The Ultimate Color Palette – It Begins

Hello everyone! Boy do I have a journey to embark on!

In the past I’ve mentioned a project where I purchased the best color match yarns for the S12 scarf and made a mini-scarf from them regardless of mixing fiber types and yarn weights. While the colors are fabulous, the yarns won’t work on a full-sized scarf without significant doctoring (ha-HA!) that I simply can’t be bothered with. And even with the available palette, some yarns can still stand to be even closer to the real deal, and that doesn’t even begin to touch upon the stunt dupe color alternates.

In the last few months I’ve gotten in touch with a pro dyer who has a love of Doctor Who (she’s asked to remain anonymous for the time being). She’s wanted to make it her goal to one day custom match every yarn to the real scarf. As I have access to the real scarf, this was a dream I could help realize for her, and of course it’s a dream of mine to eventually have a flawless color palette! 10866950_892175214150164_1047285477_nShe’d already made some strides in the past, matching colors to the Pantone swatches recommended by Tara of the now-defunct WittyLittleKnitter.com – but unfortunately the colors matched by Tara were “interpretations” she made after observing the Shada scarf and determining what the colors “might have looked like” in the 70s, before the wear and fading of time. But between the work my dyer had put into that and the info she’d gathered, she has certainly made some major strides in the area already, like matching the gold to the current front-runner match, Universal “Gold Spice.”

My first project has been to get an acceptable Stunt Dupe match for the gold, to pair with the Universal yarn, but this has proven even more difficult than either of us envisioned, even with the ability to send samples to the Shada owner for evaluation. She’s a busy lady, and right now is her crunch time, which leads me to my next project…
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She has sent me detailed instructions and her formula for the best match we’ve been able to come up with for the Stunt Dupe gold, which is nearly identical in some lightings to the Hero yellow but notably more vibrant in others (see right, Dupe yellow on top and Hero yellow on bottom).

Over the weekend I will be pouring over the packet of notes and reference materials, and hopefully in the next few days I will begin embarking on my first attempt to hand dye yarn to a custom color with real acid dyes! I have samples that were matched to the Shada to match to and test yarn to use and abuse while I figure out exactly how to get the depth of color I’m looking for.

I’ve done work in the past with coffee to help achieve the colors I’m looking for, but never real, hardcore, professional dyes. It will be quite the experience and I cannot wait to show everybody how it goes!

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Video Tutorials – The S16/17 Crude Joins

d4-5k-025Lately I’ve been commissioned quite a bit to make S16/17 scarves, as I go through the trouble to recreate the major damage and oddities present on the scarf. I’m asked on a regular basis how I manage to get the look out of the two major crude joins that I do – and of course it’s difficult to truly give a tutorial about a craft in any kind of brief way.

uploadedImage4cropIn response to this, I’ve spent significant time over the last few months working on filming how I achieve the look that I achieve in a way that is simple enough to teach and loose enough that it can be tweaked and uniquely shaped as per each knitter’s (or client’s) personal tastes.

It’s important to me that these tutorials are openly available for scarf knitters to use, at least as a starting point for how they want to do their scarves. I am firmly of the “share and share alike” camp when it comes to cosplay knowledge.

Unfortunately, since both of these joins were removed when the scarf got revamped for Shada, we’ll never truly know how the joins were created, so these are truly “interpretations” of the screen look, but I’ve found them to be incredibly sturdy, read beautifully on camera, and give every scarf that touch of authenticity. These tutorials are crochet-based, but have no fear if you’ve never touched a crochet hook before – it’s not like you’re looking for a beautiful result. If you ever want to make a S18 you’ll have to learn how to slip stitch – better to learn now when the uniformity of your stitches is not important.

If you have any questions about these tutorials, it’s likely someone else will have the same question in the future – drop me a comment on here or on YouTube and I can address it in the video itself.

Happy knitting!

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The S18 Replica Yarn Run

THE LIST FOR THIS RUN IS NOW CLOSED.

If you missed the run, there will be a limited quantity of extra yarn. I will post about it when I know the full quantity.

Alright everybody! The time is nigh!

DSCN3169editcropAs I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I’ve been in contact with a yarn company called Silk City Fibers for about 8 months now, working to replicate the chenille yarn used on the S18 scarf.

After approving a line of acrylic chenille for a fiber match (pictured left), the next hurdle has been formulating the custom colors to match the original Sirdar colors. A few days ago I received a new set of dye samples from the company. Images of the custom dyed chenille against vintage Sirdar yarns are posted below. Even here, the colors aren’t quite finished – the final run of Rust yarn will be darker (I confirmed this with the company this morning), and it’s possible the replica Plum will be lightened up a smidge. When I receive final samples I will, naturally, update this post with photos of those as well.

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I’m currently taking interest in this run. I’ve received final prices from Silk City Fibers, including shipping quotes. Final price for one “scarf kit” (enough yarn of each color to knit a full-sized S18 replica with a little left over) will be $175 shipped to US, $220 shipped to UK (about £137 at the current exchange rate). I appreciate that this is a good chunk of money but even at the wholesale price this is the cheapest I can make the run. I am also selling full scarf commissions – if you’re interested, contact me privately and we can discuss details. Turnaround time will be a little lengthy as I already have a small number of these commissions lined up but this is a unique opportunity for as screen-accurate a S18 scarf as you can get without hunting down vintage Sirdar chenille.

