Every so often a knitted idea that is too fun to pass up comes along; most recently for me it was the challenge to knit my niece Bella a knitted sloth for her birthday, after I learnt that she loves these creatures.
I looked at several patterns and purchased several to see how other crafters had tackled the challenge. However, I found myself extremely averse to the idea of doing any seaming whatsoever and couldn’t find any designs I liked that were also worked entirely in the round.
It’s not that I don’t like seaming… I do! It’s just that the way three-dimensional objects form in my mind is very much closer to how they emerge when worked in the round on double-pointed-needles.
Knitting things flat – especially animals, fruits, vegetables or other tangible objects things – involves a level of abstraction that I do not enjoy as much as simply building the thing on my needles while working in the round. I like thinking about the different faces of an object growing and contracting with decreases and increases placed around a tube – like the way bodies go in and out; like a limb thins from wide at the shoulder to slender at the wrist.
So although this project looked like a hedgehog at various stages of its construction (many, many needles as limbs were picked up and worked from other body parts, or held on spare circular needles for ease of manipulation), it all made sense to me as I worked through the various stages of SLOTH CREATION.
I began by making the sloth’s bum, using waste yarn to mark the placement of the legs that were then picked up and worked later (afterthought legs!)
I then continued upwards to make the sloth’s chest, using waste yarn to mark the placement of the arms that I picked up and worked later. I decreased to make shoulders and a tiny neck, then made the head separately and sewed it firmly onto the body with strong cotton thread.
The eyes are buttons, and the head was worked from a sphere into a point, with four decrease points on the back to make a sort of roundy back of head, and then five decrease points on the front to finish with a little pointy nose. Facial details were embroidered on at the end, and I-cord claws and toggles were designed so that the sloth can be clipped easily onto anything from which they’d like to hang!
My notes would make no sense to anyone but myself viz this design, but it didn’t matter, as I never had any intention of publishing the pattern; this was just a 100% fun, experimental project made purely for the fun and joy of the thing – the kind of project that reminds me why I wanted to knit things in the first place. Do you ever design things on the fly? If not, I can 100% recommend.
Sloth is very happy with Bella and Bella seems to be very happy with sloth. This evening I will be tidying up the mess that was created through this project and winding off the spare bits of yarn, extra buttons and so on into a little first aid kit in case sloth ever needs to visit the Felicity (Felix) Ford woolly repairs workshop/animal rescue centre. For those who wish to know, the body of sloth is knit with aran weight North Ronaldsay yarn in a pleasing grey colour held together with a skinny little gingery mohair yarn (used both for fuzziness and colour). The buttons and toggles are ones I had in stash and the claws are worked with white wool – I think it’s Corriedale. The nose is worked in a black yarn I had left over from making some socks for Mark.
Yarnadelic Remixes 0.1 news to resume soon, but I couldn’t not share the joy of Bella’s sloth with you!
Yours in the joy of improvising and hanging out in trees –