Tag Archives: finished objects

MURDERPIGS: a knitted cardigan


When I took up knitting, I never imagined I’d end up making a cardigan inspired by unorthodox methods of corpse disposal. Then MURDERPIGS happened.

MURDERPIGS was my entry for the 2014 LSG Raveldacted Renegade Games, under the banner of Team Murderpig. Team Murderpig was inspired by the tale of a spurned lover posting his ex-partner’s yarn stash on Craigslist. We couldn’t believe that a knitter would voluntarily part with her stash, and came up with various theories about her disappearance, not least of which was corpse disposal by murderpigs.

(Note: A member of LSG actually claimed this stash, and was not murdered and disposed of by pigs. This is only one datapoint and does not necessarily disprove the murderpig theory.)

Thus Team Murderpig was started, and served as more of an archive of pig and boar gifs than a home for a knitting team. Such is the internet. But LSG knitalong rules are thus: do what you like, take as long as you like, just post about it before the demise of society and someone’ll be along to mash ‘love’ eventually. So we all had plenty of time.

Tweasel, my very own murderpig, acting as mascot, Ravatar, and inspiration for this cardigan.

The idea popped into my head fully formed: stranded colourwork pigs & crossbones, v-necked, steeked front because I was feeling bullish after Little Birds, sleeve setting borrowed from Little Birds. It was one of those moments of beautiful sparkly inspiration when you see the thing in your mind and are just YES THIS IS THE THING I WILL MAKE AND THIS IS HOW TO DO IT AND IT WILL BE PERFECT.

unravelled sleeve

Knitting it wasn’t quite such a smooth process. It was fine for a while, the body took no time at all, but then I moved onto the sleeves. I don’t know if I got the numbers wrong, if I picked up the wrong needle, or if some atmospheric change affected my tension, but I ended up with two sleeves that were Very Wrong. It took me some time to come to terms with the reality of ripping them back, and then even longer to get round to redoing the maths and trying again.

By the time I got back to it, recalculated the sleeves, and got myself back to where I was before The Realisation, I had lost my original notes. I can only guess what I was thinking about at the start of the V-neck shaping. I don’t think the slight curve where the two sides join is intentional, but it works and I like it so I’m not going to argue. Past-me strikes again.

murderpigs on the flat

I didn’t bother to reinforce my steek before cutting it. Live dangerously. It was fine; the Shetland yarn is super-sticky and didn’t give me any trouble at all. The only minor difficulty I got into was that it was harder to trim the steek back before finishing it. I did crochet reinforcements on the last steek, which made it easier to hold on to and to see where to trim. Black yarn possibly not the smartest choice, there.

I didn’t think carefully enough about my pattern positioning, so I have a stray murderpig butt disappearing off the left front, though the piggies do (completely accidentally) line up between body and sleeves. Well, on the front, anyway. And if I’d thought about it and not been all OMGPIGGEH!!!1! I wouldn’t have gone for the black seam stitch.

And finally,


recalculated sleeve

Pattern: my own
Yarn: Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift
MURDERPIGS project page on Ravelry

paulie cardigan - finished

Finished Object: Paulie cardigan

What to do while one cardigan project is sitting in the corner, refusing to behave?

Easy. Cast on another one. 😀

So. Misbehaving murderpigs were in the naughty corner, and I needed something to help me back on the horse. In last week’s post I believe I termed it a knitting palate cleanser. No nonsense, pick a pattern, follow the instructions, profit.

I needed a change of texture from the scrubby Shetland yarn, so I dug out some lovely soft Drops baby alpaca/silk blend, and a pattern I’d had my eye on for a while. I was so keen to follow the instructions and do as I was told that I even swatched.

gauge swatch for Drops baby alpaca/silk

The pattern is Paulie, by Isabell Kramer. It crossed my radar a little while ago, and I thought it would be perfect for the alpaca/silk which I already had in stash from a moment of weakness faced with an online store sale. I got myself a couple of balls of contrast colour (not on sale, sadly) and it officially went into my queue.

