Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Knit Lit. 101 - Knitting in the Harry Potter Series

Now that I knit, I notice it everywhere. While rereading the Harry Potter books in anticipation of Harry Potter and the Half- Blood Prince, I realized that many characters in the series knit. Of course this is not a new observation, there are websites devoted to the subject. One of my favorites is It has knitting patterns for the clothes in the movies. is a page reference.

In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, there are a few knitting references. Hagrid knits on the train to London after he and Harry first meet. Harry cannot decifer exactly what it is, only that is is yellow and huge. Hagrid seems to know what he's doing, he talks and counts stitches at the same time! (Rowling 65) Of course I guess you can be secure in your masculinity when you're a half giant. Harry and the Weasley boys each receive a sweater from Mrs. Weasley on Christmas, too (202).

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. New York: Scholastic, 1997.

In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry gets another sweater from Ron's mother. It says that it's hand-knit, so for her to make it for Harry without magic, the muggle way, it's really an effort (212).

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. New York: Scholastic, 1999.

The third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, has another new sweater for Harry. While Ron gets the faithful but detested maroon without an initial, Harry's is red with a lion. Ron receives what I assume are hand-knit maroon socks as well that year, but all cannot compare with Harry's firebolt (223). All that stitching upstaged by a

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. New York: Scholastic, 1999.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is my favorite book in the series so far. There are a few reasons for this. One of the Irish team Quidditch members at the World Cup has my surname and another player has the same last name as one of my close friends. He's Irish, too. I cannot wait to see the uniforms in the fourth movie, I want to knit myself one with my maiden name on it. All I can surmise from the book is that the uniforms are green with silver names on the back (105). I also like that the bushy haired bookworm goes to the ball with a celebrity (414). ( Hermione's my favorite character. I was once called cobweb head in middle school. I also tend to go overboard in school and read reference books. I'm hoping that J.K. Rowling will write Hogwarts, A History for charity as she did with the other school books for Comic Relief. How much of a nerd am I?!) Back to the knitting. Knitting is appreciated in this book, mainly by Dobby the elf. He is ecstatic to have Ron's yearly Christmas sweater and socks. Dobby knits socks for Harry as a Christmas present. He uses his pay to purchase the wool, and makes a red one with brooms and a green with Snitches (409). I am ruminating on how to reproduce them myself, but have yet to make socks. It would probably be wise to see if they are shown in the movie, then I can use that for inspiriation.

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic, 2000.

In year five, the knitting is more prominent. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hermione starts knitting for SPEW. In her fervor to free house elves, she knits hats and hides them, hoping an elf will unwittingly pick it up and be freed. The first hats are not recognizable as such, she knitted them slowly, by hand, since over the summer the students are forbidden to practice magic. She looks forward to producing hats more quickly with the use of magic back at Hogwarts, even if Harry and Ron object to her methods of freeing elves (255). Hermione seems like any knitter, finding time to stitch while talking to a friend, although the floating needles clicking by themselves is less common. She does expand her skills, and tries a pair of socks that are also barely recognizable (295). It does not take her long to improve though. Near the first outing to the village, Harry notices that her socks and hats no longer look like the same thing (334). By fall, Hermione makes scarves, too. Her preferred yarn is wool (350). She places her wool clothes around the dormitory, and we see that they are being taken. Unfortunately, they are all confiscated by Dobby. He still has an unusual sense of style, wearing every hat stacked like a tower. He also layers the socks and scarves. Dobby gives some clothes to Winky the house elf, but she resents them. The other elves refuse to clean the Gryffindor den, for fear of picking up clothes. Dobby takes the job on himself and gladly takes the clothes, too (385). Hermione is forced to put her knitting aside during the holiday season. She is busy, but worries about the state of the house elves. Harry is nice enough not to tell her that Dobby is wearing all her creations (451). Hermione is not the only one who knits, though. Mrs. Weasley still gives the Weasley children and Harry sweaters for Christmas, but Percy has the nerve to return it (502). After the holiday break, Hermione picks up her needles (527). However, the year progresses and she has less free time because of approaching exams (706). Then the friends become entangled in another adventure and there are more important things to think about than knitting.

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Scholastic, 2003.

The most interesting knitting tidbit is revealed in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince . Dumbledore likes to peruse Muggle knitting patterns while in the loo (73)! Mrs. Weasley's sweaters are put to good use on the first outing to Hogsmeade (240). Once again the sweaters are said to be "hand-knit" and I wonder if they truly are, or if they just were not purchased from a store, but made with magic by Ron's mother. A muggle may never know, but I think she knits with needles in hand. During Christmas vacation, while the Weasley family, Harry, Hermione and Fleur sit by the tree, Mrs. Weasley becomes nostalgic when hearing a song that she and her husband danced to as teenagers. Her eyes become misty and she dabs them with her knitting (330). To me this implies that the knitting was in her hands, because putting yarn that is attached to bewitched, flying needles near her eyes would be pretty risky. For Christmas this year, she makes Harry a sweater with a sizable snitch on it. As everyone is with Mrs. Weasley on Christmas, everybody dons her sweaters for the day, with the exception of Fleur, who did not receive one (339). It seems Hermione is preoccupied in this book, she is less interested in setting out clothes for elves, probably due to her social life. We shall have to wait to see what happens in the conclusive book of the series. I'm certain Mrs. Weasley will still knit, but we will have to look for other references, though it is easy to forget about knitting when the plot of the books is as exciting as these.

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic, 2005.

Harry Potter, characters, names, and related indicia trademarks of Warner Bros. Harry Potter publishing rights Copyright J.K. Rowling

No comments: