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 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.
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.
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.