Hercule Poirot Commission and Puppy Wristlets

Hey guys, knitting this past month has been a bit slow, since I was away on vacation for a few weeks in California and Hawaii.  Right before I left, I took a commission to do a Hercule Poirot doll, from Agatha Christie’s Poirot.  Here’s the finished product:

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I’m embarassed to admit I had no idea who Poirot was until I took the commission, but the show apparently ran from the late 90s to just a couple of years ago…

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Over the years Poirot has worn many costumes, but my favorite was the light grey suit, so I decided to knit that one.  His bowtie was grey in all of the reference images I found  (like this one):

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So I decided to add a pop of color by changing the bowtie to a nice, bright lavender color 🙂

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Construction for this doll was pretty much the same as the 11th Doctor (Doctor Who) in his purple series 7B outfit, which you can see here.  There were a couple new challenges, though.  One was to make him a little more rotund around the middle, which just involved adding a few more knit stitches around his tummy.  The bigger challenges were the hat, cane, and eyebrows.  The top of his hat is knit, but the brim is made from a piece of stiff felt (you can buy this stuff at Michaels) that I cut out in the shape of a brim.  Here’s a construction photo where I was testing the circumference of the inside circle, and if it fit his head properly.

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The top of the hat and the cane were both knitted on smaller needles (I can’t remember what size, maybe a size 4?) with super bulky black yarn, to make a very tight and sturdy fabric.  The top of the cane (silver part) was also made with the super bulky yarn, but in grey.  As for eyebrows, theyre cut out of the same felt as the brim of the hat, and glued on with this magical concoction that I can only assume was passed down by the gods:

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I’m happy with how he came out, and the buyer was very excited, so that makes me even happier 🙂

In other knitting news, I took a bit of a break from dolls so I could make a friend a pair of wristlets (fingerless gloves) for her birthday.  She has two adorable dogs, a yellow lab and a black lab mix, so I decided to embroider them onto the finished product.  Here’s a couple shots:

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And the pups who inspired me:

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The puppies were embroidered onto the wristlets by duplicate stitch, which is my new favorite thing.  Here’s a great tutorial for duplicate stitch!

11th Doctor knit doll, Purple Coat (Series 7B)

I’ve been wanting to knit the 11th Doctor in his purple coat from series 7B for a long time now!  Here is the finished product:

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The 11th Doctor has some really great iconic outfits, including the series 5 red and blue bowtie with tweed, and the series 6 “Let’s Kill Hitler” green overcoat (which I want to knit someday), but personally, this purple one is my absolute favorite.  It first appeared in The Bells of St. John (sans waistcoat):

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The waistcoat/fob were added for the Rings of Akhatan episode:

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CONSTRUCTION:

I apologize, I honestly got so excited to knit this doll that I didn’t stop at all to take construction photos until he was approaching finished.  His body plan is exactly the same as my other dolls (click on the links to the right to look at them, especially Sherlock), and for his waistcoat, I basically followed the methods I used to make the 10th Doctor’s blue jacket.  Here’s the first picture I did stop and take, where I was laying the parts of the waistcoat on his body and “pinning them in place” (stabbing needles through to hold them).

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I thought this looked hilariously like Leonidas at the end of 300, so I couldn’t resist doing this with my other knitting needles:

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From here, I started knitting the purple overcoat.  It was really helpful to study the purple coat that came with my Big Chief Studios 11th Doctor, pictured here.  He’s also been really great to help me select colors and figure out how to sculpt the hair correctly.

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I used the same construction pattern from coats I’ve knitted for other dolls, like Sherlock.  These are the parts from Sherlock’s coat, basically two front pieces, and a back piece that get sewn together.  This picture is from when I was blocking the pieces (you soak them and then lay them out flat to dry, so they dry in the right shape):

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Many of you have asked for patterns for how I make these, and the reason I can’t really write a pattern is because I don’t usually use them.  I use excel drawings like this to show myself where to increase and decrease:

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Here I am using the Big Chief purple coat for guidance as I do something I’ve never done before: put a split in the back of the coat…

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I didn’t take pictures, but I knitted the arms of the coat in the round on DPNs and attached them to the pieces of the purple coat, now mattress stitched together.  One the coat was finished, one challenge remained… this thing:

