No matter which side of the globe or what century the show’s lead characters may be in at the time, there is a lot of knitwear on screen in Outlander, especially during the portions of the show that take place in the mid-18th century. In fact, almost immediately after Outlander first debuted on Starz in 2014, the online knitting community started creating and sharing knitting patterns inspired by outfits that characters from the show would wear, most notably a shawl worn by Claire Fraser in the first season.
Flash forward six years, and Sony Consumer Products finally released an official knitting companion book for the series — appropriately titled Outlander Knitting — complete with the aforementioned shawl on its front cover.
The book, edited by Kate Atherley, contains 20 different knitting patterns inspired by the show. Some, such as the “Gathering Cape” that Claire wears in the fourth episode of season one, are almost exact duplicates of items that have appeared on the show. Other designs are more loosely inspired by aspects of the series, such as the “Lovat Mitts and Cowl” that feature a pattern that pays homage to Jamie’s tartan and traditional Scottish styles. Generally, the lineup of patterns in the book are well-selected and diverse. There are options for accessories (cowls, capes, hats), apparel (vests, sweaters), and even some home goods (a baby blanket, a tea cozy).
However, while it is true that some of the patterns in the book are much less advanced than others, this is not a book I would recommend for someone who has never knit anything before — It isn’t going to show you how to cast on, cast off, knit, purl, etc. Personally, as someone who has pretty basic knitting skills (I’ve finished a few scarves and washcloths) I felt somewhat daunted by almost every pattern in the book. That being said, I think that the book does a great job of laying out exactly which knitting skills and materials you will need for each project, so you are adequately prepared. The pages are full of helpful tips, too, to make the process a bit easier. If you are someone who is still getting the hang of knitting, I would recommend starting with a few easier projects before jumping into this book, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add it to your collection ahead of time for some knitting inspiration!
Honestly, to that point, I think the patterns themselves — while great —aren’t even the book’s best feature. The book also offers so much content to supplement the patterns — including gorgeous, full-page stills from the show; detailed background information about the costuming process for the series; and an introduction to each pattern that explains its connection to Outlander. Honestly, even an Outlander fan with zero knitting experience will enjoy flipping through the pages of this hard-cover volume. (There is also a Kindle version available, but I think it’s worth the extra $6 to get a physical version, unless you really want to knit on the go.)
Another significant plus, which isn’t advertised directly in the book, is the outlanderknitting.com companion site. For knitters like me who are still relatively new to the hobby, picking out the perfect yarn for a project (and the right amount of it) can sometimes be the most daunting part. The companion website helps eliminate this issue entirely, partnering with Trendsetter Yarns to offer kits that come with the recommended materials for 15 of the patterns featured in Outlander Knitting. The kits are also available at a variety of local yarn stores, and the included yarn colors even have Outlander-themed names, such as “Lord Grey Charcoal,” “Jocasta Wine,” and “Lallybroch Pink/Sand.”
Overall, Outlander Knitting is exactly what you would expect and hope for in a companion knitting book for this popular series. And who wouldn’t want to work on crafting their own version of Claire’s shawl while re-watching Outlander for the millionth time? Like Jamie and Claire, it’s a perfect pairing.