I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I must have been living under a rock when it comes to certain television programmes. I have some vague recollection of hearing something about Outlander, but must confess to never having watched an episode.
Outlander, according to imdb.com (much easier to understand than Wiki in this case), follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate relationship is ignited that tears Claire’s heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
It seems my lack of knowledge is even more of an omission, when I learnt that the lead actress Caitriona Balfe was born in Dublin, Ireland, and grew up in the village of Tydavnet, in County Monaghan.
I know you’re asking yourselves where am I going with this!
We recently received a copy of the book Highland Knits, Knitwear Inspired by the Outlander Series from Inerweave Books. There are 16 beautiful designs included in Highland Knits all inspired by the breathtaking beauty of the Scottish Highlands. The stitches and patterns used in the pieces capture a rustic, yet undeniably feminine feeling in all of the designs. Collated into one book, Highland Knits conjures up the feeling of romance and drama, which has left me intrigued and wanting to knit whilst watching the show.
The book itself is extremely well laid out. The photography and attention to detail is what you would expect from an Interweave book and the knitwear is shown off beautifully in all its woolly goodness. The patterns included are all knitted (apologies to the non-knitters among you) and while they’re all aimed at women, I myself think at least a few of them could be worn by men too.
The book includes a glossary at the back which contains a wealth of information about techniques, some of which may be new to you. I’m thinking specifically of Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off and Judy’s Magic Cast On, both of which are techniques I would have no qualms recommending to a fellow knitter.
So let’s talk designs,
I’ve had a bit of a tough time trying to decide on my favourites and if we’re being honest, I could probably waffle on for hours, so being mindful of your time….
The Time Travellers Reversible Vest by Karen Clements is an extremely versatile garment, which can be worn in several ways. Knitted in super chunky yarn, with big needles, it’s a garment you could be wearing only a couple of days after you cast on. As the photograph shows, it’s a great layering piece and would work well teamed up with lots of different outfits.
Having watched every episode of the Tiny Paper Foxes Podcast, I immediately spotted that the yarn used for Carol Ruhl’s Herb Garden Gauntlets, was Madelinetosh in the Whisky Barrel Shade (both Jenni and Devon her husband, love this shade) Gauntlets, are one of those accessories that you can’t ever fully appreciate until you have a pair. It’s amazing how much warmer you feel having an extra layer over your wrists and lower arm. The Herb Garden Gauntlets are knitted in worsted weight and feature a beautiful, but surprisingly simple cable panel, which runs from the top to the bottom of the design.
Sassenach Cowl by Kristen Brooks is (so I’m told) based on Claire’s signature cowl and looks extremely soft, squishy and warm. Made with the biggest needles known to man and super chunky yarn held double, this garter stitch cowl will take no time to knit and I know loads of friends who’d love it, male and female.
The Standing Stockings by Kalurah are divine. What’s not to love about knee high, chunky cabled socks – I’m all for cosy toes. The yarn used is worsted but the pattern calls for needles in a 6mm. The yarn used in the book is a luscious tweed effect from Lion Brand, but I’m sure that if you have trouble sourcing it you could easily substitute it for something else.
No review of the Highland Knits book would be complete without mentioning the Brimstone Faux Fur Cowl by Claudia Maheux. It is an incredibly simple design which becomes transformed into a wonderfully elegant wardrobe staple, by the use of Louisa Harding Luzia yarn.
Highland Knits is an American publication and it will come as no surprise to discover that the majority of yarns used in the 16 designs are from across the pond. However, many of these yarns are becoming much more readily available both here and in the UK and you can happily substitute other company’s yarns or your own handspun for all of the patterns.
To celebrate the launch of Highland Knits, Knitwear Inspired by the Outlander Series, Interweave Books have very generously offered you, our readers, a discount of 20% off of your own copy if you purchase it from the Interweave website by the end of April.
The coupon code is OUTLANDER20
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