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Vampires Get Cold Too: A Closer Look at the Handmade Accessories in Twilight


If you're in basically any feminine space on the Internet right now, you know that Twilight is having a major renaissance. Millennials and Elder Gen Z are reminiscing about the soundtracks, Depop girlies are selling gray henley tops at insane markups, and Colourpop released a Twilight collection that sold out in eight minutes - and all this after Twilight was mocked, maligned, and parodied within an inch of its life for the better part of a decade.


So what keeps bringing us back to the Twilight movies? Is it nostalgia?  Is it exhaustion and burn out forcing us to yearn for a time in which we shamelessly loved a piece of media? Have we finally decided to stop looking for “the new Twilight” and to just go enjoy actual Twilight


I recently had a nasty case of the flu and the only thing I could handle watching was the Twilight movies. It was the first time I had seen the movies in years. In middle school, I was a full-fledged Twihard: I read the books, watched the movies opening weekend, and even had a vampire OC I wrote fanfic about. Then, a few years later, as teen girls do, I vocally loathed Twilight and anything reminiscent of it. It was only now, as my 26-year-old brain was being broiled by a 103 degree fever, that I was able to once more be completely and irrevocably in love with this silly, chaste vampire story. 


The thing I noticed on this re-watch is that there is so much handmade clothing in the first movie. 


I read through the Twilight Director’s Notebook for this, and while Catherine doesn’t give much insight on handmade items in the movie, she does share that she and Wendy Chuck would scout costume pieces from local thrift stores and markets. Information about this is sparse, unfortunately, though we do know that Catherine also donated some of her own wardrobe to this film. But armed with the knowledge that I was noticing something real, I scrubbed through the movie to find every handmade costume piece I could. 


Here’s a non-exhaustive list: 

Rosalie’s Scarf



This is the first handmade item to appear in the movie, worn by Rosalie when the Cullen family enters the cafeteria for the first time. This scarf is knit in a feather-and-fan lace pattern, done mostly in stockinette but with intermittent garter stitch rows. The scarf curling on the sides is a telltale sign that this was handmade, as unblocked stockinette stitch is notorious for curling. The yarn is also of a weight not often used with machines, and looks far softer than most yarns used for mass production.


Also, Emmet’s bag of hardboiled eggs is not hand-knit. 


Background Extra Fair Isle Hat 

 


This hand knit fair isle hat is worn by a background extra in one scene before Bella enters Forks high school. 

Angela’s Crochet Scarf




Angela wears a long, thin double crochet scarf in the scene where Tyler throws a pencil at Bella. It seems to be made of a worsted or chunky gray wool. It could be acrylic, but the slight bit of white slubbing on the right-hand side of the scarf suggests wool.  


Rosalie’s OTHER Scarf



This scarf is on screen for all of three frames, but I have Crafter Eyes and spotted it anyway. I don’t think this is the same scarf Roaslie was wearing before, because it seems to be made of either an eyelash yarn or a really fuzzy mohair. It also seems to be a different stitch pattern - I see lace and eyelets, but not the distinct waves of the earlier feather & fan scarf. If I had to guess, it’s a diamond eyelet lace made with a mohair/angora mix. This hat, too, I THINK is handmade but am not sure. This hat and scarf gets exactly 2.8 seconds of screen time, so I can’t quite tell if the hat’s brim has texture from a machine-knit cast-on, or a regular cast on with a row or two of seed stitch.  


Rosalie’s Hat



Same hat, different scene. It COULD be machine knit. But it also seems to be made of the same fuzzy yarn as Rosalie Scarf #2, leading me to think it’s handmade. 


Bella’s Mittens




Bella’s mittens. Bella’s iconic gray mittens. THEEE mittens. These were designed and knit by Ruth Cross, and they inspired so many copycat patterns before Ruth herself released a pattern. These are the famous mittens that were grabbed from a craft fair and made immortal, much like Bella herself. They’re long gauntlet mitts, with an antler cable pattern running from fingers to end. Ruth Cross sold these on her website for a while after the movie was released, but eventually took them down due to demand. Unfortunately, Ruth Cross no longer sells the pattern, and her website has been sold to a spammy link farm, so you can no longer find her pattern online. But there are plenty of patterns that are recreated by other designers. 


Background Extra Checkered Hat


This is worn by a background extra in the biology class scene where Edward finally talks to Bella. Instead of listening to them talk I was puzzling over this hat. I am assuming it’s handmade, but genuinely cannot tell how. My best guesses are either that it’s made of a patchwork of felted wool swatches, or maybe it’s an intarsia pattern made with several slubby yarns.


Field Trip Background Extra’s Crochet Hat


On the field trip, this extra walks in front of Bella and is wearing a crocheted striped/fair isle earflap hat with a small leather label attached on the side. It seems to have been done in half double crochet. 


Hat girl, look, a worm! 



La Push: Three Hats And A Blanket



La push, baby! Angela is wearing a knit hat with a 1x1 rib that twists into an eyelet cable (though I wasn’t able to get a good shot of it), and is wrapped up in a granny square blanket. Bella is wearing a chunky crocheted hat with a really interesting stitch pattern - it’s mostly double crocheted, with two front-post double crochets every 10 stitches. Then, every few rows, there’s a row of double crochets worked around the back post of the previous row to create that horizontal ridge. It seems they’ve done the same with the bottom of the hat to create that double ridge. It looks so soft. Made of a chunky gray wool, or wool/acrylic blend. 

