Snake Maker – Hints and Tips

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The Snake Maker pattern (previously published in Knit Now magazine) is now available from Ravelry and in the Etsy shop.

The Snake Maker allows the knitter to knit a snake to their own specifications. It includes a tail, head, tongue and left and right coiling sections. These right and left leaning sections can be knitted in different orders to create different kinds of snakes, a coiled snake, a sidewinder snake or even a straight snake, all in the same pattern. Here are some hints and tips to help you get the best results.

A Note on Gauge

When I knit toys I always use needles that are one or two sizes smaller than recommended for the yarn. You don’t have to get the gauge exactly right, but you can check it by holding your garter stitch fabric up to the light. If the gauge is tight enough you should only see pinpricks of light through your knitting.

More About Short Row Shaping

The Snake Maker pattern uses a technique called short row shaping. A short row is made when you turn your knitting before the end of a row. This means that some sections of your work will have more rows than others. The sections with more rows will arch, creating a three-dimensional shape. Each time you turn your knitting before the end of a row you create a loop of yarn under a stitch and a small hole in the fabric. So, when you knit back over a stitch that has a loop under it, you must knit into the loop at the same time as the stitch above it to close the hole. There’s a special blog post about short row shaping, with lots of photos just here.

Short rows in stockinette stitch can be tricky, if you find you have an uneven finish on your Snake, try adjusting the tension of the work before you sew it together.

I-Cord

The tail begins with some I-cord, this is a way to knit 3 stitches in the round on 2 dpns. There are many great tutorials about i-cord on the internet, my favorite two are Knitting Help, for their no-nonsense videos http://www.knittinghelp.com/videos/knitting-tips and PurlBee for her great photography http://www.purlbee.com/i-cord-tutorial/. (Meanwhile I have added i-cord to the list of things I must blog a tutorial for.)

SSSK?

That’s right, as though an SSK were not torture enough, I added another stitch into the mix. Do not be scared of this maneuver!  You only have to do it twice and the snake’s eyes can cover any unsightly stitches when you sew them on later. Remember to slip the first two stitches knitwise and the third one purlwise . If you feel that the stitch is too uneven try purling the resulting stitch through the back loop in the next row.

Stuffing

Stuff your snake as you sew up the seam in the body. This will give you a chance to get the stuffing even without trying to stuff around the coils. There’s a popular blog entry about stuffing just here, which may also help.

Mattress Stitch

The snake’s body is sewn together with mattress stitch. This is an often used seaming technique for the sides of stockinette stitch and another one that Knitting Help explains really well.

If you have any more questions about this pattern, please contact me through the blog, Etsy shop or Ravelry.

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Filed under Natty Knits Patterns Hints and Tips

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