The Story Of Our Highlander Pullover


Back in April, I first talked about a then new design in the works, our Highlander pullover. Maybe you remember how I shared that I’ve been wanting to design an Outlander-inspired piece for the longest time (our friends and I are huge fans of the show and the gorgeous knitwear it often features!), and since Highlander was just published, I’d love to share a bit more about its story with you today.

Though I have often admired colourwork from afar, it took me quite a while before I started using the technique in our designs. Having mostly seen it in more traditional garments and accessories, I wanted to find a way to incoporate colourwork in modern, timeless patterns that would work well with the overall aesthetic we aim for with all Sustainablist designs and our vision to help make making more sustainable. By now, we have quite a few published colourwork designs under our belt, by the way, but this one is actually one of the very first ones I was working on, so it’s rather close to my heart!

Have you ever had one of those moments when something you’ve been thinking about a lot suddenly fell into place? It’s exactly what happened to me with Highlander! There was a specific motif – a kind of multi-colour diamond, see below – that I’ve been wanting to design something around, but I couldn’t quite grasp exactly where I wanted this idea to go. Maybe a hat? Or a cowl? Something rather neutral, or very bright? Then one day I saw Brianna, one of the Outlander characters, wear a beautiful turtleneck pullover that incorporated the same sort of motif, and I immediately knew that a pullover with a similar feel was what I wanted to translate this idea into. She just looked so comfortable in her pullover, and the way the colourwork was placed on the pullover’s yoke and slightly extended onto the sleeves and body, but didn’t cover the entire piece, made it feel versatile and anything but dated to me, even though it uses traditional motifs. What I particularly loved was the combination of colours, and I ended up selecting a similar one for our Highlander sample (though choosing just three colours out of Knitting For Olive’s gorgeous selection was far from easy!).

Inspired by various versions of said diamond motif (e.g. this, this or this), I then settled on the main diamond I wanted to use (below on the left) and from there, created a smaller and a larger version of both this motif and a smiliar, less colourful one (below on the right).

Highlander motifs small.jpeg
Highlander motifs.jpeg

After having decided on the final motifs, I arranged them on a circular yoke with their tips facing the joints of the following row of diamonds, and while arranging the final yoke is something that might take quite a few attempts, with this design, I was happy with the very first one. Originally, when I first thought about the multi-colour diamond idea, I considered combining the motif with other types of colourwork motifs (which I still thinks looks pretty, too, like on Brianna’s pullover for instance), but I ended up loving the minimalist version with just two variations of the motif too much to change it. So that’s how our Highlander came to be! We named it as an hommage to the beautiful pullover that Outlander’s Brianna wore and that served as one of the inspirations during the designing process. Here are a few more photos if you’d like to take a closer look!