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Okay, so it’s not really a fob watch, I think I read that it’s called a “double Albert fob chain.”  Whatever it’s called, I think it really makes the outfit, so I knew I wanted to put it on my doll.  Originally I thought about trying to chain stitch and knit the fob, but then I decided to go ahead and use a real chain and bead as the fob.  This required me to learn how to do a little bit of jewelry making.  Here are the materials:

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I found all of this stuff at Michaels.  It’s all Bead Landing brand, gold chain (sorry, I threw away the package so I’m not sure of the size), 6 mm jump rings in gold, and specialty findings bead caps in gold filigree for the fob.  I cut one tiny piece of hanging chain for the part that connects to the fob (joined by a jump ring), then ran it up to a jump ring connecting to two longer pieces for the hanging parts, which I secured with two more jump rings directly to the wrong (back) side of the stockinette stitches in the vest.  To secure the whole front part in place, I sewed that center jump ring right in with one of the waistcoat buttons.  Here’s some pics (click any of the three to enlarge it):

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Yep, I even put those suspenders on underneath there, even though nobody will probably ever see them!  Here he is all finished and happy (hair and smile put on), with my glasses and sonic screwdriver for scale:

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He also joined me for a trip to the NY Ren Faire’s Time Traveler Weekend, where I was cosplaying as Clara in Journey to the Centre of the Tardis:

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In other exciting news, I now I have business cards for my etsy store, where this doll is currently listed!  Here’s the front:

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And the back:

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Spock Knit Doll

What a busy week!  Mom came to visit me here in Cape Cod, all the way up from Maryland, so I didn’t get much knitting done over the weekend.  Now that she’s headed home, I was able to finish one project that’s been on my table since the end of February…

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I was very sad to hear about Leonard Nimoy’s passing, not just because I’m a fan of star trek and sci-fi, but because he sounds like someone I would have liked to know.  I channeled that into my knitting, and surprised myself by how quickly he came together.

Here’s my rough sketch…

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Unfortunately, during construction I didn’t stop very often to take pictures.  The first ones I thought to take were his hands, because I knew right away I wanted to alter my traditional “mitten hand” to do a mitten version of Nimoy’s “Live Long and Prosper.”  Here are a couple of pictures of me making his left arm/hand, which is the non-LLAP hand…

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Fairly straight forward… I work in the round on the arm until I come to the hand, and then separate 6 stitches out onto a stitch holder for the thumb.  You get something like this…

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At this point I hadn’t chain stitched the bronze pattern onto the bottom of the sleeve yet.  On the show, Leonard’s sleeves looked like this, with wavy lines, but after some experimenting, I decided I liked the minimalist look of just one straight line of bronze chain stitches.  You’ll see them later.

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For the LLAP hand, I made it pretty much the same way, but then for the fingers portion of the hand, I split it again into two sections, and ended up with a monstrosity on 5 needles… Yikes!

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Almost ready for LLAP-ing!

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The ears were a bit of a challenge, I eventually decided that I wanted to make them in the round, and it took some trial and error to get them shaped the way I wanted.  There’s a good close up shot at the end of this blog entry of what they look like from the side.

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Chain stitched where the blue changes to skin tone…  Starting to look like what I want 🙂

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All of the guys in Star Trek have their little insignia on their shirts, here’s a good shot of them…

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At first I tried embroidering the insignia on with a duplicate stitch, but it came out heavy and unwieldly looking, and it didn’t quite have the shape I wanted.  In the end, I finally just cut it out of felt (printed it out on paper at the size I wanted, so I had a pattern to cut from).  I had a hard time deciding if I wanted to include the little star on the inside, but I eventually decided to go with the minimalist approach again.  I like how clean it is.

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Here he is again, all completed!

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I wanted to pose him for the photo with his hand holding up the LLAP gesture, so I stuck a needle through his arm to keep it raised temporarily.  Without the needle, it lays flat like his other arm.

Here’s a few more shots, including the ear (sorry it’s a bit washed out… I only ever really knit the evenings, and I’m too impatient to wait until daylight to get a better photo, so I end up with these weird ethereally lit pictures…!)

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In this one you can see how I popped a needle through his arm to prop it for the photo…

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Oh, and here’s a banana for scale.

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And apparently Spock likes knitting too!

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Thanks for all the years of fun, entertainment, and adventure, Mr. Nimoy!

Finished another 11th Doctor color variant today!

UPDATE:  Exciting news, first Etsy listing is up at this link!

