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Knits on the Screen
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Knits on the Screen

Admit it:  You have been there…

Watching a movie or a television program, and you are all into the story and the inner machinations of the characters and all of their dramas and struggles and tensions and feelings, and then suddenly, your eyes wander towards a knitted item on the screen…

<< Inner monologue >>

Wow, that is really amazing/unique/beautiful knit…

How did they do that?

Hmm… wonder if I could find a pattern like this…  could I design this?

<< stream of consciousness  – insert names of yarns, patterns, designers >>

By the time you snap back, you have missed a few minutes of plotlines and a major development … Thank goodness for digital video recorders – they have helped me many a time.

“Oooh, rewind that – pause it.  Look at that sweater!”

I can almost hear Kris roll his eyes when I do this… it happens that often.

The most recent film knit inspiration came from the 2002 Masterpiece Theatre miniseries Doctor Zhivagonothing like a Bolshevik Revolution and a frozen wasteland to get that knitting inspiration on, eh?

As Yury escapes from his Red Army captors, he must cross the frozen Ural mountains – he is starving, half-mad, fighting frostbite and desperately yearning to see his beloved Lara again…

…but oh my…

Look at his pullover!

Film-Inspired Knitting

It was hard to find a full frontal (heh) of this pullover in the online screen captures, but I found enough of the shots to show the details of the sweater, as highlighted above.  I searched around on Ravelry and came across a few patterns that look close enough… in my mind, I thought that there was a Rowan pattern that was very similar to it, but an initial search didn’t pull anything up… it does seem simple enough to just cast on and see where it goes from there…

I even have some gray Lopi that looks like a great match for it…

Lara (played by Keira Knightly in this rendition) also sports a traditional Russian hat that I was also quite distracted by… of course, I don’t want to use real fur or even a “fun fur” type of yarn.  Perhaps a chenille would work?  Hmmm…

Lara's Hat

Or would this just look plain silly?  Maryland barely got snow last winter…

Of course, nearly every Harry Potter film has had some eye-catching knit item in it (there are whole groups inspired by the Harry Potter knits) and the mittens that Bella wore in the movie Twilight (for about 5 minutes of screen time – no more) inspired a massive knitalong on Ravelry with 1400+ active projects (heck, I even queued them up!)

It seems to be the cold-weather period pieces that most inspire me – Scandanavian subtitles, British historical miniseries, and the occasional documentary about ill-fated Antarctic explorations

Shackleton Sweater

Oh Mr. Shackleton, what a fetching basketweave turtleneck sweater you are wearing…

Shackleton Seed Stitch

Even when marooned on icebergs,  Mr. Shackleton sported this snappy seed stitch number…

Of course, there have been plenty of other film knits that have inspired over my (nearly) six years of knitting.  I haven’t yet made any of these knits, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen!

Any big or small screen knits that have inspired you lately?

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71 Responses

  1. linda

    I LOVED the green lace cardi that Penelope Cruz wore in Volver!! I is so beautiful!! Gonna try to replicate it someday!

  2. Jenna

    Wow, first, I have to say that I saw a film about Shackleton where Kenneth Branaugh played the lead role. How appropriate, he’s the spitting image!

    Yes, this definitely happens to me. I was thinking about the knits quite a bit as I watched the last Harry Potter movie. Old movies are often inspiring as well, especially when the characters have real classic Hollywood glamour.

  3. Lisa from NZ

    If you look on my blog there is the picture of my daughter wearing her Hermione hat from the latest Harry Potter :-) You are definately not alone, I sit there looking at the knits and I’m now totally going to check out the suggestions above to :-)

  4. Georganna

    I forgot to mention “I Capture the Castle”. This is a lovely little movie and has some sweet knits as well. I especially love the blue beret/tam and little fitted cardigan worn by Rose. In fact, I’m working on the beret — found a similar pattern in “Thrown Togther”, Kim Hargreaves designs.

