One of the most recognizable symbols of the British sci-fi TV show Doctor Who is the scarf worn by actor Tom Baker from 1974-81. Baker played a time traveler known as The Doctor and the origin of his most famous accessory proved to be as eccentric as his character.
When knitter Begonia Pope was asked by costume designer James Acheson to knit Baker’s scarf she used up all the wool Acheson gave her, resulting in a twenty-foot scarf. After being shortened slightly, it became a permanent fixture of The Doctor’s costume and since has been copied by fans. In fact, I own a 7-foot version of the season 18 scarf. This guide, written using some of the advice of the friend who knitted it for me, will speed up the process and a beginning knitter can be well on the way to making his or her own.
1. Needles: Bamboo is the most expensive and is prone to breaking. Plastic is cheaper but can also break and the yarn doesn’t move as easily while knitting. Metal, however, is both durable and its smooth surface ensures stitches slide off as they should. These are wide scarves and needles must be at least 8-10 inches long.
2. Yarn: Wool is warm and durable (and accurate) but costs can add up. Instead, choose a lower-priced but soft acrylic not prone to unraveling. Worsted weight yarns like Vanna’s Choice by Lion Brand or I Love This Yarn! by Hobby Lobby provide warmth without bulk.
3. Patterns: The Doctor Who Scarf has patterns, yarn recommendations, and full-color instructions for all the show’s scarves. Choose a scarf, print the color chart, and take it to a craft store or yarn shop to match it to yarn.
4. Knitting: Finding knitting tutorials can be overwhelming too, but the best options are signing up for free at a help forum like Ravelry or finding a YouTube video if you learn better by seeing a knitter in action. Fortunately, only the knit stitch is needed for a Doctor Who scarf.
The Doctor would wish you good luck in your knitting adventure…but there are Daleks behind him that need defeating. He’s a busy man, you know.
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