Knit the Look: the mini Guernsey Literary Society henley

Knit the Look: the mini Guernsey Literary Society henley

If you’ve seen the Netflix adaptation of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (which is not quite as twee as the title suggests), you know it’s chock full of sweaters. No ganseys, oddly, given that it’s set on Guernsey, and it’s a little confusing whose sweaters look possibly handknit and whose definitely don’t, but we’ll leave that aside. The point is: sweaters! The thrust of the story is that a pretty young London writer visits a group of book-loving strangers on the isle of Guernsey, which is still reeling from the Nazi occupation. She is a first-rate packer. Although she’s meant to be there a night or two, her mix-and-match travel wardrobe carries her through a longer stay: tweed trousers and skirt, three or four pretty silk blouses with big collars, two sweater vests, a pullover with a little Peter Pan collar, a pretty great blue-marl cardigan, a brown suede jacket and a brown garter-stitch beret are all she needs, with just a pair of borrowed workpants for when she’s helping her unanticipated love interest with his pigs. (Oh, surely you can see that coming!) For my money, though, the kids and the men get all the best sweaters. Best of all being the tattered henley pictured on the little girl, Kit, above.

There are weirdly few images from the movie on the internet, and they’re all of the woven garments, despite the fact that every single character except the military fiancé wears multiple sweaters in the film. I mean, too many cardigans to even begin to count. (There may be more Knit the Looks about these.) But that’s why all I have for you is an iPhone photo of my laptop screen, and you’ll have to trust my eye and memory on the rest.

So about this little pullover, which obviously I want in my size and minus the post-occupation tatters: It’s just a mushroom colored, boxy little henley but what makes it interesting, as always, are the details. The sleeves are ribbed but it appears to be garter rib, which would be less bunchy to wear and also features strongly on a few other of the movie’s sweaters. There are two little chest pockets also in rib. (It makes me think of Marshal, in some ways.) But what really seals it is that henley placket that runs right down to the waist ribbing. To emulate it, you could use the free ’80s-era pattern from Drops known poetically as 4-24. Knit the sleeves in garter rib and fashion a couple of chest patch pockets to match, and instead of working the placket opening a few inches shy of the neck, start it just above the waist ribbing. (And refrain from inserting shoulder pads as Drops appears to have done!) The pattern is written for bulky, so I’m recommending Harrisville’s lovely tweedy Turbine yarn in Driftwood, but it would also be easy to adapt that pattern to a lighter gauge.

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PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: The Crown’s cardigans

Knit the Look: The Crown’s cardigans

Knit the Look: The Crown's cardigans

I’ve heard it said that Neflix’s spectacular “The Crown” has the biggest budget of any TV series in history, and it’s easy to believe — the sheer number of extras, sets, locations, costumes. It often seems you’ve seen an entire movie’s worth of people and outfits before the opening credits begin.  And gosh, the young Queen Elizabeth’s cardigans alone — a truly dizzying array of them (pink, black, peacock, khaki …) — must have cost a pretty penny! It leaves me wondering whether she really spent nearly every day of her life in one, and how many there were in her royal closet. (Just a few on repeat? She seems so sensible.) But if it leaves you wondering how to knit a similar one for yourself, I’d recommend Churchmouse’s Quintessential Cardigan pattern, which is written for lace-weight yarn held double and knitted on 5s for a nice light fabric (though not as ultra-fine-gauge as the machine-knit costume ones), and which also includes details on how to customize the length of both the body and sleeves. One of the recommended yarns is Rowan’s Kidsilk Haze, and while I don’t think I’ve seen the Queen wear a mohair sweater, it was certainly all the rage in the ’50s. Kidsilk Haze comes in several of the show’s colors, including “Drab,” which looks about like the one she’s wearing above. The other recommended yarn is Shibui’s Lunar (pictured), a luxurious merino-silk blend that might suit Her Majesty. Or of course, there’s always cashmere.

Does anyone here know, seriously, what the Queen might have preferred?

