Finished Friday: Knitted Jellyfish

Today’s finished project seems like a bit of a cheat because this is not a UFO that’s been lying around for months or years, but a project I started and finished in just five days. In my search for my next creative outlet, I picked up Hansi Singh’s Amigurumi Knits: Patterns for 20 Cute Mini Knits and let myself play.

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I love the patterns in this book. They have two things going for them: their sculptural forms and their unusual subjects.

As knitted creatures go, Singh’s animals are exquisitely shaped and detailed. Most knitted toys are suggestive at best — blobby shapes for head and body, snake-like tubes for limbs. But Singh’s octopus is not a blob with snakes. The body is a smooth gourd shape, reminiscent of a butternut squash, or better yet, the body of an octopus. The tentacles are tapered and can be twisted into clinging shapes.

The other plus for me is that the book is full of unusual but captivating creatures. Her critters are far from cuddly, but they are still attractive. I don’t love spiders or snails, but one look at  her knitted versions and I’m ready to make them just to find out how she does it. When I first bought this book, I was mainly interested in the pattern for the Loch Ness Monster (aka Nessie), but since then I’ve become more and more intrigued by everything from the hermit crab to the praying mantis. Even the chapter of vegetables (her “easy” patterns) are tempting, because the final forms are so lovely.

Hansi Singh's amazing hermit crab (from her book)
Hansi Singh’s amazing hermit crab (from her book)

Back in 2010, I made Nessie. I was mystified by the pattern. She used short rows to shape the body, but the numbers associated with the rows and turns seemed almost random. When I picked the book up this week, I chose another pattern that looked mystifying, determined to learn its secrets.

That’s how I wound up knitting a jellyfish.

I was mesmerized by the oral arms (the twisty bits that dangle down) and wondered how she got those shapes with knitting. I had to find out, and I did.

My version of the jellyfish
My version of the jellyfish
My jellyfish: close up
My jellyfish: close up

I’m fascinated by 3-D fiber art work, and I see now that this book can be a classroom for me, a place where I can learn tricks to design the kind of detailed knitted creatures I’d like to be able to make. Expect to see more amigurumi projects on Finished Friday.

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Kit Dunsmore

Kit Dunsmore has believed in the magic underlying the muggle world since she was a child searching for the Shetland pony pooka she was sure was hiding in her back yard. She learned early on that books were magic doors into other worlds, and that she could revisit a beloved character or place by opening the right book. As she grew, she decided she wanted to make magic with words, too. Today Kit writes about things she loves: poodles and dragons, witches and artists, quirky underdogs and loyal friends. Whether her setting is 6th-century England, the imaginary Twelve Kingdoms, or an art-obsessed version of modern America, magic always finds its way into her story. She enjoys turning fairy tales inside out and watching characters sacrifice everything to reach their goal, but she also believes in happy endings. When she isn't writing, Kit experiences magic by making things with her hands. Over the years, she's made quilts, fabric sculptures, collages, sweaters, and blank books. Her newest interest is learning how to spin her own yarn, a skill guaranteed to strengthen one of her many delusions: that she is a self-sufficient pioneer woman. She also thinks she is a hobbit, a witch, an artist, and a good cook. Living in the foothills of Colorado, Kit enjoys the giant skies and prairie landscapes which suit her need for wide open spaces. In addition to hiking through glorious scenery with her husband or imagining herself living in the Middle Ages, Kit works as a pillow for her miniature poodle and polishes the next small piece of her handmade life.

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