Milosz (3)

Back in November I wrote about being chosen for the FictionKNITsta cross-Canada book tour. Several women authors were paired with a knitter who would read the author’s book, then create a wearable item or accessory for the author, based on a theme or idea from the book. I was thrilled to be included in this venture, and delighted to be assigned to read Milosz, by Cordelia Strube.

I loved Milosz. Filled with colourful, appealing characters, I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next, so I raced through it and was sorry when it was over. Happily, when I reread it in order to gain more ideas and insight and to find clues to help me figure out what to make for Cordelia, I enjoyed it all over again.

Autism, family ties, language and communication are intertwined with love, growth, rebirth, trust and commitment in Cordelia’s capable hands. Serious themes expressed with great humour and heart. It is a joy to read about these people who seem so real and whose outcome you care about.

How to interpret any of these themes through knitting?

I picked a scarf as the item to make because a scarf left behind by Milo’s girlfriend is so evocative: “Zosia left a silk scarf behind. In moments of howling woefulness Milo lies with it draped over his face … picturing her smoky, weary eyes … He lifts her scarf a few inches off his face then lets it drift back down … “ (pp. 14 & 24) It is as though he is breathing in her essence.

The pattern I chose is called Ballet Lace Scarf and I picked it for several reasons. It has a very specific repeated pattern and this was important to me because of Robertson, Milo’s young next-door neighbour who finds comfort in order and pattern. At one point in the book, Robertson and Gus, Milo’s father, connect on a level that is different from anyone else’s. Neither can speak the other’s language, but the two of them spend many happy hours together laying stones for a patio—making something with an ordered pattern, and building trust in a way that nobody else has been able to do.

I also liked this pattern because it looks a bit like vines climbing a trellis, and this reflects the idea of growth, plants and gardening. I picked a lovely pale apple green for the same reason, and because I thought it would look fantastic on Cordelia. The yarn is made from sugar cane, again reflecting the plant element.
Since Cordelia is tall I made the scarf super-long to wind around her neck several times or simply wear very, very long. Since it is a plant fibre, it is very soft and drapes beautifully.

The bonus in all this was to actually meet Cordelia, so we got together for coffee last month and I presented her with the scarf. It was lovely to meet her and the scarf suited her perfectly.

Toronto’s FictionKNITsta event is this Saturday, June 1, 2 p.m. at Ben McNally Books. I’m looking forward to meeting some of the other authors and see what they are wearing and hope to get some good shots of Cordelia sporting the scarf. It has been a very fun experience for me, combining two activities I love, reading and knitting. Now if only I could do both at the same time!

P.S. Fantastic reading at Ben McNally Books in Toronto this afternoon with Dora Dueck, Stella Harvey and Ailsa Kay, and Cordelia Hosting. Intriguing, thoughtful questions from the audience as well. Here's a shot of all four, with Cordelia on the left, then Stella, Dora and Ailsa, displaying the gorgeous knitwear. The audience was impressed with the knitting as well as the reading. Great event.

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