Paulie is a top-down, seamless raglan cardigan, with garter stitch yoke and a simple stripe pattern.

crumpled paulie wip

The pattern’s easy to follow and it knits up fast for a 4-ply. The body came together really quickly, then I had to steel myself for sleeves. Luckily, as it was top-down, they would get faster as I went along.

sleeveless paulie

Paulie was my faithful companion on the beach for lunch and evening drinks with friends and colleagues. It provided some entertainment for the local wildlife too.

seagull staring at my knitting

Of course, the disadvantage of stripes is weaving in all the ends. I was a bit daft – if I’d been thinking straight, I’d have done as I did for my Little Birds cardigan and woven in the ends as I was going along. But I didn’t. I spent a night in the pub – after the garter button band (hate) and i-cord bind-off (haaate), with this carnage:

weaving in ends

But, I was on the home straight, and I had some super-cute buttons with which to finish Paulie, so I forged on.

finished paulie


cat buttons

Like I said, I had forgotten that Etsy was a thing. Now I have an app and oh dear.

True to form, despite wanting to follow a pattern blindly to the end, I did not end up following the instructions to the letter. I increased the number of sleeve decreases, and replaced the garter waist and wristbands with 1×1 rib. Tiny wrists ruin patterns. The yarn is possibly a little bit too drape-y for it – it doesn’t look great in garter stitch – but it’s so lovely and soft I forgive it everything.

Now it’s done, I feel revitalised and ready to face murderpigs again.



Paulie – project page on Ravelry

Finished Object: Little Birds

In the grand tradition of knitting bloggers trying out new knitting techniques for the first time, I present to you My First Steeked Project, In Pictures.

I started knitting the Little Birds cardigan in September. For a short while it went everywhere with me, including the beach.

Little Birds on the beach. #knitting

I even took it to a work do, to cope with a sudden and intense bout of social anxiety. As I sat there, alone, Little Birds in my lap, strand of yarn in each hand, I felt like a god. Eventually I even managed to separate myself from my knitting and Have A Conversation. I was proud.

Then I noticed that I was running out of yarn. I panicked about the problem, then I ignored the problem, and eventually pulled myself together and did something about the problem. This is my usual way to deal with problems. This particular problem took three months to get from realisation -> resolution, which in comparison to how long crafting problems normally sit around being ignored is a pretty speedy turnaround.

Little Birds is coming together, into a misshapen pre-steek point.

Lots of panicking in this post so far. Don’t worry, it doesn’t last for long.

Eventually the remaining yarn turned up, and I could finish the knitting. I re-discovered the technique of steam blocking, which had an absolutely magical effect on my previously uneven, puckered colour work. I carried my floats like a boss, but you know how knitting likes to misbehave.

it is amazing, the difference that a tiny bit of steam blocking makes. nearly steek o'clock!

I read around a bit, researching my steeking technique. Probably the most useful post I found was this one from Elinor Brown, which has lots of pictures and instructions for various steeking techniques.

Supposedly, with Spindrift, you can just cut away and not worry about reinforcing the steek, but since it was my first time steeking I decided to go for a row of crochet, and take the obligatory ‘scissors on my knitting to terrify my knitter friends’ picture.

deep breaths. #steekoclock

I had poured myself a nice strong V&T in case of need, but it turned out that cutting it wasn’t a big deal at all. The crochet edge held it nicely and what was previously a misshapen lump of knitting began to look like an actual cardigan.

et voilà! #steekoclock

Then I got to add the border, tidy up the steek with some oversewing, and do some more steam blocking to finish it all off.

Steam blocking is my new favourite thing. No damp cardigan sat on the floor for weeks!

Then, buttons.


Ta-daa! All done. Steeking was actually the least stressful part of the whole project. Now the biggest problem is finding an outfit with which to wear it. But, until that point, I am 2 for 12 on my 2014 crafting goal, and feeling good.

First knitting project of the year.

On Friday, for the first time this year, I decided to sit on the beach to have my lunch. It was a lovely sunny day, the sea was relatively calm, and it was just the right temperature to sit, stare blankly at the sea for a while, and retreat inside when the cold started to seep inside my coat. I looked up mid-sandwich, and found that I was being watched.

