I finished the crocodile, oh, at least a month ago but what with having to process photos and get my head in the right frame of mind for writing coherently, it just hasn’t been written up yet! The bad news is that I’ve got a few other FOs to share with you over the next week or so, please be patient if knitting isn’t your thing!
So what can I say about the crocodile that I haven’t said before? Other than it’s now finished and has been lovingly received and christened Razor? (I think crocodiles obviously get too much bad press to warrant a name like that!). The patterns from the Knitted Wild Animal book tend to follow a similar format but of course the crocodile is naturally a very different shape to the others which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s nice to have a new shape and challenge to work on but I sometimes felt that the pattern hadn’t quite the attention it deserved.
I did eventually notice that the finished size measurement was supplied, 48 cm head to tail, although I had somehow convinced myself that it was only going to be about 20 cm. However, a slightly big however though, I ended up with a 70 cm crocodile. I’m not quite sure but an earlier blog post does rather suggest that I could have gone wrong somewhere. If anyone else has made it him to the correct proportions then I’d love to know how you did it!
The other big challenge was understanding the instructions for the feet. (For some reason, crocodiles don’t have ‘paws’, perhaps it’s something to do with that earlier comment about bad press). I got several experienced knitters to have a go at them but to no avail. One kindly dreamt up a simplified version for me, I’d terrified myself into thinking that I’d have to do all kinds of magical shaping and had gotten brain freeze. Basically it’s just a garter strip of eighteen stitches worked for six rows (if I remember rightly) then each set of six stitches are worked individually for a further six rows to give the three ‘toes’. A lot of the shaping came from the making up and I ran a couple of stitches between each toes for definition too. Again, if anyone has successfully made up the feet according to the book I’d love to hear from you!
The making up wasn’t too bad, it’s just a huge project, and I embroidered all the features myself (I hate making up and really don’t trust my sewing skills). I love his toothy grin, although I didn’t do it in the recommended chain stitch, far too complicated! And his knitted eyes, despite following the same instructions for both, came out completely differently each time, giving him a slightly skewiff appearance. Sadly. Plus the finished eyelid didn’t fit over very easily.
Overall, favourite bits were the moss stitch (or seed? When I work out the difference, I’ll let you know!) over his back and legs to give him the appropriate texture, the legs which started out looking like a map of Australia but suddenly morphed into those chunky, stocky legs and his toothy grin. But I don’t know if I’ll be in a hurry to come back to this pattern just yet!
Oh, and the yarn I used? Research on Ravelry showed that a variegated yarn worked best and my husband found this one in our local department store. Considering that it’s still only a 100% acrylic, I felt that it was a little expensive but it works well, having both variegated and self-striping effects built-in. In place the shifts of colour between stripes feel a little too big and harsh, over pronounced, but generally I like it. (You know me for worrying anyway!). Again considering the price, I don’t think it was of the best quality either, the ply had a tendency to unravel and not just on the thumb cast on where it always does. Bonuses were that the yarn was supplied with a free scarf pattern in three languages! Just in case.