So the surprise project I've been working on has been (as many of you guessed correctly) this ...
A Dalek from the Dr. Who series ... those annoying cute little robots that fly around saying "Exterminate! ExtermiNATE!". And despite the fact that these robots are finally destroyed forever, they always seem to crop up again somewhere down the line. I don't believe the human race will ever be rid of them :[
This little guy, thankfully, is harmless ... unless he's going to kill you with cuteness ;)
I found the pattern here on Ravelry, and ever since I found it a couple of years ago, my son has been asking me to knit one for him. I was intimidated by this pattern for a long time, but have gained some confidence in knitting since then, and felt I was capable of tackling it at long last.
There were a few things to learn on this. Even casting on was something new for me with the provisional cast-on. Then right away I had to learn how to knit the bobbles. A quick search on google came up with all kinds of variations of bobbles. There are instructions with the pattern too, but I wanted to see the knitting on video first. You certainly get a lot of practice knitting the bobbles since there are 52 of them! It took me an hour to knit one row with the bobbles in it ... 14 bobbles in a row.
The next thing I learned was the jogless stripe. This keeps the stripes running relatively straight around your piece, rather than having that annoying "step" up to the next row.
One thing I had real difficulty with was purling in the round on douple-pointed needles for the head. I ended up with a "ladder" at each spot where you transfer from one needle to the next. I don't have this trouble with the knit stitch, just the purl stitch. I googled that problem, and although there are a lot of people with the same difficulty, and only a couple of solutions, none of the solutions worked for me. I still ended up with a ladder. Most annoying. I would gladly accept any ideas anyone might have.
So after purling and ripping out the entire head three times, and trying three different methods to combat the problem, I finally gave up and knit all around the head in stockingnette stitch instead. That's the only change I made to the body of the pattern. Looking at everyone else's photos of this same project, it seems no one had the same trouble, so I don't know what I was doing wrong there. I might not have worried too much about it, but the Dalek is stuffed and the stuffing would have shown through the ladders. I think it still looks good, just not what was intended by the pattern.
The only other change I made was to the gun blaster. I knit that in double-strand yarn I-cord rather than making a tube. I checked with photos of the Daleks on a Dalek webpage and felt it looked in proper proportion (and it was easier to knit).
Another technique I learned was the Kitchener Stitch on the bottom of the piece. It was really easy to do, and there's only a 20-stitch join across the bottom, so not tedious at all. I was actually dreading doing the bottom because I couldn't make sense of knitting this in the round and it ending up flat across rather than a tube ... but I just kept on knitting and it worked out perfectly with all the decreases.
This was a lot of work for me. I still feel I'm in the learning process of knitting, and seeing all of these unfamiliar techniques made me fairly unsure to start it. But I'm glad I worked through it all and made the pattern up just as it was written (apart from the head, and I really did try to correct that). It stands exactly 12-inches high. I used Lion Brand 100% acrylic on size 4.5 needles.
This is my son's belated Christmas gift (he only got the yarn & the pattern wrapped up), so he's happy it's finished up now too.
Go forth and exterminate little Dalek!
Thanks for stopping by!