This post is a reader’s response to a book read for the 2013 Hub Reading Challenge.
Julie’s sweater shows up at the beginning of the book, where she tells us she traded four sets of wireless codes to get it back. Later, she tells us that the sweater was knit by her French nanny, who unraveled wool from a sunset-colored suit tailored in Ormaie in 1912. Because Julie had the sweater, Maddie recognized her at the end, when Julie shouted “KISS ME, HARDY! Kiss me, QUICK!”
I did some research about knitting during World War II. The Victoria & Albert Museum has patterns for knitting for British servicemen & women, and I even found a pullover for servicewomen which seemed perfect for this project. So the pattern was chosen.
Now I could think about the fun part: YARN. An elegant French suit would not be made out of plain wool. I figured I would need to find a silk blend and decided on Blue Moon Fibre Arts LSS (Luscious Single Silk) in “True Blood” Red. Near the end, when Maddie recognizes Julie she calls the sweater a “flame-colored pullover,” so this seemed to be an excellent color for the sweater.
I started knitting the back on Saturday, June 29th. We were having a heat wave, so I had an excuse to sit and knit in my one air-conditioned room, thinking a bit about a book that I love.
I sent a link to my blog (where you can see pictures related to the process) to Elizabeth Wein’s agent, who forwarded it to Elizabeth Wein. She wrote me back and sent links to photos of a pullover she and a friend knit for Julie.
I sewed the pieces together July 8th and so, the “Kiss me, Hardy” pullover project, 10 days of manic knitting, was over. It was wonderful to finally pull it on for the first time, although I didn’t leave it on for long because the evening was warm. I can hardly wait for autumn and cooler weather when I can wear it for real.
— Adrienne Gillespie
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