Design as it came to life, from scale to finish.
Side project from October 5 (scale) and finished just before Christmas so over 2 months. She became so alive, like a Jim Henson creature, that I took a little while to let go and mail her! But rather a child to enjoy her than me.
Step 1 - one scale at a time
Create 1 scale, idea to sew all the turtle scales together. I studied images of sea turtle shells, it was all about the shell to start.
Step 2 - redesign to knit shell as one piece (using superior planning)However, the result was a mess, with the different wools I chose not pulling perfectly together, so I started again. I drew up a plan to knit it all in one piece, basing my knitting graph paper on the dimensions of one scale I had knitted, creating the most natural shell based upon a real sea turtle's shell pattern (on the computer using a graphics program). The scales and the graph lines were kept separate in Photoshop - leaving me the possibility to scale down the shells size for later (baby) turtles!
It was beautiful, after all the work was done in planning, just to follow it and have the shell turn out perfectly. Very fun to knit.
Sewing the rim scales to the main.
Step 3 - quilting shell
I quilted the shell, with some quilt batting inside - but it did take away a little from the beauty of the design to have it look again sewn together - but was the right choice for this creation. (Later with smaller ones choosing not to...)
Step 4 - knitting turtle
Making the turtle, headfirst. My first go did not have the top and bottom separated, no open mouth, but it looked just like a nipple - so redid it with top and bottom parts. I left large "buttonholes" for the fins to start from, picked up stitches round these gaps and knitted each fin. Though turtle was knitted by eye, had to record stitches for fins exactly and then repeat for second appendage as repeating exact symmetry by eye impossible.
Step 5 - shaping and personalityNot looking great - due to no eyelid - shaping etc! Personality later to be added with sewing overtop using same wool.
Step 6 - putting shell onto turtle
Final design decision - how to attach shell to the turtle? My friend Diane suggested this solution, where it can be removed (like a jumper) and a hook at either side of the tail fastens it on when she wears her shell - for cleaning reasons (and fascination of children and for play).