Project #005: The Alan Dart Desperate Dan


One of the first Intarsia toy booklets I purchased early on happened to be the Beano and Dandy Collection.

The set comprises of seven knitted characters who appeared in the Beano and the Dandy comics published by D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd.  Nearly every child in England grew up with these comics and the characters are loved by children and adults alike.

My Dad, who doesn’t usually pay much attention to my mass of knitting patterns, took a sudden interest in two sets that came through the post.  The first being The Flintstones, the second, The Beano and Dandy collection.  Dad’s favourite comic character has always been Desperate Dan, joining the Desperate Dan Pie Eaters Club as a child there was a sense of pride of being associated with this character, so when he saw this knitted version he began to smile.  I knew, that day, that I would make Dan for Dad this Father’s Day.  That is how this project came about.

This pattern is one of the first designs that came from the Intarsia brand from the inspired Mr Alan Dart.  The design itself is pretty basic, not that there is anything wrong with that, you can see who the character resembles.  Unlike later patterns, there is not much detail and doll stands very rigid.  The lack of individual digits, make these earlier designs a bit dated by today’s Alan Dart creations.  However, one has to remember that they were pioneering and many of us were stretched with these patterns, marveling at the attention to detail  and trying to get to grips with knitted darts for folds and creases within the designs, which we had never seen before in a toy knitting pattern.  Alan had raised the Bar from

This:

To This:

Which pretty much speaks for itself.  The pattern was one of the easiest I’ve knitted to date and I  finished him quite quickly.  As with everything the make up took the most time, the stubble being the most intricate of the whole composition.

Yarns were my usual favourite Sirdar Bonus knit purchased by our friends at Deramores in colours:  Flesh, Black Classic Red and Denim.

Father’s Day came and my Dad was overjoyed and is so happy finally having a Desperate Dan of his very own.  Dan takes pride of place on the shelf overlooking my Dad while he tucks into his own Pie & Mash, Liquor and Stewed Eels.

Happy Father’s Day Dad as Mummy Rivett presents:

Happy Knitting,

Sew & Sew #004: The Alan Dart Desperate Dan


Desperate Dan was very easy to make up.  the only taxing thing about him was the embroidery of the face.

You can tell that this was one of Alan’s earlier designs, the doll itself is very basic, to be honest, I found that it was like making up an old 80’s Jill Gammon toy.

As there is no shaping in the back seam.  This make up showed a great example of how mattress  stitch is a wonder when achieving an invisible seam.

For those of you who would like to use mattress stitch on your next project I have found this fantastic demonstration on YouTube:

So Desperate Dan is now finished, Daddy Rivett has his camera at the ready, pictures will be on there way soon.

Happy Knitting,

On the Needles #004: The Alan Dart Desperate Dan


Desperate Dan is on the needles at the moment.  An interesting knit with darts and gusset pieces cast on and off throughout the pattern.   Desperate Dan is an original Alan Dart Doll from the early days when Alan worked with Gary Kennedy under the Intarsia Brand.

The pattern is part of the Beano and Dandy Toy Collection by Intarsia.  It  is long out of print, however copies pop up on Ebay, Abe Books and Amazon from time to time, be warned the Intarsia Toy patterns can be quite  expensive, but the results made from the designs are worth it.

If you would like to find out more about the Intarsia Toy Patterns including a full list if of images of the front and backs of the booklets take a look at my editorial page:  Intarsia Toy Patterns.

Happy Knitting,