My Article on Word And Film

I wrote an article for Random House’s website “Word and Film” – you can find it here.

Movies as Craft

or read it below:

“I have a confession. I have a secret crush on a teenage vampire.” It was four years ago when my friend admitted this to me as we watched our kids climb the monkey bars. Needless to say, I was intrigued.

Shortly after, she came over to my house and the minute she walked through the door, she put a book in my hand. It was a well-worn paperback with a pair of pale hands holding an apple on the cover. My life hasn’t been quite the same since I read it.

Like so many other fans of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, Edward Cullen captured my heart and my imagination. The author not only brought me into her world of vampires, wolves, and humans, but inspired me to design some vampire-esque knits and put me on a journey that led to me publishing my own book, Vampire Knits. Vampire Knits has twenty-eight knitting patterns all inspired by vampire stories. The book not only allowed me to share my dual love of vampires and knitting with readers, but it has led me to meet so many wonderful people – in yarn shops, book fairs, and even Comic Con – who share these same passions. I like to think I’ve even turned a few vamp lovers into knitters.

I’d always loved vampires, but there was something unique and magical about Twilight that inspired me unlike anything else. Ms. Meyer’s vampires sparkled instead of bursting into flames, they kept a civil treaty with wolves in neighboring territory, and they felt fascinatingly modern. Most of all, Twilight was a love story I could relate to.

This week, “Breaking Dawn: Part 1,” the final chapter of the Twilight Saga, will be released in theaters around the world. I’ll be in the theater with the same friend who introduced me to the series – it’s our ritual. We always watch the movies together. I’m excited to see how the last two installments will come together, and how they’ll separate the last book, Breaking Dawn, into two stories. I can’t wait to see the human girl become the vampire instead of a meal.

One thing I’ve been doing to get ready for the movie release is knit. I’m knitting the gorgeous Lore Hoodie (designed by Cirilia Rose), which appears on the cover of Vampire Knits, to wear to the premiere. Like Edward, it’s beautiful and mysterious and a little fancy.

I have a confession. I have a not-so-secret crush on a teenage vampire, and I can’t wait to watch him marry an ordinary human girl on November 18, wearing something I knit from my own book. I will wear my Lore Hoodie with pride, knowing that it was inspired by the very characters up on the screen. And while I’m a bit sad that the saga is almost over, I know that the story will always live on, between the pages of the books, on the screen, and in all the items that I’ve knit.

My Movie Knitting (Or How A Pile Of Yarn Becomes A Sweater)

So, I’ve given myself a goal. Have you ever done that? Told yourself, “I’m going to knit this by this date so I can wear it to this event.”  I never have made THAT kind of goal for myself. Usually my goal knitting is a) making a gift for someone by their birthday/Christmas/baby shower or b) making the items in time for the auction they’ll be donated to or c) making the items in time for the deadline of the book(s) they’ll be in. Making something for myself to wear to an actual event is a completely new idea, so we’ll see how I fare.

Step One - open the bag o' yarn

What a hank looks like

The umbrella swift

 

I will admit that when I first started knitting as a young girl, and even when I took up knitting again as an adult, I never bought anything that wasn’t prewound in a ball, ready-to-knit. Only in the last six or seven years did I venture into buying hanks, and I either wound them by hand (with the help of the husband) onto something random like an empty water bottle (I do not recommend this method) or would have the yarn shop do it. About five years ago I bought myself a yarn winder, and with the help of my husband, again, would wind them on my own. Then, my husband made my Christmas wishes come true when he bought me my own swift about three years ago. I almost cried. It’s made life so much easier, and opened up a whole new world of yarn for me. Not to mention, my kids love helping me wind the yarn!

My swanky set-up

 

So, I set up my swift and my winder, and went to town.

After winding, the hank becomes a cake - voila!

 

So, what am I knitting with this lovely cake?

I’ll let you guess. I’m sure some of you can guess just by looking at what type of yarn it is… though I’ll give you another clue and say that I’m not knitting it in the color it’s knit in for the pattern. I’m breaking out! The goal was to knit this lovely garment by my birthday, November 6th, but the likelihood of me finishing this in a week is very slim, so I’m giving myself til November 18th. Hm… what’s happening on November 18th?

One hint…

 

What’s on your needles?

 

Free Halloween Pattern – Rip-apart Vampire Doll

In the process of making Vampire Knits, as with any book, there is a lot of editing that happens. Sometimes patterns we love get dropped at the last minute. This little guy was a great concept, but ultimately was hard to photograph. I still like him, and need to work on a way to make his neck a bit stronger so that it doesn’t flop to the side, but other than that, he’s still a cute little vampire doll.

  

Don't mind his pinned on mouth.

Little Eric

You can make him two ways. I intended him to be made in separate pieces, with velcro on the ends of each piece so that the arms, legs, and head could be ripped off easily and put back together. The thought behind this is that in a lot of vampire stories, the only way to kill a vampire is to rip the pieces and either burn them or bury them separately. The bonus is that he makes a great frustration doll.

I made the first version to look a bit more like Eric Northman from the Sookie Stackhouse books, and later made a version that looked more like the O.V. himself, Dracula.

So, if you’d like to make your own little Vampire, here you go!

Burn the Pieces

by Genevieve Miller

In several vampire stories, the only way to kill a vampire is to rip it into pieces and either bury them separately or burn them. I thought it would be a fun concept for a doll, and even helpful in easing stress… just rip it to pieces and put him back together again. 

This doll could be made in all kinds of different colors. I chose black and grey for a more “traditional” vampire look, with pale white skin.

Difficulty

Intermediate

Size

One size

Finished Measurements

15 1/2″ (40cm) tall

Materials

1 skein each Patons Grace, 100% mercerized cotton, 1.75 oz (50g), 136 yd (125m), colors Night (A), Clay (B), and Natural (C)

1 skein LION BRAND Microspun, 100% microfiber acrylic, 2.5 oz (70g), 168 yd (154m), color Ebony (D)

Set of 5 size 3 (3.25mm) double-pointed needles

Crochet hook

Tapestry needle

Polyester fiberfill for stuffing

Velcro

Sewing needle and black and red thread (also deep red to match Velcro, if dyed)

Small amount of black, white, red, and blue felt

Small amount of satin fabric for cape lining

Small button

RIT dye (color Scarlet) for dyeing Velcro (optional)

Gauge

24 stitches and 36 rows = 4″ (10cm)

Special Skills

Knitting in the round

Basic sewing and embroidery skills

Abbreviations

Kfb – knit into the front and the back of the stitch to increase

Pattern

Doll

Body

With A, cast on 48 stitches and divide evenly among 4 double-pointed needles. Join in a round. Work in stockinette stitch until piece measures 1 1/2″ (4cm). Change to B. Work even until piece measures 4 1/2″ (11cm).

Shoulders:

Needle 1:  Ssk, knit to end.

Needle 2:  Knit to last 2 stitches, k2tog.

Needle 3:  Ssk, knit to end.

Needle 4:  Knit to last 2 stitches, k2tog.

Continue as set until there are 3 stitches left on each needle. Cut yarn, leaving an 8″ (20cm) tail. Thread yarn though stitches and pull tight to secure. Stuff with fiberfill, sew bottom edge closed.

Arms (make 2)

With B, cast on 12 stitches. Work in stockinette stitch for 4″ (10cm). Change to C, knit 8 more rows. Bind off.

Legs (make 2)

With A, cast on 16 stitches. Work in stockinette stitch for 5 3/4″ (15cm). Bind off.

Head

With C, cast on 16 stitches and divide evenly among 4 double-pointed needles.  Join in a round.

Needle 1: Kfb, knit to end.

Needle 2: Knit to last stitch, kfb.

Needle 3: Kfb, knit to end.

Needle 4: Knit to last stitch, kfb.