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ORIGINAL POST:

Not much to report today in the way of news, but I did finally finish a second color variant for the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) from Doctor Who.  Throughout Smith’s run he wore probably 5 different iconic outfits, the first being the pink shirt with the red bow tie in his premiere episode. Exhibit A:

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This alternated with a similar blue bow tie, blue shirt version throughout series 5.  I think the blue first appeared in Victory of the Daleks, but also came back for Vampires of Venice and the Leadworth portion of Amy’s Choice.  Here’s Matt wearing it, and walking like a drunk giraffe:

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Strangely, while the red bow tie became THE symbol for the 11th Doctor amongst fans, the toy companies seem to have latched on to the blue outfit for a lot of their products, like the Character Building micro figures…

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(Just a side note, I’m handling my addiction to these stupid things in much the same way that Kurt Cobain handled the smack… PLEASE DON’T JUDGE ME! 😛 )

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Sorry I didn’t stop to take construction photos as I knit this one (if you want to see that, check out my 11th Doctor in pink/red because it’s exactly the same, just with different yarn).  Here is the completed product:

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And a link to the Ravelry page is here!

As I said before, the blue and red shirts with the tweed are two out of five iconic costumes the 11th Doctor wore during his run.  The third is the series 6 premiere white shirt with red bow tie, which I quite like because it’s a bit more mature of a look than the colored shirts.  I actually did knit this one for a friend’s Christmas present, but I was still in my hair experimental phase so it came out a bit flatter than I would have liked 😐

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The fourth is the “Let’s Kill Hitler” green coat, which I hope to someday make, because it looks great, especially with a Stetson:

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There’s also a micro figure for this one… just sayin’….

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The last costume from Matt’s time on the show is my personal favorite, the purple “post-Ponds” coat that appeared in Bells of Saint John, was featured in Day of the Doctor, and basically stuck around until the bow tie hit the floor.

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And yes, Character Building did this one too!  But in a move that I think is frankly an odd oversight, they seem to have forgotten his bow tie?

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Now that I think about it, I think a major reason I really enjoy collecting these figures and knitting these dolls is because I love costumes/wardrobe design so much… Doctor Who in particular has some great designs and colors, they deserve a BAFTA, in my opinion.  Anyway, I do have immediate-ish plans to knit The Doctor this outfit, meaning that I have all of the yarn bought and it’s sitting on my project table ready to go.  As always, will post when the project actually gets off the ground!  😛

How to Knit a Miniature Bow or Bow Tie

Hey guys, instead of a progress post, today I’m posting a tutorial for now to do a super simple bow tie (Because bow ties are cool!)  If you know how to knit and purl on straight needles, you can do this!!

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If you’re interested in how I made the rest of him, check out the progress blog post here.

The finished bow tie is about 2 3/4 inches, depending on what kind of yarn you use.  There are other tutorials out there for knitting bows, but a lot of them aren’t as three dimensional as this one, and I like the ‘pop’ that these add to my knit dolls.  What’s fun is that there’s no limit to what kinds of crafts you can use these for… it might actually be fun to make some 11th Doctor mittens with these on them!  The set in this picture is crocheted, but you could totally do a knit version with my bow tie 😛

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Background!  Every doctor has clothing items that are his “essence,” and for the 11th Doctor, it’s his bowtie.  Throughout Matt Smith’s run on the show, he wore a pretty hearty spread of these little fashion gems, as evidenced by this cool graphic someone more clever than I put together.

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The most iconic of the bunch is probably the red, because it was the first, so that’s the one I’ll be doing today.  I usually use red heart super saver yarns or the loops and threads impeccable brand.  I’ll be using the latter in burgandy (got it at Michaels).

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INSTRUCTIONS:

1)  Cast on 6 stitches, leaving a very long tail (I use the longtail, slingshot method).  This will be used later to wrap the bow tie into shape and sew it into place.

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Here’s help with the longtail, slingshot cast on if you need it on youtube!

2)  Row 1:  Knit across

3)  Row 2:  Purl across

4)  Repeat these two rows (stockinette stitch) until your project is just under five and a half inches and bind it off.

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You can see here how long I left the tail.

5)  Seam together the bind off and the cast on edge.  This is a good skill to learn in general, useful when you make scarves if you want to turn your scarf into an infinity scarf.  Here’s a tutorial.  Don’t worry if it’s ugly, I use this as the wrong side anyway.  No one will see it!

