If you're not already watching Outlander, Starz's original series based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon , then boy howdy are you missing out.
It’s about a former World War II nurse named Claire, played by the frankly stunning Caitriona Balfe, who finds herself hurtled back to the 18th century while traveling in Scotland. If you enjoy chill-inducing music, plaid, political intrigue, sexual tension, history of any sort, or this beautiful man, Outlander is unequivocally for you.
Amid all this bounty, though, an unlikely star has emerged: the knitwear featured on the show.
Claire has a seemingly endless array of cozy, squashy knitted accessories, and knitters have taken notice. Costume designer Terry Dresbach told BuzzFeed that she’s been “totally caught off guard” by the positive response from the knitting community, and that fans have been clamoring for the patterns.
The knitwear actually solved a couple of central problems, Dresbach said.
“In Hollywood, we (the royal ‘we’) want to see cleavage,” she said of Claire’s costume. But so much shooting takes place in a “cold, drafty castle,” where if the leading lady were wearing just a bosom-bearing gown, “she would die, freeze to death. Or be stoned to death as a whore. Then you have to get creative.” The little shrugs and shawls help to cover her up and keep her warm.
There was also the matter of timing; Dresbach’s team had about seven weeks to create all the costumes for filming, and she had to have virtually all of Claire’s done in about two weeks. To that end, she contracted local Scottish knitters to make some of the pieces, and found many of the others from Scottish Etsy sellers.
“I want the Scottish artisan’s perspective,” she said. “They’re descendants of the knitters on our show.”
Some viewers have complained that the pieces aren’t “authentic” enough, but as Dresbach said, they solved the problems facing the design team. “The most important thing is that it feels right.”
And since you can’t keep a good knitter down, many have found ways to replicate the knitwear on their own.
Dresbach mentioned that this “stone-colored chunky infinity cowl” was one of her favorite pieces.
Knitters are publishing patterns inspired by the show’s designs and posting photos of their own creations.
Find this pattern on Ravelry.
If you’re not so handy with a pair of needles, fear not: You can buy completed knits on Etsy.
Like this luscious cowl.
Or this capelet.
“It gives you texture and it gives you depth,” Dresbach said of the knitwear.
And ultimately, knitters are just downright excited to see lovely examples of our craft in pop culture. Dresbach described the reaction best: “Oh my god! Knitwear on television!”
Outlander is currently on a mid-season break and will be back on April 4 on Starz.
More Photos at the Source
These are gorgeous, but I want the 1940s outfits too!