Everyone loves the Fourth Doctor’s scarf, even kids who may have never seen a Classic Doctor Who episode.
There’s just something about Tom Baker’s over-sized yarn accessory that brings a smile to anyone’s face, even more than jelly babies.
Unfortunately, not everyone who wants to make one has the ability to knit or crochet, especially these aforementioned younger Whovians who haven’t yet learned these skills.
Until they do, here are some tips in making a tribute to Fourth Doctor’s scarf, even if for those who never picked up a needle or hook.
Before we get started on the final two tips, here are a few fun bits of trivia about the scarf.
• The Fourth Doctor’s Bohemian look is said to be inspired by Toulouse-Lautrec’s Ambassadeurs-Aristide Bruant (1892).
• In Season 12 of the Classic Who era, in the episode The Ark In Space, The Doctor said his scarf had been knitted for him by Madame Nostradamous, whom he called a “witty little knitter.” FYI: According to TARDIS Data Core, current Doctor Who writer Steven Moffat considers The Ark in Space to be the best Fourth Doctor episode.
• During the Fourth Doctor’s reign, the scarf has been used as rope to help companions climb out of spaces, as a leash for he robot pooch, K9, as a ruler to measure a puzzle, and to trip enemies on two different occasions. The newly, regenerated Fifth Doctor unraveled the scarf to help his companions follow him down the TARDIS corridors.
• The longest of all the Fourth Doctors scarves was about 24 feet long.
• The scarf’s most recent appearance has been in the 50th anniversary series, Day of the Doctor, worn by asthmatic U.N.I.T. technician, Osgood. Whovians know this episode is also Tom Baker’s latest (albeit uncredited) appearance in as well.
The secret is in the unique color and pattern. Seasoned Whovians and practiced knitters know there is more than just a random sampling of colors to match the Fourth Doctor’s scarves, but for beginning crafters, kids in particular, it’s okay to improvise and have fun with it.
Suggested colors, according to several fan sites like doctorwhoscarf.com are:
Red (or Rust)
Green (or Olive)
Goldenrod (or yellow)
Grey (or Blue if you want it more colorful)
Tip #1: Loom Band Scarf.
It’s hard to find a young crafter today who hasn’t made at least one item with loom bands. Use the basic single band pattern, and make it as long as you want. Make several bracelets or one long necklace in the Doctor’s favorite color. Don’t shy away from being “extreme” and exaggerated. The Doctor never has.
Tip #2: Felt Patch Scarf.
This is a simple beginner sewer’s project, and takes only letter-size sheets of felt and strong thread. Cut each piece of felt in half lengthwise, and cut each half into strips, mimicking the scarf pattern you want. Simply sew these together with a simple straight stitch or overcast stitch, until you get the length you
want. When completed, snip the two “end pieces” across the bottom to make the “fringe.”
Depending on the length, this project could take just a couple of hours or be an ongoing project. Not exactly knitted, but a great project for learning sewers of all ages.
Many sites and crafting forums have pattern suggestions, but beginning crafters can get an idea of the scarf they want just from looking at a photo, or using their own imagination.
Tip #3: Melted Pony Bead Scarf Art. Pony bead suncatchers and charms are popping up all over crafts sites, as well as social media like Pinterest, and YouTube. This is an easy craft, and great way to use up excess pony beads.
Simply line the beads up in a scarf pattern on a cookie sheet (about four beads across makes a nice with for a suncatcher), and carefully place it in the oven for 25 minutes at 400°F (205°C). The beads will melt together for a mock stained glass project. Let them cool for about 15 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet.
It isn’t essential, but it’s a good idea to line the pan with a smooth layer of aluminum foil. The beads will come off easily, either way.
Once cooled, use a drill bit to gently bore a hole in the end, or set in on a desktop or bookshelf.
This is only tip that can’t actually be worn, but will still be a fun addition to the Whovian home.
Tip #4: Beaded Scarf accessories. Using a basic bead loom, and regular seed beads, the Fourth Doctor’s scarf can be transformed into bracelet, choker-length or longer necklace, hatband, headband, or any or beaded sash. This depends primarily on the length and width of the desired “scarf” pattern. This craft can make use of any pre-existing scarf pattern intended for knitting or crochet. More advanced beaders can also use a basic loom bead template to draw their own pattern.
Once the pattern is determined, this craft is just the bare-bones basic bead weaving method, known as a “weft thread.”
Even those don’t have a bead loom can make small ring-size versions with beading wire using this simple method of “weaving” rows of around four beads together on thin beading wire (26mm). For those with younger beaders, this method is often much easier than crafting on a loom, and they can make several rings in a short amount of town.
Note to Potterheads! These tips work fine with any of the Hogwarts house scarves! Again the key is in the color. Here’s a Hogwarts House color refresher:
• Gryffindor: Red and Yellow (gold)
• Slytherin: Green and Grey (silver)
• Hufflepuff: Black and Yellow
• Ravenclaw: Blue and Silver (grey)
Even those serious knitters out there might channel their inner child and enjoy these different ways of looking at the most famous scarf in science fiction.
“What’s the point of being grown up,” The Fourth Doctor says, “if you can’t be childish sometimes?”
First published as two pieces in June, 2014.