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2016 Knit Lit Literary Challenge

Members of the Library’s Knit Lit group were challenged to select the first line of a popular book or poem and re-write it so that it had something to do with knitting.

Connie Harada took First Place with her rewrite of William Blake’s “The Tyger”.

The original first line, which is the poem’s first stanza, is:
Tyger tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

Connie’s rewrite:
Knitting, knitting, all the night,
Many colors, pale and bright;
Sit immobile, while hands fly,
Yarns form thy careful symmetry.

The Second Place winner was Pat O’Connell with her rewrite of “Back When We Were Grownups” by Anne Tyler.

Original first line: Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.

Pat’s rewrite: Once upon a time, there was a sweater that discovered it had turned into an afghan.

Sandy Sheppard took Third Place with her rewrite of “A Tale Of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens.

Original first line: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way– in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Sandy’s rewrite: It was the best of KNITTING, it was the worst of PURLING, it was the age of CASTING ON, it was the age of BINDING OFF, it was the epoch of PASS SLIPPED STITCH OVER, it was the epoch of THROUGH THE BACK OF THE LOOP, it was the season of GARTER STITCH, it was the season of STOCKING STITCH, it was the spring of REVERSE SHAPING, it was the winter of YARN ‘ROUND NEEDLE, we had everything STASHED before us, we had nothing TO WORK ON, we were all going direct to YARN HOUND, we were all going direct the other way.

Honorable Mentions:

Mary Grosso
“Chromos” by Felipe Alfau
Original first line: The moment one learns English, complications set in.
Rewrite: The moment one learns knitting, complications set in.

Susan Bartels
“The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath
Original first line: It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.
Rewrite: It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York without my knitting needles.

Karen Thompson
“Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening” (First stanza) by Robert Frost
Original:
Whose woods are these I think I know.
His house in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch the woods fill up with snow.
Rewrite:
What yarn to use I think I know.
The wool will cost a lot of dough.
I’ll knit and purl most carefully
And hope it earns me “best in show”.

Beverly Carmichael
“Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes
Original first line: When he emerges from the bathroom she is awake, propped against the pillows and flicking through the travel brochures that were beside the bed.
Rewrite: When he emerges from the bathroom she is awake, propped up against the pillows knitting; he snaps off the light and thinks, that’s the end of my plans.

Pat O’Connell
“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen
Original first line: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
Rewrite: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a smart woman in possession of a good yarn, must be in want of a pattern.

Maryjane Whitehead
“Kubla Khan” by Samuel Tyler Coleridge
Original first line/stanza:
In Xanadu did Kubla Kahn
A stately pleasure domb decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
Rewrite:
In Brooks Library did knit lit meet
A social group to knit and eat
Where Herring sacred river ran
Through channels measureless to man
Down to a sunlight sound.

Gail Weiss
“Do Not Go Gently into that Good Night” by Dylan Thomas
Original first line/stanza:
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Rewrite:
Do not go gentle into that challenging pattern,
Burn and rave, knitters, at close of a frustrating day;
Rage, rage against the confusing instructions!

Deborah Cipolla (2 submissions)
“Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov
Original:Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta. She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.
Rewrite: Madeline, light of my life, fire of my needles. My decadence, my inspiration. Mad-e-line: the tip of the needle taking a trip of three stitches down the row to tap, at three, on the reversible cable. Mad. E. Line. She was Maddie, plain Maddie, in the morning standing in four hundred yards of hand-knitted socks. She was Madge in her two-by-two slouchy beanie. She was Linnie in her self-striping fingerless gloves. She was Marsha in her dotted asymmetrical cardigan. But in my arms she was always
Madeline, the most opulent yarn ever.

“Sideways Stories from Wayside School” by Louis Sachar
Original: We’re going to tell you about three of the children in Mrs. Jewls’s class, on the thirtieth story of Wayside School. But before we get to them, there is something you ought to know. Wayside School was accidentally built sideways. It was supposed to be only one story high, with thirty classrooms all in a row. Instead, it is thirty stories high, with one classroom on each story. The builder said he was very sorry.
Rewrite: We’re going to tell you about three of the stitches in Mrs. Jewls’ knitting, on the thirtieth row of her Wayside Scarf. But before we get to them, there is something you ought to know. The Wayside Scarf was accidentally knit sideways. It was supposed to e only ten stitches wide, with a thirty-row pattern repeat. Instead, it is thirty stitches wide, with one twisted stitch in each row. The knitter said she was very confused.

Donna Zmijewski (2 submissions)
“The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway
Original first line: He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream, and he had gone 84 days now without taking a fish.
Rewrite: She was an older woman who knit with friends in Brooks Library, and she had gone 84 rows now without dropping a stitch.

“Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost
Original first line: Whose woods these are I think I know.
Rewrite: Whose wools these are I think I know.

Gloria Dossena (3 submissions)
“Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier
Original first line: Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again.
Rewrite: Last night I dreamed I went to WEBS again.

“Razor’s Edge” by W.Somerset Maugham
Original first line: I have never begun a novel with more misgiving.
Rewrite: I have never begun a sweater with more misgiving.

“The Red Badge of Courage” by Stephen Crane
Original first line: The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army, stretched out on the hills, resting.
Rewrite: The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army, stretched out on the hills, knitting.

Georgia Lupica (6 submissions)
“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen
Original first line: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
Rewrite: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good stash must be in want of a knitter.

“Moby Dick” by Herman Melville
Original first line: Call me Ishmael.
Rewrite: Call me Knitter.

“Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier
Original first line: Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.
Rewrite: Last night I dreamt I went to A Great Yarn again.

“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” by Hunter S. Thompson
Original first line: We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.
Rewrite: We were somewhere around Harwich on the edge of the sea when the knitting began to take hold.

“Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov
Original first line: Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.
Rewrite: Cashmere, yarn of my life, fiber of my loins.

“Charlotte’s Web” by E. B. White
Original first line: Where’s Papa going with that ax?
Rewrite: Where’s Papa going with that yarn?