Knit the Look: the “Knives Out” fisherman sweater

How to knit the Knives Out fisherman cable sweater — pattern suggestions

Although it’s on my list, I have yet to see “Knives Out,” but as you may have heard there’s A Sweater — and the internet has gone mad for it. I don’t just mean the knitters. If you google “knives out sweater” you will see a remarkable number of search results for a big-screen sweater. And given how many inquiries I’ve gotten about fisherman sweaters generally since the Rambler satchel listing went up, it seemed like a good time to address this perennially pressing topic. (You know I am always happy to talk about fisherman sweaters!) Actually, based on the trailer, it appears there are a whole lot of cable sweaters in that movie, but let’s talk about this ivory fisherman on actor Chris Evans, above. With apologies to Jamie Lee Curtis.

To knit an equivalent, your best bet is probably Alice Starmore’s famous Na Craga* — just give it a ribbed crewneck to hew closer to the movie sweater, instead of the decorative funnel neck. And for yarn I’m going to suggest Scout in natural from my friends at Kelbourne Woolens because it’s the classic wool yarn I’m most eager to knit with right now! You could also try the free pattern from Drops called 59-6, same neckband note. And a great raglan alternative would be Strandhus by Veta Romanenkova, which includes both men’s and women’s options.

For those wondering about my fisherman sweater in the Rambler photo(s) (and the Porter before it), it’s a 10-year-old LL Bean. My all-time favorite fisherman sweater pattern is the vintage Bernat 536-145, which I knitted a couple years ago. It’s out of print but the 1967 booklet it’s in, The Bernat Book of Irish Knits, is not hard to come by if you search the Internet, and is a treasure trove of patterns. But even closer to the LL Bean one is the free Honeycomb Aran pattern by Patons.

Whatever you do, if you should knit yourself a glorious, richly cabled sweater, I hope that you will love it and wear it to tatters, and that every hard-earned worn spot will speak to that love and respect and longevity. As opposed to the fake wear-and-tear imposed on the movie sweater by costume designer Jenny Eagan (who can’t even remember who made it?!), who did it to convey that the spoiled-brat character, Ransom, “didn’t take care of it … the holes and the tatter gave him a touch of that disrespect. It was a disrespect to the family, a disrespect to the name, a disrespect to his clothes.” I don’t think the knitters in the audience will read it as anything other than that Ransom loved his sweater as much as the Internet does.

For more, see:
• Aran sweater legends
• Best fisherman sweater patterns
• Cable sweater amazement of the 1960s-80s
• Quest for the perfect aran sweater
• and the Amanda knitalong

*The one pictured in the lower left above was knitted by webgoddess on Ravelry

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PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Mister Rogers’ Smithsonian cardigan

24 thoughts on “Knit the Look: the “Knives Out” fisherman sweater

  1. I have a friend who works at LL Bean and she said the sweaters in the movie were from her company. As a knitter I would be sad to have someone rip holes in a sweater I knitted.

  2. I can’t imagine knitting a man’s sweater for anyone other than my husband (and my son if he should ask for a sweater as an adult). My husband’s sweater I would carefully wash, and if my son wore big holes like that, he’d never get a sweater again!

    It’s a nice sweater, but my all time favorite man’s cabled sweater is Starmore’s Irish Moss. Just a truly beautiful garment that is on my list to knit someday.

    As for Chris Evans, if you ask me, I’d prefer him shirtless than in layers. ;)

  3. I’m reminded of the sweater worn by Cameron Diaz in the movie “The Holiday” circa 2006. There is a pattern called Fireside Sweater, by Amber Allison. I’m thinking I may revisit the Starmore’s now.

  4. How excellent!! Does the guy in the sweater come with it as a bonus after I’ve finished the knitting? LOL Even my husband is not knitworthy, so I’d be knitting this for myself! Hope you and yours have a very happy holiday!

  5. Nothing but love for this sweater as well as Na Craga and everything in the old Bernat book. In fact, the very first sweater I ever knit, back in my teens, was from the latter. In the 1990s I was lucky enough to be able to take an aran knitting workshop with Alice Starmore, and I’m applying some of that learning to my current design “Hedgewood”, not yet up on Ravelry but viewable at https://chezlizzie.blogspot.com/2019/11/on-its-way.html. My current fave yarn for aran knitting is Quince’s Lark, even though here in Canada it has become outrageously expensive courtesy of the trade wars.

    • Quel épisode contient le cardigan? J’ai regardé cinq … je le rationne!

      Et merci for cette article — incroyable! I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

      • I believe it’s a the very end of episode 7. I must admit I binge watched this season so it’s a little confused in my head !
        Glad you like the article, and very good French by the way !

        • Merci! Je suis reconnaissant pour toute chance de pratiquer. (Toute chance d’utiliser Google pour améliorer ma mémoire, lol.)

  6. Aran Sweater Market has an archive of vintage sweater patterns that are available free for downloading. They’ve been scanned as PDFs from yarn companies’ original pamphlets or brochures. The ones in the Bernat book are from Mahony’s of Blarney and several of them are available here as individual patterns. This is a terrific resource for all of us who love these sweaters. The link is aranpatternarchive.com.

    • I’ve seen that before and really wonder whether they have rights to those patterns. But it’s definitely a trove!

  7. I saw Knives Out last night and totally thought about you. So many good sweaters! I knew you’d write about them ;)

  8. I noticed the wear and tear on the sweaters Ransom wore in the film and commented on it to my partner. It also represented that casual wealth thing, which I thought was a great way to demonstrate character via clothing. It’s hilarious, and great, that people are interested in a fisherman sweater again because of it.

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