So You’ve Knit the Doctor Who Scarf… Now What?

I before I cast on the Fourth Doctor’s Scarf for myself, I spent a lot of time thinking about the yarn.  If I was going to make the project, I was going to do it right!  The yarn and colour suggestions on doctorwhoscarf.com was very helpful for this, and over a week or so, I bought the seven colours that comprise the scarf.  I was lucky that I was able to get the majority from my local yarn shops and from Michaels, but I had to order the green colour online, and the red colour, Paprika from Red Heart, had been discontinued, but an outlet in Toronto had ONE ball left, so I drove 50 kilometres into the City to buy this yarn.  This was the only colour where I only bought one ball; the rest of the six colours, I purchased two balls, lest I run short!  I made my scarf, I love my scarf, but now… well, my stash now has a rather Whovian hue to it! I think I overbought.  I was left with the query of what to do with the remainder of the yarn.  Wristwarmers to the rescue!

My 'They're Warmer on the Inside' fingerless  gloves.  They live up to their name!
My ‘They’re Warmer on the Inside’ fingerless gloves. They live up to their name!

The logical part of my brain shouldn’t love fingerless gloves as much as I do.  After all, aren’t gloves supposed to keep your fingers warm, and fingerless gloves kinda defeat that purpose.  Despite this, I love fingerless gloves.  I have a few pairs of wristwarmers that I’ve made, and I think they are ideal for the Spring and Fall when it’s just starting to get cold, but not so cold that you’re cursing the winter Gods.  I don’t know what Elsa was singing about in Frozen, because the cold certainly bothers me!

Ultimately, my ‘They’re Warmer on the Inside’ fingerless gloves were a quick project and they keep my wrists rather toasty.  It’s also a very subtle Who reference: a fan will recognize the colour pattern and will thus recognize me for the geek that I am, and I’m okay with that.  It was a good way to use up a FRACTION of my now stashed scarf yarn, but perhaps my only complaint were all the ends that needed weaving in.  There were 14 colour changes, which resulted in, well, a lot of ends.

The project was largely improvised by me, but I used Kate Atherley’s Alcazar Mittens as my guide, and I followed a section of the Doctor Who Scarf colour pattern, but quartered it (if it said to knit 12 rows, I only knit 3).

Here’s what I did:

Worsted weight yarn, size 7 DPNs

Gauge = 5sts/inch

Cast on 32 stitches

rows 1-19: K1, P1, rep
row 20: knit
row 21: K18, place marker (pm), K1, pm, K13
row 22: K to marker, Make 1 Right (M1R), K to marker, Make 1 Left (M1L), knit to end
rows 23-24: knit
repeat rows 22-24 until 13 sts are between markers (should be row 39)
row 40: k to marker, slip 13 sts onto holder, make 1 over the gap, k to end
rows 41-60: knit
rows 61-64: K1, P1, rep

cast off in pattern

Thumb:
return 13 sts to needles, pick up st in thumb crook and join in the round (14 sts)
Knit 9 rows plain
rows 10-11: K1, P1, rep

cast off in pattern

Finish: weave in your ends (there’s a lot of them!), tighten any holes near yarn joins

 

Above is how the glove is constructed.  Here is the colour work:

Rows 1-3: beige
Rows 4-5: purple
Rows 6-10: brown
Rows 11-12: yellow
Rows 13-15: grey
Rows 16-19: red
Rows 20-33: green
Rows 34-37: yellow
Rows 38-39: beige
Rows 40-42: purple
Rows 43-44: red
Rows 45-50: grey
Rows 51-53: brown
Rows 54-64: beige

Thumb:
Rows 1-3: purple
Rows 4-5: red
Rows 6-11: grey

Swift Action

My father is pretty amazing.  For Christmas this year, he made me a swift.

Months back, while getting frustrated winding hanks of Berroco Modern Cotton, I mentioned that a swift, or a yarn weasel, would be super helpful with this task.  Dad asked what I was referring to, and I quickly sketched a weasel, something that is simple (very simple if I was able to sketch it!), but effective.  Little did I know, he kept the sketch.

Fast forward to a month or so before Christmas, and my parents asked what I would like, and I said that I would love to receive a ball winder.  I guess this triggered my dad’s memory, and he started doing research on winders, and how one might make a swift.  He spent afternoons at my grandparent’s and uncle’s, working on the swift, cutting and drilling.  He even researched what kind of finish, if any, it should have (the pegs were ultimately left unfinished to prevent any transfer to the yarn).

When I received my gifts on Christmas morning, I was astonished to find out that the professional looking puzzle pieces fit together to become a swift, and that my dad made it himself.  I honestly thought that they bought it.  I tried it out a few days later after a trip to my LYS, and the swift works like a dream.

