Author and Hostess of Craftlit Heather Ordover

Author and Hostess of Craftlit, Heather Ordover was our guest on the Yarn Thing podcast with Marly Bird today. This was an awesome way to cap out a busy week and we are grateful that Heather’s schedule was flexible enough to join us and our listeners, too, as FRIDAYS are not our usual day!Blogging CL headshot

We began by discussing Heather’s podcast, Craftlit, which is popular among crafters as an annotated podcast of classic fiction. Heather began this 10 years ago as of this coming spring. The archives contain 23 books that have been read to us a chapter or two at a time explained with the expertise of the caring english teacher that Heather has to be, with the love and admiration of the author, the story, the history…. It began when Brenda Dayne, at the time hosting Cast-On podcast, put out a call for submissions of essays on the Greek muses. Heather, based on her experiences during 9/11 with high school students very close to ‘Ground Zero’ chose the muse Tragedy, how knitting helped the students heal. Brenda’s positive response (‘Who are you and What podcast do you host?’) may have been the prod that Heather needed to get started on the idea she’d been considering, to provide excellent entertainment for our ears and brains while our hands are busy.

The faithfulness of the fans have kept it moving forward and meeting them in person has led to other opportunities, the Craftlit tour, which recently visited the Lake District of Yorkshire, England. There is another tour planned for next October to Paris!

The Madame DeFarge books came from the podcast, there was an episode during Dicken’s ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ which discussed the Madame’s crafting in the book. It was about the time that ‘WWJD?’ was popular, and Heather titled one episode ‘What Would Madame DeFarge Knit?‘ That tickled so many, that Heather was able to create a collection on patterns from various folks like Brenda Dayne, Hunter Hammersen HODefarge3(our guest yesterday!), Andi Smith and Erica Hernandez (who will be editing the next volume). That has since been followed by “What ELSE Would Madame DeFarge Knit?‘ and last spring the newest, ‘DeFarge Does Shakespeare‘. These were all published by Cooperative press, you can find them at this link.

Heather’s love of a good tale doesn’t stop with just admiration. From fifth grade, when she created a play, through imagining she was no Anne Frank, and into theater school and playwriting class, she realized she loved the process of creating a story. Inspired by the book, The Artist’s Way, she used the exercise of ‘morning pages’, which was three pages of non-stop writing, in the morning. She says as you work at this, it begins as a chore and becomes a ‘brain dump’ of whatever is churning on the inside. One thought that she carried was to create a young adult novel, because she liked teen-agers and read the Twilight Series and there were things about depicting young people she thought she could do better.

HOGroundedNaNoWriMo came along and she took that as a challenge to try, she shared her first draft with others around her who were encouraging. ‘Grounded: The Seven’ was that book, was inspired by kids she knew while she taught high school engish. She says that when she began seeing the characters THAT was when she knew this was the story for her to write. Her story is about Rosie, who realizes she has something happening to her, and is sent by her parents to her aunt’s house in Brooklyn to learn more about it. Heather says she likes that her characters learn that they are more powerful together, she is currently working to finish the second in the series and has the plot laid out for the third in the trilogy.

Earlier visits by Heather Ordover to Yarn Thing podcast include last year’s during Podcaster November, and in 2012 when she was sharing the first What Would Madame DeFarge Knit?

You can follow Heather’s Craftlit website at www.craftlit.com, her designer page in Ravelry, that has a lot of her links too, plus she has group there, too. The Craftlit has a page to follow in Facebook.

Both of these ladies are so busy accomplishing something everyday, it’s really hard to encompass all that Marly and Heather are doing currently! The one thing that Marly wanted to hear more about from Heather is her Cognitive Anchoring project, which she promises to come back to share.

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  1. Jennifer Purtee says:

    If I were to design an item to go along with a classic book I would design a lace ruffle shawl in a soft rose pink to go along with A Secret Garden.

  2. Vicki Lynch says:

    I I was going to design something to go along with a classic book, I’d do the jacket, and hat Peter Rabbit wears or something that would go for the characters or home in the Little House on the Prairie series.

  3. kathy b. says:

    Thanks so much, Marly, for this great interview of Heather. She is so fascinating and provides such a public service with her podcast and its archives. Knitting and audiobooks go together. If I were to design an article to go along with a classic (to me) book, it would be a rough and ready knitted pullover that would have been likely to be worn by the young characters of the Arthur Ransome children’s series, Swallows and Amazons. As for why, such a pullover would be great attire for sailing and camping and the adventures of the characters in the Swallows and Amazons books.

  4. Michele Byars says:

    If I was going to design a pattern from a classic book, it would be lacy yet practical shawl for Catherine to keep warm on the moors in Wurhering Heights.

