A Few FOs – Under Pressure

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I’ve been very whingy of late, talking all about myself (although admittedly that is rather the concept of a blog, I guess!) and not sharing any words of wisdom (if I ever have had any) nor entertaining you with my highly random musings nor keeping you up to date with my crafting progress.  So here are a few knitted things to change the scene (and a plea for further patience from the non-knitters amongst you!).

If you are a knitter or crafter or ever wish to be then I have some very sage advice for you.  When knitting for specific occasions (those that create the dreaded deadlines) it is best not to the start the week of.  It’s really not good for your nerves.  I know this, probably have done this to myself before, but still found myself doing it again.  And wondering why.  If not cursing myself.  The problem is that sometimes things can seem an awful long way away and sometimes it can be that there’s plenty of other things to worry about.  In either case you suddenly find yourself with a week to go and nothing but a to make list between your hands.  Now please take my advice, just don’t do it to yourself.

Personally, I do not do being under pressure at all so this wasn’t exactly the most pleasant situation and although I knitted like crazy, Murphy’s Law always kicks in and it seems like you’re knitting slower than you even thought was possible.  I just kept on knitting though, determined to see my projects done, focused on the barely growing fabric and abandoning any other tasks, just keep knitting I told myself, the housework will still be there later.  Whilst mentally resolving to never leave things so late again.  (Time will tell whether that resolution is upheld so I will keep you posted!)

I made my deadline.  I did!  Surprisingly.  I finished at the hideously unearthly hour of half past one the night before, or more technically the morning of.  I don’t think I’ve ever made anything up so fast, my projects tend to have little rest periods between stages of activity and there was definitely no time for that this time.

So here they, done and finished.

Do you remember the blue hot water bottle cover I showed you?  (Oh, alright, I did start at least one thing in advance, fortunately).  It still needed a twisted cord to draw its opening so here is the finished article:

White Twisted Cord Bow on Hot Water Bottle Cover

The next thing on the list did need making from scratch within the week and it was another toy from the Knitted Wild Animals book like the monkey, this time the moose.  No pressure, hey?!

It wasn’t too difficult a pattern to follow because the basic bodies are similar for most of the animals from the book however as I usually try to get help with the making up (especially for embroidering the details) this is the first one that I’ve made completely on my own.  Big girl that I am now!

I find the most useful needle for attaching stuffed toy parts is a curved needle, a type of needle which is commonly used for upholstery.  As they’re not intended to be used with yarn you do have to use a quite a big size in order to have a large enough eye to thread with DK-weight yarn, the downside with the bigger needle is that it means working with a bigger curve which can make it a little more challenging to fit around the tighter corners but it’s definitely a lot easier than using a straight needle.  A curved needle can also be a little unwieldy and prick you from the most unexpected angles, I have noticed.  But that’s probably user-related.

Here’s a shot of the curved needle in operation although I’m not entirely sure whether a closeup of a moose’s armpit is a pleasant sight to share:

Curved Upholstery Needle in Action in a Knitted Moose's Armpit

I particularly loved the little hooves on the moose’s legs and arms and well, tassels are always cute:

Moose Details (Clockwise from Top Left: Leg, Hooved 'Paw', Tail with Tassel)

(Mosaic Courtesy of Big Huge Labs)

And I thought the antlers were very cunningly designed, you start with something that looks like a stereotypical pine tree and fold it around a pipe cleaner, et voilà! antler!

Making the Moose Antlers

(Mosaic Courtesy of Big Huge Labs)

And here is the finished moose:

Finished Knitted Moose

The next project was something that could be best described as ‘random’, mooses aren’t in comparison, trust me.  The recipient in question had taken a shine to a soft toy online, something the Americans call a plush toy, and I wasn’t prepared to fork out the money for it and order it from America, this last especially not within a week’s deadline.  This isn’t laziness per se but the realisation that comes to all knitters that they could make the thing for an awful lot cheaper.  Easier is often included in that realisation however that probably isn’t accurate in this case because I had to ‘design’ the thing myself.  ‘Design’ in my limited knitted experience means cobbling parts from other things mainly and hoping for the best.  Amazingly it did pass muster and was gratefully received.

The toy in question? Yes, I had found myself knitting e-coli.  As you do really.  This is the finished ‘bug’:

Knitted E-Coli Toy on Red Background

His body is technically a zebra’s proverbial from the above book, his ‘legs’ or ‘tentacles’, (does anyone know the correct word?!) were made from three colours (beige, brown and white) of yarn held as one very chunky strand and knit into a three stitch i-cord (I ran out of time to make more but also explained it by saying that anymore would have been too heavy on this guy!) and the buttons were discovered in the button box in the wee small hours:

Knitted E-Coli Toy Details - 'Face' and 'Legs'

(Mosaic Courtesy of Big Huge Labs)

If I made another one (I don’t really know how often I’ll be called upon to make bacteria and other germies in my knitting life!) there are of course tweaks that I would make the second time around, maybe add more of a base between the two ‘face’ sections and weight that maybe with sponge.  If I could get a variegated or self striping yarn with the right colourways then that would also reduce the weight of the ‘legs’, ‘tentacles’, ‘whatevers’.  Maybe some proper soft toy-style eyes too, more like the one on the plushy.  But hey, I made it in a day and I’m glad that the recipient hadn’t taken the commercial version as gospel-truth (fortunately) so that gave me some free play.

So I knitted and I conquered.  And yes, my knitting is as random as I am.

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16 thoughts on “A Few FOs – Under Pressure

  1. Love the little e.coli. I am currently doing my dissertation project on e.coli and decided to try and knit a little toy and that’s how I found your page. By the way, the little ‘arm’ thingys are called Flagellum =)

    • You’re welcome to use this as a basis but I’d recommend doing the i-cords purl wise based on something that I’ve read recently and possibly using multicoloured yarn on them too so that they’re not so bulky. All the best with your dissertation! :)

  2. Anonymous

    I found your website on another site. allowed me to really understand this topic. I have spent lots of time looking through your site. You are doing the great work!

  3. “Legs” conveys the meaning adequately, but the word you’re looking for is flagella (or flagellum in the singular).

    I might have to try knitting a moose. A friend of mine is a moosaholic.

  4. The water bottles have all been delightful and inspired. The bacteria is hilarious. (I want to know more about the person who wanted e-coli. I love this person already.) And that moose is PRICELESS. Seriously. Somebody is going to love that sucker for a long long time. I am suitibly impressed.

I'd love to know what you think, concrit is especially welcomed on fiction pieces. Thank you.

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