I'm so excited to share a project with you that I've been working on for a while with a dear friend. This project came about in an interesting way…
Louisa Demmitt and I met on the set of Knitting Daily TV, way back when we were filming season 12. Louisa was my ride to and from, well, everywhere, and we met at the airport sight unseen as if we were on a blind date. We hit it off right away and from that time on have never run out of things to talk about.
Somehow in our conversations in those first few days of meeting each other, the film Lars and the Real Girl came up. An interesting movie about a lonely man and a blow-up doll (sounds like we’re gravitating close to porn here, but firstly, get your mind out of the gutter and secondly, not even close) and how the town embraces them both, this movie has so much heart. The first time I saw it, I thought “wow, I need to watch this again.” Louisa felt the same way and we talked about this movie extensively. She said, "The most charming part of this movie is how Lars’ family and community rally around him. They come up with a schedule for Bianca, the not so real girl, to really make a full life for her. People take her places and treat her with great care, as though she was alive. Which is really all for Lars, and I think is probably the best expression of love and friendship that I’ve ever seen."
Lars, the main character, has a blanket his mother knit for him as a child. With his mother long gone and having lost her at a young age, he clings to this blanket like any small kid would – it’s more or less the only link he has to his mom. The blanket shows up here and there in the film and the knitter in me always looks at it with eagle eyes, mocking up the stitch in my brain, thinking about the yarn they used and about who made it. During a conversation about the film I said to Louisa, “wouldn’t it be fun to knit that up and put it up as a free pattern?” The idea clicked and before we knew it, we hatched our plan – I would design it, supply the yarn and photograph it and Louisa would knit with abandon. We parted ways after filming ended, both excited to get started.
As soon as I got home from filming in Ohio and had unpacked, I pulled the DVD out and watched it again with my husband. Every time we watch it I feel another layer of emotion, I cheer and cry with the characters, I look for the blanket, I move my way through the story and love how it ends. I swatched up what I thought would be a “pretty darned close” version of the stitch and had done the math and written out the pattern by the time to credits were rolling.
Digging through my stash, I came across 8 balls of Be Sweet Bamboo in a sage green (not exact, but certainly close to the original color in the film). Sending off both the yarn and pattern to Louisa in Colorado, we agreed that we would take this project at our own pace, get to it when we could and above all else, enjoy working together on something fun and interesting. Time rolled by and the project would occasionally get pushed aside with real work, life and for Louisa, wedding planning!
A couple of weeks ago a large box landed on my doorstep. Opening it up and shaking out the amazing knitting Louisa did, having it look just like we wanted and being able to put it up for fellow Lars and the Real Girl knitting fans like us was magical. She says, "I loved working this pattern because it was therapeutic and soothing. Once you did one repeat, it was easy to remember what you were doing and to get into the rhythm of it. I had also never knit with bamboo for anything larger than a scarf, so it was nice to see how bamboo creates such a great drape, and infinite cuddle-ability." It was fun working on a tag-team knitting project together! Lousia says, "There are knitting inspirations everywhere, and if you keep your eyes and mind open to them, your creativity can really have a chance to run wild. I wouldn’t have thought of knitting this blanket if Tanis hadn’t pointed it out. I’d always thought, 'oh, that’s cool, he’s wearing a knit blanket as a scarf.' But I never would have taken this realization any further. Sometimes you need a jolt to your creative system, and that thing that you think looks cool turns out to be totally knittable if you give it a try!"
I’ll admit that part of me is sad to see our project together end, but who knows what else we’ll cook up together in the future? We hope you enjoy this blanket pattern and if you haven’t watched the movie, Demmit and Gray give it 2 thumbs up!
Download the free Lars & The Real Girl Blanket pattern here.