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The magic of Merlin, and Morgana’s mittens

October 13, 2009

Saturday teatime is definitely made much more magical by the new series of Merlin on BBC TV.

For those of who you who haven’t seen it, Merlin follows the adventures of the young warlock Merlin as he arrives in Camelot for the first time. Merlin becomes servant to the obnoxious Prince Arthur (yet to become the legendary King Arthur), and friends with fellow servant Gwen/Guinevere (yet to become Queen), and her mistress, royal ward Morgana (yet to become baaaaaaad). The twist that runs throughout is that Arthur’s father, King Uther (played by Anthony Stewart Head), is so terrified that magic will undermine his authority that he has made practicing it punishable by death. So the young Merlin must keep his own powers secret while using them to save Arthur and Camelot on a regular basis.

On what I imagine is not a huge budget the production team have managed to create an interesting fantasy take on Camelot. Particularly from a wardrobe perspective. The use of colour is interesting- with the more magical characters in blue and greens and purples, and the more “down-to-earth” knights and courtiers in earthier reds and yellows. At least that’s how I read it. Morgana (played by Katie McGrath) has some beautiful outfits, like the blue silk one above. And remember my post a while back on beetlewing embroidery? Well my excitement knew no bounds when I saw the neckline of her dress below. (I think I literally bounced up and down in my seat squeaking “beetlewings! beetlewings!” and had to be dosed with strong liquor.)

You know when you’re a fan of a show when you start coveting bits of the characters’ wardrobes. And you know you’re a crazed knitting fool of a fan when you start actually knitting them up. In the last series Morgana wore a gorgeous purple pair of cabled fingerless mittens, which you can just see in the screenshots below:

So I thought I’d have a bash at making my own, similar but not identical, mitts. I used Rachel Kurchin’s free pattern for Almost Fingerless Gloves (with modifications) and a beautiful merino/silk sport weight yarn from the Woollen Rabbit. The colourway is Black Velvet. (Of course I can’t watch Merlin without wearing these now!)

Critical reception to Merlin has been pretty mixed, but I really enjoy it (and suspect the key to this enjoyment is not to take it too seriously!). Yes, Merlin has its weaknesses. It seems to have temporarily forgotten it’s called “Merlin” (I certainly want to hear more about Merlin and Morgana and less about Arthur and Guinevere.) But it has a strong supporting cast, and actors like Charles Dance, Emilia Fox, Adrian Lester, Mackenzie Crook and Santiago Cabrera queueing up to make guest appearances. Ultimately, though, it’s just good clean magical family entertainment. And you can’t argue with that :)

Catch the extended trailer for the second season on youtube:

Images copyright BBC:

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Lindyhopper permalink
    October 13, 2009 4:42 pm

    So that’s where the fashion for fingerless gloves came from, I did wonder! Yours look fantastic and will even keep your arms warm whilst knitting or using the PC etc on chilly days! Although the speed at which you are producing knitted garments must be keeping you warm!

  2. October 15, 2009 4:11 am

    Oh yes, Morgana’s outfits are to die for, especially all those billowing velvet cloaks. She really is quite stunning, like a much prettier Kiera Knightly. I find the Merlin series a bit annoying because it’s so cheesy, and plus the castle looks way too clean! Where are the dirty rushes on the floor, and all the grot in the corners? It does make for nice, light viewing though if you don’t take it too seriously. Love your mits by the way, they look simultaneously rich and tweedy, a perfect medieval combination!

    • glassoffashion permalink
      October 15, 2009 12:38 pm

      Thanks for the kind comments on the mitts! Merlin- cheesy? Yes, but I think for me in some odd way that’s all part of the charm! The castle is indeed very clean (I imagine the servants do an excellent job). Grot and dirty rushes? Why, all down where they should be, in the Sordid and Festering Dungeons :)

  3. fiberfiend6891 permalink
    October 30, 2009 4:58 am

    Thank you for working my pattern! It looks fantastic!

  4. January 15, 2010 8:21 pm

    I was wondering where I might be able to get a pattern for the costumes that Lady Morgana, Gwenivere, Arthur and merlin wear on the BBC Merlin Show? I would really apreciate any information on this. Thank you so much.

  5. April 7, 2010 9:02 pm

    Morgana is our fave female on the show.

    Here is our take on Merlin season two with lots of pics and a little wit if you are interested:

  6. Kathy permalink
    January 15, 2011 2:40 pm

    I have always wanted to knit, but struggled….even with my mom being a superb knitter. I have watched Merlin and have also noticed the amazing costumes and all the wonderful detail that they have put into it. I too loved Morgana’s fingerless gloves and scoured the internet for them. I now have learned to knit and this will be on my list of things to attempt. (Once I’m not dropping stitches…)

    Thanks for the wonderful pattern….I’m really excited to try it out. :)

  7. January 21, 2011 4:37 am

    “Morgana. the EVIL LOOKS Season!” ;)

    Here is my take on season 3 with lots of pics and a little wit if you are interested:

  8. Yo mamma permalink
    January 19, 2013 3:52 pm

    I want morganas dresses!!! I love the blue and purple one!! Stunning dresses for a stunning woman!! Hello prom dress!


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