Outlander Inspired Tie Shawl

I decided to knit a traditional Danish Tie Shawl, after observing all the beautiful knitwear worn by characters on the TV series “Outlander”.

My tie shawl from the back

I used a pattern from the spring 2008 edition of Spin Off Magazine. A traditional tie shawl is knit in a crescent shape which allows it to cross in the front, with the ends wrapping around the sides and tying in the back.

Close up of the ends meeting in the back

The pattern is composed of alternating increase rows and straight knitted rows. The increase rows have six yarnovers, two in the middle and two on each side. I messed up one of the increase rows, but by the time I noticed I was many rows beyond and decided it was not worth ripping out the stitches and fixing the mistake. I can find the incorrect row immediately, but in the overall scheme of things, for something I will only be wearing around the house, it is not a big deal.

The completed project

My husband and I have been watching Outlander together. I had heard about it for years and we finally decided to give it a try. It is nice to find a show we both like and look forward to the next episode together. I also started reading the books that the TV production is based on, which is turning out to be a different experience. Certain aspects of the story are easier to show on the screen, but the character development and other details are more thorough in writing. I read that it is a huge challenge to condense each of the very long books (ranging in pages from 642 to 1456) into one 13 episode season, requiring major editing, cutting out plot elements, or adding story lines to make the adapted version work. The TV show has some very graphic sex and violence which I think could have been toned down. We had to fast forward past a few scenes.

If you are not familiar with Outlander, the story is about Claire, a WWII era British combat nurse. While on a second honeymoon with her husband in Scotland after the war, she accidentally time travels 200 years earlier to the same location. There is beautiful Scottish scenery, period costumes, romance, adventure and intrigue. Claire gets herself into and out of many dire situations due to her knowledge from the 20th century, her medical experience, and her inability to adapt behavior and language to the expectations of the times. She cannot explain how she knows things without people thinking she is crazy, a witch, or a spy. Amidst all the action and mayhem, I particularly notice the many knitted shawls and accessories worn by the 18th Century women.

I wear a down vest around the house most winter days. It takes the chill off while allowing free use of my arms. A tie shawl is the eighteenth century version of a down vest. On Outlander, and in real life, women wore them as a regular part of their outfit for warmth and practicality.

My 18th century down vest / tie shawl
Claire wearing a tie shawl and wristlets on Outlander
A different tie shawl and wristlets worn by Claire on Outlander
Another Outlander character wearing a knitted capelet

During one of our zoom calls with family members, we posed the question “if you could travel back in time without risk of getting the plague or being in grave danger, where and when would you want to go?” Interestingly, several of the young adult women said they were not sure there is any time or place they would want to go due to the unfair treatment of women in the past.

After some prodding and setting of conditions, times and places that were selected for time travel included an indigenous culture, the 1920’s flapper era, an ancient but advanced civilization from the Middle East, the time of the Dinosaurs, and England in the Regency era. I picked our family cabin property in the 1920’s when the cabin was brand new, and the lake was almost completely undeveloped.

People sometimes talk about the “good old days”. Maybe there are times and places in history that were better for certain parts of society, but were they better for most of the people?

Published by Meg Hanson

Hello. I am a recently retired empty nester. My husband and I moved to Jewett Lake in Otter Tail County, Minnesota, after living most of our lives in the Minneapolis area. I have no trouble keeping busy with knitting and spinning of wool, selling yarn and handmade goods, reading, walking, watching movies, surfing on the internet, traveling, doing bookkeeping for our family cabin, and spending time with family.

5 thoughts on “Outlander Inspired Tie Shawl

    1. Thank you. The first 3 seasons of Outlander are on Netflix. Season 4 and 5 are on Starz. Another season, 6, is supposed to be under production but is delayed due to Covid.

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