Friday, May 15, 2009

toy hermit

There's a reason why I always knit in the round. And it is not because I particularly care for double-pointed needles. In fact, I find double-pointeds somewhat awkward to knit with, particularly considering I have to take care that I don't leave a gap in stitches between the needles. On the other hand, not knitting in the round would be far worse. As you know, I find finishing projects to be the least pleasant part of knitting. Which is why I avoid seams at all cost. At all cost! And it has occurred to me at certain points in my knitting career that I not only find seaming projects to be un-enjoyable, but I don't find that I am particularly good at it either. It is also likely that each of these observations explains the other.

As I was finishing up my hermit crab this morning, I was thinking to myself that there must be a better way to do this. I am sure that there is a way to piece this all together that is a bit more systematic. And maybe a way that makes it look a little cleaner. Did you notice that I-cord around the circumference of the shell? That's something I added. A little aesthetic addition? Well, yes. But it's mostly to hide the botched job I did of stitching on the hermit's head.

It seems to me that with knitted toys, it is particularly important to get the finishing done well. It is partly this finishing that gives the toy its character--the position of a certain appendage or the stitches on the face can completely change the character of the toy. And particularly with this pattern, because it is so brilliant, I want to do it justice.

On the other extreme, I was at a store earlier this month, where they were selling a number of hand-knit toys. It looked like the wool was unevenly hand-spun, and the entire toy smelled delightfully of lanolin. But the best part about these toys was that they were roughly pieced together. It wasn't the precision that made them stand out. It was the earthy, rough-hewn imperfection of the projects that made them seem all the more imaginative.

I don't know how this reflects my own knitted hermit crab, but I guess in the end, he didn't turn out too shabby. I did really enjoy making his shell. And I am quite certain that its recipient will love him no matter what--which is probably the best part. But until next week--when I say goodbye to the hermit--this crab is sticking with me, and we are going to have many adventures together.

Happy knitting,

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