Friday, June 22, 2007

What on earth is it?

Not so very long ago 'im indoors pointed out this picture to me:



I thought it looked like a knitted headdress or a very elaborate wig. Nothing of the sort. It is, in fact, the influenza virus, magnified who knows how many times. It still looked like knitting. I wondered if it might be possible to replicate said virus in knitted form. I set about it.

I look up some Aran weight yarn and a 4.5mm circular needle. The section in the middle is obviously some sort of cable. I cast on 74 stitches using a provisional cast on (knowing that I would be wanting to pick up those stitches and work in the round at a later stage of the game). I worked P2; K6,P2 x 9 and did a 3x3 right cable cross every 6th row. Guess what? It looked dreadful. Nothing like the original. Rip out. Start again.

Cast on 82 stitches, same provisional deal. This time I worked 8 knit stitches with only 1 purl between them. I did a 4x4 right cable cross every 6 rows and this time I liked the look of it much more. I needed to shape the piece and I used short rows to do it. After I had worked 4 twists I left the last 9 stitches unworked and carried on with the cable pattern. I did this a few times so I had the right number of twists in each column.

Here it is in progress:



You can see the dark yarn that I used for the provisional cast on.

Here's another picture with the central cable section completed:



This is the part at the top left of the cable section:



It's a stitch from an Italian stitch dictionary and is called "punto risotto".

I unzipped the cast on and worked some 2x2 rib - no picture of that yet.

That's as far as I've got so far. Though I have sketched out a "pattern" of sorts:



It's not very user-friendly at the moment but then I can't really imagine many people wanting to knit anything remotely like it.

'Im indoors has suggested I get in touch with the manufacturer of the influenza vaccine and ask if they would like to have a gigantic knitted 'flu virus for display in the atrium of their head offices. Stranger things have happened.

I thought the knitted armadillo wrap, the knitted Hasselblad camera and the knitted ice-cream cone were the strangest things I've made - the flu could just take the biscuit.

9 comments:

Mary-Lou said...

have to say I thought it looked rather victorisan from the first pic. Could the twirly bits at the end be crochet corkscrews?

Margaret said...

I think you're absolutely right, it does look like knitting. Too funny that you are actually knitting it up!

Annie said...

That's amazing - can't wait to see it finished. Look out Turner Prize!

Cynthia said...

Fabulous! The edge bits look like lambs-tails to me.

Kathy said...

I agree it is knitting, surely!

I think I would have to knit it too, thank goodness you got to it first.

Great job so far, I can't wait to see the finished item.

K

allisonmariecat said...

So clever and with such an artistic eye. I think your flu will be the most lovely I've seen :)

Philippa said...

I love love love this. I think if I could knit this I might actually persuade myself that virology is interesting, and remember some of it. (I know that virology, like bacteriology, is in fact fascinating and of crucial importance to a medical student. The only problem is that I am taught by, um, virologists and bacteriologists. No offence intended at all of course to any of those who knit too, or know or love knitters. I am sure that there are some, like a friend who has recently engaged my interest in immunology, who are witty, kind and human. It's just that I have yet to meet them). You have just made my (belated) day! Thanks Kate.

Philippa said...

Which is all, of course, to say that I would certainly be interested in knitting it, if you wanted to share it.

Persian Pen Name said...

Wow, that is fantastic. I have some friends in the local pathology lab who would I'd love to knit one for! Whenever you do finish this, do you plan on releasing the pattern?