So much cool Jane stuff going on around this here internet! Enjoy, beloved sisters. And robots. (There are probably robots reading this, I’ve decided.)
- Didja hear? PD James’s Austen mystery novel, Death Comes to Pemberley, comes out December 6 in the U.S.; it’s already out in the U.K. A lady can do what she wants when she’s 90, you know?
- Didja know? There’s band called The Jane Austen Argument.
- An interview with delightful fellow blogger—and all-around nice person—Laurel Ann Nattress, of Austenprose and the anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It.
- Check out this cool embroidery pattern, based on a letter Jane wrote to her brother, Frank! In other, unrelated news, it’s only 45 days until Christmas.
- This is just a really confusing image, especially if you think it’s the cover of a purportedly Regency-era romance where Kate Formerly Middleton wears a cowboy hat. You know, hypothetically. (Heh, you’re going to click now, right? You can’t not click after that gorgeous description.)
Keep calm and Jane on, everybody.
Where early young women take walks by West Cliff Drive before breakfast (with their dogs). Where there are many many coffee shops to shelter from the rain, see, and be seen in. Where Admiral Croft’s arm really would be helpful in fending off undesirable acquaintances-to-be. And where sensible young women are indeed fine for their own pleasure alone.
One of the greatest dilemmas of my life is my inability to read and knit simultaneously. It’s all so frustrating: two activities, both alike in brainpower and quiet productivity, and yet I have to choose between them! I propose that I’d read a lot more Austen if I could do it in conjunction with something yarny. (This, of course, assumes that I shun that magical twentieth-century invention, the audiobook, which is generally true, probably to my own detriment.) However, the place where Austen and the fiber arts intersect is often glorious—a mix of the Regency and the extremely modern, sometimes in the same piece. Check out the following Austen-inspired patterns from around the web:*)
Via KnitPicks: “Inspired by one of Jane Austen’s greatest literary characters, this breezy cowl is a beautiful and fun accessory to crochet in no time. It features triple crochet stitches and open airy shells making it the perfect addition to your favorite spring time outfit.”
Via CanaryKnits: “This pattern was hatched from my love of Jane Austen and the very-small gauged. With a light and airy feel, this ‘spencer’ is highly wearable. Knitters: be forewarned. The little scalloped edging is crocheted!”
Via Twist Collective: “Austen fans will recognize Bingley’s estate; sock knitters will recognize a friendly little flourish they can’t resist.”
Via Knotions: “This lightweight summer cardigan was inspired by those wonderful regency muslin dresses that you see in films such as Pride and Prejudice.”
Via Knitty.com: “Whether you think of Fitzwilliam Darcy in Pride and Prejudice [or Pride and Prejudice and Zombies!] or Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones’s Diary, Mr. Darcy is a character who comes across all aloof and snobby and unapproachable at first, but by the end is discovered to be a stalwart and totally appealing [and zombie-vanquishing, depending on what you're reading] gentleman. Similarly, this sweater might look unapproachably elaborate and time-consuming, but it’s actually a straightforward and rewarding project. And while this sweater will not bestow impeccable manners on the man who wears it [or protect him from zombies], it will keep him warm and cozy on weekend walks in the snow or long winter days at work.”
Now, join me in…not reading?
(*These patterns are exclusively of a non-Ravelry-exclusive nature, for obvious reasons. For those active on The Rav, well. Let’s talk.**)
(**For those confused about the mysterious Ravelry, click and be amazed.)
Readers, we know how fond you are of your Action Janes. We know you’re pals. We know you’ve bonded. We know you all take your Janes everywhere, sharing every confidence and frolicking in fields of flowers together, or whatever. (Just us?) But as the holidays approach, we also know that Action Jane can serve a vital purpose in holiday-ifying our respective homes: with her open but relatively narrow skirt and semi-movable legs, Jane makes an awesome and unique Christmas tree topper/instant conversation piece.
So if you’re in possession of an Action Jane, but not of something to stick on top of your tree—or if you have both, but like the idea of Winged Jane and her Feather of Holiday Goodwill—we think you’ll love these instructions for your very own Jane Austen Christmas tree topper:
1. Crank up your favorite holiday tunes. No skimping on this, you hear? Otherwise you will surely be black of heart and devoid of cheer, and Jane will know. Jane always knows.
2. Draw and cut out the angel wings of your choice. This may take a couple of tries, as you realize that the birth of Jesus was not actually presided over by a fairy.
3. Cut a narrow strip of aluminum foil a few inches in length.
4. Shape the aluminum foil into a tiny halo for Jane; if you prefer a slightly elevated “floating” halo, cut another piece of foil and shape it into a support piece. Wrap one end around the seam of the halo and leave the other end straight.
5. Tape the wings to Jane’s back; either set the halo directly on top of her bonnet or tape the support to the back of her head.
Voila! Stick Angel Jane on top of your Christmas tree—arranging her legs as necessary; we won’t speak to modesty—and revel in the way she oversees all festivity and merriment. Jane was made for festivity and merriment.
But, you know, some of us have bigger Christmas trees—the kinds of macho trees that won’t fit underneath Jane’s slinky skirts (ooh la la!). Some of us can’t get enough of the decidedly un-Regency hoop skirt look. And some of us just like making things more difficult for ourselves. For these special classes of readers, we have Action Jane Christmas Tree Topper: The Advanced Class, with an extended and arguably more angelic-looking skirt and the opportunity for extra craftiness. If decorating angel skirts sound like your cup of tea, read on:
1. To make wings and a halo, follow steps 1-4 of the basic instructions.
2. Using a square piece of paper, trimming two diagonal corners as shown by the dashed lines—this will be Jane’s skirt.
3. Decorate as you see fit. Tiny stars, tie-dye, applique poodles, whatever. The skirt is your oyster.
4. Roll the paper into a cone-shaped skirt around Jane’s tiny waist and tape in the back—once at the top and at least once farther down.
5. Proceed to Step 5 of the basic instructions—tape the wings to Jane’s back and secure the halo to her head.
Ta-da! Action Jane saves the day once again, poised for any and all Christmas hijinks you might throw at her. Now, get on with the drinking of mulled wine, or whatever it is we’re doing to celebrate.