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PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Marthe Wiggers’ vintage-chic pullover

Knit the Look: Marthe Wiggers’ vintage-chic pullover

Knit the Look: Marthe Wiggers' vintage-chic pullover

I love how simultaneously retro and au courant Dutch model Marthe Wiggers looks in this slinky, ribbed, black mock-neck sweater and motorcycle jacket. Such simplicity with that sweater, and as usual what makes it noteworthy are the tiny little details — the proportion of the peaks and valleys of that ribbing, and the shift in scale from the sweater to the neck. Which is easy enough to emulate. Vintage patterns would be the best bet on this one, but there are some available options to work from. There’s a reasonably similar Rowan pattern from a few years ago, Fiori (just add ribbing) but it’s worsted weight, whereas Marthe’s sweater seems to be a fine-gauge machine knit. So I’m going to recommend Pierrot’s characteristically rudimentary, English-translated Japanese pattern called 22-23-20 Ribbed Turtleneck Sweater (free pattern), which is written for fingering weight. (As with pretty much all Japanese patterns, it’s one size, so add to the stitch count as/where necessary to adjust the width.) To make it look more like Marthe’s, try the rib in 2×1 or even 3×1, switching to 1×1 on smaller needles for the collar. And instead of knitting the neck to full turtleneck length, stop at about 3”. Yarn-wise, for that gorgeous heathered black I’m a big fan of Quince and Co’s Sabine colorway, which is available in fingering-weight Finch.

For more photos and Marthe’s full outfit, see Vanessa’s original blog post. And for guidance on how to read a Japanese knitting pattern, click here.

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PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Camille Charriere’s stripes

Street style photo © Vanessa Jackman; used with permission

Knit the Look: Camille Charriere’s stripes

Knit the Look: Camille Charriere's striped sweater

Here’s a styling option I hadn’t considered for my striped pullover: shiny pants! Never happen, but I admire how striking Camille Charriere looks in these photos — showing the world that black-and-white does not equal boring. And I do look forward to wearing mine slung over my shoulders like this — one styling holdover from my teen years that I’ve never not loved in the interim. All you really need to approximate this sweater is my notes on my striped sweater, but the other option would be to pick your favorite basic pullover pattern and simply knit it in alternating stripes. Camille’s sweater looks to be more like 1.5″ or 2″ stripes (as opposed to my 2.5″ awning stripes) and more of a truer, flatter black and white than mine. So for yarn, you might consider Brooklyn Tweed’s new Arbor in Kettle and Thaw. I’m told Thaw is technically a really pale icy grey (I haven’t seen it in person) but it would read more white against the black than an undyed (ivory) yarn would. Not a lot of yarns include both black and white in the palette, so feel free to pipe up below with other ideas! As far as the other sweater details, it looks like the waist ribbing spans the last two stripes, and the ribbed cuffs might actually be grey? They seem darker than the white stripes, and I like the idea of that, either way.

For Vanessa’s suggestions on the rest of Camille’s look, see her original blog post.

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PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Perfect grey turtleneck

Knit the Look: Perfect grey turtleneck

Knit the Look: Perfect grey turtleneck

Oh hey, what a happy accident! I’d forgotten all about this photo from Vanessa’s blog last year, and just rediscovered it on the heels of Tuesday’s post about funnelnecks and midiskirts. This one, spotted outside the Miu Miu show last March, is more of an upturned turtleneck, which I personally prefer to a funnel, and this proportion is also a bit more wearable for those of you who were concerned about that. To emulate this gem of a sweater, all you need is Julie Hoover’s Veneto pattern, which, if you take away the color-blocking, is the perfect basic.* It’s a classically proportioned, well-shaped, set-in-sleeve pullover, knitted flat and seamed — which means it’s also highly adaptable. To turn it into something more like the sweater above, all you’d need to do is go up one size (for the slouch factor), extend the hem ribbing to more like 3″, continue a few stitches of ribbing up both sides of the front and back, leave a split hem when seaming the sides together, and knit the neckback to your desired turtleneck/funnelneck length. (You might find you want to pick up a few more stitches for the neck, as well — try it and see.) Veneto is written for two strands of lace-weight mYak held double, at a gauge of 5.5 sts/inch, so you could also sub a sport-weight yarn. Ysolda’s Blend No. 1 would be perfection.

