Cthulhu Dice Bag a.k.a. Project Pincushion

My friend Peter had a birthday last week, and in honour of this occasion (and the fact that he loves the works of H.P. Lovecraft) I decided to knit him a Cthulhu Dice Bag, pattern by A.A. Leavitt-Reynolds.

This was called “Project Pincushion” as to finish it in time I had to knit in the presence of the intended recipient, who naturally asked what I was knitting. My inspired answer was as follows: “Erm… a really small cushion… for sticking pins in… A pincushion! Yes, that’s what I’m making.” *facepalm*

I decided to be unoriginal and stick to the black and luminous green colour scheme, using 100% acrylic DK yarn and 4mm needles (straight and circular). The first stage is to knit a moss stitch square for the base. I cast on 18 stitches instead of 15 to get a squarer bag – the pattern later asks you to pick up 70 stitches, and 70/4 = 17.5. Therefore I felt that a stitch count of 18-17-18-17 would make a slightly more regular bag than 15-20-15-20.

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The above photo shows my first attempt at picking up stitches off the completed square. I did manage to use just a knitting needle to begin with, but I switched to using a crochet hook later on.

Then I knit a few rows before starting the stranded knitting chart (also known as fair isle, but I’m calling it stranded knitting here as the pattern definitely is NOT fair isle in the slightest). This was my first attempt at stranded knitting, and I was a bit nervous after reading lots of dire warnings about keeping the floats loose. As one tutorial said to always pick up the next colour from underneath the current colour, I ended up knitting the live yarn continental style whilst holding the non-live (dead?!) yarn out of the way in my right hand. This is also first time I’ve attempted to knit continental style as well – there’s a lot of firsts in this project! I got into the habit of it after a while, using this tutorial to learn how to wrap yarns over long stretches. After a while, Cthulhu began to emerge from the depths…

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Constantly swapping between the two yarns resulted in a tangled mess as they wrapped around each other. I had to untangle this every half round or so, easy enough as it just involved suspending the project from the tangle and watching it unspin.

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Eventually it was finished and I knit a 16″ long piece of I-Cord to finish it off. The pattern asks for 20″, but as I used DK yarn throughout instead of aran weight, the shorter length was more than enough. So here is the finished bag inside out showing the floats:

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Right side out:

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All that was left was to fill it with some dice and give it to the birthday boy! Fortunately, the people at Q workshop do a good line in H.P. Lovecraft themed dice.

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It went down well with Peter, so I’m counting that as a success! Some of the Cthulhus look a little deranged (there’s one which is a bit lopsided, and another with massive black eyes) but Cthulhu is a monstrous Elder God the mere thought of whom can send people insane, so I reckon a bit of deranged-ness is quite appropriate. Not so easy to shrug off is the I-Cord. I did it in a hurry and there were some random half-loops sticking out the sides. I’m not sure if that’s where I’ve split the yarn, or where I wasn’t knitting tightly enough. The pattern also called for a crochet edging which I didn’t have time to do. I’m telling myself it would have been OTT to have crochet edging as well though…

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