  5. Rose

    With me it is the jewellery….

  6. Chandler

    Oh, heavens, yes! One of my all-time favorites is Anne of Green Gables (both films!), and there are a whole lot of lovely cardigans in there. My favorite ones have these lovely Edwardian leg-of-mutton sleeves. Sigh…if only I were any good at pattern-writing. Maybe I should go scour Ravelry now…

    (I also watch movies—over and over again—for the interiors…like Pride and Prejudice, or You’ve Got Mail. Anything with a lovely home that makes me long to transform my space. It’s a disease, I know!)

  7. Christabel

    Ooh, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. Gotta love those Brits and their knits!

  8. Lisa

    I’ve been pulling a marathon of my favorite BBC series, Monarch of the Glen. http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/tv/monarch/

    Duncan’s aran sweater http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/patterns/391691/1-25
    (Link to Ravelry discussion of said sweater)

    It’s set in the highlands of Scotland. More knits than you could possible mention. And sheep.:)

  9. Suzanne

    I have watched The Holiday more than once just to get another look at the sweaters. I am going to check out some of the movies above.

  10. MelD

    Oooh, yes, but then any “vintage” style movies of the 20s-40s has LOTS of eye candy like that!
    And what about the episode of Gilmore Girls when they had a Knitathon?!! ;) ) There were always great-looking knits in that show…
    Sigh, we are so spoilt for choice with old/new patterns, sometimes I really don’t know which to choose or where to start!

  11. mamie

    you made my morning with this. and it is not only you. we saw julie and julia last night and at one point the little french housekeeper was knitting and it made me so happy. it looked like a shawl.

  12. Ginny Thomas

    I don’t watch a lot of movies, but I did sit at church one Sunday intrigued by the unusual Aran knit sweater in the pew in front of me. It was all I could do not to get out paper and pencil to jot down what I could see of the pattern.

  13. tiennie

    I do that all the time! That’s why Matt now has The Fog Sweater!

  14. Mick

    I do this ALL THE TIME. Jason laughs and humors me. One of my favorite films ever is also great for knitting inspiration: Lars and the Real Girl. The first scene opens with him wearing a feather and fan baby blanket as a scarf, and the film features some amazing handknits (several of the characters are knitters!). Love it. Also, one of my favorite shows, Felicity, often features the preppy heroine wearing some amazing knits. Love it.

  15. Greta

    I seem to remember some interesting knits in “Reign of Fire”. At least, Christian Bale made them interesting. ;D

  16. Aurora

    WOW, I thought I was insane trying to find a pattern for a cardi I saw on TV! Nicole, no need to watch for the Sex and the City movie anymore – I paused it and took 2 photos of that gorgeous blue cardi that Cynthia Nixon was wearing. Here are links!



    If anyone finds a similar pattern, lemme know! :)


  17. Viviana

    I wrote a post recently about knits from a late 1940′s British film, “And Then There Were None”. I pulled some screen shots from it of the knitting, both her projects and the clothes she had on. A great film, and one of the few where the knitting is actually part of the plot. A tiny part… but still. (There’s also a link in the post to the film on the Internet Archive, for those interested.)

  18. Joanne

    Hi Lolly,

    Debbie Bliss has a pattern for a shawl collar pullover. I am not at home right now or I’d look around for it. The guage is either heavy worsted or bulky. I seem to recall a V-neck shawl collar, rather than a squared neckline with shawl collar.

  19. James

    The new Wickerman is set in the pacific Northwest and is filled with the most beautiful handknits

  20. Missy

    ok on this note–The Sweater–grey–that Nicolas Cage wears in the movie Captain Corelli’s Mandolin-in the scene where he plays the mandolin in the town square for Bellagia-I want one for my hubby? anyone know of a pattern or where I can get/pay someone to make me one?

  21. Mary


    I also loved the aran sweater on Cameron Diaz, does anyone know where I can get the pattern?

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