Jacob’s Beanie



Jacob’s beanie, seen both at La Push and when the Blacks come to visit Bella and Charlie. This is clearly hand knit, with a loooooong two by two rib stitch leading up to the stockinette section on top. Likely made with a DK or light worsted wool, or wool/acrylic blend. 


Bella’s Baseball Scene Scarf




The baseball scene is the last time we see anything handmade. This scarf is made of several knit patches attached to one another, each featuring a different kind of cable stitch. It looks like the dark mulberry patches with the travelling cable were made first, and then the knitter picked up stitches from the sides of those patches in order to create the gray and light pink cabled sections. There also seems to be patches that are either black or navy blue, but it’s hard to tell between the blue filter and the frenetic editing. Grabbing these screenshots while jamming out to Supermassive Black Hole proved a difficult task. 

Carlisle’s Scarf



The final handmade piece of the movie is Zaddy Carlisle’s scarf that he wears during the baseball game. I am about ninety percent sure that this was made with a crochet slip stitch rib. It MAY be single crochet - I couldn’t get a good enough shot to tell. But this scarf would be difficult to make via knitting, as it would require you to change colors every stitch or two, and the lack of yarn floats on the backside of the scarf tells me that it was at least worked horizontally. It’s pretty difficult to work a horizontal rib in knitting, but incredibly easy to do with crochet, so my verdict is that this was crocheted longways in a slip stitch rib. 


And an honorable mention to Edward’s iconic gray pea coat, which was hand-sewn by costume designer Wendy Chuck. Her dedication to dressing the characters of this film was unmatched. 

So What?

The first - and perhaps most obvious - explanation for this abundance of knitwear is that the movie takes place in the Pacific Northwest. Though I myself am a lifelong East Coaster, my PNW friends tell me that most people in the region are capable of some kind of handicrafts and that craft fairs are as common as 7-11s in the suburbs. 


Something else I thought about was the fact that in 2008, when Twilight was made, handicrafts were having a massive boom among Gen X and older Millenial women. This was the era in which I learned to knit and crochet, and it’s kind of iconic in the community. Debbie Stoller, a founder of Bust magazine, largely contributed to the revitalization and “cool” rebranding of knitting with her Stitch & Bitch meetups and subsequent books (I actually taught myself to knit from the first Stitch & Bitch book). Women were taking up needles and hooks again, but instead of making doilies and sweaters, they were making lacy skirts, crocheted bikinis, cute hats, and fun amigurumi creatures. Needlecrafts were being reclaimed as something fun, cool, and sometimes raunchy. 


And I think that Twilight, in the way that it serves as a period piece of 2008 PNW culture and fashion, simply reflects that. Much in the way the soundtrack perfectly captures the late aughts indie and alt-rock scene, the costumes reflect the way people were dressing themselves in 2008. Catherine and Wendy were likely to find themselves among peers who were crafting more often, and therefore more likely to pick up handmade costume pieces to make the film feel more authentic. As women who devote themselves to their art, they were uniquely positioned to appreciate the work and love that goes into a handmade piece - and to believe that love deserved to be immortalized in film. Much like a vampire. 


In an interview for Ashley Greene’s podcast The Twilight Effect, Wendy Chuck discusses that most extras in the film were not outfitted by the costume department - she would add costume pieces when necessary, but most extras wore their own clothes. That potentially explains pieces like Biology Lab Student’s Patchwork Hat and Field Trip Student’s Hat. Since many extras came from Forks and the surrounding area, this contributes to the general authenticity and aesthetic of the first film. If you lived in Forks, Washington, those were variations of the kinds of outfits you would see everyday. Your classmates would wear hats made by their mothers, or grandmothers, or doting aunts. You would probably own at least one giant granny square blanket, and bring it with you to La Push. 


Twilight was the only film in the series to be shot mostly on location in Forks, Washington. From New Moon onwards, the movies were shot on sets in Vancouver. And you can tell - especially in Breaking Dawn Part 2. After Twilight, the rest of the movies feel a little too glossy, a little too good, a little too melodramatic. Except for Breaking Dawn Part 2, which touches on the potential this whole series had for some serious camp moments. But I digress. 


In some ways, I think that Twilight has strong ties to the modern online crafting boom. It gave a lot of people inspiration for knitting and crochet patterns (just search “twilight” on Ravelry!). I can’t help but imagine that more than a few people saw Bella’s gorgeous gray mittens and thought “I want to learn to do that!”. 


The idea of getting good enough at knitting to recreate something I saw in a movie was what kept me interested in the craft when I was younger. I learned new techniques and pushed myself to try different designs because while those gray cabled mittens were beyond my skill level then, I knew I could eventually get good enough to make them. It opened up a world of possibilities for me, introduced me to a world in which I could make clothes with my own hands – instead of having to depend on local stores to have things I liked. All because Catherine and Wendy liked to go to craft fairs.




Tabitha Wilson was on tumblr in 2012 and it shows. They work as a content writer for a small marketing startup and currently live in Appalachia. When not looking after their kid, they love to read, write, and watch 90 Day Fiance. They love seeking divinity in the trashiest media imaginable. You can find Tabitha on Instagram as @tabithathorns . 

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