While searching for interesting sock patterns (I'm almost finished a pair of socks as a present for my grandmother, and I'm on a roll), I came across the Tsock Tsarina, who makes kits for clever themed socks: mythological socks, Egyptian socks, and even a fantastically geeky "Nine Tailors" sock that incorporates a colorwork panel to represent Kent Treble Bob Major. (As a fan of both mathematical knitting and Dorothy Sayers, I'm in awe. And I think I must essay these socks at some point.) But what especially got my attention was the Turandot sock, alluding to the Puccini opera and incorporating a Chinese dragon, double happiness ideograms, and three cabled question marks to represent Turandot's three riddles. And it got me thinking: what else could one design by way of operatic knitting?
There are, of course, plenty of elegant things one could make to wear to the opera. Ravelry lists quite a few patterns for operagoing attire, primarily shawls, shrugs, elbow-length gloves, of which this pattern is perhaps my favorite, and evening bags. But what about motifs that refer to particular operas? Few things are as tacky as an over-decorated sweater, so one would have to be careful not to go overboard with the design. And some operas might not lend themselves to such a project: I'd just as soon not knit a Lucia di Lammermoor garment, in a tartan pattern interrupted by splotches of blood-red and a knife motif. (Ditto for Verdi's Macbeth.)
But there are subtler approaches. I love the tree motif on these "Deep in the Forest" mittens; with a little tweaking, one could turn it a Norma-esque pattern of Druid oaks. Pyramids and lotus columns for Aida would be fairly easy, if a bit over-obvious. And I was thinking that it wouldn't be impossible to design a cable that looks like a lyre for Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, but someone has already created a Eurydice sock much along the lines I was imagining.
And then there are knitted things modeled on what characters in operas actually wear. One could make a whole suite of La Bohème winter knitwear (heavy scarves, shawls, muffs, bonnets), for example. Or Susanna's headdress from Act 1 of Le Nozze di Figaro ("Sembra fatto in ver per me!"), although what the libretto calls a little hat was more likely a garland of orange flowers.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go put on La Traviata and finish a sweater.