There is a sense of satisfaction that comes from winding yarn by hand, but the efficiency that the swift provides and the uniformity that comes from a wound yarn ‘cake’, they are unrivaled.

Many, many thanks to my father for his innate awesomeness, for his creativity, and for this wonderful gift that I will treasure for years and years.

Before winding
Before winding
The swift and winder in action!
The swift and winder in action!
The finished, wound ball.
The finished, wound ball.

The Ultimate Whovian Knitting Project

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.

Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor and his iconic scarf - from Wikipedia.com
Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor and his iconic scarf – from Wikipedia.com

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.

My completed scarf, pinned to my blocking boards
My completed scarf, pinned to my blocking boards

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.

Me and my scarf when the latest Doctor Who Series debuted.
Me and my scarf when the latest Doctor Who Series debuted.

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.

Oh, The Weather Outside is… Canadian?

Yes, I am Canadian, and proud of it.  I love my country, its history, its diversity, its beauty.  However, the one thing I could live without is our winter.  I don’t have too much of a right to complain.  I live in Southern Ontario, so our winters aren’t as bad as, say around the 60th parallel, but still, our winters can get a little frigid. Yes, the inner child in me loves the first snowfall, and I love having a white Christmas, but the adult driver in me curses the snowfall and having to travel in it!

This week, the weather got cold.  Waking up one morning, it was -10°C (or, for any American readers, about 14 Fahrenheit).  If anything, this weather has given me the push I need to get knitting, because, really, no knitter worth their salt should be cold.  A few years before I truly learned the craft, I was gifted a pair of mittens, and while they are nice and toasty, the quality was lacking, and after a short time, they were falling apart.  After far too long, I’ve made a replacement.

Rest in pieces, white store bought mitts...
Rest in pieces, white store bought mitts…

I made my mittens, a variation from Kate Atherley’s Alcazar Mittens.  One thing I loved about the falling apart mittens was the cable along the back, so I included a 6 stitch cable on my mitten.  For the right mitten, the cable is worked at the beginning of the round, and for the left, it is worked at the end.  As well, rather than decreasing to 4 stitches, then drawing the yarn through, I decreased to 16 stitches, then re-arranged the stitches and did a kitchener stitch bind off.  If I was to make another pair like this, I would decrease another 4 stitches before the bind off, but hindsight is always 20/2o.

Completed warm mittens
Completed warm mittens

I chose to use Loops and Threads Charisma yarn for this project.  I’m wool intolerant, so I often do gravitate to acrylic yarns, and although it can pill, I find Charisma soft and warm.  And for these mittens, it hasn’t let me down, as they are soft and keep my fingers warm.  I’m also not very patient, and it is bulky and knits up fast, so these mitts were a quick, satisfying project.

I’m hoping later this winter to make more of these quick mittens and donate them.

 

Socks: It’s Complicated

Do you have a project that you love and hate at the same time?  For me, it’s socks.  They are the project that I love to hate, or hate that I love.

Relationship status with sock knitting: It's Complicated
Relationship status with sock knitting: It’s Complicated

I was well into my knitting addiction when I began my first pair.  I bought a skein of Berroco Comfort Sock, soft and purple, from my LYS.  It was perfect for my first pair of socks.  It is self striping and created a lovely mix of colours, and I chose a fairly simple sock pattern with lots of stockinette and YouTube tutorials for when I inevitably got stumped on a step in the pattern.  They are soft and warm, and they make me happy when I’m wearing them.  Yes, I truly am about the simple things in life.  Since knitting this first pair, I find myself being drawn to bright, colourful sock yarn.  My stash doesn’t need anymore sock yarn… or so the logical part of my brain thinks.  These are the things I love about socks.

My first pair of socks - a little slouchy, but I love 'em!
My first pair of socks – a little slouchy, but I love ’em!

Flip the coin, and oh socks, how I loathe thee.  First, and perhaps I haven’t adequately stated this about me, I’m not a patient person.  When they were handing out virtues, I seem to have been skipped for patience.  I love chunky, bulky yarn, big needles, and the instant satisfaction that comes from starting and finishing a project.  I just don’t get that instant satisfaction from socks.  The yarn is so fine and the needles so tiny!  Maybe with more practice, I’ll get faster at them, but socks definitely test my patience.  And then there’s the fact that they are a pair!  Once one is finished you have the Yay the project is cast off feeling, but then, alas, you are ONLY HALF DONE!!  You get to repeat the process ALL OVER AGAIN!

Despite all the things that irritate me, I am still drawn into sock knitting.  I have a lovely pair on my needles right now, the yarn is green and blue and reminds me of the ocean, and I have a small ball of pink and white yarn just waiting for a simple sock to be made.  I might grumble, I might curse the knitting gods, but I do love me a knittted sock… and David Tennant agrees

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