With the volume of yarn needed per run, a second run like this is unlikely to happen anytime soon, so if you’re uncertain, I’d HIGHLY recommend jumping on this opportunity. We need 33 people to commit to this in order to make it happen. We’re about 1/3 of the way there at the moment.

If you’re interested at all in joining this run, now is the time.

Contact me via the comments section or emailing me personally at amurphy922@gmail.com to secure a spot on the list for either the unknitted yarn or a full scarf commission.

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The Perfect Trio

At the moment, as I keep mentioning and never really explaining, I’m working with a yarn company on replicating the 3 chenille yarns used on the S18 scarf. I’m in love with that scarf and those colors and am not happy with any currently available options, especially as I have samples of all three yarns and can make true-to-life comparisons of both color and fiber.

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The most popular “current” option – the Lion Brand Suede choices. Left is LBS “Eggplant” with Crystal Palace Cotton “Plum” underneath (and notice, hidden between them, a sample of Sirdar 526 “Aubergine”), middle is LBS “Garnet” on a partial skein of Sirdar 525 “Claret,” and right is Sirdar 523 “Terra Cotta” on top of LBS “Spice.” As you can see, even this palette leaves a lot to be desired, and is simply not close enough to warrant the monumental and infamously infuriating effort of knitting a 20’x1′ scarf in chenille yarn.

I will post about my project more indepth in the future, but for now, allow me to tease you all with this beautiful sight:

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Details to be released at another time!

I can, however, speak about these colors – they do not photograph accurately at all. The burgundy least of all – it’s truly a deep wine color that is actually darker in value than the purple – but it lightens considerably in photographs (it can, however, be evidenced in on-set sequences of Tom Baker’s 18th season, as the purple and burgundy seems to be almost identical in color). The rust color is much redder than it photographs, and the purple is actually a bit lighter than it photographs (it’s identical to Cascade 220 9572 “Cabernet” – which incidentally is a perfect match for the Hero purple on the Shada scarf). The chenille exhibits color very strangely and hues wander in real life far more frequently than spun yarn.

Stay tuned for more about these findings and my projects!

Categories: s18, Yarns | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

The Color Joins – Meeting the Real Scarf

Another in my series of tutorials stemming from my friend meeting the real scarf – this time discussing how Begonia Pope made the color joins on the Hero scarf. If you’re interested in that kind of screen accuracy, look no further!

Doctor Who Tom Baker Scarf Tutorial – Color Joins from Alex Murphy on Vimeo.

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The Man Behind the Scarf

I woke up this morning to a bit of a surprise – a scarf client of mine is currently in the UK attending a few Who-related events, and he’s been posting photographs on Facebook. So this morning, what do I see but THIS marvelous treasure:

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This is my friend Stephan Reese of Galliplay in his City of Death cosplay with the one and only Tom Baker! The scarf is one I knitted for him a few years ago – WHICH MEANS THAT TOM BAKER HAS SEEN MY WORK! (And Stephan confirms – Baker touched my scarf!)

No matter what else I do, Tom Baker has been involved in my passion on the OTHER side of the coin – and that is pretty damn cool.

Now if only we knew the whereabouts of Begonia Pope!

Stay tuned – soon I will post about the screen accurate color joins on the scarf and present some interesting color information I learned doing my color-perfect mini scarf!

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The 12.5 Join – Meeting the Real Scarf

So, lately I’ve been posting a series of discoveries made when a friend and fellow scarf knitter Matt Swanson met the real Shada scarf in person – today I’m here to tell you the secret of the 12.5 join!

I would go into more detail about the 12.5 join here, but as I made a video tutorial where I give the history, I’ll let the video do the talking for me. Below are photographs of the join as it appears today (courtesy of Matt Swanson), both from the front and from the back – click the thumbnails to view high resolution versions of the images.

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Color Matching – Meeting the Real Scarf

As I posted before, my friend and fellow scarf knitter Matt Swanson had the good fortune of meeting the real deal of Baker scarves – the Shada. Last time I posted the fruits of his labors in measuring the scarf and talking yarn choices with the owner – this time around I’m here to show you the currently best-known yarn matches paired against the REAL scarf! I know I have a hard time taking other people at their word when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of color matching (especially since I’m SO anal about the accuracy myself) so seeing these photos was a major eye-opener for me. I’m currently knitting a super reduced scarf with the best color choices available so I can see what the whole thing looks like in the original colors, and I’ll post those results when that comes to fruition. In the meantime, take a look and save these images for future use!

I’d also like to say – don’t take these color choices as being the “only” reasonable yarn choices – these yarns do color match the best (yarn weight and fiber type leave something to be desired) but remember that when you knit one of these, it’s YOUR scarf – the best yarn choices for you to use are the yarn YOU like best!

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Later I will post some fascinating photos of the real 12.5 join, with a video tutorial on how to achieve it, so stay tuned for that!