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At this point you should have a little ring.

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6)  Flatten it down into a little rectangle, and using that long tail you left from casting on, begin to wrap around the middle (TIGHT).  I kind of try to squish it in such a way that it’s pretty in the front, if that makes any sense.  Try to keep it centered so your bow tie is even!  If it’s not centered, just unwrap it and try again!

Here’s the wrong side with my seaming…

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And here’s the right side, or front with the wrap started.  Yes, in the background that’s a piece of my office chair that broke while I was sitting on it a couple weeks ago… sometimes I use it as a gaming chair but right now it’s drying some of my laundry.

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Andddddd…. wrapwrapwrapwrapwrapwrap….

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7)  Once you’re happy, tie a good strong knot to secure it on the wrong side, and you have yourself a cute little bow tie!  Don’t cut that tail, because you can use it to sew the bow tie in place wherever you want it!

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Here I am sewing the bow tie in the place of honor!  I go back and forth along the wrong side, stitching it completely down.  Otherwise, if you just secure it from the middle (and not the wings of the bow) it pops off a little bit too much… this also helps to keep it straight.  Again, please excuse my laundry.

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TADA!!  See, I told you you could do it!

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Sherlock Knit Doll

Hey guys!  Today I’m posting about the Sherlock doll that I put together as a Christmas gift for my friend Sabrina.  He goes with the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) that I made her for her birthday… All she needs now is a knit Tom Hiddleston, and her sexy British male triumvirate will be complete!!!  Muaha!!

This was my first non Doctor Who doll, and the first time I needed to do curly hair.  I wasn’t satisfied with any of the curl techniques from knitting, so I actually ended up learning how to crochet just to get the look I wanted.  Here’s the finished product!

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And here is the Ravelry link if you want to know the materials.

So I will just confess right now, I’m not that familiar with the show.  I do like Benemadingdong Cumberbatch though, and from what I’ve seen of the show, I really enjoy his portrayal of everyone’s favorite consulting detective.  When I was doing color selection for the project, I wasn’t really sure what to make under his signature grey coat, until I discovered this awesome figure from big chief studios that basically did the color choosing for me:

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That man can wear the hell out of a purple shirt.  I’ve since learned that fans have developed their own moniker for this mysterious article of clothing that apparently only appears in one or two episodes:  “The Purple Shirt of Sex.”  The name caught on among Cumberbatch fans, and fanned by the flames of the internet, it became a “thing” worthy of a hashtag.

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This time around I actually photographed the act of sewing together the front and back halves of his body, with terrifying results!  He looks like a creepy blank-faced conjoined twin thing.  This is the method of doll making I learned from Lizzard Crafts’s Finn Doll, two knitted flat halves that get mattressed stitched together.

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I put a black suit jacket on him the same way I did the 10th Doctor’s blue suit jacket.  Once the plastic eyes were in and the smile was sewed on, I was able to start exploring hair options.  Using a combination of online tutorials and help from a friend in the office (THANKS MEGG!), I made a couple of test curls and laid them on his head.  I think he actually looked pretty cute and funny with a curl ‘Mohawk.’

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At this point I started making his scarf with a simple garter stitch.  I couldn’t decide on the light blue or dark blue scarf, but eventually went with the dark blue.  That 11th Doctor next to him was actually the second I made, intended for my friend Kim for Christmas.  I love that the green tip of the sonic is almost glowing in this picture, it’s because I strung some shiny floss in with the yarn 🙂

For Sherlock’s signature grey coat, I used a technique I’d never done before: blocking.  For non-knitters, blocking is when you soak your knit piece in water for a bit, then pin it into the shape you want, and let it dry.  This combats the problem of curling, which happens a lot in that stockinette stitch I use for everything.  Here’s a picture of my coat pieces blocking.

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I was really glad I did it, because if I didn’t, it would have curled so badly it wouldn’t have looked like a coat at all.  I finished the scarf and sewed together the coat.  Also added some buttons for interest and to actually make it look like outerwear.  He’s looking like himself, all he needs is a head of curly locks!

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So at this point I made a ton of those little brown corkscrews in varying lengths and degrees of curliness, and began placing them on the head/securing them with T-pins.  (Just a little side commercial, I LOVE T-PINS for knitting!!!)  During this process it felt less like knitting and more like sculpting a statue.  I took his outer coat off while I was doing this so it wouldn’t get in the way.

