Knit the Look: The Crown’s cardigans

Knit the Look: The Crown's cardigans

I’ve heard it said that Neflix’s spectacular “The Crown” has the biggest budget of any TV series in history, and it’s easy to believe — the sheer number of extras, sets, locations, costumes. It often seems you’ve seen an entire movie’s worth of people and outfits before the opening credits begin.  And gosh, the young Queen Elizabeth’s cardigans alone — a truly dizzying array of them (pink, black, peacock, khaki …) — must have cost a pretty penny! It leaves me wondering whether she really spent nearly every day of her life in one, and how many there were in her royal closet. (Just a few on repeat? She seems so sensible.) But if it leaves you wondering how to knit a similar one for yourself, I’d recommend Churchmouse’s Quintessential Cardigan pattern, which is written for lace-weight yarn held double and knitted on 5s for a nice light fabric (though not as ultra-fine-gauge as the machine-knit costume ones), and which also includes details on how to customize the length of both the body and sleeves. One of the recommended yarns is Rowan’s Kidsilk Haze, and while I don’t think I’ve seen the Queen wear a mohair sweater, it was certainly all the rage in the ’50s. Kidsilk Haze comes in several of the show’s colors, including “Drab,” which looks about like the one she’s wearing above. The other recommended yarn is Shibui’s Lunar (pictured), a luxurious merino-silk blend that might suit Her Majesty. Or of course, there’s always cashmere.

Does anyone here know, seriously, what the Queen might have preferred?


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37 thoughts on “Knit the Look: The Crown’s cardigans

  1. Am thinking most of her cardis are most likely either cashmere or a fine Scots Shetland. The show’s costumes are truly amazing!

  2. I am not as old as the queen, nor have I ever had her clothing budget, but I remember, that back in the late 50’s, we wore similar sweaters called “lambswool” : 100% wool, but slightly denser and fuzzier than merino, or something a little pricier called “furblend, which was probably lambswool with a very small bit of angora, probably less than 5%. We also wore sweaters called “shetland” which simply meant that they were of a slightly heavier, possibly heathered wool ( in a weight we Americans would call fingering). I would imagine that the queen wore something similar when she went to Scotland , or went out to the stable, but its likely that she wore cashmere about the palace .

  3. This is a great post. You might also want to look into the knitwear for the show, Outlander. Chunky cowls, shawls, mitt, boot toppers, and more. There is actually a Facebook group that focuses on just the knitwear. Let me know if I might help directing you to the admins. Sue

    Sue Kirkpatrick


  4. Those Pringle’s of Scotland cardigans were wonderful (I see someone already filled you in on the source). My grandmother had a drawer full of them in every imaginable color, obtained when she went to Scotland in the 60’s and replenished when she went again 20 or so years later. She brought me some on her second trip – they were definitely some kind of wool that was not merino – I would guess that they were British wool of some sort, perhaps Shetland. They were lightweight and very warm, and I wore mine until they were threadbare, though in the 80’s they were very much considered old lady garments, I loved them.

    • Oh in the ’80s we loved them in a punky ironic “Pretty in Pink” sort of way! And again in the late ’90s. I remember buying a vintage pale pink cardigan like this with white beading around the yoke and wearing it in an offbeat way. At a moment when wearing pink at all was a major act of rebellion!

      • lol yes, I always loved a pretty beaded cardi with ANYTHING. I think that might be where my “of course I can wear this very lacy handknit shawl to work, what’s wrong with you all?” attitude comes from. I consider lacy and beaded shawls to be emminently practical, lol

  5. not to get off topic (haha, although I am about to) I hope you also do a post on the knitted garments of Outlander, because they are off the hook (pun intended) LOVE your blog.

  6. Another great show for sweaters is Home Fires. Absolutely amazing lace and fair isle everywhere in the WWII English town! I just finished the series, but kind of want to start over to really focus on the knitting now that I know what happens.

    • I don’t think I’ve seen that one, but I think it’s one of them ones that blur together in my head so I’m not sure! Will look it up.

      But yes, sweaters are often the best reason for watching all that sort of stuff.

  7. I can’t believe that you haven’t watched Outlander. There is a large public obsession out there with the handknits on this TV Series. The costuming is eventful, as well, with a huge budget. The Facebook page on this has offered patterns for these handknits. Now, I am seeing handknits on many of the characters in British TV. The looney ‘chemist’ in the Doc Martin program wears a really ugly aran type sweater in the latest series. I wouldn’t want to copy this sweater.
    As far as Scottish cashmere goes, Pringle was always the ultimate cashmere sweater that one could have. It was so thick and nice. I grew up in San Francisco, where the days were usually cool and cashmere sweaters were de rigeur if you could afford them. This was in the late forties.
    I wanted to weave a couple of cashmere scarves as gifts for my husband and his father, sometime in the late seventies or early eighties and was unable then to purchase the yarn. Now it is available as pure cashmere and blends.
    Cashmere is really a warm fiber. Loop’s London offers yak. I wonder about this fiber.

    • I have two yak blend sweaters, store bought, both made by Vince and both purchased at thrift stores. I don’t know how old they were when I bought them, but each of them have been owned by me for over five years and they look pristine: no pills, no shedding Yak feels like cashmere, but being a longer fiber, wears far far better, and it is warmer. I have not knit with it yet but I wouldn’t hesitate if it crossed my path

  8. Oh, thank you for the shout out to the Churchmouse pattern–I’ve got this amazing one of a kind yarn that I picked up at the EYF, and it’s DYING to become a simple cardi, and none of my rav searches were yielding what I wanted. This is perfect.

  9. Have you seen the movie Red Sparrow? It might still be in theatres. The main character lives in Russia and her sweaters took my breath away. There were maybe 5 different ones throughout the film and I want to knit all of them.

  10. Oh–the last time I swooned for tv knits was watching The Bletchley Circle… (full disclosure i found the plot disturbing but man the sweaters were amazing). Will have to check out the Queen!

  11. The Churchmouse pattern, Quintessential Cardigan, is beautiful and knits up like a dream. BUY THE PATTERN!!! You will love it, too.

  12. What a fun post. I am thoroughly enjoying the show and the Quintessential Cardigan is already in my queue!

    • Her sweater looks and sounds very nice, but I wish it didn’t have such a low neckline.

  13. The Churchmouse patterns are excellent! Worth every penny. I am swatching for ‘best turtleneck’ and learning so many finishes, and they offer advice on modifications beyond just adding rows to lengthen. Big thumbs up.

  14. I cannot thank you enough ! I’ve been searching for the perfect lightweight cardigan pattern for months, and here it is. Plus I have tons of mohair/silk blend and lace weight yarn in my stash that are only waiting for the right pattern. THANK YOU !

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