Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Deducing a Movie Knit (or Store Knit) for a Hand Knitter

I've been interacting fairly frequently in the "As Seen on TV" forums on Ravelry, especially with so many great movie knits coming out lately, like the one above from Catching Fire (aka Hunger Games #2).

I get asked a lot - what do you do when you want a movie knit (or crochet, or whatnot)?

1. Squee a lot over the AWESOMENESS of it.
2. Start looking for large, high resolution pictures. You want something where you can take it and find the smallest details possible. For example, from the above Pinterest post, I was able to get details like this:


See how you can really see those stitches? You can then tell its a combination of stockinette and rib stitches stretched to a large gauge going in multiple directions, and from the look of things, whip stitched together.

3. Start analyzing. This is where forums and other social media come in. For example, there's now 130+ posts on Osgood on Ravelry's Who Knits discussing "the scarf". Stockinette? 1x1 rib? There's lots of debate. So far, I'm waiting on the yarn to come in so I can start swatching. 

I often post on Facebook, especially if its a movie knit, as the people who have SEEN the movie can see what they can offer. For example, for Katniss' sweater I wasn't entirely sure if its a pullover or a cardigan worn backward.

4. Start looking for the original. Here's where looking for interviews with the costume designers and other movie staff help. In Katniss' case, we looked at a few mentions of knitwear designers for the movie - Maria Dora, Nicholas K, and Alice Lemoine. Eventually, someone found a near copy of the sweater in grey, and that led me to the photo of the exact model from the movie:


Now, this particular sweater is an older model, so it wasn't easy to find, and there's no photos of the back. Often newer pieces will have photos at Getty, Style.com, or blogger fashion sites where you can find MORE detail of the piece. Here we've got to go off of this photo and the photos of Katniss from the movie (often more come out as the movie goes from screen to DVD).

5. Discuss with people online some more. Often things you discussed at first (significant details) will force you to miss looking at something else, like an edge or smaller detail. Keep looking at that pattern. For example, Katniss' sweater is under discussion as to whether its two strands of bulky weight or worsted weight yarn OR a super bulky yarn. Both details have their pluses and minuses.

6. Start looking for suitable yarns. A lot of the time will be taken up here, because you have to make two decisions:
     ----Do you do it in the same color?
     ----Do you make modifications? i.e. do it in the super bulky yarn, or use two yarns to get a tweedy effect?
 From there, you start to make estimates.

7. Look at the forums some more. Often, at this point, people start linking like patterns, or giving structure advice. Compile it into a file and see what you like and decide if you're going to use a pattern or not. If you are going to use a pattern, look for modifications you'll need to make (size, darts, yarn weight, gauge change, etc.). For Katniss' sweater, I'm thinking of doing some colorwork to something like Wenlan Chia's Nimbus Sweater:

See how the lines are the same? The neckline can be altered to fit the Katniss design, and the ribbing can be done separately in the other color. But the important part, the middle, almost mirrors the chevron of black yarn in the middle of the Katniss sweater.

8. Start knitting, or crocheting, or whatever technique you think your project is. This swatching can help you decide if everything's going smashing or if you made a critical error and have to rethink.

In this case, I think I'll keep thinking about it before I start one. It's likely other people will catch "Katniss Sweater Fever" and start posting their ideas.

Eventually, hopefully, come out with something that makes you happy and you are thrilled to have! I know I saw many beautiful Doctor Who scarves as a part of costumes at Chicago TARDIS this past weekend. This sort of cosplay is like play time for adults - fun, innocent, and silly, giving you a visceral connection to other people who enjoy the same fandom you do. 
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