Knits in The Last Kingdom

Knitting and historical dramas are two of my all-time favorite things, and very often they coincide.

Because of that, my Ren Fest friend Chrissy kept suggesting I watch The Last Kingdom on Netflix, a Viking drama set in Britain. The show’s last season just went live, and I’ve seen so much social media content about it. It was like the universe was trying to tell me “HEY, YOU SHOULD WATCH THIS!”

Since I finally had some down time this last weekend, I decided to do just that. It’s been a slow start for me, but I am hooked. The knits I’ve seen so far have been pretty stellar!

© Netflix

This one was worn by an alderman’s wife at the very beginning of the show. I thought it was so clever, and these oversized cowls/undersized ponchos are one of my favorite things to wear for their ease of styling and comfort.

© Netflix

There was a similar style I saw on a Wessex extra in a later episode (this is not the character, but the piece looks about the same). I love the texture in this.

Not to say that any styles like these are accurate to the time period the show is set. Since I’m late to the party, I am no where near the first person to notice this. The Herodotus History Blog had some notes all the way back in 2016 that I found interesting, considering they had a wider view than my very narrow knowledge of fiber arts history.

“The costumes are a nonsense. There’s lots of inexplicable leather, ragged furs that just appear to have been stuck onto the characters, fancy knitting in the 9th century, filthy clothes all the time (people did still take pride in their appearance in the Middle Ages you know), the battle armour appears to be mostly leather scales when in fact iron chain mail or just normal clothes would dominate battlefields, and the Danish horses have headgear that gives the impression they have horns. No such horse armour has ever been discovered or even attested.”

The Herodotus History Blog

Long-time readers know I can be a stickler for anachronisms in media, but truth be told, these ones didn’t bother me as I was watching. They are a bit now that I’m actually thinking about it (knitting wasn’t invented until the 1100s, and it would’ve taken a minute to get to Europe).

I think it’s because the knits do not have any real bearing on the story itself to draw my attention; my disbelief is so suspended I don’t notice they’re so obviously out of place. Outlander was like that for me, too. Some artist somewhere designed or created the piece for the sole purpose of looking cool, and you know what, they succeeded.

Truthfully, I’m looking forward to seeing more knits in further episodes. Maybe there’ll be something there I’ll be inspired to recreate.

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