  5. Emily Frick Horacek says:

    Thanks for the great episode with Heather Ordover! Does Harry Potter count as classic literature? If so, I’d like to knit Mrs. Weasly a beautiful new shawl. She is always knitting gifts for others, and I think she deserves something made just for her.

  6. Ramona says:

    I might have heard the prompt incorrectly as I thought it was based on a character. In any case, the first thing that popped into my mind (and I got really excited so I don’t even care if it’s wrong) was Marianne Dashwood. I would knit something for her that was right for the times, ladylike and yet perhaps a little daring and rule breaking since she is so full of passion and lets herself get swept away!

  7. SallyH says:

    I would design some gloves and a shawl for Jane Eyre, as she always seemed to be cold, especially walking on the Moors.

  8. Ida Williamson says:

    A shawl and gloves for Scarlett O’Hara for her to use after her escape from Atlanta. Would be done in an open pattern due to the Georgia heat but something to comfort her.

  9. Kathymccann says:

    This is the first time I’ve listened to this podcast–I loved my craftsy class with Marly and was thrilled to discover this. If I were to pander to Marly’s earthy sense of humour, I would design Ahab’s Moby Dick-ey which would, of course, be a rather large mobius cowl.

  10. Heather says:

    Hi Heather! It’s so great to hear about your new book. Hope it keeps its 5 starts on Amazon and Goodreads!

    If I knit something based off a character from classic literature, I think I would knit a cockroach hat a la Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. I think we can all use something to shake us out of our usual lives. 🙂

  11. Citabria Shipman says:

    I am a huge fan of Jane Austen. Particularly the book Persuasion . I’d love to be able to create a small shawl or even a small hankerchief in fine lace to represent the time period. The only things I have created are hats and monster toys. Not very Austen like. Also, Marly I do the same thing with in undo during sports that my husband watches. Just listen to the commentators, it gets me through many hours.

  12. Audrey Abbott says:

    I still need to finish up listening to Heather, but if I were to design something for a character from my favorite classic, I would like to make something lovely for Cal, something loving and tender, but beautiful, perhaps a pair of Irish Crochet gloves for Sunday Church services

  13. Kathleen Moul says:

    I think I’d design a shawl for Rebecca (Daphne du Maurier). It was one of my favorite books growing up.

  14. Mary Kay Smith says:

    I am not a designer at all, so this was a hard question for me.Thinking about one of my recent favorite books, I would design a blue scarf to replace the one given to Yael by her brother in The Dovekeepers, by Alice Hoffman.

  15. Renee' C. says:

    One of the latest books I’ve had was a book about a boy from the Honduras who traveled to the U.S. to be with his mother again who’d come to the U.S. several years before. I’d knit him a great pair of socks for those well worn feet!

  16. Kayleigh M says:

    I would knit men’s socks and a warm ugly shawl for Jo March. I would make it complete with mistakes like she was rushing to get them done. She just needs them to keep warm. They would be made from frogged wool items that were donated to charity, or her father’s old garments!

  17. Brittany says:

    I think I would knit/design something inspired by the Scarlet Letter or the Great Gatsby. Those are two books that I can read over and over and learn something new every time.

  18. Rachel Catherine says:

    What came to mind first was to design a scarlet colored sweater jacket with some ornate gold detailing (potentially a ruffle at the hem and cuffs with the ends in gold). If you haven’t guessed yet, this would be based off Hester Prynne’s ornate embroidered “A” patch from the Scarlet Letter.

  19. Renee' C. says:

    I think I would knit or crochet some fancy, ruffly gloves to go with the styles of Jane Austen’s novel, Sense and Sensibility and the time period of those characters. What fun!

  20. Kim Schroeder says:

    If I were to design something from a Book, it would be Alice in Wonderland. In fact I would like to design a whole group of items from Alice in Wonderland.

  21. Missy Schmidt says:

    I’m not sure how, but I would love to design a pattern around the quote in JANE EYRE- “I am no bird- and no net ensnares me.” This quote is so powerful to me and has almost become a mantra! Thank you for the idea! I’m gonna do some thinking on this one! Thank you for such a lovely podcast!

  22. Suzanne says:

    This question stumped me. I have been out of the loop for so long with classics but one I remember reading from the required list in High School was Girl of the Limberlost. I’d love to design a piece related to the main character and now, I’m actually encouraged to go back and reread some of the classics and specifically this one.

    PS. I was teaching on the upper east side of Manhattan on 9/11 so when Heather spoke of that part of her story, I felt a very strong connection. I am eager to get my hands on a copy of Grounded as well.

Marly Bird

The One and Only, Marly

Marly is a knitwear and crochet designer (and yarn addict) that is here to help you learn how to knit and crochet in a way that's fun and approachable.

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