Outlander returns to our screens on Saturday (April 4), which means that Droughtlander is nearly over!! Hooray!!
The two of us here at H&H have been fans of the novel series Outlander for many years. In fact, I remember Julia telling me about the books when we first met in Italy and once we were back stateside, I picked up a copy of the first book from a used bookstore. Fast forward those many years (and two more sequels, bringing the total to eight) and now the historical fiction gods have blessed us with a cable television adaptation on Starz. The show has just come back from a mid-season hiatus and with it have returned Jamie, Claire, and Claire’s fabulous knits.
When the series first premiered in the fall, I fell in love with the knitted items Claire was sporting in the 18th century. My mom, expert level knitter that she is, said whipping up a clone of one cowl in particular would be easy peasy lemon squeezy. And, contrary to the cardinal rule of all DIY projects that everything will take longer than you think, it actually was.
We took to the internet to find a pattern. Thankfully, loads of Outlander fans also happen to be knitters–go figure, women who love to read also happen to love to knit–so there were several patterns available for my mom to consult. She settled on using this pattern from Polly Foo Foo as inspiration, but decided to go more towards an infinity scarf that can be doubled up than the single tube Polly Foo Foo shows.
So, to the yarn store we went! I’d been longing for an eggplant- or plum-colored scarf for ages, so I was very pleased when we found this burly spun wool yarn by Brown Sheep Company in Jack’s Plum. We snagged two skeins and the kind women at the yarn store used their amazing yarn winder to turn the skeins into a beautifully wound ball.
While this yarn certainly isn’t cheap, you don’t need much to knit up a very bulky and warm scarf. Plus, it’s high quality 100% wool and they have some really lovely colors. We did all of this when I was back in Kentucky around Christmas and, although South Carolina didn’t have that cold of a winter, there were several days when I was glad I had this scarf to keep me warm!
- Two skeins burly spun wool yarn, Brown Sheep Company
- Two size US 35-19mm needles
- Spray bottle with water or fancy lavender scented water like my mom uses
**This scarf is knit with two strands of yarn held together.**
- Cast on 10 stitches, leaving a long tail to use to sew the ends together.
- Knit every row until you reach your desired length (pre-blocking)/run out of yarn. Bind off.
- Lay the finished scarf out on a towel or bed or other soft surface and stretch it to your desired length and width. Pin in place and spray the yarn with your liquid of choice. (This process is called “blocking”, but you knew that already, right?.) This is also your chance to even out the seams and make sure the width is consistent throughout.
- Once the yarn has dried, try the scarf on and make sure it is long enough to wrap around the neck twice and not strangle you. If it is too short, block it again to stretch it further. I think we blocked it at least three separate times.
- Once the scarf is blocked to your liking, sew the ends together using a garter stitch.
I suspect that as I continue to wear it and stretch it out, the scarf will loosen up a bit to be more like Claire’s, but I’m very happy with how it looks now, too! I’m sure if I lived somewhere with any semblance of a real winter (like Scotland, sigh!) I would have worn it even more than I did. Thanks, Mom. You’re the best.
When looking for a cocktail to go with this post, it was a no-brainer to check out Theresa Carle-Sanders’ Outlander Kitchen and see what kind of drinks she has come up with over the years. While I was expecting her drinks category to be Scotch whisky and only Scotch whisky, I was pleasantly surprised to find several different concoctions based on what the characters happen to drink in the books. While this recipe is inspired by a section out of Voyager, the fourth book in the series, I couldn’t resist using it for this project!
Theresa also concocted a mulled version, which would be perfect for those of you still experiencing the tail end of winter’s chill. It was nearly eighty degrees here in South Carolina yesterday, so I’ll stick with the cold stuff!
- 1 bottle red wine (I used a Lindemann Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz blend because it’s cheap and a bit fruity)
- 2 oz-1/4 cup brandy, triple sec, or Cointreau
- 2-4 tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 orange, sliced
- 1/2 lemon, sliced
- 1/2 lime, sliced
- Sparkling water/club soda (optional)
Combine the brandy (or homemade orange liqueur, if you’re like me) and sugar in a pitcher and stir well to dissolve. Add the wine, stir again, and then add the fruit.
In the batch I mixed up, I omitted the sugar because the orange liqueur is pretty darn sweet already. The soda water is not optional in my household. This stuff is seriously good and my new go-to sangria recipe. Cheers! to the return of Outlander! And Jamie! And Claire! And Claire’s wardrobe! If you haven’t already found it and are so inclined, the blog of Outlander’s costume designer Terry Dresbach is a fantastic follow for sneak peeks and inside info. She’s already working on next season’s costumes and I can’t wait to see what they create for 18th c. France!