Knitting for TV (The Terror)

I was privileged to be asked to knit for the first series of The Terror (aired 2018). This is a dramatisation of Dan Simmons’ book of the same name. It tells a dramatised story of the (real) British Naval expedition, led by Captain John Franklin in 1845, to find the North West Passage.  The expedition fails and all lives are lost when the two ships, Erebus and Terror are trapped in thick ice in the depths of the polar winter.

I was asked to knit a number of Welsh Wigs, which were standard issue to Naval Officers at the time.  This is a very finely knitted headpiece that mimics a wig and can be worn underneath  a uniform hat, as required by the Naval officers in the story. The pattern is by Sally Pointer and is available to buy on Ravelry or she will make one for you (link below).  It was a delight to knit and very satisfying to complete.  This garment was used to keep the men’s heads, ears and necks warm in polar conditions.

This garment was popular at the time, so a great number were required for the characters in many “hair” colours. My knitting was for the principal actors.  Many others were knitted for the crowd by a team of knitters in Europe.

Here they are being worn by the actors:

My brief was to also provide samples of authentic period (1850’s) naval and civilian knitted headwear. I was given photos and illustrations of the type of garment required and then I knitted these up into samples for the costume designer to use or have copied by the team of knitters.

Here are some being worn by the actors:


Sally Pointer’s Welsh wig

The Terror TV series info

Published by Sarah McAlister Hat Maker and Textile Artist

I make all my lovely hats, caps and textiles by hand.

5 thoughts on “Knitting for TV (The Terror)

  1. Sarah I’ve been fascinated by the hats, been knitting all my life and never seen them before, what a fascinating part of history. I googled on the off chance I’d get some information. Thanks for sharing


  2. Bravo Sarah – I was enthralled by the period costuming and the knitwear – I am a crocheter but would love to make a Welsh Wig – you should be amazingly proud!


  3. So cool, I’d wondered about the welsh wigs, now I know! The Terror (aside from being great TV) was a wonderful repository of knitwear. I want to make Mr Blanky’s sweater, minus the forks.


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