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!

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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Wibbly Wobbly Knits is here!

Hello, humans!  I now have a corner of cyberspace to post updates on my knit dolls, including plans, construction pictures, and finished pieces.  A few of you have asked me for patterns to make my knit dolls, but unfortunately, most of my knitting is done on the fly without a pattern.  I’ll try my best to show you how it’s done though through this blog!

A little about me, I’ve been knitting since 2009 (though I took a break from about 2011 to 2013 because I got more than a little obsessed with quilting).  I’m also trying to learn how to crochet, mostly just for the purpose of detailing my knit dolls, but my training wheels are still on.  I’m also an amateur writer, with some of my writing up on www.jamespotterproject.com.  I’m into way more Fandoms than are healthy… uh, what else… I like peanut butter and banana sandwiches.  That’s important.

How about where to start if you want to knit your own dolls?  I’ll tell you where I started, I was into Adventure Time, and I wanted to knit a doll of the lead character, Finn.  In my opinion, the best knitting pattern out there for that is from the Lizzard Crafts blog, here (and best of all, it’s completely FREE).  Her construction method was super simple (done almost entirely in flat pieces on straight needles that you sew together), so I decided to alter it.  Major changes included increasing the height of the feet, adjusting the width of the tummy, and adding a normal shaped human head, and doing my own version of arms in the round with mitten like hands.  I also added details like suspenders or converse sneakers with intarsia, and sewed on other details like bowties and pocketwatches.  If you want to learn how to produce dolls like the ones I make on this blog, I suggest starting with her Finn pattern, and then altering little by little.

Well, that’s it for now… I’ll update soon with some construction photos from completed projects.  Catch ya later alligator.