Adopt-a-text Project


I had been meaning to post about the Adopt-a-text project last Friday, but ended up overexerting myself a little too much and needed some time to recover (still working on that unfortunately).

I am studying Literature & society at the Vrije Amsterdam. This is a bachelors course focussed on literature. In the first year you study both Dutch and English and in the second and third year you need to pick which language you will be studying. I’m going to be picking English and as a result most of my courses are already in English.

For the course Literary Analysis we had to participate in the adopt-a-text project. We had to choose a literary text and adapt it in a fun and original way. If you follow the blog, it’s pretty obvious. I’m addicted to knitting and so as soon as I heard o the project I wanted to incorporate my hobby in some way. This would add a personal touch to my adaptation (because knitting is very near and dear to my heart) and it’s certainly original.

The hardest part of the project for me was picking the perfect text. I wanted a text which i could illustrate via my knitting and a text that I felt a certain click with. I started looking for my text during the Christmas holidays. One of the things that bothered me was the lack of the white in White christmas… no snow. I love snow! Christmas just isn’t the same without a good few inches of the fluffy white stuff. I think this seriously influenced my choice of text.  I ended up knitting a cowl that depicts the story presented in my text.

The text I picked is Stopping by woods on a snowy evening by Robert Frost.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

And here is my finished project:

And here is the accompanying video I made to present my project to the class:

And this is the motivation that I wrote for my project:

For the adopt-a-text project I chose the poem “Stopping by woods on a snowy evening” by Robert Frost. The poem was written in 1922 and the poem is actually quite famous. It was read in 1963 on the radio when John F. Kennedy’s casket arrived at the white house for example. Many adaptations have been made of this poem and it has often been referenced in novels. The poem is almost 100 years old, but even today it intrigues many. It has recently been used in several videogames such as Skyrim and The walking dead videogame and it has also been a part of an episode in the modern adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, Elemantary.

The poem appealed to me, because I love snow. When the snow starts coming down sounds change, everything becomes quiet. And like the narrator in the poem I can spend hours just watching the snow fall and thinking. Reading the poem by Robert Frost really brings this feeling to mind. I can almost smell the pine trees, hear the crunch of my shoes in yet untouched snow, feel the fresh wind on my cheeks. This feeling is what winter is all about.

I have been knitting for two years now and am quite addicted! Not a day goes by without me knitting at least a few rows. When given the challenge to come up with an original interpretation of a text I immediately started imagining how I could incorporate my knitting. I realized that whilst standing and watching the snow fall is fun, it can also be very cold. The narrator in the poem needs a nice scarf if he is going to be standing about in the snow! I decided to knit him a nice cowl instead of a regular scarf. The poem describes an easy wind and we don’t want the scarf blocking his sight once he goes on his way again and because a cowl is more secure around your neck it’s a bit warmer.

I knit the story told by the poem into the cowl. It illustrates the forest and the frozen lake, the lack of any nearby farmhouses, the village where the owner of the woods lives, etc. To knit the cowl I used 3 colors: navy, petrol and white. I didn’t want to use any more colours as it wouldn’t mesh with the serene calm represented in the poem. The white stands for the snow, the navy for the evening sky and the petrol for the trees. The cowl alternates the navy and petrol as backgrounds for the illustrations.

Here are some more pictures of the different motived (in order):


I’m quite pleased with how my cowl turned out in the end, although there were some things I would have done differently had I had more time to work on it (the deadline was a lot sooner than I had bargained on). I ended up knitting this in 4 days and taking the next 2 days to make the video, block the cowl and take pictures.

I couldn’t be quite as perfectionistic as I wanted and due to the time crunch couldn’t enjoy the knitting at all. The first person to say how much they liked it was gifted it on the spot.

Last Friday we had to present our projects. It was amazing to see what everyone else had created and to see my project well received. I have such an amazingly talented class! Some people sang, someone made a videogame (!), others wrote a poem and made a cool video of it, people painted and someone made a video in which the sims depicted her text! I had a great time and sort of wish we could do things like this more often.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my project!

Love, Renée



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s