Nobody Owens, image copyright Giles Babbidge Photography

Reading Neil Gaiman’s fabulous, spooky children’s story The Graveyard Book last year, I was struck by the changes in the small world of the main character. An orphaned baby at the start of the book, he is taken in by not the living, but the dead in order to keep him safe from the menacing Man Jack who wishes to see him gone…

…but the relationship of the baby with his adopted deceased 18th century parents was not the one that I was most interested in from this book. In fact it was the very progress of Nobody Owens himself, in his relationship as a living baby with the ways of the graveyard and watching this as he grows. Whilst living in the graveyard, Nobody Owens, as he is now named learns to cloak himself from view, to walk as the dead do and to visit places that the living cannot.

We are told from the outset that the baby is an adventurous one. As part of the Mrs Miniver’s sock series, it was clear to me that baby socks would just not cut it for Nobody Owens – only booties would do. I chose to make a pair of Saartje’s Bootees, that modern classic in 4ply sock yarns of various colours.

In making the smaller bootee, the striped one , I was interested in capturing the baby as he first entered the graveyarn, all jolly and bouncing and above all, noticable. In the second, he has grown somewhat, and while still jolly and bouncing, he is starting to be able to slip away from human eyes, to become entirely unnoticeable…

…with just a glint or a flicker to note his passing by.

The Progression of Nobody Owens
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