Stella Leventoyannis Harvey

We’ve all heard of Fashionistas, women who are major proponents of fashion as an art form, but what about Fictionistas, female authors celebrating their craft at several tour stops across Canada?

Billed as FictionKNITstas, this year’s tour begins on May 27th in Victoria and sees participating all-Canadian female authors, each one from a variety of independent Canadian publishers, partnered with knitters for a twist on the traditional book tour. There will be 11 stops across the country, in bookstores and wool shops alike.

By the way, just as an interesting aside, the suffix ista comes from the ancient Greek, istes. Isn’t it interesting how many words you can make from an ancient Greek suffix? Perhaps only a writer could find this interesting.  A Greek writer at that.

My knitting partner is Monica Miller, a talented artist and designer of Monnibo Designs fame. We met via email and the shared FictionKNITstas project. She read my novel, Nicolai’s Daughters, was kind enough to write a wonderful review on her blog. We conversed via email about the project and I felt she put a whole lot of thought and effort into the design, colour and material for the knitted item she would create for me to wear on tour. Yes, I get to wear what she’s created. Cool or what?

We first began talking about recurring textiles within the novel. Monica noticed a lot of hankies (especially Sara's), as well as Sara's ribbons. She viewed them as a frequent element and sometimes having an important emotional attachment. I mentioned that rugs and shawls were a big part of the culture in Greece, as well as the colour blue having iconic significance. We weighed the pros and cons between creating something literal from the story or something that had more subtle significance.

We decided on a shawlette (basically a small shawl) as the object, and Monica began sending pattern suggestions. A motif I suggested was the mountains that surround Kalavryta. It is a tragic place, but also an incredibly beautiful, serene place. That contrast hits you in the chest when you visit the memorial site. I sent her pictures taken from the memorial at the top of Kapi hill where German soldiers in December 1943 massacred all the men and the boys over the age of 13 in that village. One of the photos was imbedded into the cover of my book.

One of the patterns Monica suggested was Multanomah, which she'd recently completed, and thought the lace parts looked like waves or wind ( I love how an artist thinks and sees.

The discussion of literal came up again when Monica stumbled across a shawlette pattern called "Nikolai" ( But ultimately, she went with another pattern and selected a yarn from a local dyer to complement the local aspects of my book.

And so our discussions went with patterns, pictures, designs, and fabric. I haven’t seen the final product yet, but I know I will love it. With all the work she’s put into this project, I can’t imagine not loving it.

I’m so looking forward to wearing Monica’s creation on tour. And I’m proud to say I am now not only a Fictionista, but also a MonicaMillerista.


Athens 18Apr08 041             

Memorial at Kalavryta          Indigo Moon - Merino Fingering "Big Winds Moon"


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