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.
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.
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.
Once you think of plaid, you tend to think of kilts, and that makes you think of kilt hose. (At least, I do.) 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.
I’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.
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!
One 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.
Most 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.
The 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.
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.