Posted March 31, 2006on:
As I mentioned, I like making toys. I just discovered (round) loom knitting, which is very easy and fast once you get the hang of it. I immediately went online and looked up patterns, found various great sites like this and this and this. I found this pattern, and thought how great it would be to make an octopus. So I altered it (not a whole lot), and made one for my boy. (I plan to make another for A, or possibly a spider — she loves Charlotte’s Web — or even maybe a reversible caterpillar/butterfly. If I figure that last one out, I will post the pattern here, since it’d really be an original.)
Here is the Octopus Story from my childhood: when I was about five or so I had a stuffed red octopus. Technically I suppose it was a quadropus, since it only had four long arms (and boy do I understand why, now that I’ve made one myself), but I loved it. Especially grabbing it by one arm and spinning in a circle, swinging it. Then, one Sunday, I left it on the floor, watching out the window next to the front door for me to come back from church. And our dog chewed it to pieces. Oh, the heartbreak.
But oh the fond memories. So now my dear boy has one himself.
I used almost three skeins of Patons Melody (bulky weight) yarn, Fun n’ Games color. I started the project using two strands of worsted weight, but wasn’t very happy with the big spaces between the stitches. The Knifty Knitters are really bulky weight gauge looms, but you can use the two strands of worsted, normally, depending on what you’re making. However, because this is a stuffed toy, I decided to switch to bulky. Even then, I ended up putting the fiberfill into a nylon stocking, too, to prevent leakage through the knit.
I mostly followed the spider instructions, but I used the green (large) rather than the yellow (extra large) loom, and I knitted the legs in the round on my double pointed bamboo needles (9 stitches, only size 10.5 (6.5 mm) needles — should’ve been bigger, but I didn’t have any larger double pointed ones) because I couldn’t figure out how to knit flat on the round loom. And anyway, I didn’t want to bother with sewing them up the long sides. Knitting in the round on double pointed needles is really shockingly easy once you get the hang of it (all knit stitch! no purl! yet you get stockinette stitch pattern! nothing could make me happier! I should take up sock knitting). Wooden needles help too, because the yarn doesn’t slip off as easily. Anyway, as you can see I didn’t joint the legs either. I sewed the legs around the bottom of the body, before stuffing, then gathered it just above the sewn edge to close it.
I also thought it would be cool to weight it down with some beans inside. I ended up getting some plastic pellets (better for washing) and tying them into the bottom of the nylon. However, I failed to take into consideration the weight of ALL EIGHT legs, and altogether it seemed too heavy. Also, the knit is stretchier than the nylon inside, so it’s a bit loose around the stuffing, and worse with the legs pulling down on it. So this morning I made a little hole in the nylon and tried to take out the pellets, quite the ordeal. But mostly successful. It’s a bit better now. Next time, I would probably try to make a cotton bag to stuff inside the knit, something I could make more the proper size than the toe/foot of a pair of stockings.
It didn’t quite come out as I’d envisioned it (though I love the way the colors spiraled around the head). And I haven’t yet figured out how to put a mouth on — tried some embroidery thread and it was a disaster. But the boy seems to like it, and it’s nice and soft, so all is well for now.
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