Jumpers and Mary’s Maids and Sherlock, oh my!

This is a bit of a “catching up” post since I am going to try to cover a few different topics about last week’s Sherlock, “The Sign of Three,” before discussing (briefly) the latest episode, “His Last Vow” in a later post. I have also realized that, in my Sherlockian zeal, I have allowed the entire month of January to pass without announcing my knitting and stitching goals for the year or explaining the enigmatic “2014 Smalls SAL” banner in the sidebar. Yikes.

First, in my last post on the Sherlock episode, “The Sign of Three,” I neglected to mention Annie Modesitt’s latest colorway devoted to this episode. Called “Mary’s Maids,” the colorway is based on the dresses Mary (and Sherlock — I love how they bonded over wedding arrangements) chose for her bridesmaids. The dresses are your typically unfortunate, ill-fitting bridesmaid’s fare, but the colorway is a gorgeous “celebration of purple (sorry, Lilac) in subtle, semi-solid beauty” and you can view it in all its splendor (sorry, splendour) here. And while lilac bridesmaids’ dresses are an abomination unto the Lord, Annie Modesitt has managed to make all the shades of purple (one of my favorite colors) work together.

Second, inspired by my favorite quote from Sherlock’s best man speech — “I could go on all night about the depth and complexity of his [Watson’s] jumpers” — I realized this would be a good opportunity to showcase some of my favorite patterns for men’s sweaters (or “jumpers”). I can’t guarantee they would all be favorites of John Watson, but I could see him looking bemused yet fiercely loyal in some of them.

John Watson's Jumper
John Watson’s Jumpers have two Facebook pages, a Tumblr, and their own fan fiction page. I’m not kidding.

So, in no particular order, I present:

I promise that my next post will have actual knitting and stitching content. Time to set some goals! Til then, the game’s on!

*I’m going to avoid showing all the pictures of these beautiful sweaters, partly out of respect for copyright and partly so as not to clutter up this entry with pictures. So enjoy a little “action shot” of Martin Freeman, as John Hamish Watson, wearing a jumper. Pattern available on Ravelry, of course.

The Return of Sherlockian Adventures in Knitting

I could go on all night about the depth and complexity of his jumpers
Mary Morstan (Amanda Abbington) and John Watson (Martin Freeman) anxiously listening to Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) give the best man speech in the BBC Sherlock episode, “The Sign of Three”

First things first — I apologize for the “belatedness” of my update on last week’s tightly plotted and unexpectedly touching episode of Sherlock, titled “The Sign of Three” (I love how the writers of the series play off the titles of the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories as they do in this case by referencing the novel The Sign of Four). I got caught up in my “real job” and fell behind in my all-important television viewing. Bad me.

Unfortunately, this episode was scarce on knitted items and knitting references. The wardrobe choices continue to be, as they have been this entire series, spot-on, as the Brits would say, with many of the outfits speaking volumes about the characters themselves. My favorite example of this is Mary’s “thumbs up” blouse which she wore for the scene in which she discusses seating arrangements and serviettes with Sherlock. A great addition to this iconic duo, Mary nimbly juggles the needs of both characters to spend more time with each other in such a way that neither of them feel handled. The scene ends when the two agree to take a case together and Mary send them on their way with a knowing smile and a simultaneous “thumbs up” gesture framed through two open doorways in such a way that neither Holmes nor Watson can see each other’s response.

She's smart, funny and she knows how to handle her men. Lucky John!
Mary Morstan (Amanda Abbington) gives the “thumbs up” to Holmes and Watson separately but simultaneously

I also learned a lot about British wedding customs (and not just the outrageous hats), including telegrams (which reminded me of the segment on Prairie Home Companion when Garrison Keillor reads messages from friends and family of audience members) and the phrase “Pray be upstanding…” Overall, this was a very good episode which focused almost entirely on Sherlock Holmes’s best man speech, including flashbacks to relevant past cases, in which he manages to be heartfelt, funny and exasperating all while solving a murder in progress.

For the purposes of this blog, one line struck me: “I could go on all night about the depth and complexity of his [Watson’s] jumpers.”  “Jumpers” are, of course, the British word for sweaters and the line precedes a flashback to Watson wearing kind of a plain, characteristic button-up sweaters over a gingham shirt with a brown corduroy jacket. I spent the rest of the episode paying very close attention to Watson’s sweaters. I will have to review past and future episodes with this detail in mind. What exactly does each of Watson’s sweaters, seemingly so ordinary, tell us about this fascinating character and series? What are some of your favorites of Watson’s jumpers? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Until next week! Well, actually, tomorrow.