A brief aside: If you’re not a fan of Dr. Who, this project may be a little baffling to you unless you take a few minutes to read this and this. Primary reference: the Dalek episode, this scene.
Pattern: EXTERMIKNIT! (rav link to project) partially using the New Paradigm Dalek mods
Yarn used: Various washable scraps left over from making other toys: the pink and white yarns are Caron Simply Soft in Soft Pink 9719 and Natural 0002, the pale blue is Cascade Sierra in some light blue color, and the brown is Vanna’s Choice in 126 Chocolate
Needles used: Forgot to write this down! Probably something like a size 5, to get a tight fabric.
Date started: August 24, 2010
Date completed: September 22, 2010
Here is my Dalek at rest. I knit most of this according to pattern, and used the New Paradigm mods for the top half, mostly, to account for having more brown yarn than blue. I switched to white yarn in the least visible areas (inside pocket, bottom of Dalek) because I was running low on both brown and blue. It’s stuffed with scraps of fabric, which gives it a good heft and density compared to polyfil.
The keen-eyed among you will notice the zipper around its front panel–a detail not present in the original pattern.
What could be inside?
Do I see… tentacles?
A Kaled mutant, nude!
Here’s the empty chamber:
Knitters, there’s more.
The Dalek compartment was not knit in, but created via a couple of afterthought steeks!
These were my first steeks, believe it or not. I think it went well.
Here’s what I did:
After completing the top of the Dalek as specified, I created an opening in the front by steeking carefully along the vertical line between the knit “instrument panel” and the purled rest of the midsection–just used some sewing shears and cut straight through the middle of the rightmost line of knit stitches, along the entire height of the midsection. I then carefully unraveled the stitches from right to left on the rows above and below the desired door area, to the left end of the “instrument panel”, and placed these two horizontal pairs of exposed stitches on DPNs.
This creates a kind of door flap, hinged vertically along the left-hand side. I sewed down the outer edge of the door with one yarn tail, and used a sewn bindoff and the other two yarn tails to fasten the top and bottom of the door flap. The door flap was now bound off and would not unravel.
I picked up stitches on the other side of the steek (the stitches along the body, the rightmost edge of the “door frame”), knit along the held stitches exposed by the unraveled yarn below the door (held on DPN), picked up stitches along the “hinge” of the door, and knit across the remaining exposed stitches on the other DPN above the door.
From there, I knit in the round until I ran out of brown yarn, maybe 1/2 inch or so, then switched to white to knit the back of the panel, decreasing at the four corners by working k1, k2tog at the beginning of each needle and ssk at the end, and throwing in a plain round every now and then, until I was down to about 6 sts. I pulled the yarn tail through these last few sts to close it up. This created the inside compartment and also took care of the exposed stitches around the door frame so they would not unravel.
The Kaled mutant inside was knit as follows:
CO 3 sts in pink yarn, knit 2 inches of i-cord, cut yarn leaving a tail, slip live stitches off DPN onto waste yarn and set aside. Repeat till you have 6 tentacles, then put the live stitches all back on DPNs (2 tentacles per DPN, 3 DPNs + 1 working needle) and knit in the round for another 2 inches or so. K2tog around, knit another couple of rounds, k2tog around, cut yarn and draw through. Pull all the yarn ends but one to the inside of the Dalek’s body as stuffing. Use the last yarn end to sew up the base of the Dalek, and weave in the end.
For the eye, work back and forth:
1) CO 1 st in white
3) K1, M1 (lifted), K1
5) K1, M1, K1, M1, K1
9) K2tog, K1, K2tog
11) K2tog, K1
Cut yarn, leaving a tail, and draw through the last st.
Embroider a pupil with a scrap of dark yarn.
Applique the eye to the body, hiding the pupil yarn tails behind the eyeball.
I had originally intended to close the instrument panel with just a button, snap, or hook and eye, but I found that the door lost all shape so I had to put in a zipper–probably a 6” or 8”, normal, non-separating zipper would be good; I shortened an existing longer one I had on hand. I used a normal sewing needle and matching thread to sew the zipper to the Dalek casing with a running stitch, first the outer edge of the closed zipper around the outside edges of the door, then pulling and stretching the door to fit to the inner side of the zipper.
I gave this to my stepdad for his 60th birthday and it was a big hit! And my little sister drew him an awesome matching Dr. Who birthday card featuring a Dalek and Christopher Eccleston.
A couple of notes about the pattern:
- It makes a MUCH bigger Dalek than you might expect. Very cuddly! I think it was something like a foot high. You can see it next to some chairs at the airport in the posted photos, for scale.
- The pattern is written in sort of an odd way (it would be easier to work from a chart where you can see how the ribbing stacks up, but all the knits and purls are written out)
- I found the tuck stitch instructions confusing; when they say “the stitch 3 rows below”, that means below the turning row, not the current row.
Here are a couple of pictures of the Dalek making a new friend. More about the friend later.