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One of the things I really aim to do with my dolls is to make the hair so that it’s zero maintenance for whoever gets to keep him.  That means that I not only sewed the hair in at the roots, but I also sewed in the tips, and took a few stitches at varying degrees along the lengths of the curls to keep them in perfect place.  Now he can be thrown around, punched in the head, snuggled with and rolled over on, and his hair will still be the same as the day I made him.  Here it is all sewn down!  He’s all finished!

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Since Steven Moffat is the showrunner for both Doctor Who and Sherlock, I couldn’t resist getting a photo of Sherlock and the Doctor together.  It’s Moffat’s boys!

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At last the time came to deliver all three of the dolls on my project table to their respective owners.  I couldn’t bear to just toss them in the back seat, so I buckled them up together in the front.  If any of you watch Adventure Time, you’ll recognize Finn.  That pattern is entirely available online for free, I mentioned the Lizzard Crafts blog earlier… but here’s the link again for anyone out there who is lazy like me.

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I guess I got a little overexcited with the hair for sherlock, because this is my box of leftovers! O.o

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Oh well, I’m sure I’ll use it on a future project.  Another Sherlock, or maybe even a 4th Doctor?

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The possibilities are endless!!  Well, almost.  In closing, here’s a sneaky selfie I grabbed at Sabrina’s house!

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10th Doctor Knit Doll

I made the 10th Doctor (David Tennant) from Doctor Who for my friend Reuben, Christmas 2014.  I followed a very similar construction method to the 11th Doctor – If you haven’t seen that post yet, check it out here!  Here’s the completed pic!

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For materials, check out the Ravelry Page here!

This is actually the second color variant of the costume, the first is brown…  I’m planning to knit it sometime soon.  His converse sneakers are the classic tan ones with that outfit, as opposed to the red…

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This doctor posed a new challenge, because he wears a suit under his outer coat.  Thus, I decided to knit the body with the undershirt (in white), and then put two layers over it… first the rest of the blue suit, then the brown over coat.  Here he is during construction, NO HEAD YET AHHHH CREEPY!

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Here he is now with the head knitted and sewn together… you can see I like to chain stitch around the color changes to give it dimension.  Here’s a good chain stitch tutorial, I taught myself from online tutorials like this one.  Please excuse my messy room, and yes, I listen to Doctor Who episodes on my laptop while I knit!  Also, keen eyed readers might spot a bit of Finn the Human in the middle distance, barely visible on my project table.  🙂

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Eyes popped in (plastic craft eyes from Jo-Ann, I love them!), and closing up the top of the head.  Ever wonder what a time lord brain looks like?  Well, it’s made of white fluff.

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Sorry to take a quantum leap ahead in construction, but back at the time I made this I was bad about taking progress photos… Was just so excited, wanted to keep moving!  The tie took some experimenting, but I eventually figured it out.  When I do a bowtie tutorial, maybe I’ll post on that too.  Here he is hanging out with the 11th doctor, with his blue suit completed!  Well, except for the arms… poor guy.

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His arms were knit in the round in blue and popped through the jacket body arm holes, which was basically just a vest.  I sewed them down to secure them.

Hair was actually done pretty much the same way as the 11th Doctor, following a method like the tutorial here, just adapted because I don’t know how to crochet.  I actually remembered to stop and take a few photos of me chain stitching his wig cap on this time!

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Buuuut… then I forgot to take any of me actually embroidering the hair on 😐  Sorry about that.

Here he is with everything done but the trenchcoat, hanging out with the 11th Doctor and Finn the (armless) Human!  Sorry for potato quality!  Note, for the 10th Doctor to actually look like the 10th Doctor, I had to add sideburns.  They’re just chain stitched on 🙂

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Evidence?  DAVIDS SIDEBURNS ARE MAJESTIC.

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If only I could get the hair to stand up like that… Not going to happen if I want the hair to stay in place without having to constantly restyle it.

Anyway, I added a trenchcoat, which is basically the same as the 11th Doctor’s coat, just elongated, and the finished product.  VOILA!

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So snuggly and cuddleable!  Here we are together!

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Reuben also sent me this, since he has a TARDIS shelf… not so big on the inside, huh buddy?

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Will be back soon, with a new little buddy… whose name rhymes with Schmerlock Molmes :-O