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Coiling Snake

Coiling Snake[d]

See the gallery for more photos.

Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver acrylic in green, red, orange, and yellow

Needles: US 3 double-pointed (see my double-pointed needle tutorial to learn how they work)

This snake uses a technique I discovered that makes tubes coil by themselves (see my tutorial on twisted tubes to learn how to make one). In this case, there were a total of 24 stitches, 8 on each needle, so the halfway point was between the fourth and fifth stitch on the second needle. (I began with the 24 stitches, so to finish the tail I had to re-insert the needles and knit the other way and reduce, but you can also start smaller and work up to 24 stitches to get the same effect.)

I used a yarn needle to simultaneously weave red, orange, and yellow yarn through the large added-stitch holes, giving the snake a stripe. I also used the yarn needle to feed the ends of that stripe down through the tail, where I tied them off as a little accent to the tail. For the smaller dropped-stitch holes, I wove matching green yarn up the line of holes, then back down on an opposite weave, and then back up with the first weave pattern so it filled in the holes firmly and uniformly.

I don't know how many rows were stitched for the snake's body, because I just knit until I thought it seemed long enough, about 16in/40cm in its relaxed coiled state. When I had a length I liked, I began knitting the head. I expanded it gradually by adding stitches equally on two sides, then narrowed it again by dropping stitches for a few rows, stuffing it as I went so I could see the overall shape.

When it looked vaguely head-shaped, I then split off two-thirds of stitches (see the Sputnik ball pattern for tips on splitting using double-pointed needles), leaving the remaining ones on an extra needle to hold them out of the way, and began to knit the upper jaw. In order to ensure that the snake's mouth had an inside, I added several stitches, enough to cover the gap of the head at that point. With that full number of stitches (I don't remember what it was, you'll have to experiment yourself as I did!), I then arranged them on the needles so there was an equal count on each. I then knit along, dropping stitches equally at the either side so it came to a point. Then I tied off the point and fed the tail of the yarn back into the piece.

Then I repeated this method for the lower jaw, including filling in enough extra stitches to cover the inside mouth. This left two floppy jaws, not joined in the middle or where the throat would be. So I stuffed both full of cotton, then used some more green yarn to stitch the inside of the mouth closed. Then I fed equal lengths of the red, yellow, and orange yarn into stitches in the centre of the throat/mouth, folded them in half so I had six equal strands hanging, braided them, tied them off, and snipped the end after the knot to make the tongue.

The eyes were made by embroidering a round white layer with embroidery thread, then a three-stitch over with blue yarn.

The whole thing, body and head, in its relaxed coil is about 23in/54cm long.

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Page last updated July 2 2007.

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