Knitted Ninja Dragonfly With EL Wire Wings




Introduction: Knitted Ninja Dragonfly With EL Wire Wings

This dragonfly Instructable is based on some I made for an outdoor crochet installation called Slip by designer Lucy Arnold, that exhibited as part of my city's Arts Festival in July 2009. A winter garden was created in the square with 100s of crocheted flowers growing on vines around trees and lamp posts. My role was to light it all up at night time with LEDs in the centres of the flowers, and a few little electro-luminescent critters in the trees. 
This guy uses 1.5 metres of continuous green EL wire for his wings, powered by a 12V battery pack, which was hidden in the crook of a tree on the night. I used some clear fishing line to secure him in the branches. 

Step 1: Parts

1 x 50g ball of black bulky-weight yarn - I used acrylic in this case as it fairly weatherproof.
1 x DMC glow in the dark embroidery floss - E940
2 size 4.5mm knitting needles
1 x sharp Tapestry needle
2 x 4 cm piece of white felt
2 x black safety eyes and backs
Fiberfill for stuffing ( or you could use old black pantyhose)
1.5 metres of green EL wire, with connectors and an inverter
Battery holder to hold 8 AA batteries

Step 2: Knit the Tail

Abbreviations; K = Knit, P = Purl, Inc = Increase, Dec = Decrease, Stst = Stocking Stitch
Cast on 2 sts.
Row 1 - K 2 
Row 2 - K 2
Row 3 - Inc 1, K to end. Repeat for rows 4 - 10
Row 11 - Dec 1, K to end. Repeat for rows 12 -13
Row 14 - K
Cut thread leaving 3 inches. Slide 1st tail piece to side and with new yarn cast on 2 sts and repeat the pattern for the 1st piece. 

1. K across 4 sts of the 2 tail pieces. 
2. P 4 sts
3. Inc 1, K2, Inc 1
4. P across
5. Inc 1, K4, Inc 1
6. P across
7. Stst on these 8 sts for 18 rows
8. Inc 1, K6, Inc 1
9. P across
10. Stst for 8 rows on these 10 sts
11. Inc 1, K8, Inc1 . 12 sts.

Step 3: Knit the Body

1. "Inc 1, K2" till end. This should result in 16 sts
2. P across
3. "K2, Inc 1" till end. 21 sts.
4. P to end
5. Stst for 8 more rows
6. Inc 1, K6, Inc 1, K5, Inc 1, K6, Inc 1. 25 sts
7. P across
8. Stst for 8 rows
9. "K2tog, K3" 5 times. 20 st.
10. P across
11. "K2, K2tog" across. 15 st.
12. P across
13. "K2tog, K3" till end of row. 12 sts.

Step 4: Knit the Head

1. P across
2." Inc 1, K1" till end of row. 18 sts.
3. P across
4. "K1, Inc 1" till end of row. 27 sts.
5. P across
6. Stst 4 rows
7. "K2tog, K2" till end of row. 20 sts.
8. P across
9. "K2tog, K1" till end of row. 13 sts
10. P across
11. K2tog till end of row. 7 sts.
12. Cut thread leaving 1.2 metres. Thread through remaining 7 sts and pull tight.

Step 5: Stitch on the Eyes

Take the piece of 2 x 4 cm white felt and poke a couple of holes in it where you want the eyes to go. Insert the safety eyes, and push the backs in behind the felt. Cut off excess plastic at the back with some kitchen scissors. 
With some of the DMC thread, stitch the felt "eyemask" onto the front of the head. 

Step 6: Stitch Up and Stuff Dragonfly

Thread the yarn at the top of the head through the tapestry needle. Stitch the seams together along the head section. Stuff with the fibrefill or pantyhose until a nice round shape. Stitch the body and tail, stuffing at regular intervals. A knitting needle may be of help when you get to the narrow section of the tail.

Step 7: Stitch the Glow-in-the-Dark Tail Markings

Thread the glow-in-the-dark thread onto the needle. Starting at the back of the tail, wrap the thread around the tail several times, catching it under 1 knitted stitch at the front as per the image below. Do this 5 times and then stitch in any ends so they aren't hanging out.

Step 8: Add the EL Wire WIngs

Fold the EL WIre in half, and stitch onto the back of the dragonfly body at the centre. Fold 1 side in half again, and stitch this corner down, near the start of the wing to create a leafy wing shape. Fold the remainder of this side in half, and stitch down either the wired end or the plastic-tipped end so it is hidden under the yarn. Repeat this for the other side. You should have 4 wings like the picture.

Step 9: Connect the Battery Holder and the Inverter.

Strip 2 cms off the ends of the red and black wires on the battery holder and the inverter. Twist these together tightly and cover each with a piece of insulation tape. These can be soldered if you need a permanent connection. 

Step 10: Add Antennae, Plug in and Glow

Using a piece of chenille pipecleaner, thread through the stitches at the top of the head and bend into shape. Plug the connector on the dragonfly into the socket on the inverter/battery wire. 
If the dragonfly has been exposed to enough sunlight, the tail marking will glow in the dark along with the EL wings. FInd a nice tree somewhere and install your glowing piece of knit graffiti.
Love pixelbrid :)

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    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    I admit to being influenced by internet memes. There is a theory that if you skin your traditional craft project as a ninja/zombie/robot/pirate/viking/cthulu, then it will look cool. In hindsight this dragonfly ninja is made less stealthy by all the flashy lights.