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A scarf based on the film The Imitation Game

I came across a web site called Information is Beautiful. On the front page of the site there was a link called Based on a True True Story? David McCandless, the owner of the site, had analysed several recent films which claim to be based on true stories. From his data, the least true of them all was The Imitation Game, which tells the story of Alan Turing cracking the Enigma code at Bletchley Park. The way he represented the data made it look so much like a scarf that I felt compelled to knit it.

David compiled a spreadsheet which breaks down the film scene by scene then compares the action with information from other sources. He gives the beginning and ending times of each element, and the duration. Below are the categories he used to indicate the various levels of truth

UNKNOWN (White) We couldn’t verify it or the sources were secret (i.e. personal diaries)

FALSE (Red) Out and out didn’t happen, or outrageous dramatic licence taken.

FALSE-ISH (Pink) Pretty false but with reasonable / understandable dramatic licence.

TRUE-ISH (Light blue) Some tweaks but true in spirit. Or a mix of true and false.

TRUE (Blue) Pretty much as it happened.

I omitted some of the film’s credits then took the rest of his times and converted them to seconds. I divided by ten and rounded to the nearest ten so that I could use one row for every ten seconds of the film. That gave a scarf with 667 rows.

I had to make the scarf in 4 ply yarn otherwise it would have been much too long and heavy. It was quite difficult to find two close shades of red and two close shades of blue that were different enough to be noticeable and the lighter red is still not showing well in the photos. (Reds are notoriously difficult to photograph.) I used grey instead of white. It is knitted in the round.

The finished length is just about six feet.

There is no pattern for the scarf but I do have a spreadsheet with the calculations I used.

I gave the scarf to
Timandra Harkness,  
author of
Big Data:
Does Size Matter?