Friday, 7 December 2012

Anne of Blue Cardigans

I've recently finished re-reading the first volume of L.M. Montgomery's journals, and as a long time L.M. Montgomery buff, I found myself wondering if there were any L.M. Montgomery knitting projects out there. After all, there's an Anne of Green Gables Cookbook, compiled by her granddaughter, and Aunt Maud's Recipe Book, which is a selection of Montgomery's own recipes. Montgomery was by all reports an excellent cook, and she was also a very able needlewoman. Montgomery, a minister's wife, once remarked in her journals that the one good thing about having to make endless tiresome calls on her husband's parishioners (many of whom she found very boring) was that she could do fancy work during these visits, because otherwise as a famous author with sons to raise and a household to run, she would not have felt she could take the time to do the needlework she loved. I've read that there are examples of her needlework in various archival collections.

But I'm sorry to report my internet research turned up no possible L.M. Montgomery knitting patterns. If you're a die hard Montgomery fan and knitter, the best I can offer you is some screen caps of sweaters in the eighties-era CBC Anne of Green Gables mini-series, and there are no patterns for them online or in a published volume. However, I will say there were quite a lot of hand-knitted items worn in Anne of Green Gables, many of which are quite wearable by contemporary standards, and that it would certainly be possible for a good knitter to write a patterns for them based on the pictures below, and to turn out sweaters that are very close replicas. Otherwise... well, searching out similar patterns is possible if you've got the time and patience, especially with Ravelry's excellent pattern search functionality. If you know of any patterns very similar to any of the items shown here, please feel free to share links or publication information in the comments.

Beautiful, classic sweater pattern. This is probably my favourite of all the knitted items in the miniseries. I wish I'd written this post before I chose the pattern for the cardigan I am currently knitting.

Another nice pattern. I wish we could see more of it.

Another pretty cardigan on Anne in a similar colour to the first.

This mini-vest would perhaps not be so flattering on some women (you'd need to be small-breasted to wear it), but it's attractive enough in its way.

This one is also wearable. I'd make it in any colour other than that dreary tan and skip the tie underneath, since ties for woman fortunately haven't been in since Dress for Success was a best seller. A lacy camisole would make for a more attractive overall look.

Another classic cardigan on Marilla.

This one, on Katherine Brooke, is actually quite contemporary-looking - it's a lot like the drape-front cardigans that are in now.

Cute little vest on "Emmeline". You might not want to make this one if you're a Montgomery purist though, because the "Emmeline" character was an invention of the screenwriter's, not of Montgomery's.

Too bad we can't see the front of Matthew's sweater, but it's probably a cardigan with the same pattern on the front. Making his tuque is another possibility.

Classic sweater vest on Matthew. The man in your life might like this one even if he refuses to so much as listen to you talk about Anne of Green Gables.

Mmmmm. So handsome. And the vest on Gilbert is nice too.

Classic gray vest on Gilbert.

Of course we all hate the petty, tyrannical and general disaster of a schoolteacher, Mr. Phillips (stop flirting with your sixteen-year-old pupil Prissy Andrews, you perv!), but this is a nice, classic man's sweater. I'd knit it in a sharper colour. Almost all the shades of yarns used in these sweaters seem so drab, with the exception of the soft, pretty blues on Anne. Yarn dyes have probably come a long way since the 1880's, when Anne was a young girl.

Did you wander in off the set of the Kids in the Hall and wind up in a classic sweater vest before you knew it, Bruce McCulloch? No, wait, I forgot, this was before the Kids in the Hall got together and Bruce become a household name in Canada. It's still pretty funny to see him here as Fred Wright, Diana's fiancé. Although I suppose it's no odder for me than the fact that an ex-boyfriend of mine is an extra in this movie. To get back to the knitting analysis, it would be dead easy to make an exact copy of this vest.

If nothing else, you can always make an Anne doll, adapting a knitted doll pattern to include the red braids and old-style dress and pinafore.


  1. That tiny doll is the cutest thing I have ever seen

  2. Joanna Johnson is expected to have a book out called "Green Gables Knits" in November 2013. A preview of the patterns is available at Slate Hill Press on their front page. :)

  3. I'll have to have a look at that when it comes out!

  4. oh lord, her hair in the third pic!