I know he looks like some hideous mix between a lump of clay and a half-deflated balloon, but believe me when I tell you that I am excited about the progress I’ve made on this walrus over the past week. I could even go as far as to say, Piet the Walrus first draft: complete!

I don’t know why this particular design has had so many false starts and wrong turns. I knit flippers and tusks that I liked pretty much on the first day and then spent a month of frustration knitting failed walrus heads and ripping them back out again. One head looked more killer-ant than walrus. After throwing the killer-ant head on the floor with disgust, I realized that one of the key features of a walrus is his fuzzy mustache, and I couldn’t make his head look walrus-like without one. I went to the craft store and picked up two varieties of fuzzy novelty yarn. I’d been against using novelty yarn at first, because I really want people to be able to complete my patterns with their stash yarn, without having to go purchase a weird specific yarn. After a month of frustration and no progress I surrendered this ideal. Maybe Piet the Walrus will be a pattern for those people who have odd bits of brown novelty yarn in their stash and are searching desperately for ways to use it up. 

Anyway, the fuzzier, crazier of the two novelty yarns made a pretty awesome looking walrus mustache, but was also pretty awesomely difficult to work with. It didn’t take long for me to switch to the yarn with milder fuzz.

Still, my efforts were not working.

Then, I had another epiphany. I’d been trying to knit this walrus from head to tail and I’d been failing, but maybe, maybe the geometry would work out better if I knit him from tail to head. Bingo! Right away he started to take form. A couple days of knitting later, and I had something resembling an animal, something I could work with.

So yes, he looks like a muddy deflated balloon. His body needs to be longer and he needs a bit of a neck. His fins and tail are out of proportion. But I have a foundation now. I took super detailed notes on every stitch I knit, so it shouldn’t be a problem now to tweak the numbers build a great walrus in draft #2.

That’s why, with all his faults, I love this floppy walrus first draft.