Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Squid purse completed!

Hi folks!
I've finished making the Vampire Squid from Hell purse, so here we go with some pictures. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, particularly the way the bottom of the cloak ruffles up, and something about the shape of the body really makes me think 'squid', I think possibly it's how the eyes are placed relative to the fins.
Also, when it's wrapped up, it really doesn't look like anything in particular, which, again, I'm very pleased with, it makes it all the more suprising when you undo it and suddenly you have a squid.

I did take a few liberties with the shape to make this work better:
When the vampire squid wraps it's cloak over it's head, I think it doesn't cover the whole body - it leaves the top open so it can do bioluminescence tricks with photophores(which look like eyes) on the top. For the purse the cloak is a bit longer so that it can close properly.
The fins, I think, are squarer on the real vampire squid. I changed them to be more swept back to give it more of a squidy feel*, although I think this shape is really borrowed from a differnt kind of squid.
The biggest change though, is the eyes - I used amber teddy-eyes, where the original eyes are little pale milky blue spheres, with no features at all. You could probably do this better with some kind of beads, or possibly just stitching on a couple of baby blue spots, but I wasn't sure they would be recognisable as eyes. It might be worth trying though, I really like the original's eyes, they look so innocent and out of place!

The big problem I had was with the cloak - I wanted the tentacles to be cabled, but since they don't move across the fabric there was no easy way to do this. It would have been possible to cable back and forth by one stitch, so it wouldn't move much, but I didn't like that idea. Instead I worked increases down one side and decreases on the other, something like
Kfb, slip 1 to cable needle, K2, slip 1 back from cable needle, P1

Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to give quite the same tension as normally cables, so they don't stand out as much as I'd like(although this might just be to do with the yarn I used). So you can't really see the tentacles on the right side. To correct this, I'd like to make a second version in which the tentacles are just ribbed. This would mean making the rest of the cloak reverse stocking stitch, but perhaps the change of texture will suit it. It will definitely make the whole thing a lot quicker and easier to knit, the cables seemed to take forever.
Sadly I still don't know what to do with one squid-purse, let alone two. I was thinking it would make a good dice-bag for roleplaying types, or something along those lines.

Also, it's been suggested** that when the vampire squid wraps itself up, it looks kinda like it's trying to disguise itself as a pumpkin. So here we have the world's first lol-hellsquid:

Happy knitting o/

* - Thanks Stephanie!
** - Thanks Clare!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Snail II

Hey folks!

This project is actually a little old, but I finished making a second version of the Snail torus! I've been delaying posting pictures of this so that he would be more of a suprise for his intended owner. He's now arrived safe and well down in London with Helen, so it's time for pictures!

Design-wise, there are a couple of alterations from the first version("Spiral"). Aside from a different colour scheme, the shaping on the tail is a little better - Spiral's tail was trying to be a little more complicated than it needed to be, and didn't quite work out. Similarly the shaping on the head and particularly the face is a lot simpler and I think works a bit better. That said, I really liked the expression Spiral had, but I don't think I could actually reproduce it. Mostly likely it was more a fluke of tension working out just right than anything, certainly I can't claim to have planned it. I think the tail might have been quite a bit longer too, though not by any deliberate decision.

I'm still not entirely convinced by my knitting of the short rows in places though, I don't think I got the tension quite right with the wraps, but hopefully that's just me, since I know where to look for them, and it won't bother other people. And I'm still not entirely happy with how straight the shell was. I'm not good at sewing at the best of times, and this is a particularly delicate

The big difference really is that this time I took notes properly, so hopefully will be able to write up a coherent pattern of this. I'm very happy with how the two snails have turned out, and I'm very keen to see how interested people will be in this design. (After I posted the first snail, I got a very nice message from a knitter who keeps giant african land snails - I had no idea you could keep snails as pets!)

Have fun!