Saturday, 10 January 2015

Elephant No. 99: Small Knitted Marionette

Although I've made a couple of these little marionettes in the past for friends, I've never made an elephant, so I thought I'd try that today. None of my creations has been terribly functional, but at least they're kind of fun to look at.

I more or less make these up as I go along, so the design of each is eccentric, to say the least. For this little guy, I began by making i-cord arms and legs, then a head and body knitted on four double-pointed needles.

I stuffed the head and body lightly.

To weight the legs and arms before stitching them to the body—something I'd never done before—I used a three-ball snippet of ball chain, in the largest size I could find.

I then stitched everything together, adding garter-stitch ears and an i-cord trunk. To finish him off, I added needlefelted eyes, tusk and toenails. To give the trunk a bit of a curve, I pulled the finished end of the yarn up through the trunk and tightened it.

For the crossbar, I decided to use these slotted popsicle sticks, because they have all kinds of handy grooves for the arm and leg tie-ups.

To string everything together, I tied a knot and ran a needle through the chin to the top of the head, made a knot about three inches up, then threaded it back and forth through the holes I'd drilled through the centre of each stick, forming a loop. The arms are tied to the back extensions of the popsicle-stick X, towards the end of the sticks. The legs are tied to the front extensions, about halfway along.

And voilá! Still not terribly functional, but it's cute, and that's what really matters to me.

Elephant Lore of the Day
Earlier this week, I was reading a book called A Brief History of Tea by Roy Moxham when I came across an account of a tea planter in Ceylon, with a seemingly obsessive desire to hunt elephants and collect their tusks. Moxham quotes from a contemporary description of Major Thomas Rogers, the "most famous of the elephant-hunting planters": 
When six years ago he had reached his thirteen hundred  [elephants killed], he ceased reckoning any longer. His whole house was filled with ivory, for among the hosts of the slain were sixty tusked elephants. At each door of his veranda stood huge tusks, while in his dining room every corner was adorned with similar trophies.
 Moxham notes laconically that Major Rogers was killed a short time later, struck by lightning at the age of 42.

Photo: Coralie Mercier

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  1. It appears Major Rogers lived with a compulsive behaviour. Pity.

  2. Lol, Barb! It's a very terrible compulsion indeed!