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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

That Dang Duck

Below is the pattern I have been tweaking for knitting my son a duckling from a children’s book that he loves.

1. Cast on 30 stitches. Knit four rows. On fifth row, knit into front and back of each stitch, 60 stitches.

2. Knit 1, slip 1 all the way across. Continue until you realize that this doesn’t seem to look like double knitting as it was explained to you by Elizabeth Zimmermann’s books. Also realize that this seems a little big for a duckling. Frog, and tell yourself that it was a good thing you did it sooner rather than engage in Knitting Denial (a real syndrome) and keep going.

3. Cast on 20 stitches. Knit four rows. On the fifth row, knit into the front and back of each stitch, ending up with 40 stitches. Again (because you’re on autopilot) knit 1, slip 1 across each row. Realize that you have now knit something that you will have to turn inside out, so the smooth knit stitches will be on the outside of the duckling rather than in its innards. Frog again.

4. Cast on 20 stitches, again knit four rows, again increase to 40 stitches as in previous directions. Think long and hard about what is confusing you about double knitting and why you’re not getting the result you want, and decide (inexplicably) to do. the. same. thing. again. Knit 1, slip 1. Have at it, go to town. Now you tell yourself you WANT to flip the bird—inside out, that is. Tell yourself that you meant to do that, what with those two garter ridges at the bottom and all. Tell yourself it’s for stability or something…anything. Knit on. Remember the syndrome mentioned in Step 2, but shrug it off.

5. Get to about 3-4 inches in length, gloating to yourself about how cute this little alpaca/wool yarn is, and how it looks just like the ducky in the book. Set duck body aside and prepare to figure out how to knit its feet.

6. Cast on nine stitches in the softest, sweetest, carrot-y colored alpaca yarn ever. Melt internally when you picture how it will go so well with the gray duck body. Imagine that your son will, for once, fawn nonstop over the knitted duck, as opposed to the other knits you have made him. Cunningly shape the feet, using SSKs and k2togs like a champ. When down to three stitches, work I-cord, smirking to yourself about how these look SO much like duck feet that you feel like your IQ just went up three points. Repeat with second foot, and add additional five points to IQ.

7. Return to duck body, and prepare to sew/graft duck feet to garter ridges, but properly, so it will look ridiculously cute when the body is turned right side out. Cut gray yarn with enough tail to easily thread (on a yarn needle) through every other stitch on one side, turn work and thread the needle through every other stitch on the way back. Remove work from knitting needle and feel a little nervous. Luckily enough, the
knitting opens up in the middle, just like it ought to, like a pocket. Feel free to say “Squee” in a high-pitched voice now, like a pre-teen at a Justin Bieber concert. Turn duck inside out.

8. Realize that duck isn’t properly turning inside out.  Make this face: 

9. Realize that there is one. single. stitch. that you mis-knit/slipped and now, you have made a duckling with one heck of a belly button.

10. Spend too much time trying to come up with some kind of knitterly work around, to no avail. Console yourself by realizing you knit the cutest duckling feet ever. The first ever knitted duckling feet?  Decide to go back to the drawing board....

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