Now if only I could help you with that amazing skirt. You can see more pics of both garments in Vanessa’s original post.

*Veneto really should have been in the pullovers installment of Make Your Own Basics — I’ll rectify that.

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PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Jenny Gordy’s comfiest cardigan

Street style photo © Vanessa Jackman; used with permission

Knit the Look: Jenny Gordy’s comfiest cardigan

Knit the Look: Jenny Gordy's comfiest cardigan

Switching sources for a minute — from our usual Knit the Look street-style scenes — let’s talk about this cardigan seen on Jenny Gordy (of Wiksten) in her Instagram feed on Saturday. The whole outfit is my idea of heaven right now (more on that subject soon) but the cardigan looks like you could just crawl into it and not come out till spring, which is exactly what I’m craving now that the weather has finally turned. Jenny tells me it’s a Toast cardigan from a few years ago, no longer available, but easy enough to simulate. I think it’s literally three rectangles — one back and two fronts — sewn together at the shoulders and side seams. Tubes for sleeves, plus several inches of ribbing around the neckline for a foldover shawl-collar sort of thing. So you could easily come up with your own dimensions and gauge and so on, but if you prefer a pattern, my friend Kathy just recently knitted Pam Allen’s Edith and that seems like a great starting point. The details and proportions are different, of course, so if you want to make it more like Jenny’s, go wider and a little shorter; work standard ribbing; knit the sleeves entirely in ribbing; knit the neckband twice as wide for the foldover; make the pockets larger and ribbed; and omit the decorative panel at the top of the back. Edith is written for Quince and Co wool-alpaca Owl (pictured in Buru); Kathy used Hinterland rambouillet-alpaca Range. I’m sure both are exquisite, but I think for me I’d go with 100% wool and keep it as light and lofty as possible.

TANGENTIAL AND COINCIDENTAL: The second issue of Making magazine has arrived at Fringe Supply Co. and contains patterns by both Jenny and me, and actually just an astonishing number of patterns and projects. You can take a peek and get your copy right here.

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PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Deepest, blackest turtleneck

Photo © Jenny Gordy, used with permission

Knit the Look: Deepest, blackest turtleneck

Knit the Look: Deepest, blackest turtleneck

So I’ve been working on a sleeve of my Channel Cardigan and have developed a pretty serious obsession with the “half brioche” stitch that forms the pronounced rib portion of the overall stitch pattern. There’s something crazy satisfying about working those stitches, and I love the texture of it. After seeing Jen’s revised knitalong swatch using this stitch, I almost decided to copy her for my fafkal do-over! Then last night I was cruising Vanessa Jackman’s blog and ran into this photo of a girl in a black turtleneck with a pronounced rib stitch that looks a lot like brioche or half brioche! Luscious. So to emulate it, all you need is the Improv top-down tutorial, the half brioche stitch (below), and some gooshy, deeply black yarn. For this scale, I’m thinking maybe Quince and Co. Osprey (aran weight) in Crow. For the turtleneck, pick up stitches as for a crewneck and work in 2×2 rib for that slight contrast with the sweater body. (When knitting a turtleneck, I like to pick up stitches with a needle two sizes smaller than the main fabric and work half the height of the neck — i.e., to the fold — then go up one needle size for the rest. So the outer part is slightly larger than the inner part.)

HALF BRIOCHE WORKED FLAT:

RS: *p1, k1 below; repeat from *; p1
WS: knit

HALF BRIOCHE WORKED IN THE ROUND:

Row 1: *p1, k1 below; repeat from *; p1
Row 2: purl

See Vanessa’s original post for more pics of this sweater.

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PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Nastya Zhidkikh’s sexy little pullover

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Street style photo © Vanessa Jackman; used with permission