Knitting Experiment: Early Attempts at Pig PJs

My current knitting experiment is not finished yet, but I want to share the ugly early stages of improv knitting. It’s easy to see a finished art project and be amazed without realizing just how many mistakes had to be made to get to the final product. I have to be willing to make mistakes and learn from them if I am going to wind up with something I like.

Some of the pieces in my pony PJs project required more than one try to get them just the right shape and size. When I wound up with a hole due to a miscalculation, I knitted a little patch to fill it and it looked fine. But I am knitting the PJs for this piggy bank I got at the thrift store in one piece. I want a smooth, finished look rather than the lumps and bumps patching might produce.

My victim
My victim

My original idea was to make a close-fitting knit suit I could embroider with flowers, in honor of a hand-painted bleach bottle pig that used to live on top of my grandmother’s refrigerator. I had some cotton yarn I wanted to use for it, but when I couldn’t find it, I decided to use some pink mohair I’ve had for years instead.

Attempt number 1: the mohair was not working.
Attempt number 1: the mohair was not working.

I quickly realized the yarn wasn’t working for me. Not only was it hard to work with, but the piece was way too loose, nothing like the form-fitting PJs I imagined. I gave up when I was only halfway done.

I decided both for look and handling, I really wanted the cotton yarn I knew I had somewhere, so I searched until I found it. I also learned from this first failed attempt that I needed to rethink the pattern. I moved the seam on the bottom from between the legs to one side of them, and focused on knitting from edge to edge on every row, even if there were holes in the middle, to improve the consistency of the overall piece.

Attempt number 2: Looks pretty cute from the front (although one of the ear holes is too small).
Attempt Number 2: Looks pretty cute from the front (although one of the ear holes is too small).
Attempt number 2: The back looks pretty decent: I managed to fit the tail well.
Attempt Number 2: The back looks pretty decent: I managed to fit the tail well.
Attempt number 2: The leg holes didn't work, and I refuse to patch them. Try again!
Attempt Number 2: The leg holes didn’t work, and I refuse to patch them. Try again!

While my second try worked much better than the first one, I still wasn’t satisfied. The leg holes came out all different sizes, and while I could patch the holes as I had done with my pony, it was going to be much more noticeable. I decided to try again.

I’ve just taken all the notes and measurements I can think of off the PJs from my second attempt, doing my best to correct the things I don’t like about my second pattern in the process. Next I will unravel these PJs and start again. I’d leave them intact for reference, but I don’t have enough yarn left to make a second suit. I have to recycle what I’ve got, but that’s one of the beauties of knitting: it’s easy to undo your mistakes and try again.

The third time may do the trick, but it may not. That’s OK with me. I love knitting, and this experimental knitting is fun, even if it isn’t guaranteed to work first try. My satisfaction when I finally get this pig dressed just so will be all the greater because of the effort it took to succeed.

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Kit Dunsmore

Kit Dunsmore has believed in the magic underlying the muggle world since she was a child searching for the Shetland pony pooka she was sure was hiding in her back yard. She learned early on that books were magic doors into other worlds, and that she could revisit a beloved character or place by opening the right book. As she grew, she decided she wanted to make magic with words, too. Today Kit writes about things she loves: poodles and dragons, witches and artists, quirky underdogs and loyal friends. Whether her setting is 6th-century England, the imaginary Twelve Kingdoms, or an art-obsessed version of modern America, magic always finds its way into her story. She enjoys turning fairy tales inside out and watching characters sacrifice everything to reach their goal, but she also believes in happy endings. When she isn't writing, Kit experiences magic by making things with her hands. Over the years, she's made quilts, fabric sculptures, collages, sweaters, and blank books. Her newest interest is learning how to spin her own yarn, a skill guaranteed to strengthen one of her many delusions: that she is a self-sufficient pioneer woman. She also thinks she is a hobbit, a witch, an artist, and a good cook. Living in the foothills of Colorado, Kit enjoys the giant skies and prairie landscapes which suit her need for wide open spaces. In addition to hiking through glorious scenery with her husband or imagining herself living in the Middle Ages, Kit works as a pillow for her miniature poodle and polishes the next small piece of her handmade life.

2 thoughts on “Knitting Experiment: Early Attempts at Pig PJs”

  1. I am what I refer to as a “Holey Knitter!” Couldn’t do anything with out dropping stitches. I am a crocheter. Taught myself how to when I was in 7th grade. I have made so many things as presents that I quit giving presents…. between afghans and quilts they are tired of getting them so now I make afghans, hats, scarves, and wrist warmers and donate them to various charities.

    Liked by 1 person

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