Just For Fun is my way of sharing all the little things I like to do... from crafty things to thoughtful things!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It begins...

... with handling skeins and worry,
... with swatches and stitch markers,
It begins with a discovery of crafters...

We are a group of crafters who love the book A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. We wanted to honor the author by donating our hand made items to a charity of her choice.

Two causes that are close to Dr. Harkness’s heart are tolerance and literacy. We decided to donate a gift basket to her local library as a fund-raising project. 

It was such a popular endeavor, that the Library will have TWO baskets to raffle!  One is generally themed toward character Diana Bishop:

And the other generally themed toward character  Matthew Clairmont:

Go to Deborah Harkness' facebook page for details on how to enter.  Here are more details about the items included in the baskets...


A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness - donated and signed by the author

An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life by His Holiness The Dalai Lama - donated by JillyMac:

"As this charity project was formulated by our fearless and empassioned leader Catherine, we were told that Deborah Harkness would like us to focus on the themes of tolerance and literacy. Not only are these themes close to her heart, but they are expressed in the book A Discovery of Witches. Another member of our group suggested a book by the Dalai Lama in order to express the theme of tolerance, and I heartily agree with her choice. He is the embodiment of forgiveness, acceptance, and harmony. This book discusses how to maintain an open and compassionate heart in a world that doesn’t always engender that. His life is a powerful example of this principle in action!"

Ani’s Raw Food Essentials: Recipes and Techniques for Mastering the Art of Live Food by Ani Phyo - donated by jen2291:

"One of the scenes in the story I enjoyed was Diana preparing a meal for Matthew. We’ve all been there… wanting to get it right, make someone comfortable and perhaps impress them a little with our efforts. Besides the obvious pun in the title, Ani’s Raw Food Essentials: Recipes and Techniques for Mastering the Art of Live Food allows us all to eat like a vampire."

The Devil in the Shape of a Woman by Carol F. Karlson - donated by sduyka
"The focus of this book is the female as witch in colonial New England. The book focuses on “the position of accused witches as largely females placed in precarious social and economic positions.” These women often, in some way, threatened the established social order. This book was a perfect fit for the ADOW Charity Project."

The Seven Daughters of Eve by Brian Sykes -donated by acrochetedworld

Hand crafted items:

Scarf and Hat in the Element of Water - hand crafted and donated by sduyka

"The water element is one of the four classical elements and is a vital part of Pagan spirituality. Water symbolizes the emotional aspects of love and femininity, wisdom, absorption and the soul. One of Diana’s powers uses the element of water, described in the book as witchwater. One of my favorites scenes from the book Diana at the top of the watchtower, water flooding from her body because she is mourning Matthew. Diana loves sculling and describes it as meditative, tranquil and magic. The colors of the yarn I used for the beret and scarf remind me of the colors of flowing water."

Poppet - hand crafted and donated by acrochetedworld:

"I very much wanted Bridget Bishop’s poppet to be part of the charity project celebrating A Discovery of Witches. So I knitted a simple doll and tried to model it after the description of the poppet in the book. I felt that it was important to include the poppet as a representation of the history and long line of strong women found in Diana’s DNA."

Doily with Gold and Silver Roses (the Philsophical Child) - hand crafted and donated by acrochetedworld:

"I wanted to craft something to represent the illumination of the Philosophical Child Diana finds in Ashmole 782. Crocheting a doll would have been impractical, so I thought a hand-made doily with gold and silver roses might serve the purpose. The roses are symbolic of the creation of the Philospher’s Stone represented in Ashmole 782, but the doily itself is a representation of something more simple -- home and family, something very important to Matthew and Diana."

Paperback book cover in New College colors, with dictionary - hand crafted and donated by acrochetedworld:

"Our charity basket’s main purpose is to promote literacy, so I included a dictionary with a crocheted cover in Diana’s Oxford School Colors."

Hamish's chess set - hand crafted and donated by acrochetedworld:

"Chess and strategic moves within the game of chess are a running theme throughout A Discovery of Witches. After considering a few options, I knew I wouldn’t be quite satisfied if I didn’t crochet a full chess set, something Hamish and Matthew could actually use. Although it is not ancient nor museum worthy (like the one Matthew gave to Hamish), I crocheted the traditional ivory and ebony pieces and then chose colors for the board that I thought might suit Hamish. The board has a drawstring that, when pulled, becomes a pouch to carry the pieces."

Book tote with Sun and Moon - hand crafted and donated by esuzabeth:

"The Sun/Moon book bag was inspired by references in ADOW of Diana and Matthew representing balanced dualities -- sun/moon, light/dark, feminine/masculine, gold/silver, etc. Sun and moon are often presented in balanced opposition. For me, the two heavenly bodies shown together are a reminder about balance. Nothing is all good or all bad. Each place we visit, person we know and life situation we find ourselves in has good things about it and not-so-good things as well. Best to keep that in mind.

