This scarf was another late Christmas present for my Granddad (returning visitors to the blog may notice a theme of late presents as I take on too many projects at once). When I decided to make this a Doctor Who colourwork scarf my first stop was ravelry as there are so many fantastic patterns on there. I found some great fair isle patterns and decided to use a combination of motifs from different patterns. The scarf is knitted using the double knitting technique to create a reversible, double-sided stockinette scarf. Unlike knitting in the round, the scarf has two distinct sides and is not an open tube because the yarn is moved from one side to the other to knit the colourwork designs.
This technique does feel a little bit like magic but it isn’t as tricky as it first appears. Knitting help has a great tutorial on double knitting. There are a few different options for casting on but I chose to use a cast on that is invisible like this one from KnitPurlHunter. It did take a while to get my head around the cast on, particularly as I’m left-handed and had to mirror the videos but the invisible cast on does make the end of the scarf much neater so it is worth persevering if a neat finish is a priority. I cast on 44 stitches per side for my scarf as this gave me approximately an 8″ wide scarf and my largest pattern elements were 20 stitches wide so I could fit 2 TARDISes with border stitches.
The most difficult part of the design was the Doctor Who logo. Double knitting works on the premise that your design is the same on each side of the project but for the DW lettering it was necessary to break this rule or else the DW would be reversed on one side of the scarf.
I initially tried to use this logo design for my scarf but found that it wasn’t symmetrical, so I edited it so I could minimise the number of mismatched sections on the two sides of the scarf. Where the same colour has been used to knit several consecutive stitches both sides it does create a slight rib or gap on one side but it isn’t noticeable unless you really stretch the scarf widthways.
Daleks, Cybermen and TARDISes
The Dalek, cyberman and TARDIS designs are from a lovely set of fair isle motifs designed by Amy Schilling on Ravelry (Doctor Who Fair Isle). I wanted to choose iconic recurrent “characters” that appeared in both the original and new incarnations of Doctor Who as my granddad mainly watched the original Doctor Who series. The pattern is knitted upright to the centre of the scarf then upside down after the centre so that the pattern will be upright at both ends when the scarf is worn. As the pattern changes direction, I needed a symmetrical motif for the centre. I initially tried using the sonic screwdriver pattern for the central motif but I didn’t like it when I’d knitted it so went for a simple star motif instead.
This scarf did take longer to knit compared to stockinette in the round. Because it is double knit, it is a bit like knitting in 1×1 rib with colourwork patterns while managing two coloured yarns which you have to move from knit to purl position. That said, I really do think it is worth investing the time to double knit a scarf like this as the resulting scarf is much neater and less bulky than it would be for fair isle in the round. I love the result and am very tempted to make one for myself, maybe even with different coloured stripes too like Tom Baker’s giant scarf (though that might be an epic project as it is up to 12 feet long).