Knit the Squid 2

By Brenda Clough
With knitting, you really can knit any shape imaginable. Even imaginary ones, like Klein bottles or hyperbolic planes!
A squid is nothing much, once you analyze it: a series of tubes, really. And even quite big tubes are nothing very much out of the way in knitting. Go here and scroll down almost to the bottom, where there is a b&w postcard for sale. The unlucky young lady is not being devoured python-style by an aggressive craft project. She is demonstrating the stretchiness of knitting by wearing a tubular muffler, created by the great Elizabeth Zimmerman.  This photograph — note the side view in the postcard below the first — originally ran in Vogue!

So, to begin the project, I found myself a reasonably anatomical drawing of the proposed cephalopod, and laid out the knitting plan by scaling it up with the assistance of a ruler. 

As you can see, the squid’s body will be a tube six feet long but only 18 inches wide. I will knit it the way I would knit a sock from the toe up — the reverse of Alma’s Beowulf socks, by the way. This will allow me to get up to the head and eyes. (TBD: knitted eyes? or do I have to find a plastic eye six inches across? Must scout around for a child’s ball of the right hue; I bet I could bisect it and then paint on the pupil and iris. But how to attach a plastic hemisphere to the knitting? I could knit a socket — essentially a six-inch buttonhole — but would the ball stay in? Luckily I have a long time to think about this. Anybody have ideas?)

From the head it will be easy to divide the stitches up into the 8 tentacles and the 2 feeder palps, knitting each one up tubularly until it is of the right length. The tentacles will be six more feet. The feeder palps, to be 24 feet long, will be a trial, I foresee. At that point the thing will be huge, too big to haul around conveniently. I may knit the palps separately and splice them invisibly in. On the other hand, I am sure that if I sit down in public to knit on this entire project, people will give me room!

My newest novel Speak to Our Desires is out exclusively from Book View Press.

I also have stories in Book View Cafe’s two steampunk anthologies, The Shadow Conspiracy and The Shadow Conspiracy II, as well as in BVC’s many other anthologies.


Posted in Animals permalink

About Brenda Clough

Brenda W. Clough spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. Her first fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown, was published by DAW in 1984. She has also written The Dragon of Mishbil (1985), The Realm Beneath (1986), and The Name of the Sun (1988). Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer (1992), is set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Her novel How Like a God, available from BVC, was published by Tor Books in 1997, and a sequel, Doors of Death and Life, was published in May 2000. Her latest novels from Book View Cafe include Revise the World (2009) and Speak to Our Desires. Her novel A Most Dangerous Woman is being serialized by Serial Box. Her novel The River Twice is newly available from BVC.


Knit the Squid 2 — 8 Comments

  1. Re: the eyes, check out Rob Cockerham’s Fandango Paper Bag Puppet costume. He needed huge googly-eyes too, and used plastic tubs and push lamps to make them. They came out looking great. 🙂 I don’t know if this exact thing would work for your squid, but the basic idea might give you a jumping-off point.


  2. Aside from staying put, it probably would be good if the eyeballs stood up to laundering. A very large white item like this is going to get dirty fairly easily. And why should a squid not fit into a washing machine?

  3. Humm. If you punched holes in the sides of the container, you could lace the eyes in or on (multiple strands of yarn, or a crocheted cord or something?) and then remove them all together for laundering.


  4. Sure, that could work fine if you want simpler eyes. Although I don’t know much about laundry-proof adhesives. [ponder] If there are such, then there you go. If not, you’re back to punching holes and sewing them on.

    Or if you want to get fancy, you could knit in an eye socket (or just define a circular space, although I think it’d look better/smoother if there’s a bit of a depression), then pick up stitches around the socket, put the ball in (maybe with a bit of glue — won’t matter if it dissolves in the laundry once you’re done) and knit a from-the-outside-in ring until it’s tight enough that the ball can’t come out. A nice firm bind-off would help there. Note that the ball would have to be significantly larger than the the size of the eye you’d want visible, just like a real eyeball and for the same reasons.

    Angie, who’s getting way to into this project for someone who hasn’t knitted in years 😛

  5. Well, there -are- plastic playground balls in a wide range of sizes. I may wind up experimenting, and (if it’s a total flop) pulling it out and making another run at it.

  6. I’m thinking halving a ball and using an awl and wood block to punch holes around the rim for sewing into place. But you’ll need to sand the holes so the material pushed through doesn’t cut up the threads and eventually slice off the eyeball!

    Or maybe knit an eye in another color, and sew the eye on?

    Just theorizing. I’ve done quilting and applique, and crewel/embroidery.needlepoint, but not knitting squids.

    One thing about knitting a life-sized squid in public — you will always have something to start a conversation!

  7. What about crocheted eyes? I’m not much of a crocheter, and I have no idea if you are either, but it seems like it could be workable. You could either do them fairly flat, or stuff them with something to make them more pop-eyed.