As soon the fundraiser was decided upon, I knew I wanted the sun and moon as major graphic components of my contribution. I found and purchased a pattern originally created for making a sweater. The type of knitting, referred to as “stranded knitting” or “Fair Isle knitting” was a challenging new adventure for me. And of course, I had to try this new skill on an immensely complex pattern! I felt sure I heard Ysabeau in the background saying, “Suzie, it is time for you to become the knitter you were meant to be.” Purchasing some beautifully dyed sock yarn (a blend of merino wool, for softness, and nylon, for strength) only added to the delight of the adventure. Making something to honor an author who’s work I’ve enjoyed and contributing my efforts to a library’s fundraising are both icing on the cake of this project!"

Fingerless Gloves in the Element of Fire - hand crafted and donated by JillyMac:

“A Discovery of Witches” by Deborah Harkness has become one of my favorite books of all time. I love the main character, Diana Bishop, and the struggles she goes through as she comes to terms with her true identity as a witch, and begins to learn to control her innate powers. One of the ways that her powers express themselves when she loses control of her emotions is by blue electrical sparks coming out of her fingers. I always love the scenes in the book where her fingers are turning into blue sparklers. Another way that her powers get the best of her is when she loses her ability to control the element of water, which in the book is referred to as “witchwater.” I especially enjoy the scene when she is atop Sept-Tours, and feels she is losing Matthew. The water begins to flow from her hands. I like that the physical, elemental expressions of her powers emerge from her hands, and because of that, I wanted to craft something that represents this connection between the elemental energies and her hands. The design of these blue flame mitts can represent both the electrical blue of the magical sparks, and also the flowing blue of the witchwater.

Wine Bottle Cozy - hand crafted and donated by westofthemoon

Bookmarks - hand crafted and donated by mothgirl:

"My inspiration for the bookmarks was the juxtaposition of the classical world and the modern world. I loved the imagery of the rustic Sept-Tours, so I knit three unusual bookmarks - almost like they would have been sitting in various books in Matthew’s library. I can’t imagine Matthew having mass produced/purchased from Books-A-Million bookmarks. The three paper bookmarks are pretty and dainty - like something Diana would have around her apartment. Plus they’re drawn by hand, and I think that offers a certain personal touch that Diana would appreciate."

Alchemy Tote - hand crafted and donated by jen2291:

"The alchemical book at the center of the story is the reason I decided to read ADOW so I’ve decorated this tote with alchemical symbols. On one side they relate to the creatures of the story: gold/sun - vampires, silver/moon - witches, and mercury/mercury - daemons. The fourth symbol on this side is called ‘squaring the circle’ otherwise known as the Philosopher’s Stone. On the other side, the symbols are more alchemical in nature including salt and sulphur. Along with mercury, they make up the three principles of alchemy. I’ve also included the symbols for copper/venus and iron/mars as they often represent female and male. Lastly, the sides are decorated with alchemical symbols for the elements fire/water/air/earth. Together, they tell a story… one I hope you will enjoy as much as I."

Illusion Fleur-de-lis cloths - hand crafted and donated by LumosKP:

"Sept-Tours is almost a character itself in ADOW, and the Fleur-de-lis is found abundantly behind its walls. Mixing the French symbol with the domesticity of the illusion cloth seemed quite natural. It is not beyond the imagination to think that perhaps such cloths would be found in the kitchen and baths in Matthew’s French chateau."

Knitting pattern for Sept-Tours colorwork bag - donate by WendyMcD

"My inspiration for this bag came from the book cover ---everything from the colors through to the sun, moon, and stars and as well as the symbols. So I mulled them over and did my signature move of making “fabric.” I love how this turned out. The small bag can easily fit both of Deborah Harkness’s books."

Other items:

Tea - donated by JillyMac:

"I am a huge fan of tea, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t have at least one cup, if not several! I never drank a lot of black tea… until I read A Discovery of Witches for the first time. Diana Bishop’s taste for tea proved to be contagious! As I devoured the book, I found myself really wanting to try some black tea. I decided to experiment, and purchased several kinds of black tea; everything ranging from cheap grocery store black tea, to fancier, more expensive brands. It wasn’t long before I found my favorite! Mountain Rose Herbs makes an English Breakfast tea that is simply delightful and delicious. I like it with a pinch of stevia and a splash of soymilk, and it has become an integral part of my morning ritual! The first thing I do when I get up in the morning is fill the teapot with water and put it on the stove to boil. I love the smell of the dried tea, and rationing it out in just the right proportion; letting it steep for just the right amount of time; and then adding the perfect measurements of stevia and soymilk. I love the parts of the book that describe Diana’s relationship to tea drinking, and I love that it is a unifying ritual in so many countries, cultures, and centuries. And of course, every time I drink tea, I think of Diana Bishop sitting in a little English cafe talking about an enchanted book with Matthew Clairmont! Tea is truly timeless."

Candles inspired by Diana, Matthew, and Hamish - donated by LumosKP, mothgirl and acrochetedworld


  1. Fabulous write-up, Jen!!! I'm so excited this project became as huge as it did - I hope it earns lots of bucks for the Hastings Library! :)

  2. This is just awesome! You guys all rock xx