Tiny Knits in Coraline

This is probably old hat, but have you seen Coraline?

The 2009 movie is based on the novel by Neil Gaiman, and was directed and written for screen by Henry Selick. I right away assumed that Tim Burton was involved in the film, but he was not – this was a surprise to read, considering the visual and style-similarities between Coraline and the Nightmare Before Christmas (and other delightfully creepy Burton-worlds).

Coraline is a girl caught between two worlds, two versions of reality which, in the style ofย The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, are connected by a portal in her newly-occupied rural home (convenient!).ย That’s all I’ll say, plotwise. But check out some of the film’s visual and hand-crafted delights!

A doll-making scene opens the film. The vibe is Edward Scissorhands meets hand-sewing. Seam-rippers, buttons, spools, patterns, needles-and-thread come alive (and since doll-making has been my preoccupation for the past couple of weeks, my attention was grabbed. I love these creepy doll-maker’s needle-hands.)

The Coraline cast of characters also includes a smooth-talking feline sidekick who accompanies Coraline on her cross-world travels…

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…a duo of aging starlets — Miss Spink and Miss Forcible — and their knitting needle shenanigans….

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…and an enthusiastic audience of (what else?) circus-going Scottish terriers.

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Last, but not least, of the movie’s visual delights: beautiful, super-tiny knitwear.

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Am I the only one who wants this sweater, full-scale?
robert scheer indy star
Photo source: Robert Scheer / Indy Star

The above sweater and glove pieces were indeed hand knit by Bloomington, Indiana-based fiber artist, Althea Crome, who specializes in micro-knitting. She is known for her marvelous mini-sweaters, some of which are knit at a gauge of 80 sts to the inch (!) and often feature complex colourwork patterns (all of which are knit rather than embroidered). Here, Althea Crome talks about micro-knitting:

And here I thought working a fingering weight on size 2s was ‘small’!

All in all, a fun film! (short post today)

Until next time!

 

29 thoughts on “Tiny Knits in Coraline

  1. I love Coraline! Itโ€™s the movie that sort of got me into Neil Gaiman (I need to read more of his work). I was also entranced by Althea Cromeโ€™s work – sheโ€™s done even more since the movie BTW. It got me thinking about the extremes of knitting, from Altheaโ€™s work to other artists working with needles so big they cannot be held.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! Nice to hear that we share the Coraline love. I’d like to read more of Gaiman’s work (I’ve read zero books to date) and I reckon this film will be my gateway, too. You’re right – it’s really fascinating to think about knitting and scale, and how versatile the craft is. I’ll check out her more recent work. Thanks for your comment. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Nice to hear! (I forget that this is a 9 year old film, but it still feels very new to me, lol). How sweet of the parents & students to request a Coraline doll. Your crocheted Coraline would be so amazing, Yolanda (no pressure! I just know that, whatever size you make it, it would be great!). Thanks for reading. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. This starry sky sweater is indeed gorgeous, and I can’t believe how small these gloves are – how can she knit things so small ? (My joints are aching just at the thought).
    Do you know the Knitting in Movies thread in Ravelry? I”m sure you’d love it, they’re capturing all the knitting in movies reference they can find. Pretty sure Coraline must be in it somewhere (like, 9 years ago..;-)

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    1. My thoughts exactly – my joints ache at the thought, and my eyes! Apparently, some of the needles are a little bigger than a hair’s width (!).

      Thank you for pointing me to that thread, Agnรจs – I hadn’t yet seen it but I will definitely check it out and am very interested. Happy weekend to you! ๐Ÿ˜€

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  3. Oh, it’s really been too long since I last watched this movie! It came out when my recently rediscovered love of knitting was reaching fever pitch, so I was pretty obsessed with these pieces back then. Definitely time for a rewatch… And did you notice there were some good tips for doing feltie hair in that intro video, too? Thanks for sharing, Shirley! ๐Ÿ˜€

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  4. Interesting to know that Coraline coincided with your rediscovery of knitting, Helen! (and that it reached fever pitch. I assume that the Beasties arrived not long after!). I saw the film a week ago and am intrigued by these little, little knits (though my joints ache thinking about trying to work at that scale). OH, the hair – it’s sewn right on!? Very, very, intriguing… Thank you for pointing this out. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. Of course I have seen Coraline as I am a huge Neil Gaiman fan. Coraline is now on US Netflix! I am going to rewatch it to see the tiny knits – I never thought about that before – awesome! Also the Scottish terriers look felted! Imagine the craftspeople that made all those terriers. Thanks for reminding me I need to watch this film again ๐Ÿ™‚

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  6. Of course! And yes, Netflix is why I finally got ’round to seeing this one. And I think you’re right about the terriers – they indeed look like felt and other fiber-y stuff. Making tiny felt terriers sounds like it would be a super fun gig, actually! Thanks for reading, Tierney. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  7. OMG I can’t believe I’ve never seen ‘Coraline’ (and that it is now 10 years old!). It has been reimagined as an opera (how is that gonna work?!) that is currently playing in London, and seeing the posters around town has reminded me that I need to get my hands on the film!!! That micro knitting is insane. Thanks for the recommendation!

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    1. Hi Weekes! I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it sooner, either! A Coraline opera sounds really interesting – I’m very curious how it would be re-imagined, too. Wishing you many adventures on your travels! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. I absolute agree โ€“ a little jumper knits up so much more quickly, and itโ€™s a project thatโ€™s much more likely to get finished, too. ๐Ÿ™‚ (And I still get to say I knit โ€œa sweaterโ€!). Thanks for stopping by, Miranda. Cheers! ๐Ÿ˜€

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  8. Oh this is so lovely, Shirley! I saw this film years ago–before I started knitting much, I think–and now you have made me want to revisit it with a new attention to all of the micro. I love all things tiny and so I am really, quite, excited. Thanks for sharing the artist video as well. i always learn something new whenever I stop by your blog. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. The work by Althea Crome really is quite spectacular, isn’t it? As she does mainly art-sweaters, I thought of you and your recent explorations in sweater knitting. Hope you enjoyed the Easter weekend, Melissa, and enjoyed your Berlin travels! ๐Ÿ™‚

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