The elephant that I knit for my cousin’s baby is from the book Easy Knitted Toys by Joy Gammon. I actually took the book out from the library in French before realizing it also came in English, so this is my first pattern knit from French instructions. It was knit with Sirdar Country DK in gray (about a ball and a half) with minimal amounts of the same yarn in baby blue for the pads and scraps of white and black for the tusks and eyes.
This first photo is the book’s image showing what the completed toy will look like. As the book is considered “Easy” toys, the entire thing is knit flat, and seamed. Now…everything could have been knit in the round. For example, the legs, which are basically cast on xx stitches, work for xx rows and cast off. Repeat 3 more times. But I decided to follow the spirit of the pattern and work as written. I enjoy seaming. What I did not enjoy was how misleading this photo is.
See how cute he is, sitting there like that? Too bad the instructions tell you to sew all 4 legs on as open tubes, as if the elephant were standing (like a real elephant, not like a toy on 2 legs). Except that if you sew them on that way, you can only acheive this cute “seated” pose by forcefully squashing the elephant into a seated position and pinning him there with some kind of brute force. I didn’t feel like handing over a deformed elephant. So I followed the knitting instructions, but changed the finishing.
Here’s my version. I kept the seated position of the photograph, but attached the limbs after folding them flat so they would flop up and down, allowing him to sit or be held standing.
Had I realized I would be attaching his limbs this way BEFORE stuffing and seaming the body, I would have stuffed it a bit firmer and forced more of a pear shape to reinforce the seated pose. (Oh, and there is no wire in the trunk, I just kept rolling it up and eventually it stayed…kinda).
This is the back (duh). I wasn’t too happy with the pattern for the ears. In the photo they look softly rounded and real. The actual pattern is basically a rectangle folded on a purl turning row. I tried very hard to put in a crease that would make them appear more rounded, but don’t think I succeeded too well. Next time I will try to remember that I’m not limited to following a pattern directly as written…although since I was translating it as I knit I kept thinking it would work out in the end. There were no real directions for the tail and I wanted to make it safe for a baby, so I took a few lengths of the gray and pulled them through the back with a crochet hook. I repeated this so I had 3 sets of double strands in a triangle shape, then braided them. This way if they become a hazard they can be cut off and removed easily without damaging the body of the elephant. If you want a visual reference as to how large this guy is, that TV is 13″ and I took the photo at an angle, so they’re about the same height.
Finally, here’s a photo with his legs down. Please ignore the fact that he looks 8 months pregnant. You can also ignore the trashy magazine and hideously messy dinner table. (Don’t ignore the game Apples to Apples on the floor…it’s an excellent game for groups and I highly recommend it).
So there’s the latest FO. Now let’s see if I can get my Clapotis done before snow.
November 7, 2006 at 3:42 am
It was the best baby shower gift anyone could get. I love it, and I’m sure my son will too! And I love the way you put him together, rather than the way the pattern has him! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU on behalf of the baby!
November 7, 2006 at 4:03 pm
That elephant is beautiful! I can see why you’re tempted to keep him for yourself. 🙂
November 7, 2006 at 8:53 pm
That is one seriously adorable elephant! You did a fantastic job. 🙂
November 15, 2006 at 7:37 pm
Oh my goodness! He is gorgeous! It sounds like he’s getting an appreciative home, but I think you really are going to need one at your house, too!