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


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,

Project #004: The Debi Birkin Sack of Mice Tea Cosy

The sack of mice tea cosy was such a nice little project, one that I could dip in and out of at leisure.  Not that I needed a reason to knit this, but we thought that Daddy Rivett’s Mum would like it for her Birthday.

Yarns used for this project were all Sirdar Bonus knit in Walnut, Cream, Light Pink, Chocolate and Sliver Grey.  All yarn for this project was purchased from our friends at Deramores.  The pattern is available on line from Debi Birkin’s website, both links can be found to the left.

I made a couple of changes to the make up of the pattern including glass eyes for the mice and darted on the limbs.  I also used a twisted cord in light pink shaped permanently with Fray Check.   The back of the sack is embroidered in Butterfly Chain Stitch which I think gives subtle character.

Happy Birthday Mummy Dawn as we present to you Debi Birkin’s Sack of Mice or, as we call it in our house, “Mouse Bum”

Happy Knitting

On the Needles #003: The Debi Birkin Sack of Mice Tea Cosy

It’s Daddy Rivett’s Mum’s Birthday on 10th May, so I decided to knit her a Debi Birkin Tea Cosy.

The Sack of Mice is just so sweet, you cannot resist it.  Quite an easy knit this one, however as it is knitted with two balls of wool together, quite a workout for your fingers.

Purchase the pattern direct from her website, and join the fun.

Happy Knitting,

Project #003: The Shortstuff411 R2D2 Beanie

The R2D2 Beanie, finished with more time than you could wave a light saber at.  This was my first ever Commission for a work colleague for her son’s birthday.  She was delighted and it raised a few smiles all round.

Nice little knit this one, little being the operative word here.   For some reason this pattern knits up rather small.  I did read some of the comments from other knitters who have knitted this one and they all seem to say the same thing.  In fact, since knitting this project there has been an update on the site saying:

*EDIT* THIS PATTERN COMES OUT SMALL- probably suitable for a child age 4-ish. It would be easy to insert the chart onto a bigger hat, and add some extra length and panels into the back with a little work.

Most helpful.

Daddy Rivett does want one, so if I do decide to  re knit this, I will make a few alterations to the pattern.

This Pattern is freely available on the web and can be found on Ravelry and direct from the Crafter website.  The pattern was designed by a knitter who goes by the name of Shortsuff411.

Yarn used for this project was Sirdar Bonus Knit in Denim, Silver Grey, Rustic Red and Black all purchased from our friends at Deramores (link in the left hand bar)

You will need to use bobbins for this project, Pony do a great set and they are under £2.00 in most craft stores,  I went through two sets for this project.

With this project I tried some new knitting techniques, knowing that it was only 90 stitches across I thought it would need all the give I could knit.  Remember I am used to knitting toys so I do tend to knit tight by default, this project was knitted on larger needles to compensate.

So the two new techniques I tried were the Continental Cast On as this gives an elasticated cast on edge, this cast on technique is also known as Long Tail Cast on.  I found using this way of casting on a bit tricky as you only use one needle :

The rule of thumb is to give yourself 12″ of tail for every 20 stitches, however I gave myself more just in case.

Hold the yarn tail over the top of your left thumb and then trial the yarn over your index finger.

Grab the ends together with your middle ring and little fingers making a triangle with the yarn.

Take your needle and place under the yarn running between your thumb and index finger and hold in place and pull back slightly or hold onto the needle by using a slip knot.

Bring the needle under the left loop created by the yarn held between the thumb, index, ring and little finger.

Using the needle take this loop over the top of the yarn bring it over the right loop created by the yarn held on the index finger.

Pull the yarn on the right loop through and  onto the needle.

Release the yarn held on the thumb and pull the tails tight.

This technique automatically creates a knit row.

I soon got the hang of this method and after a while you find yourself developing a rhythm.  Quite satisfying really.

The second new technique I adopted for this pattern was to knit with Double Pointed Needles.  This was something I had never done before and have always steered away from, however, there was no way round it, I had to bite the bullet with this one as there is other way of shaping the crown without using them.

Scary little blighter’s aren’t they.  I did it though and goodness, how I enjoyed using them, when knitting stocking stitch you do not have  to purl any rows, amazing.  so neat, quick and simple and the best part, no sewing at the end.

