Wednesday, 28 April 2010

SOCK DRAGON! Part 4 - Neck and Head

Oooh, it's getting close guys. Socky is now a fully autonomous, fully stuffed and cutely manipulable object, only awaiting the attachment of facial features (more on them later) and possibly limbs. Here's where we left off: 40 stitches in the round, to make the final sock for the head.

Well first I had a go at extending his neck up a bit; I did about 3 inches, decreasing by 4 every few rows until I had... I can't honestly remember, but it was far too few for doing his head properly. If I'd started the head-heel then (which I did, before boyfriend pointed out it looked stupid and I ripped back) his poor head would have been teeny-tiny. I therefore had to increase again (which gave him a bit of a double chin, but what the hell) up to my eventual head-size which turned out to be 24. I then divided to do the heel, 12 on Needle 1 and 6 on Needles 2 and 3. I would recommend decreasing down to 24 much more gradually than I did, and not going in and out. 24 seems to be a good heady size.

Rather than 19 rows of heel-flap, I only did 10, which meant adding 5 picked-up stitches to each other needle. I then made the gusset as usual, decreasing back down to 24 from 30-something. If my instructions seem vague at this point, it's because they are; I was making it up as I went even more than usual during this bit! Following the sock tutorial, I then knitted in the round for another 3 1/2 inches or so until I had all the lovely snout I wanted.

I should mention that during all of this, Socky had been mostly stuffed. The stuffing I used was rather professional-looking polyester fluff at a fiver a bag from John Lewis. I got two, because you never know, but one was more than enough to do Socky's body. When I needed to 'graft' the 'toe,' or rather make the invisible seam in his nose, I stuffed his whole snout first, right up behind the live stitches.

To finish the snout, I (of course) did this. I won't pretend the last bit was easy; it's a fiddly bastard doing those invisible seams, but it certainly looks good when it's finished.

Now I had a big wiggly vaguely-dragonlike tube, with a head, he needed a face! I don't know about you, but when I was drawing my own dragons as a child (and not-so-child ;P) I always gave them big bat-wing ears with huge veins in them. Socky is not going to be any different. Here is the pattern I devised for making his ears (times 2, obviously.) You'll need the same crazy wool as for his body, some black (or other, what the hell) felt, and some gold or silver thread.

1. Cast on 6. Knit 6
2. Purl 6
3. Knit 1, increase by 1, knit to last stitch, increase by 1, knit 2
4. Purl 8
5. Repeat row 3
6. Purl 10
7. Repeat row 3
8. Purl 12
9. Knit 3. TURN THE WORK ALREADY. Purl 3. Turn, Knit 3. Turn, Purl 3. Turn, Knit 3. Turn, Purl 3. Turn, Knit 1, knit 2 together. Turn, Purl 2. Turn, knit 2 together and tie off last stitch by pulling it into a big loop, cutting tail-wool and passing tail through stitch. Pull tight, and leave long streamer if desired. Wish I had videoed that one. Such is life.
10. With the next sets of three stitches on the needle, you will now repeat 'row' 9 until there are 4 pointy bits of knitting coming off the main section and no more stitches. To do this you will need to pick up and start knitting again with the cut end of yarn, like we did for the Space Invaders' eyes (remember them? :D)

You should now have a knitted ear-shape. Draw round it with tailor's chalk onto your felt, cut out the felt shape. Embroider veins like a leaf into the felt shape with the shiny thread if you like. Then using the same thread, sew the felt onto the purlside of the knitty ear with all the ends (except for any streamers off the points that you want) tucked tidily inside. Make sure your felt is the right way round to fit on the knitting exactly, as all the points won't be exactly the same length if your yarn is anything like mine (and you have my tension issues.)

I'm mostly the way through this stage myself at the moment, and fretting about whether to give him legs. Some people say yes; some say no. I tried out a prototype with a bobble on the 'elbow,' but it was far too small and narrow-looking. I think several more goes will be needed before I feel confident enough to share a pattern with the world at large.

Next Time: More Face!

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