I recently had an opportunity to stay out of town with an Aunt who is a big Doctor Who fan. I have watched some episodes before, but never really got into it until watching some popular episodes with her. I have since watched a few more episodes and come to appreciate the good doctor a little more. I wanted to knit a thank you gift for her because she was such a great host, and found out that her favorite doctor is the fourth, Mr. Tom Baker, who happens to wear the most iconic knit Doctor Who item there is.
I came across this fun video sharing the origin of this awesome scarf.
The thing that makes this scarf fun is that it’s just a lot of different colors with random sized stripes, which allows for some creative license while still being reminiscent of the original.
As my stash was growing out of hand already, this became a great project to quickly work through some of that yarn.
As I have been primarily a loom knitter for a long time, most of my leftover yarn is bulky, so I decided to adapt some patterns I found to the loom using my bulky yarn, making this knit up extra fast and soft, but perhaps a little less true to the original look. I still love it 🙂
My aunt didn’t want the full sized scarf as that would be rather unwieldy for day to day wear, so my version, while being long for a scarf, is not nearly as long as the real scarf.
If you’d like to give it a go, here are some simple instructions to stash-bust your way to your own awesome scarf. Or if you’re a perfectionist you can go pick out colors that match the original even better than mine. Here’s a guide for that:
I used this guide in a general way to keep my stripes similar to the original, but made most of my sections 2-4 rows shorter than suggested to make up for the increased length from my bulky yarn, and to decrease the length overall as I previously mentioned as my intent.
To make on a loom I used a large gauge loom with 20 pegs. You could of course use a loom with more pegs and just use 20 of them. More stitches than that in bulky yarn would be a really wide scarf.
I gathered the colors that I thought would work well for this out of my stash. Most were the same brand, but a few were different, which made for a couple of slightly wider areas on my scarf.
Cast on 20 pegs of whatever color you’d like to start with, (you can use the guide above and start purple if you want to match) using a basic e-wrap cast on.
The entire scarf is in garter stitch, which makes this incredibly easy for beginning loom-knitters and seasoned fans of the Doctor.
Row 1: U-stitch (knit) each peg.
Row 2: Switch directions and purl each peg.
Repeat rows 1-2 until you feel ready to change colors. I recommend you only make even number rows per color so the color changes are uniform on both sides of the scarf. One side will have solid blocks of color, and the other will have thin stripes at each color change.
To change colors (there may be a prettier way to do this, but I like my way for being easy):
At the beginning of a knit row, make a slip knot of your new color and put it on your first peg. Knit over, and continue with u-stitch (aka knit) all the way across. Switch directions and purl the next row, continuing in pattern as you did your first color section. Have fun making irregular length stripes that use up whatever amounts of yarn leftovers you need to blow through. OR, follow the guide above and do it exactly as they did- but 2 rows shorter per section so as not to surpass the length of the fourth doctor’s scarf. These bulky yarns really knit up fast as you’ll see.
I had one worsted weight yarn to use, and I just doubled it and it worked very well with my bulky’s- didn’t change the scarf width noticeably.
Towards the end of this when I was running out of several colors I ignored the guide and really just used whatever colors i wanted to use up. I think it still looked good and pretty authentic.
When you have made what your consider to be enough scarf (mine is probably about 10 feet long!), it is time to bind off.
Next is the worst part ever. So find some excellent Doctor Who episodes and just make the best of weaving in and hiding all one million of those little yarn tails where you changed colors. There may be a way to weave them in as you go, but I haven’t learned that yet… : /
Pretty cute, yeah? Ok, now to make the tassels. Cut several 8 inch pieces of yarn from your leftovers. I was able to pull mine apart into thinner strands, then combine 5-6 thin strands of various colors. I took the strands, folded them in half, then pushed my “fold” through the first stitch on the bottom row. When I had a loop poking through, I pulled all of the ends through it and pulled it tight.
Continue this all the way across on both sides. Cut them to make them uniform to the length you like.