TARDIS scarf

(THIS POST ISN’T QUITE FINISHED. I wanted to get it out there for proofreading, but the rather critical element of the TARDIS chart hasn’t been added yet. The truly impatient can get it from the linked original pattern, though.)

A few months back, I did a “pay it forward” post on Facebook, offering to make one “single skein” project for anyone who asked, with the payment being they’d do something nice for someone else. This is one of the two requests I got: A TARDIS-blue scarf.

This post is photo-heavy because I’m using it to document the trial-and-error that went on before I worked out the eventual pattern.

(Skip ahead to the pattern)

First, the yarn. I wanted to do this in a fine weight, but couldn’t find anything in the weight and color I wanted at the big craft stores. I went to the Hands On Knitting Center and ordered two skeins of Cascade Heritage (a lace-weight wool/nylon blend) in Marine. Then came the fun part — working out a pattern!

After much searching, I found two patterns I liked:
* Tilting Tardis Scarf, based off the Tilting Tardis Cowl pattern
* Bigger on the inside, “A sophisticated, grown-up take on the Doctor Who scarf.”
* Also, TARDIS Scarf Pattern for concept

Not wanting to mess up the good wool, I grabbed a spool of lace-weight acrylic to test ideas out. The first attempt was basically the Tilting Tardis Scarf straight-up. It looked good in the test yarn, so I did a swatch in the blue. When neither husband nor Elder Son could see that the pattern was supposed to be TARDIS’s without it being pointed out, I decided to try something different.

Tilting TARDIS test
Tilting TARDIS test — grey
Tilting TARDIS test
Tilting TARDIS test — blue

Next, I tried a combination of the patterns, using the TARDIS design from Bigger on the Inside with the TARDIS ladders at edging. It looked great… until after a few inches it became clear that the design wasn’t going to lay flat, the ladders curling inward.

Test piece held open
Test piece held open
Test piece as-is
Test piece as-is
Test piece with ruler
Test piece with ruler

After some playing around, I finally worked out a seed stitch that I liked, that kept the piece from curling without taking away from the design. The end result is a series of TARDIS’s, worked so that the bottom is towards the nearest end, with a column of “TARDIS ladders” on either side. Fortunately for my sanity, the number of rows I needed for the TARDIS design (plus a small reverse-stockinette border to set it off from the seed stitch) was exactly twice the repeat on the ladders :-).

The color on this batch of photos is off (fluorescent lights — I should know better), which is why I added the Superman thing on the last one for reference.


The above photos were all taken before hand-washing the scarf and laying it out to dry — I didn’t block it because, well, I don’t have anywhere to block a 6′ scarf, and I wanted the recipient to see it unblocked in case she doesn’t want to block it, either.


The two below were taken after it finished drying, outdoors so the color is much more accurate.

20140709-IMG_0687-TARDIS-scarf-crop 20140709-IMG_0688-TARDIS-scarf-crop


• I forgot (I seem to be writing that a lot on this post ^_^) to measure the final scarf after washing, but before washing it was about 5’10”. I got 4’2″ on first skein, for those who are buying something with a different yardage.

• I left the seed stitch areas undefined, so that someone using something other than k1p1 seed wouldn’t have to translate. There’s a basic seed stitch tutorial on Craftsy.com. The variations of seed and moss stitches (and which ones are called what) are more than I want to go into here, but the reader can do a search on the terms if they are so inclined :-).

• Basically, the pattern is: 4 sts of seed, p1, 5 sts ladder, p1, 3 sts of seed, p2, 13 sts from pattern chart, p2, 3 sts of seed, p1, 5 sts ladder, p1, 4 sts of seed = 45 sts (note that this is the right side; on the wrong side all of the purls are knit). If you want to make the reverse stockinette “gutters” wider or narrower, adjust as needed. To make the whole scarf wider, add to the seed stitch sections.

Put another way, with S=seed, L=ladder and C=chart:

• This pattern is written for a somewhat experienced knitter, since I make assumptions on the repeats that might confuse a beginner. If you have trouble following, write to me and I’ll see about writing this out in more detail.

And now the pattern, with all due appreciation for the people who wrote the patterns I made use of.


Yarn: Cascade Heritage super-wash wool/nylon blend, color 5603 (Marine), or a similar lace-weight (aka super-fine) yarn in the color and fiber content of choice

Needles: Size 3, or size to get about 7 or 8 sts/inch

Gauge: I forgot to measure an exact gauge, but something in the 7-8 sts/inch range should work.

FC: Front cross = C4F: cable 4 front
BC: Back cross = C4B: cable 4 back
S: Seed — use the seed/moss stitch of your choice; I used a k1p1 seed. There’s a basic tutorial at https://www.craftsy.com/blog/2013/04/how-to-knit-seed-stitch/,

Cast on 45.

Row 1 (WS): *p3, k3, rep from * to end of row.
Row 2: *k3, p3, rep from * to end of row, ending k3.
Rows 3-12: Rep rows 1-2. More rows of ribbing can be worked if desired, just make note of the number of rows so the ribbing on the other end will match!

Pattern rows:
Row 1 (WS): S4, k1, p5, k1, s23, k1, p5, k1, s4
Row 2: S4, p1, k1, (yo, k2tog) twice, p1, s23, p1, (ssk, yo) twice, k1, p1, s4
Row 3: S4, k1, p5, k1, s23, k1, p5, k1, s4
Row 4-9: repeat row 2-3 three times
Row 10: S4, p1, k5, p1, s23, p1, k5, p1, s4
Row 11: S4, k1, p4, k2, s23, k2, p4, k1, s4
Row 12: S4, p1, k4, p2, s23, p2, k4, p1, s4
Row 13: repeat row 11
Row 14: S4, p1, C4F, p2, s23, p2, C4B, p1, s4
Row 15: repeat row 11
Row 16: repeat row 12
Row 17: repeat row 3

Next 32 rows: work rows 4-34 of the TARDIS chart over the center 17 sts (13 for the pattern, 2 on each side to make sure the “seeds” don’t bump into the TARDIS) while repeating rows 2-17 twice

Next 32 rows: repeat rows 2-17 twice

Repeat as needed. The TARDISes can either alternate orientation, or make them all right-side up (worked bottom to top) until the scarf is half the desired final length, then work upside down (top to bottom) for the rest.

End with one repeat of 2-17 after last TARDIS, then 12 rows of ribbing as with beginning (start with p3 on WS and k3 on RS).

If you have any questions or notice any errors please ask, since I wrote this up as I went and haven’t repeated it.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    I’m glad my scarf helped to inspire your project. Yours turned out really well, I think. And good yarn choice.

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