Diving into the Gilmore Girls Patterns

If you know anyone who was a teenage girl during the late 90s you are probably well aware of the fact that Netflix rebooted the TV series Gilmore Girls. The four episode mini-season gave us all six more hours with Rory and Loralai, which was either glorious or torturous depending on how you feel about them. I have some feelings about the show but for now I will focus on something that caught my eye while watching it: the knitwear.

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Anyone who knits can spot a hand knit item from a mile away, and Gilmore Girls was no exception. A mere seven hours after the series went live there was a Ravelry thread about Paris’s scarf. Seven hours, you guys. By 5pm on Gilmore Day the pattern had been identified. As of this evening the project is in 541 users’ queues.

But wait, there’s more!

The scarf that Rory is wearing is also hand knit! That’s right, you can knit yourself a scarf originally designed for Stars Hollow’s whiniest journalist! Oh sorry, I said I’d keep my opinions of Rory to myself.

Ok so let’s say you’re a knitter and a fan of the show (I count hate-watching as a sort of fandom). Let’s dive into these patterns a bit to see what mad skills you’ll need to pull them off!

Paris’s Scarf: Eponymuff

First, the basics. This pattern uses a lot of increase and decrease stitches to create the design. These are pretty easy to do, but you need to pay attention to whether they’re left leaning or right leaning. If you want a lot  of practice with your stitches you can try out this lace scarf pattern which is free from Tin Can Knits and has detailed instructions.

The big fancy skill this scarf employs is stranded colorwork. Stranded color work is most well known for its use in Icelandic and Scottish knitting. The Scots of Fair Isle are so well known for their color work that Fair Isle and stranded color work have become synonymous, but Fair Isle is a proper name for a specific pattern. Fair Isle uses stranded color work, but not all stranded color work is Fair Isle! It’s like the whole square rectangle thing. Don’t worry about it.

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This is stranded colorwork from Fair Isle.

Stranded color work requires using two different colors on the same row, and it requires a bit of practice. Beyond that it’s pretty easy, just knit with the appropriate color on each stitch and try not to get your yarn hopelessly tangled. If you want to give it a try Tin Can Knits has an good primer on stranded colorwork. I’ll wait here while you read it.

Did you read it? Really? Ok. While the pattern does provide line-by-line written instructions most people find it much easier to follow a chart. Charted knitting looks like this:

Chart and key from Tin Can Knits

Chart and key from Tin Can Knits

You read the chart from right to left, bottom to top. So basically the complete opposite of reading English. It’s confusing at first, but when you think about the way fabric is knit it makes a lot of sense. Once again, Tin Can Knits has a good tutorial on reading charts. Which is to say if she ever takes her site down I’m totally screwed.

Once you’ve got those skills you’re ready to begin! The pattern calls for eight (!) skeins of Fiber Company Road To China Light. It’s an absolutely lovely yarn, a blend of alpaca, silk, camel, and cashmere. Seriously lovely stuff. It’s also $18/skein, which for many folks is just totally out of the budget (eight skeins!). While slightly thinner and not quite as luxurious, Knit Picks Diadem Fingering is a decent substitution at half the price ($18 for a 100g skein). You’d need two skeins of each color, and may need to go down a needle size (and end up with a slightly smaller scarf).

Rory’s Scarf: Dots n Dashes

Hoo boy, double knitting. I’ve got some feelings about double knitting. Do you like knitting because it’s relaxing? Do you like to knit in front of the TV? Yeah double knitting is not for that. Double knitting is for focusing on every stitch, making sure you’re using the right color and have the yarn on the correct side of the work at all times. Double knitting is like a job.

Does it sound like I have some unresolved issues with double knitting? You bet I do.

This scarf took me 2 years to knit.

This scarf took me 2 years to knit.

Putting my personal issues aside, double knitting is a pretty neat technique. You’re essentially knitting two fabrics at once, back to back, so that the front and back of the scarf are color-reversed mirror images of each other. It’s like stranded colorwork on steroids, but since each yarn is being knit every stitch there aren’t any problems with long floats of yarn like you get with stranded knitting.

Aside from the challenge of double knitting Rory’s scarf is pretty straightforward. If you’re feeling pretty solid about your stranded knitting skills and have a fair amount of patience give it a shot. Heidi Bears has a very good photo tutorial demonstrating just how double knitting is done.

Here's Alexis Bledel wearing the scarf. I have no beef with Alexis, only Rory. Photo copyright Lisa Lucia LLC.

Here’s Alexis Bledel wearing the scarf. I have no beef with Alexis, only Rory. Photo copyright Lisa Lucia LLC.

The pattern calls for The Fibre Company Knightsbridge, which is a either a DK or worsted weight yarn depending on who you ask. It’s a llama / merino / silk blend. If Knightsbridge is out of your price range, Knit Picks Gloss DK is a reasonable substitution.

So there you have it. Two scarves you can pluck right from the TV and knit onto your body! By the way, pattern designers
Lisa Whiting and Lucia Blanchet have a cameo in the Netflix reboot. They can be seen knitting in Luke’s Diner.

Ugh, you guys, Rory is the worst.

Hey! Want more?

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