Just Keep Swimming Days 21 – 30

I’m creating a crochet window display during lockdown, to keep myself sane and hopefully to cheer up passersby, followers and fellow crafters. I only use free patterns, and share all my links here. I share my progress on instagram, too. #lockdownwindow2021

Previous posts:

  • Days 1-10 (January 6th – 15th)
  • Days 11-20 (January 16th – 25th)

Other things got in the way a bit again over the last 10 days, but I still managed a couple of makes!

Days 21 – 24 (January 26th – 29th): Wanted a quick and easy win for my lockdown window. This nudibranch (sea slug) pattern by Emma Craft Designs (also on ravelry) was just the thing!

Nudibranchs have a special place in my heart as a BSAC scuba diver who learned to dive around the UK coasts. When the vis is terrible, and you’re stuck in a clump of kelp, nudibranch-spotting is the activity of choice!

Wanted a bright one, so took my colour inspiration from this little critter. (Photo by Lakshmi Sawitri. Image info and license here.)

Didn’t get the colours exactly right, and should have made the base of the gills purple. Mine has an extra row of glow-in-the-dark yarn around the frill, just for fun.

Days 25 – 30 (January 30th – Feb 4th): For this window, wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and knit some critters too. It’s one of my life goals to be able to knit a pair of socks, which involves learning to knit in the round. So, when I saw this fish pattern by Johanna Elliot on ravelry, I thought it would be a good way to learn and practice.

I am an abysmal knitter, so I knew this wasn’t going to go smoothly. First, I learned how to do a long tail cast on.

Then I had a bit of a practice at knitting in the round on double-pointed needles. (Actually, it wan’t quite that straightforward. There was a lot of knitting and unravelling and going backwards and forwards between pattern and tutorials, but yeah…)

I found it very tricky to start when I was juggling 4 DPNs, and the 3 working ones only had 2 stitches on each. They kept slipping out of the stitches! It was challenging, but fun. After much swearing and starting over, I kind of got the hang of it, although my knitting was faaaaar from perfect, as you can see.

I finished my attempt at following the pattern,and I think we can all agree it’s pretty terrible.

I’ve somehow wildly misinterpreted the instructions, and had huge problems with my technique. The big gaps are where I’ve tried to purl 2 together, I think. In the end I went totally off piste to try and stop the fish being a yard long, and just returned to the pattern for the lips, which I also messed up. It probably didn’t help that I kept losing track of when I’d gone round a whole loop until I put a stitch marker in to help me.*

*Also, some was knitted during several suspected gallstone attacks in the middle of the night, but honestly my knitting probably would have been just as bad anyway.

Don’t despair, fishy. I’m going to do my best to fix you up!

First up, sewing and/or darning up the worst holes and gaps.

Next, gave him a tail extension. Knitted an extra bit and sewed it on to what was already there. Then knitted a tube on a little loom and stuffed it to provide strength and support, knitted a second side to the tail, and sewed it all together. Decided to use a herring as my guide for looks, so a sneaky bit of running stitch on the tail pulled it into a V shape.

Next up, a dorsal fin. Spent a ridiculous amount of time figuring out how to get the right shape. Please note my dreadful attempt at rib stitch. Did some sewing to tweak the lips a bit, too.

He’s still lumpy, bumpy and a bit holey, but starting to look a bit more like a fish, and less like an exploding sausage. Not done with him yet, but decided to background him for now and work on him in between other makes.

Going to add a few more fins to him. Might add some embroidery too. The pattern designer chose the garter stitch on the body to look like scales, but because mine is so uneven it’s ruining the effect. Could just crochet him a body cover in dragon scale stitch, or cover him in sequins, but that feels like cheating. I sort of want to be honest about my mistakes, and make the best of him without covering them all up. He’ll be back!

In the meantime, onwards with new sea creatures!

Pattern/tutorial list:

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