almost, but not quite there


I was going to be all proud of myself.  I was going to post about how I’d been so clever.  Can you guess where this is going?

This photo shows the progress I’d made last night on Flo the Elephant.  I was actually a little cocky, thinking to myself how smart I’d been to concoct a way to work the pattern in the round.  See, the pattern has you knit two elephant sides that look like flat elephant shapes, then you seam them together from the tail up over the back and over the head to the trunk.  You then seam the trunk, and sew in an underbelly, and do the legs.

I wasn’t crazy about the look of the seam down the face and was sure there was a way I could work it to avoid it.  My first thought was to work the two pieces flat, but joined down the center of the face.  So if you count the left side of the elephant as Side A, and the right side as Side B, I would knit each row for Side A as written, then knit the same row for Side B, all as one long row.  Before I cast on, though, I realized that if I did the whole thing in the round, I could avoid having to seam down the back and bum too.  Sure, it would mean purling every 2nd row (since it’s a garter stitch elephant), but I knit stockinette stitch all the time, and don’t mind purling.  Perfect!

After I knit the first round I realized I’d have one more thing to modify- not only was I working every 2nd row as a purl row (plus whatever decreases or increases that row called for), but I would also need to work that row backwards.  The original row was supposed to be knit from the other end after having turned at the end of the previous row…so I would have to work the directions from the other side since I was never turning the work.

The pattern starts with 10 sts so I cast on 20 sts, divided them onto both halves of a long circ for working magic loop, and got to work.  It was late, but I managed to get through 8-10 rounds before bed.  As you can see from the photo above, it worked perfectly.

In fact, the only thing still bugging me was that, had I thought to cast on using a backwards loop or figure 8 cast-on, I could even avoid having to seam the top of the elephant’s back.  I was tempted to start over but managed to talk myself out of it by convincing myself that had I done the seamless cast-on it would probably be loose and let the stuffing show through, so I was better off.  Right?

So there I was, confident I’d figured something cool out.  I would knit this elephant in the round, and it would work for the trunk and the legs too, and I’d only have to seam the bottom, and it would be fast and perfect.

And then I went into Ravelry to add it as a new project.  I started to write in the project notes so other people could do it too…and that’s when I realized my big goof-up.

The body is knit flat, twice, then seamed.  I converted it to be seamless by knitting both sides at the same time.  But I didn’t think.

Let’s say the pattern is:

Row 1: [k1, kfb] twice, k to end – 12 sts

Row 2: [k1, kfb] five times, k to end – 17 sts

and so on.  (Note: this is a free pattern, and I’m only sharing these two rows for the sake of this example).

In my sample, shown above, I purled every alt row starting with the first row.  So for what I worked, I did:

Row 1: [p1, pfb] twice, p to end – 12 sts I did this on both sides of the needle, so my row had 24 sts.

Row 2: k7, [kfb, p1] five times – 17 sts This row is knit as per the pattern, on both sides of the needle, but BACKWARDS- all the increases are supposed to be on the bum end of the elephant, so since my row never turns, I have to work across the row to the far end to work the increases.

Have you yet figured out what I did wrong?

I’ll show you this way.

For me to work this in the round, starting from the tail end, I would have to work the first half of the row as per the pattern, but the other half of the same row BACKWARDS.

So row 1 instead of being

Row 1:NDL 1: [k1, kfb] twice, k to end NDL 2: [k1, kfb] twice, k to end

I have to do this:

Row 1: NDL 1: [k1, kfb] twice, k to end NDL 2: k7, [kfb, k1] twice

See the difference?  My original plan, that I’d actually knit last night, had me working both sides of the elephant the same, so the finished 3D toy would have the increases on both sides.  NOT what was intended.  Reworking it the proper way would mean that the increases would always be at the bum end of the elephant.

But wait!  There’s more!

Not only do I have to work the second half of every row from back to front, I also have to work every 2nd row completely backwards (‘cus it’s supposed to have been worked on the wrong side row, but in the round I have no wrong sides).  On top of THAT, I have to remember to work every alt row as a purl row.

Is your head spinning yet?


I put together an excel file so I can keep track, and it will work this time.

I *think*.

Author: Jennifer Lori

Punny dork who makes stuff.

4 thoughts on “almost, but not quite there

  1. Ummmm….the little elephant I have in my Ravelry projects is very easy and cute (although a little fiddly with the legs)….
    Good Luck? LOL.
    Thanks for the bunch of comments on my blog 🙂
    You might be surprised to know how many people do machine knit, or at least, have a machine hiding. Especially hand knitters who don’t want other hand knitters to know because of the whole “It’s cheating” mindset. I see it as a different craft in many ways. The knitting part is quicker, but the assembly can take longer, LOL. We have to do everything with the purl side facing, for many of us with basic machines, we still have to do a lot of work 🙂


  2. Yup, I think you lost me. But I’m sleep deprived so you lost me.

    I guess you’re going to knit it flat? Or are you still going with it?


  3. This is what I understood: Blah-blah-techno-babble-blah-“It didn’t work like I thought it would”-techno-stuff-blah. 🙂

    Your brain is much larger than mine when it comes to knitting, my friend. Seriously.


  4. I am glad you understand what you are doing LOL!


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