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The more I cane, the more complex my canes get. It is the inevitable progression of learning, and with it comes the inevitable pride.

Barn Owl, Again
Barn Owl, Again

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I think barn owls are gorgeous. The tutorial for this cane is available here. It’s not perfect- I was so enamored of my pasta machine when I made it that I blended the bits too well and thus lost contrast, when I should have followed the tutorial’s very specific “five times” missive (Then, shalt thou count to five. No more. No less. Five shalt be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be five). I’m still pretty happy with it, though.

Next, I decided to try and design my own challenging piece. This is the second cane I’ve designed, after the eyeball cane, and it’s quite a bit more complicated (though still, I think, on a utter-beginner-to-novice level). James has dubbed it “Earl”.

I'm not sure what to do with this.
I’m not sure what to do with this.

Yes. That be Earl the Squid right there.

I’ve found caning to be a quite relaxing and engaging craft lately. I, like the whole rest of the world, have been having some pretty heavy financial issues and it’s rather remarkable how easily I forget the gnawing worries when I sit down to make one of these. However, this has resulted in my having lots and lots of canes and no idea what to do with them.

Hmm. Suggestions?

When I started Earl, I had the nebulous idea of taking pictures so that I could (on the ambitious side) write up a tutorial or (on the not-so-ambitious side) and least remember how I made the thing if it turned out looking anything like a squid at all. Sadly, the absorbing and distracting powers of caning not only absorbed and distracted me from my bank account, but from my camera too. Still, though, here’s the basic idea of what you would do should you want an Earl of your own:


Gather up some squid-colored clay -I used red, orange, white, and a blend of all three that came out a nice salmon color- and twist all your colors together, repeatedly, until you get an amorphous swirly blob like so:

We begin with an amorphous blob.
We begin with an amorphous blob.

Roll your amorphous blog into a nice thick log, then pick another squidish color -I used a blend of orange and white, flatten it out (this is where pasta machines are good) and wrap it around your log-shaped blob.

Squid Colors
Squid Colors

Reduce your log.


Now you’re going to need to cut your log into four pieces- but wait, there’s a catch. These are not, in any way, shape or form, four equal pieces. Consider the squid. You’re going to need one large chunk for the mantle, one much smaller chunk for the head, a medium chunk for the fins/clubs, and then the rest of the cane (a gigantic chunk) will form tentacles and arms. If you look at the picture below, the pieces of cane in the top left are my mantle, head and fins. The two pieces in the bottom right are my arms and tentacles, cut just about in half for easy handling.

Pretend the two on the bottom right are one.
Pretend the two on the bottom right are one.

Clear as mud, right?

Take the piece we’ve designated “mantle” and shape it into a mantle- that is to say, make it a teardrop.


Take the much-smaller head piece, square it, and reduce it down so that it fits underneath the mantle.


This is the part where I forgot the camera, but if you look at the next picture and think it through before you start I don’t think it’ll pose too much difficulty. Because we’re only looking at the squid from the front, I only made four arms/tentacles. The tentacles are longer than the arms (or is that the other way around? the outer bits are longer than the inner bits), so keep that in mind when you cut your tentacle/arm cane into four pieces and make two pieces larger than the other two. Reduce these down into a long, narrow triangle- you can even run them through your pasta machine at a large setting, then pinch one side into a point. Stick the two inner arms on, then make two which are longer and stick those on outside of the previous.

For the fins/clubs, cut the piece reserved for them in half, squish them into triangles and reduce to fit the sides of the mantle. When I did this I ended up having a lot of extra cane- that’s where the clubs come in. Stick one triangle on each side of the mantle.

Plus legs and head-fin things
Plus legs and head-fin things

Next, pull out some black clay, make a narrow snake, then wrap it in flattened white clay. Cut it in two and stick the logs on either side of the squid’s head; now he’s looking at you. Add the clubs to the bottom of the arms, and there you go! An Earl the Squid cane, all of your very own.

And some eyes
And some eyes

Well, almost. You still have to wrap/fill in the background, then squish him down to the size you want- check a tutorial here.


With so many steps missing photographs it’s not the clearest tutorial ever, but I’m certainly here to answer any questions you may have so I suppose it evens out.

If you do make your own Earl, let me know! I’d love to see him!

Just as a reminder, there’s a no-shipping-and-many-things-marked-down Spring Cleaning sale going on in my shop until the end of next week, and you can enter a contest in this post to win some handmade Corvus goodness for free!

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