The Yarnologue

Outlander Series Knitting Ideas

Have you read the Outlander series of books by Diana Gabaldon?

The general storyline is that a woman from the 1940s, Claire, visits some standing stones (think Stonehenge) in Scotland and is transported back to the 1700s. There she meets a brawny Highlander named Jamie and they proceed to have many adventures.

My mother-in-law introduced me to the series back in 2002 or 2003. She tricked me by telling me the book was about time-travel. By the time I figured out it was a romance (a genre I don’t usually read) I was too invested to stop reading.

(Let me pause here to mention my MIL also taught me how to knit and bakes delicious shortbread, so a little book trickery can be overlooked.)

The reason I’m bringing all this up is because the TV series based on the books premiers on STARZ on August 9 (in the USA at least). Although it’s been a couple years since I read the last book, and I’m not as rabid as some fans seem to be, I’m pretty darn excited to watch. (Edit: If you’re in the USA you can watch the first episode online starting on Aug 2.)

Since everything comes back to yarn in my life, I’ve been wondering whether we have any patterns that would be appropriate knitting while I’m watching.

To that end I started a Pinterest board of ideas, which I’ll probably continue to add to once the show starts.

Follow Knitting Fever’s board Outlander ideas on Pinterest.

For inspiration, I’ve been peering at the photos STARZ has posted online, and trying to pause the trailers to get a better look at the costumes.

When selecting projects for my Pinterest board I was not looking for garments that would look like a costume. Instead, I wanted practical garments you could knit and wear with out drawing strange looks. I wanted projects that would echo what I was seeing; “inspired by” rather than duplicate.

Here are my ideas, so far, of projects to knit while you’re watching the Outlander series.

Debbie Bliss Tartan SweaterSuggesting projects with a plaid pattern almost seems too easy, but they also can’t be overlooked!

The Tartan Sweater shown is from the Milano book by Debbie Bliss. The sweater uses a mix of Milano, Cashmerino Aran, and Rialto Aran yarns. Use the colors shown, or select your own palette to make it unique.

See more Debbie Bliss tartan patterned projects.

Viking of Norway socksOnce you think of plaid, you tend to think of kilts, and that makes you think of kilt hose. (At least, I do.)Β  Also, there is a scene in one of the books where Claire watches in fascination while Jamie knits a pair of socks on double pointed needles.

We don’t have any actual kilt hose patterns, but these socks from Viking of Norway look like a good substitute to me! Especially the cabled one on the top right.

This is a free pattern on our main website, but I suggest it for experienced sock knitters. The socks use a combination of Baby Ull and Nordlys yarns.

Viking of Norway Nordlys shawlI’m seeing lots of shawls and shrugs in the production images I’m seeing online, which lead me to this Viking of Norway pattern. This Nordlys shawl is another free pattern and takes three balls of Nordlys.

I liked the simple shape and muted colors of this shawl. Back in the 1700s wool was dyed with plants and insects, resulting in softer colors, compared to the bright colors we can achieve today by using chemicals. That is one of the reason you see “traditional” and “modern” versions of clan tartans.

While most of the garments being used for costumes in the show are probably woven, you can tell some are knit, so this shawl would fit in.

Juniper Moon Farm DeodarIn addition to shawls and shrugs, I’m seeing lots of gauntlets being worn. These include fabric armwarmers for warmth and leather gauntlets for protection.

There are a ton of armwarmer and mitt patterns listed on our website that you can purchase at your local yarn store. So many, in fact, that I could do a blog post just about them.

Instead I will focus on one here, and flood my Pinterest Outlander board with the rest!

The Deodar Hat and Arm Wamers set from Juniper Moon Farm is knit using their delicious Tenzing yarn. This set reminds me of the leather gauntlets I’ve seen in the pictures. Between the brown yarn used in the sample, the textures, and the embroidered design, these are totally knitwear armor!

Juniper Moon Farm EugeniaOne of the more intriguing knitting related scenes in the trailers is of Claire running through the woods while wearing a little purple cape. It’s just big enough to cover her shoulders. I can’t wait for that scene during the show so I can pause it and take a really good look.

In the meantime, the Eugenia Capelet from Juniper Moon Farm seems like a good stand in. The pattern is sized from XS to 3X and uses either three or four hanks of beautiful Moonshine yarn. Like Claire’s cape, it just enough to keep your shoulders warm without bogging you down.

You can see more information, and buy the digital pattern, on the Juniper Moon Farm website.

Louisa Harding Bette beretMost of the patterns I’ve highlighted have focused on after Claire travels back in time. I’m totally overlooking her time in the 1940s. However, I’m sure it will be easier to find even more knitting pattern ideas after the show starts, so keep an eye on our Pinterest board. I might even have to do another blog post!

In the mean time, I submit the Bette Beret from “Knits From an English Rose” by Louisa Harding as a potential 1940s inspired project. Isn’t it terribly romantic? And it takes just one ball of luxurious Amitola yarn!

Really, that entire book has a romantic, retro vibe that you might find very inspiring.

Louisa Harding VeraThe pattern I will close with, and the one I’ll be casting on during the show, is the Vera Cowl from Louisa Harding’s Luzia book.

This is the one-skein version. There is a larger, two-skein version in the book, too.

Luzia was introduced last fall to great acclaim, so I was only able to smuggle out one ball for review. With the faux fur trend staying strong for fall/winter 2014 fashion, Luzia should continue to fly off the shelves at your local yarn store.

