The return of the new Clangers show to our TV screens this year is making us feel very nostalgic and we’ve been searching for all our pink balls of wool
We have fond memories of the adorable mouse-like knitted creatures who first appeared on BBC1 in 1969 and the Beeb has a free knitting pattern to knit your own Tiny Clanger. Hooray – let’s celebrate with green soup!
The pattern also includes sewing instructions to make a Clanger outfit from oddments you’ll have in your craft stash.
Clangers creator Peter Firmin ‘hardly ever bought any new materials’ when making the prototype puppets.
‘I would look around and see what was lying around…and find bits and pieces to make things out of,’ he recalls.
Peter’s talented wife Joan Firmin actually knitted the original mouse-like creatures from Peter’s Clanger sketches after he asked her to knit bodies that would cover the puppet skeletons he’d made from ‘Meccano, bits of metal and stuff.’
Peter tells BBC Radio 4: ‘The thing is, I was never very good at finding the right materials…and the nearest I could come to it being nice and stretchy to adapt to the movement was to have them was knitted.’
Luckily for Peter, Joan was only too happy to get her knitting needles ‘clanging’ and, a reported 3km of yarn later, the whole Clanger family was created.
The crafting couple then set about clothing their small knitted aliens. Peter made the manly armature and Joan embroidered the females’ tabards inspired by a sixties fashion icon.
‘The male Clangers all had armour to protect themselves from all the stuff flying around in space whereas the lady Clangers had rather fancy costumes based on Twiggy’s strange 1960s costume of plastic plates joined together with rings,’ says Peter.
The new Clangers TV show has the same Swinging Sixties feel. Mother Clanger’s garden haven is a kaleidoscope of psychedelic colour with hand-embroidered flowers, beaded blooms and pom-poms hanging from the ceiling.
For Peter it is Clangers’ handmade feel that holds the real appeal for children, giving the audience the ‘impression that [they] could touch’ the very characters on their televisions and think: “I could make that myself”.’
See how to make a new Clangers outfit with the free BBC pattern.