A tri-weekly blog about gaming, entertainement, and food.

Whovian Knitters Saved!

Left: Tom Baker, image copyright BBC
Right: Lauren as the Doctor – photo by Brian J. Matis

About three years ago I started the biggest knitting endeavor known to geeks: the Doctor Who scarf.  This 12 foot, 7 color, all wool tasseled scarf made its first appearance in “Robot” in 1974 when a poor knitter who was friends with the costume designer was handed an armful of yarn and asked to knit a scarf.  What no one had anticipated was that A) Begonia Pope was a knitter with ninja-like crafting speed, and B) she would use ALL OF THE YARN to make a scarf for our fourth Doctor.  This resulted in the original scarf starting out 20 feet long, but the extra footage did not make it far with Baker’s stunts and shenanigans.  It was altered to the beloved 12 foot scarf that holds a special place in every Whovian’s heart today after its big break back in ’74.

Once it became one of the most notable costume pieces in Doctor Who history it also became an integral part of Gallifreyan costuming, especially at conventions.  And when this happened geeks and cosplayers all over the world exclaimed “but, but, I can’t knit!  How do I get this awesome costume piece?” And thus every Whovian Knitter was bombarded with tear-filled requests to make these dreams come true.  What many people don’t seem to realize is the time and effort that go into undertaking is such a huge and daunting project.  Sure, it’s just like knitting a bunch of scarves… just all at once… but let’s face it, geeks everywhere would notice if you didn’t use the right shade of  colors, altered the pattern, or even wrong yarn materials!  And thus, a certain level of blood, sweat, tears, detail and concentration is required for the construction of this crafting monstrosity.

Behold: the construction of The Scarf!

That’s when I was lucky enough to not be asked by a friend to make them a scarf, but had decided to let my masochistic tendencies loose and make an authentic Doctor Who season 12 scarf for myself.  The first step was getting the right yarn and pattern, and I hit the jackpot with this website that gives you every piece of scarf construction information you could ever ask for!  A couple hours, many bags of wool yarn, and over $100 later I had the makings for the coveted scarf.  Materials: check, Determination: check, Doctor Who Netflix queues: check.  I was ready to rock and roll!  I mean, really how long could it take, right?  Any gamer should recognize those as “famous last words,” but my stubbornness took over in this small oversight…

I found out exactly how long it could take about 3 seasons and a month and a half later… total time knitted: 130+ hours.  What I hadn’t done yet was weave in the loose ends and make the tassels.  I was so burnt out from non-stop knitting that the scarf ended up sitting unloved in the closet in time out for the sheer exasperation it had caused.  For a few months it collected dust, seemingly forgotten, until I met my fiance and he coerced me into watching the bookcase full of old Doctor Who VHS tapes that he had acquired over the years.  Seeing more of the scarf in action inspired me to pull it out, brush off the fine layer of dust, and put the finishing touches on my greatest knitting achievement to date!  Yes, this is a much larger and monumental achievement than my Jayne hat.

Lauren as The Doctor – Photo by Brian J. Matis

So now that I had unlocked the greatest geek knitting achievement of all time… what next?  There were no cons coming up, no costume parties (plus I wouldn’t want to spill beer or shots on my preciousss), no viable excuse to wear it to work… I was at an impasse.  I also didn’t have the rest of the costume.  I then talked to my friend Brian (whose photos have been featured here quite a few times already!) and set a date to do a photo shoot to feature the Baker scarf.  I sewed the rest of the costume by hand, packed it with my hiking gear, and the two of us set out to do the shoot at the top of our local 1550ft Bishop’s Peak.  It was a super fun hike and once we got to the top the scarf really came in handy with a climber in distress!

Lauren The Weeping Doctor – Photo by Brian J. Matis

Not only was the shoot tons of fun to do, but I now had quality shots (not to mention proof!) of my finished Baker scarf, AND we were also featured on GeekXGirls.  One of the downsides to now having this fantastic scarf was that it opened the flood gates for crafting requests.  Loads of friends wanted me to make one for them as well, and while I would love to do it for each and every one of them, I had to explain exactly what it would entail.  After I told them the cost of materials, and that I would need more than $3 per hour (for a total of 130ish hours), their shoulders slouched with a defeated “Oh. Okay. Nevermind then.”  Even though I knew I would not be mentally up for the grueling knit that is The Scarf, it still broke a little piece inside of me to say no to my friends who desperately wanted this esteemed piece of Gallifreyan fashion.  It also made me make the weeping angels face. ———->

That’s when the wonderful geniuses at ThinkGeek came to the rescue of every Whovian Knitter who had ever been bombarded with requests for The Scarf.  In a Cyber Monday email, they unveiled a 12 foot Doctor Who scarf for the low, low price of $49.99! Compare that with the $120 of materials plus labor costs (and friendship strains) that it would cost you were you to ask your knitter friends!   In their product description they address this very frustration of every knitter who has ever known a geek:

When a Whovian discovers a friend is a knitter, it is very, very tempting to ask them to make you a Doctor Who scarf. On behalf of all knitters out there, we say, please don’t. We love Doctor Who as much as you and you might notice that we don’t even have a Doctor Who scarf for ourselves. There’s a reason: it takes forever and it’s really boring. In fact, when made in worsted weight yarn, a 12 foot long Tom Baker scarf contains 56,448 knit stitches. That means someone is cursing you 56,448 times while holding pointy sticks. Catch our drift?

Embrace laziness and keep your knitter friends by picking up the Doctor Who Deluxe 12′ Scarf. Use it to complete your Tom Baker costume for convention season or wear it as your regular scarf in chilly weather. It’s long enough to wrap at least twice around the average neck, with plenty of dangle to spare. Just don’t get it caught in the TARDIS door, okay?

On behalf of every Whovian Knitter who has ever befriended another geek since 1974, I’d like to give a big THANK YOU to ThinkGeek for coming to our rescue and enabling our Gallifreyan friends to acquire their very own Baker scarf without taking away 130 hours of our lives for less than minimum wage!  Whovians who can’t (or don’t want to) knit, look no further and please save your friendships this holiday season! Purchase The Scarf now! ❤ ❤

Rick and Lauren as The Doctor(s) – photo by Brian J. Matis

One response

  1. SWEET! Added to my wishlist! (Sure, it’s polyester, not wool, but I run hot anyway, and it’ll be lighter…)

    November 28, 2012 at 11:05 am

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