Monday, 16 August 2010

The Nerd Scarf

In the approach to The Boy's birthday, he dropped a couple of hints* that he'd like a Dr Who scarf, so despite my complete inability to knit** I decided to have a crack at it.

Problem is, Boy doesn't exactly wear alot of colours... basically just black, grey, white and red - so a proper 'traditional' prismatic jobby wasn't really going to do the trick. I decided to keep it to just black & red - his favourite colour combo... which left me with a different problem, namely that a two colour stripe is seriously boring.
But fear not... Math-Nerd to the rescue! I'd been reading a spot of Ian Stewart, which set me to thinking it might be cool*** to base a scarf on the Fibonacci sequence - to take the numbers which create all the spirals and curves around us, and use them to make a object that is essentially a long straight line, which will then be made useful by forming it into loops and circles around a person. 

So, my basic pattern was formed - increasing Fibonacci numbers in one colour, alternated with decreasing Fibonacci numbers in the other colour (1 red, 233 black, 1 red, 144 black, 2 red, 89 black, 3 red, 55 black...), which also creates quite a nice pixelated sort of fade from one colour to the other.
I used garter stitch, that being the extent of my knitting ability, and was quite pleaded with how tidy it came out looking - fairly even tensioning. Although the wool I used - from the Big Softie range by Sidar - was disappointingly knotty, so annoyingly messed up some bits (though I suppose at about £3.00 a ball it is one of the cheaper super-chunky wools available, so I shouldn't really complain  - you get what you pay for...). I would also comment that it recommends 10mm needles for this wool - but I felt this gave too open a weave and, after a little experimentation settled on 7 1/2 needles to give a nice firm, dense structure. Using smaller needles meant I went through more wool than I expected - 12 balls in total (at 45meters a ball, there's 540 meters of wool in that there scarf!). The wool was nice and light too - important given the size of the bloody thing (4 meters 30 in lenght, not including the tassles!), and - bar the knots - very easy to knit with.

I was pretty pleased with the finished product and, more importantly, Wolf seemed pleased with it too (he cottoned onto my idea about natural spirals becoming a straight line, then looped artificially, without me even having to begin to explain it - which made me grin like a loon, and I think tells you alot about why he's so perfect).
Off to buy him a bag of Jelly Babies**** to complete the Tom Baker look...

*Well... ish. I was rather grasping at straws by this point
**Not entirely true... I can, strictly speaking, knit. But I can't purl, increase, decrease, or remember how to cast off.
***I may of redefined 'cool' for the purposes of this sentence...
****Random fact-oid: Jelly Babies were first created to mark the end of the First World War, and were called 'Peace Babies.' There's nothing like eating children to spread love and harmony around the globe.


  1. I remember you talking about doing this a long time ago. It turned out beautifully. I wish you were closer so that I could teach you to do the things to complain of being ignorant (perhaps you could teach me to sew as well). I have shortcomings myself, knitwise, but I can do all of ** these things and a few more' I've become quite familiar with intarsia, but gauge still escapes me. But alas, Ldn is quite far away.

  2. Absolutely brilliant. Nice work!