Let me tell you about the geekiness of myself and my friend Kristin.
No, that would take too long. Let me sum up.
Actually, a comprehensive summary would take too long, too. Let’s just go straight to the fact that we’ve both casually played World of Warcraft in the past and have soft spots for the creatures called murlocs. I mean, they’re little multicoloured fish-men who live in tribal societies and make the most ridiculous noise ever. It almost makes us feel bad about killing them…until they mob us, of course.
There’s a knitting pattern for them.
Several years ago I knit two murlocs for Kristin for her birthday (and … completely forgot to get pictures) and dubbed it “Geeky Tribal Warfare” because, well, one was impaling the other with a spiked staff (or kitchen skewer, as you might call them). Last autumn when I visited her, I reconsidered the Geeky Tribal Warfare and we decided that what World of Warcraft REALLY needed was a samurai murloc. This was certainly not inspired by the fact that Kristin practices kendo and iaido. Not at all.
Of course, this percolated in my mind for a while, and thus somewhere between last Christmas and the end of February I made the Kendo Murloc.
I loved making this guy. Yes, he’s a toy, but he’s also a soft sculpture, and boy howdy did I get to try a lot of different things with him!
His body was knit from a wool blend that I hand-dyed when Kristin and I lived in Scotland together, and his dorsal spines were knit from a yellow wool blend from the same hand-dying experiments, plus a bit of leftover blue silk. The mouth and teeth were modifications that I first developed for Geeky Tribal Warfare; the mouth knit from red wool from my stash and the teeth crocheted from cotton. The limbs had pipe-cleaners so that they were both stiff and could bend, and I wired the toes and fingers using techniques I picked up from the workshop with Nora Bellows of Noni Designs. Big ole safety eyes finished off the body. On to clothes!
I sewed a hakama (trousers) and tare (groin & leg protectors — the skirt-like piece) from scraps of linen I had around. Hakama are HUGE and have seven pleats, and so yes, so does this one. I pressed the pleats into the linen and sewed them into the waistband, but also tacked them at the bottom of the trousers so they wouldn’t fall out. The tare was strengthened with interfacing, and since the tare I’ve seen have red decorations, this one got that too! I had to stop short of the fancy decoration that tare also usually have, as most embroidery is beyond my current skills. Since hakama and tare are both tied with cords, I used ribbon as a substitute.
And then: SCULPEY!
The sword and dō (breastplate) were both made of Sculpey. I shaped the Sculpey for the dō to the murloc, but had to fuss with it a little to get the right shape. I used four rings from my chainmail supplies for attaching the ribbons (real dō have loops) and used a toothpick to create a facsimile of a dō’s designs. The sword was made in separate pieces and then glued together after it was baked. Once both pieces were baked, I used clear nail-polish to get the “shellacked” look that both have. The gold on the sword was also done with nail polish. Then, assemble, take some photos, stick in box, send off to Kristin, forget to write a blog post about it for several months.
And that’s how you lose your mind and create the Kendo Murloc.