Friday, 12 April 2013

Flitting into Victorian Times and Knitwear


I can't believe I have somehow gone for more than three years without knowing about the work of Beth Hahn, an artist, writer, and knitwear designer who has written and illustrated in watercolours a series called The Adventures of Miss Flitt, a four-part, steampunk-ish, Victorian mystery novel, each installment of which contains six character-based knitting patterns. I mean, I love mysteries, I love history, I love knitwear design, I especially love knitwear design that references literature and history — how did this happen? However, the situation will soon be remedied. I intend to read the shit out these books as soon as I can get them into my hands, and for those of you who may not be familiar with Hahn's work, I shall try to fill you in.

The narrative follows Emma Flitt into a nineteenth-century New York filled with magicians, clairvoyants, charlatans, and pickpockets, as she unravels the mysterious disappearance of her sister Lucy. Hahn offers patterns for some of the items her characters wear. She has said that she hasn't been strictly historically accurate in her designs so as to keep them wearable for contemporary wear, which just shows good design principles. Let us hope, for instance, that Hahn hasn't offered us an item with pockets that would be easy to pick. But let's have a look at a few of the designs she has proffered in the Miss Flitt books.





This sweater is the Gretel pattern. It's understated and yet with interesting details. The hat is Emma's City Beret.





This is the Séance Shawl. The lacework is lovely and the shawl appears to drape really well.





This is the Nadya Corset and the Nadya Slip. Of course Victorian women would have worn items like these under several more layers of clothing, but you'll be appearing out just like this, like a brazen hussy.

You can read a very good January 2011 interview with Hahn, in which she describes the process of creating the books, on Popshifter, visit the Miss Flitt blog, and Hahn's main web site, and also check out some of her patterns on Ravelry.

2 comments: