Today we're going to take a look at Defarge Does Shakespeare, edited by Heather Ordover and published by Cooperative Press. The word "inspired" is used loosely here. Thre is a total lack of stomachers and codpieces in this collection of Shakespearean knitting patterns, but then this is all to the good as such patterns wouldn't be much use to anyone but a costumer. And now, before pox marks appear on our noses and our organs of increase are wither'd, let's get to the review.
These are the Lover's Tangle Socks, which were inspired by the complicated travails of the four young lovers in Midsummer's Night's Dream. They're quite pleasing in appearance and appear to be very well constructed.
Midsummer's Evening Wrap. The lace work on this piece is lovely, but that rectangular shape is always a little awkward to wear.
Fairy Queen Tea Cozy. This is more than a little twee for my tastes, but I have to admit it's adorable. The level of detail and skill that went into this design is really impressive.
Malvolio's Yellow Stockings. Very nice kneesocks. Love the texture.
The Very Sole of Wit socks. Nice. The angled stitchwork above the heel is a bit hard to see. I'm not sure I'd include it.
The Yellow Gartered Dude Abides socks. These are rather eye-catching and nifty. They look less Elizabethan to me than like what some young sporty type would have worn with his Oxford Bags in the 1920s, but this isn't a bad thing.
I would definitely skip the "garter" option on these socks, however. They look silly and it would drive me mad to have them flapping around my shins all day long.
Viola's Stockings. Cute socks, and I like the concept of the beaded tops, which can be kept hidden away like the fact of Viola's femininity.
Taming of the Shrug. This is graceful and romantic enough for a bride, and wearable enough for everyday life.
La Serenissima Stole. Very pretty and simple lace stole.
Prospero's Bookmark. This bookmark is actually a knitter's bookmark rather than a bookmark for controlling men who keep their daughters isolated on small and sparsely populated islands: it has charms to weight a book's pages open so that the knitter can knit and read at the same time, and a little pouch suitable for holding stitch markers, a measuring tape, or whatever else a knitter needs.
Unparallel'd necklace. Not too impressed with this one, but I think I would quite like it if it were crocheted in silver-tone wire and used some more striking beads rather than interpreted in the materials used here.
Sonnet 73 Gauntlets. Like these, which have a well-constructed, polished look to them.
Diamonds in the Ruff. Not impressed with this collar, which has a bit of that "random project from craft club that I'm trying to make work" look. Collars like this also tend to look better styled over a crewneck top or sweater than worn on bare skin.
Desdemona's Handkerchief. This project is the most literal of the book, as it is made to match the description of the first gift Othello gives Desdemona: a handkerchief with strawberries on it. It's a cute idea, but I always pictured Desdemona's handkerchief as being finely sewn and delicately embroidered. I also don't quite know what use one would make of this knitted handkerchief, but there are instructions for making an afghan-sized version in worsted weight.
Simple Comfort Shawl. This designer of this shawl posits the theory that Lady MacBeth's murderous impulse might have stemmed from the loss of the child she endured before the events described in MacBeth took place, and speculates that what Lady MacBeth might really have needed were things that were not available to her in her day: professional therapy and medication, or failing that, comfort and support from her husband and others in her life. This is a nice, simple little piece designed to be knit quickly and given to someone who is having a difficult time in life. I'd choose a beautiful yarn for it, because as is usually the case with such simple pieces, a gorgeous yarn really makes it.
Mother's Comfort Shawl. This simple shawl pattern, with its fallen leaf motif meant to represent the loss of a child, really deserved a better yarn than it got.
Lady M Sweater. Quite like this one, which is wearable and flattering and simple enough to go with lots of other item's in a woman's wardrobe while having all the detail it needs to make it interesting.
Ravel's Sleeve of Care cardigan. Not a fan of this one, though it does have some very attractive detailing, because it sits poorly and will make most women who wear it look frumpy and dumpy.
Fair is Foul cowls. This designer has provided two cowls designs: one for bright spring days and one for cold dark winter days. Both would be quite attractive additions to any woman's collection of accessories.
Titus A's Awful Nice Pie. This would make a hell of a Halloween candy dish.
Tamora's Torc of Vengeance. I find the lines and texture of this piece pleasing, but I am a little hesitant to give it a pass. This design is knitted of yarn with stainless steel content, and yet it still looks a little too much like yarn to me to be quite successful as a necklace.
Lavinia's Gloves. Quite an attractive pair of gloves. I like the cable detailing around the fingers, which is a distinctive touch.
Petard Pants. The striped pair on the right looks like a serviceable pair of soakers, but the flowered pair on the left looks rather ridiculous. It's really never a good idea to attach a lot random crap to your knitting.
Ophelia's Scarf of Death. This looks a little twee to work for a grown woman unless you leave off the flowers, but I think it might be quite suitable and pretty for a young girl's grade eight graduation or prom. Do make sure that you call the scarf something else and that the ceremony isn't to be held on a boat or waterfront property.
Ophelia's Garden Mittens. Really lovely mittens. These will grace even the darkest and coldest winter days with the promise of coming spring.
Lear's Socks. A classic and dignified-looking sock pattern.
Mrs. Lear's Scarf and Mittens. Very handsome scarf and mittens set.
Exeunt, Pursued by a Bear. I wouldn't mind exeunting if I could be pursued by this bear. Cute little vest. I think I'd make a shorter hood, as this one appears too long for its little wearer and the resulting gaping isn't adding to the effect.