This is a slightly unusual finished project post, but that can't be helped, so here it is!
Several years ago, my ocean-loving friend from church showed me a picture of a newborn baby who was wearing a crocheted turtle shell with a matching hat. She had a friend who was expecting, and thought it was the cutest thing ever. It was adorable. It was also the sort of fiddly thing I don't normally make...and I certainly wasn't going to make it for someone I didn't know. (She didn't ask, and I didn't volunteer.)
But I remembered that turtle shell, and when my friend announced her pregnancy it was one of the first things that popped into my mind. I knew I had to make one for her...and when she teasingly asked a few months later I went ahead and told her that was my plan so that she didn't track one down elsewhere.
First things first, she sent me her inspiration pictures, and I found the item easily on Amazon. I then did a search on Ravelry, and in fact found several patterns for sale...but all in crochet. Much as I did with the shark hat, I knew that I was not going to have to reinvent the wheel...it was just going to take a little bit of creative searching to find something close enough that I could tweak.
I found my close enough in Norah Gaughan's beautiful book, Knitting Nature. She has a whole chapter on hex patterns - perfect! I based my wee hexagons on the pattern for her hex coat, also using her snapping turtle skirt as inspiration. The hat was a simple matter of tracking down the average size of a newborn head and then making a super basic hat. For the yarn, I picked Knit Picks Shine Worsted in mongoose and peapod- a super soft cotton, modal (a fiber made from tree bark) blend that does indeed have a shine. I used a size 5 needle for the turtle shell, and a size 6 for the matching hat. The biggest question was actually how big to make the shell..and for that I guestimated. Hopefully it'll turn out to be just right.
(For the record, the original inspiration item was based on a pentagon, as are many of the patterns on Ravelry. REAL turtle shells, though, are based on hexagons. Seriously. I looked up pictures online to make sure. A friend of mine totally laughed when I was telling her about this and said, "That's the Kristin I know!" I may be a tad OCD...but I like my knits to be as perfect as possible...up to a realistic interpretation of a turtle shell.)
I knit everything up yesterday. It wasn't as fast of a knit as it could have been because of the unforgiving nature of the yarn. I don't work with cotton often as it's pretty hard on my hands, and frequent breaks were thus required. I'm going to admit to being very satisfied with the outcome. It was fun to make, and it turned out beautifully. I think my knit version looks better than most of the crocheted versions I saw...but then I'm clearly biased. As the baby shower was today, I immediately popped it into the wash and gently blocked it to dry. But I forgot how long it takes cotton to dry...so it was still damp when I wrapped it for the shower...and in my hurry to get out the door I totally forgot to take finished pics. It was still damp, so the color would have been off anyway...ugh...and I didn't have time to finish the hat.
So in lieu of a traditional finished object post, I'm going to share with you the pictures I took while working on the shell. They do, fortunately, include a picture of the shell placed on my youngest's teddy bear. Clearly the bare is not the same size or shape as a newborn human baby, but you get the idea.
Hoping mama will snap some pics for me at some point...but as she's going to be very busy very soon, I'm not going to worry about that.
(This is the truest color in the pics.)