The first project of my Summer Knitting List is complete! Meet Elijah! Elijah is made following the pattern by the same name by the great Ysolda Teague! Seriously, she is one of my favorite designers. Everything she makes is so whimsical and elegant. And yes, an elephant can be elegant.
Elijah was made to be a baby warming gift for my new niece, who will be born this summer. I am throwing a baby shower and I couldn’t resist a good pink elephant theme. I can’t help it! Elephants are simultaneously cute and smart and kind, which is what I hope this new baby will be.
Ysolda’s methods are so clever that I’m always wonderfully surprised at how her patterns turn out. I’m not a very visual thinker, so I don’t always see where she’s going with her instructions. But then, a turn or a flip or something and it all comes together and I’m like, “oooooh, that’s what she was doing!”
Elijah, as a stuffed animal, is a little more complex than your typical hat or shawl, but it’s really more labor intensive than it is difficult. It does feature short rows in the ears, so if those bother you, beware! There’s also a lot of pick up stitches, which I don’t always enjoy. The diagrams on this pattern are very clear however, and let you know exactly what to do. That being said, I think I picked up the stitches for the ears about 6 times, because I didn’t like the angle. That was user error though, not the pattern.
The other thing to note about this pattern is that it does rely on double pointed needles, which are…not my favorite. I ended up switching to circular needles as soon as possible on the arms and legs. This may also have been due to the fact that I could not find a whole set of my DPNs at once…
The finishing on this pattern is where things have the tendency to look wonky. I still may redo my french knot eyes. I’m not super experienced in embroidery, so one of the eyes looks a little funny to me. Also, when stuffing, be careful not to stuff TOO firmly. The head and body can be stuffed pretty tight, but the arms and legs should be looser to flop around, otherwise your elephant won’t be able to sit down!
The yarn I used to this was a heavier weight than what was called for in the pattern (which calls for DK). I used Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash Hand Dyed in my favorite color: Liptstick! Because speckles are a thing right now and I love them. The yarn stood up pretty well to the pattern, but did get a little splitty when using the smaller DPNs. Nothing to cause major issues, though. I just had to slow down and pay attention. I also appreciate that this yarn is superwash, because this is going to be a gift for a baby, and you know it’s going to need a bath at least once in it’s life!
Overall, this was a very satisfactory knit. It was made with a pattern I love, from a designer that I love, using a yarn that I love. Can’t get any better than that! Have you ever knit a toy before? How did your experience go?