Over the summer hols (ok, back in May....it's taken me this long to write this post) it was Mr D's 50th birthday. As we're a family of Doctor Who fans, and it's the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who (yep, info. on the Doctor Who Sew Along starting Monday 21st October coming soon), I thought it only fitting that I knit him a Tom Baker 4th Doctor scarf.
Unfortunately I've just realised I haven't a single photo of him wearing it....though he absolutely loved it.....it keeps getting kidnapped by his daughters, and me.
We've discovered it's lovely for staying warm on the beach, watching tv in, falling asleep in and Goth Child's even worn it over her bikini after swimming because she couldn't be bothered to wear clothes....yep, that's my daughter.
Anyway, I've always wanted to knit a Doctor Who scarf but for some absurd reason thought it would be too difficult or take too long.
It isn't and it doesn't.
It's the most basic of knitting skills and only took me two and a half weeks, and consider mine had to be done whilst Mr D wasn't around as it was a surprise, but did include 3 whole days whilst he was out at work and I was marathoning the Eurovision Song Contest semi-finals:
But what I'm saying is....there are 37 days or 5.5 weeks until the 50th Anniversary episode of Doctor Who so if you've EVER wanted to do something like this NOW IS THE TIME!
Luckily, there's a wonderful website with everything you could possibly need to know about the various scarves (yep, there isn't a definitive scarf - different seasons had different scarves of varying lengths, colours and colour combinations) constructed by the wonderful Tara Carstensen called www.wittylittleknitter.com.
Tara's site is fantastic. It's dedicated to knitting authentic Doctor Who scarves and wow! has she done her research and travels to construct precise patterns.....I am stunned by her generosity sharing all the information and tips she's accumulated.
THANK YOU TARA!
Anyway, I had 2.5 weeks available before Mr D's birthday and if you follow me on twitter, you'll remember the final stages, I knitted and tassel-made into the early morning. It was down to the wire, knitting whilst hiding in the closet (yes, really), knitting in the car waiting to pick the kids up, knitting whilst watching Commander Hadfield come back down to earth (it seemed fitting with the Doctor having so much to do with space and the original Apollo 11 mission etc):
I opted to make the Series/Season 14 scarf which can be seen in the Masque of Mandragora, The Hand of Fear (loved that story, scared me witless when I was a kid) and The Deadly Assassin. I went for this one simply because I had limited time....it's shortest of the scarves, mine being about nine and a half feet long or nearly 2 Melchetts, which I propose should be the manner that everyone measures their scarves from now on. It was the way I measured my progress ;)
Absolutely everything you need to know to knit your scarf can be found on Tara's wittylittleknitter site: how to cast on and off, the best way to change colours and knit in ends, how to make the tassels, washing and blocking the scarf, patterns for each series/season's scarves AND probably most helpful and important...
Tara gives her preferred brands, weights and colours BUT she also recognises that some of us (me included) might not be able to afford the best or most perfect yarns or can't get hold of them, so she also gives us a way to find the right colours.....using paint chip card numbers. I was trying to do this on a budget but although I wanted to buy yarn I could afford, I still wanted to get the colours as near to the original as possible. So I went to Home Depot and found the correct paint chips, then took these to Jo-ann's to find my balls of wool:
If you want to know what I used, it was one ball of each of Lion Brand Yarn Wool-Ease Worsted Weight in:
Ranch Red #102 (rust)
Gold #171 (mustard yellow)
Loden #177 (greenish brown)
Eggplant #167 (purple)
Natural Heather #098 (camel....this was the hardest colour to match....I think it's ok)
Oxford Grey #152 (grey)
Pumpkin #199 (bronze)
If you're in the USA, Jo-Ann's actually have the Wool-Ease Worsted Weights on sale right now (16th Oct 2013) and they're only $2.84 a ball, so a scarf for about $20! When I bought my wool it was an extortionate (joke!) $3.79 a ball, so the scarf cost me just under $28.
If you want to perfectly accurate with weights and colours though, Tara recommends Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport but all the details and patterns for this and various weights of wool can be found on her site.
I used three sets of needles all 5mm during my knit. I started with my 5mm bamboo needles but they were too long to stealth knit in the car or closet, moved onto my metal 5mm needles...but they clinked too much for stealth knitting and ended up on my circular ones....which I should have been knitting on all along. I should have known better, I knitted a hugh tubular Gryffindor (Prisoner of Azkaban movie version) scarf a few years back on the circular ones.
(5mm are an US size 8 or a UK size 6 btw).
OK, I think that's everything I need to tell you, other than......go knit! You cannot imagine how satisfying it is when people spot the scarf to be able to say you knitted it AND with the 50th Anniversary coming up to be honest, you need this scarf (or one of the longer ones if you knit like the wind).
For those of you who are going to take part in the Doctor Who Sew Along (starting Monday) you'll be able to wear it in your photoshoots with the rest of your creations! Because the Doctor Who Sew Along is coming......don't blink, just sew.....