Hand Knitted by

Happy Knitting,

Project #002: The Debi Birkin Royal Garden Party Tea & Egg Cosy Set

The wedding is over, the Bride looked stunning and Mummy Rivett was up till 05:00 to finish the crown in time for the garden part at East Greenwich Pleasaunce.

The story behind this one was thus.  Three weeks prior to the wedding, Daddy Rivett and I were taking Poppy and Buster to the Pleasaunce for our their Sunday morning run.

We always eat at Pistachio’s in the Park.  Lizzy and the girls who own it are so friendly and have done a brilliant job of creating a hub of activity and as a result have been the cornerstone of developing our local community.  We are so fond of them they even came to the evening reception of our wedding.

Lizzy mentioned they they were planning to have a garden party for the Royal Wedding and asked if we wanted to join in, the local Westcombe Park Community and the local school were all pitching in, they were showing the wedding on a big screen, there would be stalls and bunting and a raffle.  All proceeds were to go to the Earthquake appeal in Japan.  I have two friends in Japan who we love dearly, so I offered to knit a crown for the raffle.

As far as knitting projects go, this one was fine to knit.  I used yarns I have never knitted with before to give an extra special feel to this one.

The Pattern was by Debi Birkin and you can download the pattern from her website (link in the left hand side bar)

The yarns used were Sirdar Bonus DK in Claret (my favourite yarn and colour) for inside, Sirdar Snowflake Chunky in Milky for that fantastic fur at the bottom of the crown and yes it is knitted and Sirdar Funky Fur in Black for the trim.  All three of these yarns were purchased from our friends at Deramores (link in the left hand bar).

The Gold and Jewels for the main crown were made up from Anchor Crochet threads, these were difficult to get hold of, very expensive and fiddley to use.  The white gold was ok as you had to knit two threads together, the smaller jewels where really difficult and I ended up knitting them on smaller needles 2.5mm to get the right tension.  threads used were Anchor Artiste Metallic Crochet No.5 Thread White Gold 303 for the crown, Anchor Artiste Metallic Crochet No.5 Thread Green 322, Anchor Artiste Metallic Crochet No.5 Thread Red 318 for the Rubies, Anchor Artiste Metallic Crochet No.5 Thread Blue 320 for the Saphires and Anchor Artiste Metallic Crochet No.5 Thread Silver 301 for the tiny diamond chain stitches for each of the jewel mounts.  All of the metallic threads came from purple linda crafts.

As mentioned in previous posts, the pattern was easy and fast, you knit the main crown in two separate pieces and amazingly the white base is knitted, the yarn knits up like a fleece, I’ve wanted to use it for ages and thought I would try out on this project.  The only thing that took time was the make up.  But to be honest, Make ups always do and because I am very fussy about attention to detail this one had me in stitches.

The egg cosy was knitted and made up in one evening, fast easy and the jewels were just satin stitch with line of chain stitch embroidered round the edges to make them stand out.

Please note that Debi states in her pattern that the fur base is knitted in mohair.  I’m not a lover of mohair and had a stash of Snowflake which I will use for the tail of a rabbit in an up and coming project.  The Funky Fur was left over from the last project, so I thought I’d make use of it.

Over all I’m really happy with the way this project turned out, I think it is one of the nicest crown tea cosies I’ve come across, there were a few that were available at the time due to the wedding and as much as I admire all those that write patterns, I think Debi has done a wonderful job at creating a superior design.

Happy Knitting,

Project #001: The Alan Dart Pirate

As mentioned in my first post, this was my first completed knitting project in over 20 years.

The idea came about when I asked Daddy Rivett what he would like for his Birthday. “Surprise me.” was the response. So, with that in mind, I thought I would hand knit a doll for him, after all he did make me the Mickey Mouse mosaic at Christmas.

So here are the final pictures of my first project. The doll took me 4 weekends to complete, the pattern can be purchased from Alan Dart’s website and the wool was purchased online from my Twitter friends at Deramores (links in the side bar). The project is advanced, my experience with knitting was always with intricate novelty projects, as they keep my attention span active.

Although a challenge I loved every minute of it.

Happy Knitting,