Continue as set until there are 9 stitches on each needle. Work even for approximately 26 rounds or until head measures 3 1/2″ (9cm) from base of neck.

Shape Head:

Needle 1: Ssk, knit to end.

Needle 2: Knit to last 2 stitches, k2tog.

Needle 3: Ssk, knit to end.

Needle 4: Knit to last 2 stitches, k2tog.

Continue as set until there are 3 stitches on each needle. Cut yarn, leaving an 8″ (20cm) tail. Thread yarn though stitches and pull tight to secure, adding fiberfill before closing.

Finishing

Dye Velcro if desired for “bloody” effect according to package directions. Allow to dry.

Sew arms and legs along side seams, stuff with fiberfill, sew top openings closed. Weave in ends. With sewing needle and thread, sew soft side of Velcro to end of neck and each arm and leg. Sew stiff side of Velcro to body where parts will be joined.

Eyes:

Draw two almond shapes onto black felt and cut out; this will be the outline around the eyes. Draw two slightly smaller almond shapes onto white felt and cut out; this will be the whites of the eyes. Draw two small circles onto blue (or other color) felt for the irises. Attach all together with black thread in the center of the iris to create the pupil. Sew eyes onto face as shown, using black thread.

Mouth:

Draw a mouth shape onto red felt and cut out; a simple crescent works well. Add fangs cut from white felt, if desired. Sew fangs onto mouth, then mouth onto face using red thread.

Hair:

To create a slick widow’s peak, thread D onto tapestry needle and sew hair onto head from back of head to front using long, closely spaced stitches until scalp is covered. Adjust length of stitches to create widow’s peak, making them longer in the center.

To create longer, flowing hair (like Eric Northman), cut strands of D twice as long as desired hair length. Using a crochet hook, fold 1 strand over hook, insert through top of head, and pull ends of yarn through loop to secure (as for attaching fringe). Repeat until scalp is covered, trim ends if desired.

Cape:

Using 2 of the double-pointed needles as straight needles, cast on 56 stitches.

Row 1: Knit.

Row 2 (RS): Ssk, knit to last 2 stitches, k2tog (54 stitches).

Row 3 and all wrong side rows:  Purl.

Repeat Rows 2 and 3 until 14 stitches remain, ending with a RS row. Piece should measure approximately 6 1/2″ (17cm). Work even in stockinette stitch for 5 rows, ending with a WS row.

Increase as follows:

Row 1 (RS): Kfb, knit to last stitch, kfb (16 stitches).

Row 2: Purl.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until there are 22 stitches. Bind off knitwise on a WS row. Weave in ends. Block.

Cut a piece of satin fabric or felt the same size as the cape. With black thread, sew to WS of cape as a lining.

Button Loop:

Using 2 double-pointed needles, cast on 3 stitches. Work in I-cord for 5″ (13cm). Bind off. Fold I-cord in half to

make a loop and sew to right edge of cape, at neck indentation. Sew button opposite loop. Dress doll in cape.

   

I used a fancy button off one of my own sweaters.

If you end up making one, please post it here!!

Two Months!! (7.14.10)

Today is July 14, which means that in exactly 2 months from today, Vampire Knits will be on shelves!  This means that if you pre-ordered it, it will be shipped to you!  This means that after all the hard work everyone’s put into this project, we will get to sit back and watch it unfold.

I must admit, I’m both incredibly excited and incredibly nervous.  I want people to buy it.  I want people to love it.  I want people to recommend it to their friends and family.

Here’s a fun bit of trivia.  It’s being released the day after Bella Swan’s birthday.

Here’s a fun bit of news.  Random House will be exhibiting at Comic Con, and as part of their booth they’ll have buttons to hand out for Vampire Knits!  I will be there personally on Saturday and am hoping to attend other days as well, but as of this moment, am unsure of that.  As soon as I know, I’ll post about it.  In the meantime, if you’re attending Comic Con in San Diego, visit Booth 1515 and you can check it out, and hopefully see me!