how much did tolstoy know about knitting?

15 September 2007


When I was in India a few years ago, I read War and Peace, because I figured it was the only time I was going to have time to read it, though it actually didn’t take me as long as I thought.

After all the wars and trials and dramas and Napolean etc, Natasha marries Pierre and the final chapter is all about what a happy family they are Personally I was quite disappointed that the beautiful high-spirited talented Natasha settles down as a country housewife, gives up singing, and ‘lets herself go’; but anyway in one scene there’s a reference to the governess knitting stockings:

“There were two stockings which by a secret method known only to herself, Anna Makarovna used to knit at the same time on the same needles and produce one out of the other in the children’s presence, when the pair was done.”

How does she do this?  Is it possible to knit two socks at once on the same set of needles?  This would be a marvellous cure for ‘second sock syndrome’, the only known cure for which is to knit the second sock first.


4 Responses to “how much did tolstoy know about knitting?”

  1. nihal said

    oh it is possible! i have never been a fan of sock knitting myself but i know that you can knit two pairs at the same time and better yet i just found out that there is an article on knitty which seems to be the exact method tolstoy talks about… magical, ehh?

  2. stringtheories said

    I just found that same knitty link and was about to paste it in when I noticed someone beat me to it. Here is another link, to the blog of the article’s author – she shows lots and lots of pictures of the technique. I can’t figure out how to link directly to the tutorial but scroll down a couple entries and you’ll see purple and orange knitting indicating you’re in the correct place.

  3. Ali said

    excellent – thanks Nihal and stringtheories. So he wasn’t just making it up! I’ll have to give it a go some time

  4. Helen said

    oh, bliss! I blogged this.

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