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!
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.