Luzia comes in both natural and fashion colors.

Luzia comes in both natural and fashion colors.

In terms of Outlander, there is a picture of Claire mixing herbs on the Starz Outlander Community page, that shows her wearing what looks like a big, brown, fur cowl. I’ve seen another picture of Jamie and Claire on horseback where it looks like she has white fur on her collar and cuffs.

It’s pretty apparent this show is going to be covered in wool and fur!

Tell me I’m not alone in my obsession. Are you looking forward to the show? What are you planning to knit while you’re watching?

Find more inspiration in the Outlander Fans group on Ravelry.



  1. I’m curious whether mason-Dixon knitting has any thoughts as the author(s) introduced me to the books via a margin note in their first book. Surely they will have quality suggestions.

  2. I beg to differ, these are not just romance books. They are romance, fantasy, war, history…. The 8th one was released June 10. I will be working on a tartan afghan while I watch!

  3. Soooo not a “romance novel” !! I have been reading the Outlander series since just about 1994… Yes there is a love story but its not THE story…. its kind of accidental. Very accurate Historically speaking and crammed full of interesting and colorful characters that are sometimes real historical personages… I love the idea of Tartan knitting though….. maybe some kilt socks πŸ™‚

  4. Breton dominique

    August 3, 2014 at 8:11 am

    A tartan sweater orange is a very very beautiful . I like it.

  5. Hmm, seems like I hit a nerve calling it a romance novel! πŸ˜€
    The “romance” aspect is toned down in the later novels. However, I still think that first one is a bit of a bodice ripper, but that might be because I don’t usually read novels with such amorous characters.
    The historical aspect, and descriptions of how people lived in the past, is a great part of the books.

  6. Have you seen the cowl they are showing for episode 3?? I would love to make this. Please let me know if you are able to figure out what pattern it is.

    Thank you!!

  7. Hi Alisha!
    That lush fur one Claire is wearing? I think it would be most easily duplicated with either Louisa Harding Luzia, for which there are several cowl and capelet patterns in Louisa’s books, or the Painted Fur Cowl from our KFI Luxury Collection line
    Another option would be to make something up using Faux Fur from Euro Yarns

    I’ve also seen pictures of her wearing a big, chunky, garter stitch cowl/shoulder cape. I think the most similar yarn for that would be Mirasol Ushya and the new Ushya Suya.
    I think my next blog post will have to be about cowls!

  8. I’m looking for the non-fur cowl seen in episode three. According to Terry Dresbach, consume designer for Outlander, the pattern is not available. I Terry has an excellent blog about the costumes btw I have not found anything on Ravelry or anywhere else that comes close to it. It really doesn’t look like a simple garter stitch to me. If anyone does create or find a pattern please do share! I’d really like to knit one or maybe it’s crochet ….I’m thinking. I must find this pattern!

  9. I am not sure if you are looking at the same one….it is definitely not fur, but I would love to have this! Here is a link to the clip of her wearing it

  10. I’m totally obsessed with Outlander. I have the books on my e-reader. I was recently googling for Outlander inspired patterns because I want to knit replicas of Claire’s garments. I’m of Scottish heritage so I’m tickled pink with the series. My Grandfather on my Dad’s side was born in Scotland. Grandfather came to Canada where he ET and arrived my Grandmother. My Dad was born in Canada returned to Scotland with his parents where his brother and sister were born. When my Dad was 16 he returned to Canada to work and Iive with relatives on Grandma’s side. I wore my father’s kilt from grade 9-12 then it was passed to my sister to wear. My Dad has passed on but his kilt remains with us. Fond memories.

  11. Last but not least I forgot to say thank you for creating this Outlander blog

  12. Hi Trish.
    Thanks for sharing the story of your dad’s kilt. πŸ™‚
    I’m glad you’re enjoying my project ideas. I haven’t seen any new knitting in the last few episodes, but I’m still excited about the mid-season finale this weekend!

  13. There are free kilt hose patterns out there!
    I used one for the kilt hose that I knit:

  14. Hi, I LOVE Outlander, the books AND the show…I’m especially loving all the patterns. I saw one in episode 8, when Hugh comes upon them, that I’d REALLY love to have, if anybody is good at figuring patterns out. It’s the shawl that she was wearing. I’ve only just taught myself how to knit last year, and I, as everybody else in the world that has just learned to knit, have worked at knitting scarves and cowls, since they’re the EASIEST thing in the world to knit. I’ve branched out from there, but haven’t branched out to shawls yet. It looks like it’s simply a matter of knit and purl, just decreasing at beginning and end of the rows…I’d really like to make this shawl as my first attempt, so if I’m wrong in assuming the way the pattern goes, could someone please correct me? The shawl I’m referring to can be viewed here—>
    Thanks in advance!

  15. Hi Trisha.

    The knitwear became less obvious in the last few episodes, but there were a few good shawls.
    I think for that shawl you’ll want to use a tweed yarn to get the interesting color.
    It looks like a simple garter stitch triangular shawl. Garter stitch is knit all stitches on all rows and will give you that nice, squishy texture.

    You might want to look for the Yolyn Am Shawl from Juniper Moon Farm. It is more similar to the striped shawl Claire wears when Dougal takes her to the “magic” stream.

© 2017 The Yarnologue — Powered by WordPress

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