Once upon a time, not very long ago, there was a little elephant, and his name was Arthur.
Arthur was born in the very middle of England, about as far from the sea and the mountains as you can get.
He was a very cheery little elephant and loved nothing better than to tell silly jokes to his cousin Ferdy.
"What's red and sits in the corner?" asks Arthur. "I don't know; what is red and sits in the corner?" replied Ferdy.
"A naughty strawberry!! Tee hee hee hee hee!!" giggled Arthur.
But for all Arthur's jokes and fun times with Ferdy, a part of him was a little bit sad. It started in the bottom of his paws, a queer twitchy sort of feeling that made him want to climb up to the top of the sofa and look out across the vastness of the sea of stash.
Then he felt it in his arms and legs, a longing to dive into an ocean and surf with the dolphins that lived on the windowsill. But the dolphins would not play with him, and they had been in the middle of England for so long that they could not remember how to get to the ocean, they could only tell of the crash of the waves and gravelling swish of the water on the beach, and wave their flippers to give off the tiniest, faintest tang of salt that Arthur might have thought was just some over-enthusiastic seasoning from the kitchen, if he hadn't caught the eye of the dolphin and known it for what it really was.
And one day, as he sat in the corner of the sofa, a great big tear rolled down his cheek and all the way along his trunk, and dropped into his lap, with a plop.
The Knitter heard the plop and came to find out what the matter was.
"I... I... I think I need to live by the mountains and the seaside." quavered Arthur. "I like living here with Ferdy and the Dolphins and the Stash, but I think I might be a seaside elephant after all".
"Well, that's OK," comforted the Knitter. "I'm a seaside Knitter you know, and I have to make sure I get to the seaside often enough or I get very sad too."
The Knitter thought for a while, and then realised the perfect solution;
"How would you like to go and live in Scotland, by the sea and the mountains?"
"Could I? Could I really? I'd like that more than anything else in the world!"
And with that, Arthur looked visibly brighter and cheered up no end.
After not very much time at all (although it seemed like quite a while to Arthur), the day had come. He put on his woolly jacket and said goodbye to his friend Ferdy with a big hug and many promises to write by elephant mail (which is even slower than snail mail so they had better write good letters).
And so that he would not get lost on the journey, the Knitter made him a label to show to all the people that he met along the way, and he put it on proudly.
The little label says: My name is Arthur.
The big label says:
Once upon a time a little elephant called Arthur came to live with us. He is a happy little elephant but he missed the sea and the mountains so we have sent him to live with you. He likes cuddles and giggles and roast chicken for dinner. Lots of love Carie and H xxxxx
And so Arthur, after a last roast chicken dinner, labels fluttering in the evening breeze, stepped out of the very middle of England and off on an adventure to a land far far away, where there are mountains and the ocean and lots more roast chicken dinners.
It isn't the end, because Arthur's adventures will continue with another little boy in a place quite north of here, but for now, dear reader, Arthur says adieu.
Arthur as you can see is a cousin of Ysolda Teague's Elijah Elephant as well as a cousin to my elephant Ferdy, and lest you are afraid that H's small cousin has made off with my favourite elephant, fear not, it was always intended that Arthur should live in Scotland, although H and I are both a little sad to see him go.
Arthur is a ball and a smidge of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino 026 (sadly unnamed and I think possibly discontinued), knit on 3mm needles. I started him on Tuesday and finished him today; even given that I'm not at work at the moment this is a quick little knit, although a little fiddly in parts when you come to pick up for the arms and ears.
I found the most effective way to pick up for the ears is to pick up (but not knit) the required stitches using 2mm needles and then knit the stitches off those needles with the 3mm. It enables you to see whether the ears are nicely lined up without distorting any of the stitches majorly until it's just right.
Whilst Ferdy only needed a scarf, Arthur needs a little more warmth where he's going, so I made him a little jacket.
It is knit as a top down raglan so if you wanted one for your own elephant you could use any scraps of yarn you might have lying around and change colour or stripe as you needed. I used some leftover DK weight alpaca that I found in the stash.
kf&b: knit into the front and back of the stitch
pm: place marker
sl m: slip marker
k2tog: knit two together
yo: yarn over
Using 3.25mm circular needles.
- Cast on 25sts
1: kf&b twice, pm, (kf&b, k5, kf&b, pm) three times, kf&b twice.
3: kf&b, k2, kf&b, sl m, (kf&b, k7, kf&b, sl m) three times, kf&b, k2, kf&b
5: k to 1 st before marker, kf&b, sl m (kf&b, k to 1 st before marker, kf&b, sl m) three times, kf&b, knit to end
7: k1, k2 tog, yo, k to 1 st before marker, kf&b, sl m (kf&b, k to 1 st before marker, kf&b, sl m) three times, kf&b, knit to end
repeat rows 5 and 6 until there are 25 sts between each set of markers, 101 sts overall.
next row: k to marker, remove marker, cast off 25 sts, remove marker, knit to next marker, remove marker, cast off 25 sts, remove marker, knit to end. You should have removed all of the markers and be left with the live stitches for the two fronts and the back on the needle.
purl 1 row, pulling yarn firmly when you cross the gaps made by the sleeves.
work stocking stitch for 13 more rows ending with a knit row and the wrong side facing for the next row.
knit 4 rows
cast off knitwise on the wrong side.
Gently steam or block if needed. Sew on the button in your button tin that you always hesitate over. Know that this will be good enough for that favourite special button and that your elephant will treasure it forever and never grow out of it!