Categories: Yarns | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Detail Dishing – Meeting the Real Scarf

Recently, friend and fellow Doctor Who scarf knitter Matt Swanson (one of the best, in my opinion) had the honor of meeting the REAL Tom Baker scarf in person. The current owner is also a replica knitter and they spent many hours discussing the scarf and gathering details (including sticking fistfuls of yarn swatches against it), which he very happily supplied to the Facebook DW scarf community Stitches in Time. His post has been reprinted here with permission – I have added links to the online retailers for the yarns where applicable. Yarn options have been slightly updated since the original posting.

Okay, now it’s time to dish some details I learned about the Shada scarf:

LENGTH
It is 19’11” from tassel to tassel. The Hero side is 9’3” from cast on to the join, the Dupe is 10’3” from same.

The tassels on the Hero end are 2 1/4″ from the knot to the ends, the tassels on the Dupe end are 2 1/2″ from same.

WIDTH
The Hero varies from 11” to 11 1/2”
The Dupe varies from 9 1/4″ to 9 3/4″, and the 40 row brown section bows in to only 7 1/2″
The new gray section on the dupe end widens out to 10 1/2″

MATERIALS
The majority of the scarf is clearly DK wool, although the gray and Hero red seem like they were thicker to begin with.

The Dupe purple and yellow are not wool–I don’t know what they are, but they haven’t felted like everything else and they blocked out more than the surrounding colors.

The Hero brown also doesn’t seem to be wool, although it may be a blend. It has tons of little white fibers in it, which is common with acrylic blends, and it hasn’t felted either.

COLORS
Best Hero Tan: Rowan Pure Wool Worsted “Toffee.” Exact match.
Best Dupe Tan: Alex Murphy’s overdyed Knit Picks “Almond.” Almost exact match.
Best Hero Red: Elsebeth Lavold “Flaming Red.” Exact match, sadly discontinued. Cascade 220 Superwash 823 “Burnt Orange” and Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport 25284 “Saffron” are both slightly too light but the best currently produced options.
Best Dupe Red:  Hobby Lobby ILTW “Terra Cotta.” A touch dark, but perfect tone. Anchor Tapisserie Wool 8240 is a perfect match but only available in 10m skeins.
Best Gray, both sides: Plymouth Encore 6001. Yes, it’s a blend and yes, it’s slightly heathered, but it’s a near exact match. Dale of Norway Freestyle 2671 “Dark Taupe” is 100% wool and has no heathering, but the color is slightly too warm. YMMV.
Best Hero Purple: Cascade 220 “Cabernet.” Exact match.
Best Green, both sides: Lion Brand Cotton-Ease “Hazelnut.” Really close, but cotton. Cascade 220 Superwash 818 “Mocha” is possibly even better but a touch light, though it has the advantage of being 100% wool. Universal Deluxe “Bronze Brown” is the next best wool option but is too green. YMMV.
Best Hero Gold: Universal Deluxe “Gold Spice.” Exact match.
Dupe Yellow: Anchor Tapisserie Wool 8024. Exact match, but only available in 10m skeins.
Best Dupe Brown: Ella Rae Classic Sport “Orange Heather.” Near exact match, perfect weight.

Shada Burgundy End: Rowan Pure Wool DK “Port.” Near exact match.

COLORS THAT NEED BETTER OPTIONS
Dupe Purple: It’s like a pale version of the Hero purple, kind of tonally “thin.”
Hero Brown: The actual scarf falls in the middle of Jamieson’s “Burnt Umber” and Knit Picks “Amber Heather.” Jamieson’s is a bit too gold, and Knit Picks is too red. Having said that, I think Jamieson’s is the better option. YMMV.
Shada Silver: It’s much lighter than the other gray and heathered.

Pretty soon here I will be putting together a mini-S12 in as perfect a color palette as I can. The trouble with the above yarns is that most of them are worsted or heavy worsted so most don’t work great on a replica, but I want to take a look at the yarns in the correct colors. Stay tuned for that! And thank you, Matt, for sharing your findings with us!

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Look, I Made a Hat!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any updates here, despite quite a lot happening recently! I’ll be moving in a few weeks to the Los Angeles area to further pursue my acting career (my main passion), so in the meantime I’ve been busy busy busy!

I did want to give a quick update, however, to my Young Amelia Pond hat and gloves project! I finished and sent the completed hat out to its new owner, Heather Ann Reese, quite some time ago, and this past weekend she debuted her cosplay at SDCC!

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Heather started the whole project because she was lucky enough to find the screen accurate jacket on eBay in her size and couldn’t resist, so you get a real good color comparison on the gloves here. I’m quite pleased with the results!

Also, we can finally get a good side-by-side with the real hat to look at the pattern.

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Of course, the image on the left has been professionally color retouched (remember, they’re both wearing the same exact jacket), but the two next to each other really makes me see this project as a job well done!

Cosplayer: Heather Ann Reese
Glove pattern available on Ravelry.
Hat pattern available on Ravelry.

Photo of Caitlin Blackwood courtesy of the BBC.

Categories: non-scarves | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

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