The Wit of Knit

Would child labor laws apply to paying small children in the neighborhood to weave in ends for me? 

Knit Spottings

Recent designer knitwear for which I would not pay hundreds of dollars: 

Stella McCartney's $210 basic wool beanie.

Jeremy Scott's Bart Simpson sweater ($410) and skirt ($318).

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Killing Me Softly

Over the past few weeks, while most people have been drooling over the white angora shrug Duchess Kate sported at her wedding reception, or the green shawl she was spotted in at the market, I've become much more enthralled by the knitwear seen on another, less glamorous woman of mystery: Detective Sarah Linden on AMC's atmospheric new series The Killing. Do you know what makes an already entertaining show even more entertaining? Yes: sweaters! Nothing elementary about this sweater.(Aside: I'm still waiting for Masterpiece Mystery's modern-day Sherlock Holmes series to return with more episodes, just so I can see more of Watson's cozy cabled numbers.)

Most TV and movie costume designers put their Lady Detectives in some variation of the slim-fitting dark pant suit over the unbuttoned-down-to-here blouse. Yes, folks, the Lady Detective is a professional who looks sexy even in no-nonsense business attire.

This Fair Isle has made several appearances.

Not so our Ms. Linden. The show is set in a perpetually rainy/cloudy/foggy/gloomy Seattle, and Linden's attire of choice reflects the setting, not the standards of the usual pop culture Lady Detective. She is almost always wearing jeans, a bulky coat, and, yes, a big, comfy, warm sweater (often the same one for days in a row). Not the kind of sweater I would wear to the office, or even around town in New York City. But the kind of sweater that looks so cozy, so . . . sweater-y that it makes me want to move to a town like Seattle just for an excuse to wear it. (It doesn't hurt that actress Mireille Enos has the kind of expressive, can't-take-your-eyes-off-it face that can make even a parka look fascinating.)

I was already obsessing over Linden's Fair Isles when I found out that, like the rest of The Killing, her sweaters are inspired by the original Danish series of the same name. The show was a huge phenomenon in Europe, and its Linden, Detective Sarah Lund, apparently wore the same sweater throughout most of the series. It's a white-and-black Faroese (a style of stranded colorwork originating in the Faroe Islands) that you can buy here at Guðrun & Guðrun. This sweater has inspired legions of fans, including famous Dane Helena Christensen.

Lund, the original Linden.In an interview with The Observer, Lund's portrayer, Sofie Gråbøl, said that

she and the film-makers knew that they wanted to avoid the cliche of the woman in a suit in a man's world, but they didn't know what to avoid it with. "Then I saw the sweater and I knew," says Gråbøl. "Because to me it is so on the spot. It tells so many things to me about the character, which meant I didn't have to act them. It tells of a woman who has so much confidence in herself that she doesn't have to use her sex to get what she wants. She's herself."

Right on.

If you don't want to shell out 280 euros for the original version, here are a few patterns for comfy, cozy sweaters that combine a dash of Scandinavia with a pinch of urban chic (click on the photos to get more info on Ravelry):

Updated Old Classic

DROPS 116-12 JumperI bought Wendy Bernard's book Custom Knits largely because I love the sweater on the cover, her "Updated Old Classic" (far left). Maybe now I'll finally get around to making it!

Not surprisingly, the Garnstudio DROPS line from Norway has a lot to choose from—like this tunic-length beauty (near left). 


StilwellThis aesthetic also makes me think of Jared Flood's traditional-modern-casual look. For something less bulky, how about his "Stilwell"?






Was it the teacher? Was it the politician? Will Linden's sweaters play a role in helping her find out? (It can't hurt to be warm and dry while investigating.) Share your own ideas about the show, and your own pattern ideas, in the comments!


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