What Would Madame Defarge Knit?

Buy Now

On Ravelry (PDF only)

About the Book

What Would Madame Defarge Knit? Creations Inspired By Classic Characters, edited by Heather Ordover, offers 21 patterns and accompanying essays, with something for everyone, including 4 crocheted patterns, detailed directions for two types of dyeing, and even directions for light-up pattern pieces using e-textiles.

Jen Minnis, who created all the art for the book, also contributed a one-of-a-kind project that will allow you to make a Peter Pan-themed shadow puppet theatre at home.

WWMDfK? is unusual in a number of ways. First, the book has its own website, which will contain live links to additional material that can’t be contained in a print book, such as video tutorials, additional images, and more. Second, the designers and contributors will be earning royalties from every saleÌ_Ìønot a single, low, one-time-only payment for their work. And third, by designing the book as a black-and-white Victorian era pastiche, complete with “woodcuts” and hand-drawn illustrations, we’ve kept production costs down, which means a lower price for you and better royalties for the contributors.

We’re all very proud of Madame, and we can’t wait to share her with you.


Just the Facts

21 patterns
202 pages
ISBN 978-0979201752
This book is available in both print and digital format.



Meet the Editor

Editor Heather Ordover is also the host of the popular podcast CraftLit. The second book in this series, What (else) Would Madame Defarge Knit? is also available from Cooperative Press. Further volumes are in the works.

On Ravelry

Are you a Ravelry user? Click here to see all individual patterns from the book. Add them to your favorites or queue!



Read Reviews

Not since I picked up a copy of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac have I enjoyed reading a knitting book so much. This is not just a set of patterns with instructions. Each pattern is accompanied by a description of the inspiration for the project. I’m already adding books to my “to-read” list after seeing the inspired projects in this book. I like that this is a book I can sit down and read even if I don’t have time to work on a project from it. — Carrie S. Bradfield, Amazon.com review

It’s is a set of essays reflecting on classic literature. It’s a knitting pattern book. Perhaps surprisingly, it functions beautifully as both. It takes a special group of book-loving knitters to latch onto A Tale of Two Cities and ask, “Just what was Madame Defarge knitting? Is there a pattern? Let’s make one!” What makes the book work ultimately is that editor and writer Heather Ordover pulls it all together and imbues it with the joy of curiosity, discovery, and whimsy.  Highly recommend.  — Julie D., Amazon.com review

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, because this is a book of knitting patterns inspired by classic literature. We have a cap for the Ancient Mariner, a mobius hood for the mad woman in the attic, and (knitting project of all knitting projects) Madame Defarge’s revolutionary shroud, encoded with secret messages. To state the obvious, this is a seriously cool book of patterns, one providing some much-needed inspiration for me to move beyond my namby pamby beginner knits toward the world of knitting charts, lace, cables, and secret codes. WWMDFK is more than a collection of knitting patterns, though. It’s also a book of essays, as knitters contemplate the role of loneliness in Frankenstein, the binary opposition of good and evil in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the revolutionary-inspired blood-lust of Madame Defarge herself. So this book is for the bookish, to help feed our text-inspired fiber-lust. The best of times, yes. — Kathryn, Goodreads review