Forget slick hair and chiselled features, dress sense, charism, and sex appeal – vampires haven’t always been the glamorous, sophisticated creatures they are today. Long before Bela Lugosi, Ann Rice and HBO made the undead attractive, a truly terrifying incarnation of the vampyr gave silent film-goers the fright of their lives. The hideous image of Count Orlok’s long-fingered shadow creeping up the stairs in Nosferatu (1922) was an iconic moment in film history. Bringing plague and disease wherever he went, his spindly frame struck terror into the hearts of all who gazed upon him.
Nosferatu was the earliest (and unauthorized) adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, whose estate sued for copyright infringement and won. The brilliantly chilling images of Count Orlok only survived because a single copy of the film escaped destruction. Since then, the count’s grotesque hunch and shudder-worthy shadow have haunted nightmares for nearly a century.
This Nosferatu-inspired knitted character takes the fear to a new dimension with glowing yellow eyes. If you don’t want to make the soft circuit, you can use small black safety eyes instead.
If you want to make these as hanging Halloween decorations, you can omit the pressure switch and just fit the battery in place so the eyes light up constantly. If you do this, it’s best to leave a gap at the top when sewing around the battery. That way, you can easily slip the battery out to replace it (as it will run out much sooner!).
All images copyright of ‘Quintet 2012’.
© 2021 Hannah Simpson / Bloomsbury · Reproduced with permission.
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You Will Need
1. ?In black, cast on 18 st and divide for knitting ?in the round.
2. Work 25 rows in stocking stitch.
3. K2tog around (9 st).
4. *K1, k2tog* around (6 st).
5. Change to lilac yarn and *kfb* around (12 st).
6. *K1, kfb* around (18 st).
7. Work 3 rounds in stocking stitch.
8. *K2, kfb* around (24 st).
9. Work 7 rounds in stocking stitch.
10. *K4, k2tog* around (20 st).
11. *K3, k2tog* around (16 st).
12. *K2, k2tog* around (12 st).
13. Place stitches on stitch holder.
Cut out two pieces of black felt – one 10 x 3cm (4 x 1¼in) and one 4 x 3cm (1½ x 1¼in). Cut two square notches in the larger piece to make a 1cm (3?8in) (wide section in the middle. This is to ensure the felt fits through the neck opening.
Twist the LEDs into shape with pliers (see page 28). Position the LED eyes in place on the felt patch, making sure that both positive loops are positioned toward the top of the patch. Thread a needle with 40cm (15¾in) of conductive thread, knot and carefully sew the positive ends of the LEDs to the patch. Continue to sew a running stitch down the side of the patch and through the narrow neck.
Cut another 40cm (15¾in) length of conductive thread and re-thread the needle. Work as before, sewing the negative loops of the LEDs to the felt patch. You can test your circuit at this point by holding the loose ends of the thread against the positive and negative sides of your battery.
Carefully pull the felt patch through the neck opening so that the LED part of the patch is inside the head and the other part is in the body. Make sure the felt running through the neck isn’t folded over, to prevent the positive and negative threads coming into contact.
Make the soft circuit switch (see page 28) and fit the battery. Place the head stitches back on the needles. Push the LED eyes through from the inside of the head so they are sticking out. Stuff the head carefully, keeping the eyes in place.
To finish the head:
14. *K1, k2tog* around (8 st).
15. ?Cut yarn, thread onto tapestry needle and run through remaining stitches. Pull to close.
Arms (make 2):
1. ?On 3.25mm (size 3) dpns, cast on 4 stitches in black yarn and work 7cm (23?4in) of I-cord.
2. Cast off and attach to body.
Legs (make 2):
On 3.25mm (size 3) dpns, cast on 5 stitches in black yarn ?and work 8cm (3in) of I-cord. Cast off. To make a foot, fold ?1.5cm (5?8in) of the leg back on itself and secure it in place ?with a few stitches. Repeat the same process, making a foot for the second leg.
Push the legs you have just made up inside the body and sew them into place. Try to ensure that the feet point outwards.
Once the legs are in place, use a small amount of stuffing to fill the body cavity, making sure to pad the front and back of the soft circuit switch.