Finished a new stash busting project!
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it. I may have in the Christmas ornament round up in January, but one of my goals this year is to bust stash. There’s a lot of stuff in my stash that has been there since I started yarn crafting over a decade ago. So I’m resolved to use up some stuff before the fall when I buy new stuff from yarn events.
And here’s a stash buster I finished!
Pattern: Hazel the Humpback Whale by Bec Brittain
Yarn: Holiday Yarns Grab Bag scraps, Merry Little Lamb handspun scraps
Needles: US 0 – 2.00 mm
I was actually intending to use these yarns for more Christmas ornaments. That was the plan. But I went down a pattern rabbit hole on Ravelry and stumbled upon this pattern for a humpback whale, which I found fascinating. I must have gone back to the pattern page half a dozen times to look at Bec Brittain’s Hazel. I knew I didn’t have enough black or dark grey to pull off this pattern, but I thought a scrap striped whale would be charming.
And she is! She lives on my printer when the paper feed is closed, so I can just look over and see her when I’m sorting things out on my laptop.
Also, can I just say that I love her beady little eyes? During college, I had an amigurumi phase and bought a whole bunch of safety eyes and I went through a couple of them to see how they would look on Hazel. I ended up using the smallest ones that were plain black, but they pop out nicely out of the green.
She’s about 2 ft long from nose to tail, which is only a little smaller than the pattern says will be produced in DK weight yarn, but I also have a loose knitting gauge, so that was not unexpected.
The pattern could be a little bit confusing at times. There are updates and corrections listed on the pattern page, but I didn’t end up looking at them. I just fudged any differences until I got the right numbers. I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal on a whale. Organic creatures are not exactly symmetrical and any irregularities from my knitting would look normal on a whale.
Also, this is a tricky pattern to keep track of. If you’re a beginning knitter or a knitter without plush-knitting experience, be prepared to keep notes or a notebook on you. There are very few repeating rows in the body of this whale. There’s a bit around the middle where there are a few knit rows in a row, but mostly there increases or decreases in every row. There isn’t a set sequence of rows that you can expect to follow due to the shape of the humpback whale.
The fins are also finicky. The first front fin gave me a little trouble because it was hard to see how the shape was created until I nearly reached the end, which is why there is one front fin and one tail fin that is smaller than the other one. I kept the tension tighter in my confusion over some of the increases and decreases, so the second one knit much more smoothly and a little larger.
If you tackle this pattern, I’d recommend whip stitching the ends of the fins closed and blocking them out before sewing them to the body. My fins were pretty scrunched up from being in my hands, which made the ends wavy. I whip stitched them shut, soaked them in water, squeezed out the excess water, stuck them into a folded towel, and lightly pressed them with an iron so that the edges of the fins were nice and defined. Then I unfolded the towel and let them finish drying naturally.
And that’s Hazel! 😀