One emblem was brought to my attention by Stella of Purfylle, and I've become obsessed with learning about this piece of Australian (and world) history. Z-Special Unit was a joint Allied special forces unit that carried out 81 missions in the South West Pacific during World War II. Their last - Operation Copper - was carried out by a crew of eight commandos... And only one survived.
Sapper Mick Dennis fought through Japanese patrols, swam over three kilometers under pursuit, and after nine days finally met up with Australian troops to pass on information that was critical to the war. It's a story of bravery that makes you wonder: Where's the movie? Well, I can't make the movie it deserves, but I can crochet. So for Sapper Mick Dennis and the heroic Z-Special Commandos: A Dagger, for Courage.
This is no small applique! I couldn't make a tiny piece to commemorate the courageous acts of the Z-Special Unit. This dagger measures 12" (30 cm) from hilt to tip of blade. Easy instructions are given to make a narrower hilt.
Worsted weight (4) yarn
-I used some leftover Caron One pound, only in Black. The hilt and blade are made separately, so you can easily make them in two colors. A few yards are needed for both pieces.
Crochet hook size H/8 - 5.50 MM
(Size H in honor of the HDML 1321!)
-Measuring across the hilt, I have 6 single crochet in 2" (5 cm).
The foundation single crochet stitch can be replaced with a beginning chain and single crochet stitches, and working into the bottom loops of the beginning chain instead of foundation stitches. This will cause the pattern to have a bit of texture across the hilt.
Chain-1 at beginning of row counts as a single crochet unless stated.
Single numbers in bold parenthesis (1-4) correspond with photos for help. They are not a stitch count or any part of the pattern.
Stitches (American terms):
Single crochet 2 together - Insert hook, yarn over, pull up loop (2 loops on hook). Insert hook in next stitch, yarn over, pull up a loop (3 loops on hook). Yarn over, pull through all 3 loops.
Foundation single crochet (optional)
Make 20 foundation single crochet (or chain 20, and work single crochet across).
First side, to top of hilt:
Chain 1 (does not count as a stitch), turn. Make 2 single crochet in the first available stitch (1). Make 1 single crochet in each of the next 10 stitches (2). Working in rows: Chain 1, turn, make 1 single crochet in each of the next 2 single crochet (3). I made a total of 9 rows; you may want to make more or less. End on an odd number, so the last row ends on the side of the hilt that has not yet been worked. For last row of hilt: Chain 1, turn, make 2 single crochet in the first available stitch. (Single crochet, chain 2, single crochet) in the next stitch, and make 2 single crochet in the last (4).
The rest of the hilt:
(Worked in the round) Slip stitch in each side-post space back to first row of single crochet (1). Make 1 single crochet in each remaining stitch of the foundation row (2). (2 single crochet, chain 2, 2 single crochet) in the last stitch (3). Working around: Make 1 single crochet in the bottom of each foundation stitch (4).
In the last/first stitch (where you began with 2 single crochet), make 2 single crochet. Chain 2, and join with a slip stitch to the first single crochet. Bind off and weave in the ends.
Find the placement of the blade by the stitches that line up with the hilt. Beginning one stitch to the right of the hilt, join yarn with a slip stitch. Chain 1.
Work single crochet stitches to width of blade (I made 5).
(Chain 1, turn, work 1 single crochet in each stitch) for each row until you want the blade to reduce (1). (I worked 6 rows) Chain 1, turn, single crochet 2 together. Continue working even for the same number of rows, and reduce again (2). And repeat (3) until there are only two stitches left in a row. Work for the same number of rows. To finish, chain 2, turn, and slip stitch in the last stitch (4). Bind off and weave in ends.
*Some twisting at the tip of the blade was a problem for me until I dampened and blocked the piece. If you will be sewing it to something, this won't be needed.
I have to say that the lack of a movie about Operation Copper doesn't bother me; I don't watch them anyways. However, there is a book that I can't wait to read. Although I really wanted to be old-fashioned (nerdy) and hold a paper copy of Guns of Muschu, I decided to make the less-expensive purchase of an e-book so I could put my money to better use... The patrol boat that was used in Operation Copper has been sailing the seas all these years, but now she needs our help! After efforts to restore the HDML 1321 to her original condition, the ship sank at her moorings on October 19, 2016.
I first learned of the HDML's plight through the Purfylle blog. Through a roller coaster ride of uncertainty, Stella has kept me updated on the situation. At first it looked like harbor authorities weren't aware of who the "MV Rushcutter" really was, and the historical HDML 1321 was destined to be scrapped. But now, there is hope! As I write this post, efforts are being made to raise the vessel from the harbor floor. Plans are in place to restore her to wartime condition and make her museum-worthy, but the ship's owners now face bankruptcy. It is a saddening tale as it is, but reading about Ms. Geddes' loss of hope is heartbreaking.
Seven men lost their lives on that mission. The chance to preserve their memory is fading away, but it hasn't disappeared yet. I know many of you, like me, don't have much to spare. But all it takes is the cost of your next 400-calorie pumpkin spice latte; that skein of yarn you don't really need because you already have a giant stash; that extra $10 that could have went into your new-boot fund... Please, just one time, instead of spending that cash on something that will disappear soon in the future, put it towards part of saving the past.