Monday, August 4, 2014

Why I Love Lord of the Rings

Once upon a time, there was a Burger King.

No, I'm not kidding; that's where this story begins. When I was about nine or ten, I went on a field trip with my church youth group-- I can't remember the particular activity now. But whatever it was, it required a break for food on the way to or from it, and so our van stopped at a Burger King.

Being a Capable and Competent girl (who had never done this before), I walked up to the counter with my lunch money in hand and quickly ordered, "Just a kid's meal, please." Surely that was the easiest thing for all parties involved, requiring the least Decision-Making and Talking To Strangers on my part.

So, fully expecting to be at least mildly teased by my just-short-of-tween peers, I brought my food to a table, where I deflected initial inquiries in favor of eating my food and, out of curiosity, finding out what the toy was.

"Lord of the Rings? What's that? It looks kind of creepy..."

This was the initial reaction of the entire table, myself included, when I pulled out the toy, which was a light-up base with a figure called, "Sell-a-born?" "She looks totally creepy..." "Are you sure it's a she?" "Pretty positive." Convinced that the toy was doomed to the Goodwill box if not the trash, I determined to take this Celeborn home (may as well, right?) and show it to my parents to see what they thought of this "Lord of the Rings" thing.

I never would have guessed that my mother would say that Lord of the Rings had been one of her favorite books growing up. I never would have guessed that I'd later find the books and their little prequel and devour them in a matter of days. I never would have guessed that this fandom would become my most deeply rooted literary love, spanning years of rereads and dozens of projects.

I love being able to mix my favorite story with my favorite medium: yarn. So here are some of my favorite patterns and projects that take the realm of Middle-Earth as their inspiration:

Legolas Kerchief, by Susan Pandorf:
I remember discovering Susan Pandorf's designs when I first began looking for beyond-beginner patterns to experiment with. Just out of curiosity, I searched on "Lord of the Rings" in Ravelry's pattern database, and I was pleasantly surprised when I found a few directly inspired by my beloved books. Evenstar, Mithril, Bombadil, Argonath, and Rivendell are just some of my favorites. Seriously, check her out; she's amazing!

Grey Havens, by Maria Olson
This sweater has been at the top of my queue for ages-- I just need to get around to knitting it! The cables are amazing, inspired by misty shores, and the asymmetrical neck is intriguing.

Evenstar Gloves, by Audreym:
The cables on these gorgeous, cozy gloves take inspiration from Arwen Evenstar. This was a pattern I really enjoyed knitting: the cables were simple enough for a beginner to figure out, but also quite interesting. (Also, the pattern is free!)

Beorn Sweater, by Josie Mercier:
This is another really brilliant LotR-inspired sweater, this one evoking warm and cozy Beorning vibes due to its thick cables and comfy fit. (I haven't put the sleeves on mine yet because it makes such a handsome vest!)

Finally, in the Lord of the Rings group on Ravelry, there is a massive database of Middle-Earth-reminiscent patterns that has been compiled by the members there. They're always adding to it, so if you're looking for a Ringish knit, be sure to check it out!

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