Sewing & Knitting In Fiction

  1. Alice says:

    Please say it’s Jackie o!

  2. Tina says:

    Jackie Kennedy….looking forward to seeing this one

  3. Angela says:

    Karen, you are not good for my budget LOL!! I ordered The Midnight Dress. I think I’ll enjoy it, and I have a teen daughter that is a voracious reader, so she might enjoy it also.

  4. B & the Moon says:

    Hey T.S.Eaton! Boys do knit, and in public!…or at least the cool ones do!

  5. your on the cover?! Ordering the Midnight dress, I’m sure my teen and I will love it…..

  6. Jo says:

    Jackie O. was my first thought too! Looking forward to finding out about it, whoever it is 🙂

  7. maevef2014 says:

    Think I will get the boys don’t knit for my 8yr old son! He should enjoy it! Thanks for the review.

  8. I really envy your children and young readers literature, well, and literature in general, I must say… when i say “your” i mean British… i’m a fan!
    Although i do have some spanish lit to recommend here:
    Veeeery nice 😉 :-*

  9. Have you read the Jenny Q books by former Father Ted star, Pauline McLynn? Brilliant teen girl type books with Knitting patterns in the back!

  10. Rutilly says:

    Great reviews, it’s the way you describe them that makes them sound so good and am definitely interested in them both like yourself I think the unusual should be published as we are all our own kind of unusual.

  11. you should read the seamstress by Maria dueñas. i recently wrote a post on my blog. so cool. and there’s even a spanish Tv series out.g

  12. Steff says:

    Love books and if the involve sewing, better still.

    I am reading at the moment “The Coat Route: Craft, Luxury and obsession of a $50,000 Coat “. Real story on the retracing of a coat made by an Australian tailor. Interesting read so far.

    No clue as to the lady in pink…

  13. I used to read children’s book to increase my vocabulary and there is a certain nostalgia about the motions characters go thru…

  14. barbara says:

    very interesting, thanks. I like reading novels about sewing and seamstresses. Look forward to see who’s wearing the pink suit! I recently enjoyed reading When we were strangers (pamela schoenewaldt) about an Italian seamstress who made a new home in California in the1880

  15. I love the book recommendations coming in. Keep ’em coming!

  16. Flisstee says:

    I loved The Dress by Sophie Nichols & thank you for The Seamstress recommendation will definitely investigate that one.

  17. Fadanista says:

    What does it say about me – I recognised JFK’s head, then Jackie’s pink suit!

  18. maddie says:

    The Midnight Dress sounds interesting. That quote is so intriguing!

  19. Helen says:

    My son, who is 3, has a book called Just Right, which is about sewing. I can’t remember the author, and he’s asleep so can’t go check it. He loves it though, because “mummy likes sewing too”. It’s a really cute book! Have been meaning to write a post about it!

  20. susancarey says:

    Thanks for the tip about The Midnight Dress. I’ll see if I can download it to my Kindle.

  21. Kelly says:

    It’s Jackie Kennedy arriving in Dallas…

  22. Cattern Lace says:

    Some great book recommendations here!
    As a lace-maker, there are some lovely passages in Lark Rise to Candleford, including ‘They loved to see the bobbins tossed hither and thither, at random it seemed to them, every bobbin weighted with its bunch of bright beads and every bunch with its own story.’ And there is even a children’s book about lace-making, Little Grey Rabbit Makes Lace: ‘Her little needle flew in and out of the linen and her stitches were so small they were almost invisible’. Love it!
    PS I agree that it’s Jackie O 🙂

  23. Lucym808 says:

    The Midnight Dress sounds wonderful, but I am racking (wracking?) my brains to come up with another children’s book about sewing! The Elves and the Shoemaker? Rumplestiltskin? There’s probably a really really obvious one that I’m missing. Or perhaps there’s a gap in the market for a canny YA author and editor…?

  24. Laura says:

    I love reading books about knitting (even if they may be a little more on the young adult side of the spectrum). xoxo

  25. Suli says:

    These books sound great! Wonder if they are available as e-books? My amazon kindle reader has been getting a workout lately and it sounds like it will get some more!

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