Wednesday, 31 March 2010


Look at the shiny! I got 4 balls of that at Kemps Wool Shop online for less than eight quid, including postage and a pair of 6mm needles to practise on. bargain! and very dragony, I'm sure you'll agree. In fact it was so dragony just by itself, I thought it would be silly to make things difficult for myself by doing fancy stitches. Instead, my sock dragon will use a simple sock heel to wiggle up and down and be plain stocking stitch all the way along.
I decided to follow this sock tutorial to make the kinks in my dragon's body, as they had nice pacing and diagrams. First though I had to get used to knitting on 4 double-pointed needles or DPNs. Before that, I had to get some DPNs.

The sock tutorial said that the best DPNs were bamboo, because the stitches were much less likely to slip off the needles that you weren't using at the time. I can confirm this, having decided to make my own out of Wagamama chopsticks. By comparing with my 6mm normal needles I decided that despite the elliptical shape it would be fine to whittle the ends off them to make super-cheap dragon-making equipment.
I got a penknife for my 11th or 12th birthday, Swiss Army actually, and of course the first thing I did with it was take the end off a pencil. This wasn't that unlike, although the glued ends were considerably more difficult to carve than the pointed ends, in terms of density of grain. To stop them splintering so much I sanded the ends viciously with my everlasting emery board, though normal ones would do if you don't have real sandpaper I can tell you. I can also tell you if you haven't used a woodcarving knife before that you will be tempted to use your thumb to push the blade away from you. This is all very well if you're using a straight blade, but if it can fold back into the handle like my Swiss does then ON NO ACCOUNT push too far along towards the point as it will flip back into the handle, which, of course, has your hand on it. Believe me this is all from bitter experience.

I am pleased to say that despite the fanciness, thick-and-thinning and ribbon-entwined nature of the wool, beginning on Socky has not been a bitter experience. I am building up to the first heel, and very excited! as he is about 4 inches long. I will have to do his head separately, but that can wait until I've really mastered the technique I think, as his head will probably be one, smallish, actually toe-tied sock.

Watch this space...