By Brenda Clough
As you can see, I have knitted the entire head of the squid! Decreasing slightly, to taper the head inwards as we approach Tentacle. At some point I should count up the stitches I have, to be sure they are divisible by 10. I need 8 tentacles and 2 feeder palps, which should be more or less evenly divided among the remaining head stitches. I plan to cast on some extra stitches for each tentacle, so as to make each one fully tubular. This is the moment to look at my Knitting Machine, and run a test tentacle or two to find out the optimal number of stitches it will handle.
The center of the tentacle mass, where the beak of the squid would be, is probably going to stay open. Who can tell, when access to the squid interior might not be useful? But if it seems unstable I will not hesitate to attach the tentacles to each other at their base, to help the thing hold its shape. Or — I know — elastic. Yes! This would allow objects or even persons to be ‘devoured’ by the squid!
But before we do this, we need eyes and eye sockets. The body of the squid is knitted in stockinette, which is to say that since I was going around and around on a circular needle, I knitted every row. The head I set off by doing it in garter stitch, which when you are knitting circularly means purling every row. I am not as opposed to the purl stitch as some, but this much continuous purling is tiring, there is no denying it. However, my goal here was to use up all the odd bits of my cone of yarn, and I have. The eye sockets, and the tentacles, will be made out of the gigantic skein purchased from Michael’s. The difference in texture or color will therefore be just about invisible, whereas if I had made the switchover in mid-body or mid-tentacle you might be able to see or feel the change.
It is the nature of some knit patterns to curl, and the cunning knitter works this in her favor. If I knit the eye sockets circularly in stockinette, it will curl to the right side, naturally forming a socket shape. My vision is a toroid shape, exactly the diameter of those green Tinkerbelle balls and rather deep. Doing the sockets separately and then sewing them onto the head on allows me to do things like position them on the head for maximum expression and effect.
Once sewn on, and the balls inserted, I have to deal with the issue of making sure the balls stay in place. I am thinking of a nice, secretive drawstring or elastic on the inside curve of those eyesockets, something like the drawstring on the waistband of a pair of sweat pants. If I work it right (a knitted channel?) the eye opening should be drawn in smaller than the diameter of the ball, keeping the ball in place permanently. And a nice drawstring would allow me to take the eyeballs out any time I want to, for laundering, replacement, or other creativity. I am sure, in this election year, that some candidate somewhere is producing plastic balls with the campaign logo on, eh? If anybody hears of one, let me know!
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.