Knitting the Purple Elephant

Hello, my name is Sarah, and I am a knitter with an extremely low boredom threshold.

This makes sweaters and even scarves of any useful length problematic, and downshifting into smaller projects doesn’t seem to work. I have, for example, an extensive collection of single socks, and when I took classes to learn to knit two socks at once, I became bored halfway through and after almost a year, I’ve yet to finish the cuffs.*

My friend and co-worker Grace** knows this all too well, so when a knitting book featuring even smaller projects crossed her desk, she put it on hold for me. I took it home and let the kids look at it.

(click the cover for Anna Hrachovec’s wonderful website)

They immediately demanded a teeny-tiny menagerie, and I was willing to oblige, except . . . all of these projects are done with double-pointed needles. I don’t consider myself to have anywhere near the physical coordination or mental health required to knit with a handful of oversized toothpicks.***

But for something this small—the first cast on for most of these little guys is 6 stitches or fewer—I thought I might give ‘em another try.

It was like thumb wrestling a small wooden octopus. And losing every stinking time.

So this past week, I took Grace to lunch, not only because it was her birthday and that’s just the kind of person I am, but also to corner her into showing me how to use double-pointed needles, which she valiantly tried to do before her salad arrived, even though the yarn I’d brought to the restaurant was a little too thick for the needles I had (rookie mistake).

I went home, found some purple sock yarn^ and tried, tried again. And again. And again and thank heavens the kids were in bed so they didn’t hear me say exactly how much I loathed these stupid wooden pieces of. . . Oh, wait. That worked.

I managed one round of increasing stitches without it falling apart, set it down very gently, and took a break with a nice stiff drink. This might be the perfect time to mention that I picked up knitting to relax.^^

But I came back well fortified, brought up Would I Lie to You ^^^ on the laptop, and got to work. One and a half episodes later, I had accomplished one-fourth of a tiny purple elephant butt, after which it went a little faster:


And an episode or two after that, I had a purple grape on a stick:

I called it a day, did the trunk the next morning, and finished the rest after work.  Elephants have far too many feet, by the way, especially when rendered in I-cord, and it was very slow going until my MIL took pity on me and offered her smallest crochet hook so I could pick up stitches without risk of rupturing that pulsing vein in my forehead.°

But in the end, I got the hang of it.

May I present Brumple, the Tiny Purple Elephant Who Does NOT Look Like a Pig with a Nasal Condition, Thank You So Very Much:

And, yes, I repaired that little, tiny hole I only noticed after I’d uploaded the image and delivered him to his new owner.

To give you a better idea of how small Brumple really  is, here’s a celebrity shot with George Washington:

Sunny’s requested a monkey next—with a banana.

I think I might rest up a few days first . . .



*Mom, if you’re reading this, I swear (again) that they’ll be done by your birthday (again), though this time I’m not going to specify which one.

** Who actually learned to knit because she was tired of waiting for me to start the pair of socks I said, in a fit of self-delusional optimism, that I’d make for her—said, not promised, by the way. She’s a much better knitter than I am now, so my procrastination is good for something, see?

*** When knitting small things in the round, like socks, I use a pair of circular needles. Like so many of my methods, this can be a bit clunky, but it works.

^Which was enough to make baby socks for Sunny at the time I bought it but isn’t quite enough now that she’s almost, um, four and three-fourths . . .

^^That sound you hear is Grace snerking. My yarn tension is so tight that my scarves need to be persuaded to bend. In fact, she suggested I cast on over two needles so I had half a chance of making those increases without snapping a needle in half. I’m a little surprised she didn’t suggest three.

^^^Another one of my new-to-me British comedy panel show finds.

° Probably more for the sake of the kids, who were pressing dangerously close and asking me every ten seconds if I was done yet.


24 thoughts on “Knitting the Purple Elephant

  1. Can I trade a purple animal for two-half-done socks for my birthday? I think they are fantastic and “Huh” needs a friend. Your creativity just oozes out in the most delightful directions.

  2. How much do I love these??? GAAAHHHH!!!
    (Monthly ration of exclamations exhausted now…)

    No, Sarah, no. You are not dragging me down with you. Not this time…although an elephant…how cool would an elephant be? No, no, no.

    Funny though, Santa got my daughter this book/kit, it had a picture of crocheted mini cheeseburgers and cupcakes and doughnuts on the cover. And they have faces…faces! So, as any good mother would, I informed her grandmother, my MIL, and the two of them sat down to work on it. I can in all good conscience say my hat is off to all of you, but my goodness, I don’t have that type of fortitude.

    Unless it was a small elephant…that couldn’t be that hard, could it?

    • Well . . . the book should be available on Amazon or you can send me your address. I can’t imagine the postage on a two gram elephant would be too bad.

    • I’m kind of a Jill of all trades, mistress of none. It’s that darned low boredom threshold.

      My mother tried to teach me several times, but she’s left handed, and I’m not. It went about the way you’d expect . . .

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