Yes, I am talking about THE scarf! The iconic scarf. The scarf that goes on for miles (or so it seems!). The scarf made famous by the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker. Perhaps the most notable accessory worn by a Doctor, although I think bow ties, fezzes, and converse shoes give the scarf a run for its money!
Tom Baker was the fourth incarnation of the Doctor, on the long-running British series, Doctor Who. First debuted in 1963, the show came up with an ingenious way to adapt to when a lead actor would leave the show, regeneration. The Doctor is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, and Time Lords can regenerate, or change their physical form and in turn their personality, most often as a way to save their lives. Wow, explaining regeneration is complicated! Tom Baker was the fourth actor to portray the Doctor (hense why he is referred to as the Fourth Doctor), he had the longest tenure of Doctor than any other actor, and he is often regarded by fans as the best incarnation of the Doctor.
And he wore one of the best pieces of knitware television has ever seen.
His mismatched , 14 foot long scarf made its debut with Tom Baker in 1974. The story goes, a costume designer provided a local knitter with a bag of assorted yarn and asked her to knit a scarf, but the instructions weren’t more elaborate than that. The knitter then made the scarf using all of the yarn she was provided with. A piece of television history was born.
I fell in love with Doctor Who in 2013. Yes, I am a late convert to this show, but once I started watching the 2005 reboot, I watched episode after episode, and I knew my love was solidified by the time I watched The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances. Brilliant episodes. By early 2014, I wanted to make the scarf, and I finally jumped into the project during the summer.
Here’s where I admit to a little secret: I CHEATED… The original scarf is 14 feet in length and a foot wide. My scarf: 7 feet long, 8 inches wide. I wanted a scarf that I would actually wear and be comfortable wearing, and I knew my patience would seriously be tried if I went for the 14 footer.
I finished it in time for the Season 8 debut (the first episode with Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor), and then I wore it a week or so later at Toronto’s Fan Expo, Toronto’s answer to Comicon. It was a HOT, humid August day, but I proudly wore my scarf.
Now that the weather has turned colder, I’m wearing my scarf more often. And I love it. It is warm, geeky, and it reminds me of the time and love I put into it.
Many, many thanks to doctorwhoscarf.com for having not only pattern instructions available for many types of yarn weight, but also having a multitude of yarn options for colours suggested as well. The webpage was bookmarked on my phone for months as I searched out the yarn for the project. I followed the acrylic suggestions as best as I could, and ultimately, I am so very happy with my scarf.