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Knitting is therapeutic for Ms. Barry. “When you’re living on your own, it’s nice to have something to do,” she said. She knitted the sweaters for “The Banshees of Inisherin” during one of Ireland’s pandemic lockdowns, spending a week on each. “It kept me sane,” she said.
Ms. Barry said she was sad that young people today don’t learn knitting in school. She and her husband had no children of their own, but they helped raise her nieces and nephews when her sister died unexpectedly. Her younger relatives have followed Ms. Barry’s viral fame with amusement. “They say: ‘You’re not going to know us now. We’ll have to make any appointment just to talk to you.’”
Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh, the film’s costume designer, commissioned Ms. Barry to create the sweaters. After the release of the movie, Ms. Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh recalled, “My daughter, who is 20, came and said Delia is a TikTok sensation.”
Ms. Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh came across Ms. Barry’s work when she was sourcing knitwear for a 2017 television adaptation of “Little Women.” A woman working on the production knew that Ms. Barry had helped on other films, including “Dancing at Lughnasa,” for which she created knitwear for Meryl Streep’s character.
“Ireland is very small,” Ms. Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh said, laughing. “It’s all word of mouth.”
Ms. Barry credits her success to being willing to take on a job without a pattern, something many knitters would be wary of. For “The Banshees of Inisherin,” Ms. Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh provided photographs of Irish fishermen from the 1920s, which Ms. Barry studied with a magnifying glass. One showed a sweater with a distinctive long collar, the inspiration for the red piece that would become Mr. Farrell’s.
“We were really lucky to be able to make all the costumes for the principal characters,” Ms. Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh said. “Not just the knitwear, but the tailoring, the hats.” Ms. Barry is not the only older figure involved: Ms. Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh’s tailor is well into his 80s. “I say every day, what are we going to do if he ever retires!” she said.