Of course I was going to find a way to combine my love of comics and yarn. Of course it was going to become a blog post! Put down your needles and join me in the panels?
First off, when knitting enters the panels. I’ve followed Katie Green for a number of years, and I was thrilled when she began writing knitting comics for Pom Pom Quarterly, a knitting magazine I have been a long-time subscriber of. Fast forward to 2019, and Katie published those comics (with a few additions!) as a zine, More Than Yarn, and I picked up a copy at Edinburgh Yarn Festival. Katie’s comics are all personal, touching on how knitting has changed her life; the impact it has had upon her mental health, her body image, and her relationships. There’s even a cute comic about a mitten, as well as one on the potential of yarn. One page was turned into a print a few years ago and now hangs in my flat. Katie’s comics are beautifully written and illustrated; there’s something comforting and familiar to each one. I particularly enjoy how she employs different colouring techniques for each one, which really cements the different tones and atmospheres as she shares her personal experiences. I know these comics pretty well, but I still enjoy returning to them. It’s a gorgeous collection, and I defy any knitter not to fall in love with Katie’s comics, or relate to them!
I really appreciated Pom Pom publishing these comics in their magazines too. Like most comics readers, I’m somewhat bored of mainstream media and bookstores occasionally peddling the “oh my goodness, comics are for everyone!” or “comics are for children, graphic novels are for adults darling!” nonsense. It was great to see these included without question in the magazine. Plus, y’know, more stunning images and words to enjoy alongside the patterns I’d eventually go on to knit. In short; more comics about knitting! And if you haven’t already, check out Katie’s work and her amazing autobiographical comic now!
You didn’t think I wouldn’t include some knitting inspired by comics, did you? Of course I am that level of geek!
Let’s go with stuff I’ve made. Please note that links here are to Ravelry pattern pages and unless you have switched to Old Ravelry, they will open in the new Ravelry format. There’s the Wonder Woman shawl by Carissa Browning – a free pattern no less, and I think there may be a crochet version too! Garter stitch, short-rows, and free. What’s not to love? I made mine a few years ago using long-stashed yarn from Old Maiden Aunt merino/silk yarn, and then wore it to a conference where I presented some of my Batgirl research. So many knitters have made this shawl, and I love seeing the different colour palettes they’ve used to interpret it; from sticking to Wonder Woman’s traditional costume colours, to using greys and neons.
Here’s two projects I’ve not thought of in a very long time. I was seeing a guy who was a big fan of The Punisher… At the time I couldn’t find a pattern, so I charted up the logo and made him a hat and some mittens. I don’t have a picture of the completed hat, but I did remember to take a picture of the mittens as I felt rather proud of them back then. I have no idea if he still has them – he tried to give me back a pair of socks I made him…uh no thanks dude, you wore them, also why those but not the other stuff? Men… – but I was pleased with how these turned out as at the time, I wasn’t a big or remotely experienced colourwork knitter. Not bad considering!
This is an unofficial one, but I was gifted some Harley Quinn-inspired yarn from two of my best pals. The colourway was “Harley Deserved Better” and was dyed by the fantastically talented dyer, Gamercrafting. As an aside, I got her Birds of Prey mystery club yarn for my birthday, and like this colourway, it was Harley to a T! Anyhow, once I had my viva date set, I knit these socks to wear to said viva. When half of your thesis is on Harley Quinn, you can’t not, right? Well reader, I wore them to my viva and it was a very relaxed and enjoyable viva. Were these Harley-inspired socks lucky? Maybe. Either way, they’re my favourite socks and I wore them whilst typing up my corrections over the winter.
This is, of course, the tip of the ice berg. There are a plethora of comics-inspired patterns available, some for free. Captain Marvel fans are in for a treat as there are some beautiful colourwork mittens and shawls featuring the Captain Marvel logo out there. It makes me wish I was a bigger Carol Corps fan, to be honest. There are plenty for Wonder Woman fans too. Beyond the shawls, there’s amigurumi to enjoy, and a stunning sweater which is on my list to tackle one day. Harley also makes an appearance, and seems to be popular with crocheters. Need a hat inspired by Harley’s old jester costume or a Harley plushy? Designers have you covered. Batgirl, much to my disappointment, has yet to become a firm source of inspiration for designers, but there’s still time. If you are a designer though, I could totally use a Batgirl shawl or sweater. Just sayin’. You can never have too many nerdy knits. And I want to see more knitting in comics.
Images copyright Cia Jackson 2020