Saturday, November 6, 2010

European Mandrake, knit

This was a LOT of fun. I started out to knit a mandrake root, as mentioned in Harry Potter (book 2). As I was looking up reference material, I learned to distinguish between the two varieties of plant commonly called mandrake. Mandrake is also fascinating as a medicinal plant on it's own. My project was knit to resemble a European Mandrake, which has purple flowers and an orange fruit. The North American variety, looks like an umbrella, with a white, waxy blossom.
The root/body was knit of a worsted taupe yarn from my stash. All knitting was done on size 6 DPN. I knit a5-inch long cylinder of 40 stitches around. I cast on with waste yarn so that I had live stitches at each end of the cylinder. For the legs, I divided the stitches evenly and knit two tapered tubes, ending with about three stitches. I purposely made the tubes different lengths. For the arms, I picked up stitches on either side of the body and knit irregular, tapered tubes. The arms and legs were threaded with pipe cleaners and stuffed with a bit of fiberfill if it fit. For the head, I decreased a few stitches to suggest a neck and shoulders, then knit straight up on about 30 stitches to form a head. The leaves were knit from groups of 3-5 stitches, all around the head. The flower and fruit were knit separately and sewn on. I added extra strands of yarn to suggest smaller roots on the ends of the appendages. There is at least on published pattern for a mandrake available on Ravelry. I developed my own so I could avoid sewing up. I also wanted to focus on botany rather than the cartoon aspects of the project. I specifically did not want to "anthropomorphise" the root by adding a face.

1 comment:

bunnits said...

Great work!!

Now, "go and catch a falling star."

I just found some YouTube videos by "poetryanimations." You can watch John Donne read his poem.