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Dear Kay,

Benedict Cumberbatch has a demented legion of fans, and I like the guy. He’s a great Sherlock, and a fine codebreaker. I think. I confess I don’t remember much about The Imitation Game except Keira Knightley’s cardigan. I am quite possibly The Number-One Superfan of Keira Knightley’s Cardigan Featured in The Imitation Game.


Deliciously dowdy. Only in a movie with the most intense brainiac nerds could a cardigan like this appear foxy. She wears the thing for most of the movie. So brainy, Keira! Smart women wear cardigans.

About halfway through the movie I started calculating the pattern. By the end I knew I had to go for it. That Fair Isle pattern had to be mine.

Kimberly Harbrecht over at Knit Julep did a brilliant job decoding the knits of The Imitation Game. I found a stitch chart for Keira’s cardigan posted by a good-hearted person on Ravelry, but it was incorrect, so I won’t link to it. It did get me started, however, so I’m grateful for that.


I began this project back during the wintry, dark times of no blogging, knitting in a fever with an optimistic belief that I had dug out enough skeins of Alice Starmore Campion to get me a nice, double-wrapping cowl.


Turning the cowl inside out and working the Fair Isle with the strands on the outside makes the strands a tiny bit longer. The whole thing behaves better. A narrow tube like this can be a mess if you work it with the front side out, because the strands can take a shortcut inside the tube and pull the tube too tight.

Last week, I excavated this project from the depths of my closet, in a KonMari/KayAnn Method moment. Joy! Joy sparked! I love this thing! But now I remember why I freaked out last February and crammed this into Unfinished Object Tote Bag Zone B. There is a serious problem looming. I’m about halfway done, but there are ominously small balls of the green yarns left.


Over the weekend, Hubbo and I went to visit David at college for First Year Parents’ Weekend. It was memorable and terrifically fun, bookended by two of the most head-down, hardcore airplane knitting sessions of my life. I didn’t even ask for tomato juice. This may be one of the world’s greatest Fair Isle patterns. I can imagine working it in a zillion different colorways. I wish I had a coloring book for this.

If I knit fast enough, I think I can finish before I run out.



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  • It’s a cowl, you say? Of course you can finish with that green, no problem, just do it, Bob’s yer uncle, etc etc.

    • I’m with squaremary–Cast off. 🙂

  • When I saw this at the top of your page, I thought, “oh WOW! I love that”.

  • I am pretty sure I have some of that darker green in Spindrift, and maybe both colors if i dig around. If that would help, email me the color names, and will check the stash.

  • I’m not a big cardigan person, but that is one great sweater, and I do think you’ve figured out the fair isle!

  • LOVE that Fair Isle! Please tell us that you’re going to share the chart.

  • Stash ZONES?? This is the game-changing concept I’ve been waiting for!

  • It’s beautiful! So happy you’re back to regular blogging. Makes my day.

  • Knit faster! If you run out of color, add borders of the cream like the waist space of cream about the waistline of the sweater. I’m betting you can do it.

  • Recently ‘re-discovered’ your blog. Can’t wait to read more!

  • Love that Fair Isle pattern – that is going to be a knockout cowl! Thanks to both you and Kay for blogging again. I surely do enjoy your knirting, thoughts and humor.

  • So glad to have your blog back! And knitting fair isle inside out? Game changer! Thanks!

  • I’m with Lynn in VA: please, oh, please share the chart! I loved the movie and not least because of that sweater. And using the pattern in a cowl is a terrific idea! You get all the impact without the commitment of an entire cardigan. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • I love this sweater and when we came out of the movie, it was all I could talk about; my husband is used to this by now. I admire you for figuring out the pattern. Two more movies with excellent sweaters are Dirty Dancing (Baby’s blue mohair cardigan) and The Stone of Destiny (all characters wear sweaters all the time… a joy to watch). Keep up the good work, love the blog!

  • I love it when there is so much knitwear in a film, especially a period piece. Someone needs to do a pattern book with all of those knits from this movie! Please do share the chart, I love those greens you used.

  • I loved that sweater too! This summer we visited Bletchley Park, there were a few dowdy knits here and there on the back of chairs or on coat hooks! Very authentic!

    I had my own Cumberbatch inspiration a while ago…

    Very sophisticated, just like the man himself 🙂

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  • lovely!

  • Love your blog. So glad you’re back!

  • Is drinking tomato juice on airplanes a thing?? Because that’s the only time I want it.
    Haven’t seen that movie but am definitely making the sweater. It’s perfect.

    • I know! It would never occur to me to drink tomato juice at any other time. But on a plane, it’s my go-to, except when fried by Fair Isle project.

      • Maybe the tomato juice is a bigger thing than we knew. On an airplane is the ONLY time I drink the stuff. Why I should find it to be Delicious with a capital D in the air, but not so much on the ground, I have no idea. Another of life’s great mysteries.

  • I LOVE this. Can I put in a request? Also, I’m HUGE Cumberbatch fan. Give me a brainiac any day.

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  • It’s too good not to share! It is such unusual colorwork. I’d love to be able to buy a pattern for a cowl, and skip the sweater.

    I’m glad I wasn’t the only one staring at the handknits through the whole movie.

  • One really doesn’t want to spill tomato juice on yourself on a long plane ride though.
    That happened to my mother once while she was wearing a light grey cotton cardigan – luckily we were on our way to Turkey and the amazing laundresses managed to get the stain out completely.

    • There IS that thrilling challenge of getting through your cup of tomato juice without calamity. Add knitting to the tight quarters, and it’s like an Olympic event.

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  • Really glad you guys are back!

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  • Please sign me up for the newsletter

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  • Glad you’re back! Plus, now I have a non-Benedict reason to go see that movie. 🙂

  • What is this thing about tomato juice on flights. I NEVER drink tomato juice (or V8 or anything like that–not even a bloody mary) unless I am on a flight–and I almost always ask for tomato juice on a flight. Years ago I worked with a women, and in one of our lunch time conversations, she told me she did the same. Is this a thing that I have participated in without even knowing.

    maybe I should just google it 🙂

  • So happy you two are back at this!

  • (Don’t mind me, just subscribing…)

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  • I have tried to sign up for the newsletter and new post notifications, but no joy. Please, please!

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  • Welcome Back!

    I had given up … So glad you ladies are back. You were missed.

    Plus …. Great movie. Great sweater. Fab actors.

  • Happy New year

  • <3 Thanks for the shout out! The NBC show "Timeless" is next on my radar for screen knits I'm obsessed with right now.

  • I would love to buy a pattern for this, it is so lovely! You did a great job!

  • Is it possible to buy the pattern/chart for this cardigan? My girlfriend wants to knit it so badly, trying my best to help her.

  • I am curious to find out what blog system you are working with?
    I’m experiencing some small security problems with my latest site and I would like to find
    something more secure. Do you have any suggestions?

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