Good thing I don’t mind swatching

It all started when an LSG’er posted, “Hey, anybody wanna do a KAL for Watson’s scarf in the upcoming Sherlock Holmes movie?”


And then I showed Jeff a couple screenshots, and we watched the trailer together, and we squee’d (well, *I* squee’d) about how awesome it looks, and before I even got to “So, there’s a knitalong starting up for that scarf…” he’d said, “Cool scarf! Could you make something like that?”




Reverse engineering is tricky business.  You’ve got to distill a garment down to its spirit; to figure out which elements are essential and which allow for “close enough.”  You’ll never be able to find the *exact* yarn and can rarely sort out the *exact* gauge or number of stitches, but that won’t stop you from squinting at the computer screen for hours on end, or measuring Jude Law’s sideburns against your husband’s to approximate gauge.  It’s all part of the process.


After collaborating with the hoars and arguing about various forms of fisherman’s rib versus simple 1×1 and tossing ideas around and staring at color cards on Yarndex ’till my eyes bled, I started swatching and shopping.


I swatched Rowan Shetland 4-ply (too fine).  I swatched Cascade 220 sport (too round).  I swatched Berroco Vintage (too drapey).  I swatched Berroco Ultra Alpaca (too hairy).  The perfect yarn lived in my head: a dk-weight 2-ply that was exactly like the Rowan Felted Tweed I’ve used and loved.  The problem?  Felted Tweed didn’t come in the brown I needed, to match the movie.  Oh, and row gauge was completely off.


So then the compromising began:  I could handle a slightly-too-dark brown, since it would still play well with the spot-on blue and grey.  And after even more swatching(!), I decided that I could just double the rows in each stripe, and end up “close enough”.


I bit the bullet, and ordered the yarn from WEBS:

Felted Tweed is one of my favorites, and really – what’s a little thing like “just the right shade of brown”, in the face of perfect fabric and drape?


I ended up going with Treacle (aka the “not quite right” brown), Maritine, and Clay.  I ordered plenty extra, and think I’ll probably finish with at least 1 ball left over of each color.


I started knitting on Saturday.  The original scarf is in a 12-2-6-2 stripe pattern over an unknown number of stitches (in 1×1, the collective finally decided).  Mine is in 24-4-12-4, over 64 stitches:

Is it exactly like the movie?  No, not quite.  Is it absolutely lovely?  YES.


I’m 7 repeats in, and – if I go by the movie version – my final will be 17 repeats altogether.  I’m also weaving in ends as I go, in “chunks”.  Much easier than dealing with 3,375 all at the end.  And I absolutely cannot *wait* to block it.  Watching Felted Tweed bloom is one of my favorite knitting things ever.  EVER.


But let’s not talk about knitting 6+ feet of 1×1 over 64 stitches on US5 needles.  Masochism: I haz it.


What have you reverse-engineered?  Do you like it, or is it a “never again”?


7 responses to “Good thing I don’t mind swatching

  1. Gorgeous! Now I want one.

  2. That is beautiful. You must be a saint to knit all that 1×1 ribbing though, I simply can’t imagine loving someone enough to do that for them! LOL

  3. I want to make that scarf. See? You ARE good at everything!

  4. Pingback: Puts my little type-A mind at rest | KateOhKatie blogs

  5. Ah–your knitting ninja skills amaze me. I made a bootie once. Yes, just one. This scarf is amazing and full of London-y goodness. I wants one.

  6. Pingback: THEY MADE ME DO IT | KateOhKatie blogs

  7. Whenever you have elliminated the impossible (alpaca) whatever remains (felted tweed)….

    Grand design, love the effort that went into it.

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