A variation on the usual beach lunch monitor.

Ever since the storms, there have been large numbers of crows hanging around the beach. Murders, even. Presumably there’s some good eating to be had among the piles of washed-up seaweed (I know I’ve seen a lot of very happy labradors eating everything in sight). But this one has obviously been taking lessons from the seagulls, and was giving my sandwich a very close look. I decided it was a sign that I needed to a) eat faster and b) crack on with Little Birds.

First project of the year complete!

First, though, to get the gloves out of the way. I finished knitting the fingers while chain-watching Farscape (keeping with the space theme) and just wove in the ends this morning. These will now go to live in my work bag to be ready for when it’s actually cold enough for knitted gloves. That’s going to happen, right? And I’m not going to have a breakdown when I find I can’t use my phone with them on?

In the meantime, back to Little Birds. The additional Sprindrift I needed has turned up, along with *cough* a bit extra that may have accidentally fallen into my basket because it seems frivolous to only buy two balls of yarn when it’s effectively coming from overseas, right? I’m not ashamed to say I whooped with joy when this package turned up at my desk. I already have the pattern planned, now I just need to decide whether it needs to be bumped up the queue or if I can be patient.

My favourite kind of delivery.  :huffs yarn:

:drums fingers impatiently:

WIP Zero

As inhabitants of the internet, you’ve surely heard of Inbox Zero, a semi-mythical state of one’s email inbox which increases productivity, reduces stress, and makes everyone around you ooh and aah in admiration.

It’s not a state I see very often; I find a blank screen a little unnerving, I do find it harder to remember things if they’re not right there, and I’m really lazy. Things pile up. It’s just the way I am, and the best intentions cannot fight my very nature.

But I can’t deny the thrill of a good clear-out. File the receipts and interesting articles and fun conversations. Archive all the notifications and marketing emails. Delete everything else. It’s even simpler with RSS feeds. Get behind? Declare RSS bankruptcy. Mark all as read. Done.

It’s not quite so easy with WIPs. It’s more of a wrench to decide that you’re never going to finish that pair of knee-high comedy Fair Isle llama socks, and undo the whole lot. And you can’t often just sit down and finish a bunch of things in one day.

However, that’s exactly what happened yesterday.

First, I cleaned up the photos of my oldest WIP and finally marked the project complete (17 months after finishing).

Switchy Tunic

Switchy Tunic on Ravelry

Then, I finished the ends on a shawl that’s been finished for ages, taunting me with all two trailing threads (five months since cast-off).

Unnecessarily Twee Spring Shawl

Unnecessarily Twee Spring Shawl on Ravelry

Then I finished the last row and cast off on my winter socks (14 months after I cast on).

Offset Cable Socks

Offset Cable Socks on Ravelry

And finally, I added the ZOMGSPARKLEBUTTONS to my new favourite cardigan in the history of ever, Oxide (only 11 months from cast-on to buttons).

Oxide Cardigan

Oxide on Ravelry

Then, all was quiet. No WIPs. My mind was free to think of other things. I was released from the torment of 12 month WIPs nagging at me to finish them.

I lasted about half an hour.

And already casting on the next one. Insatiable! #knitting

FO Friday: Empty Binbags Swirling in the Breeze

As promised, here is a nice finished object post.

Last year, I set about making myself a dress for my birthday, a Butterick B5210. It came together really quickly, but I somehow managed to get the size – of a loose, easy-fitting dress – completely wrong. I could barely get it over my backside, and if I had managed to squeeze it on, I certainly wouldn’t have been able to sit down in it.

So in the grand tradition of my crafting, it got stuffed in a ‘WIP’ bag and ignored for the best part of a year.

Last week, I felt brave, and launched the rescue mission.

swirly dress - front

I had just enough of the fabric left to cut new body pieces, but no more than the tiniest scraps of the contrast colour. I painstakingly unpicked it all, ironed it flat, and took heart in the knowledge that I would be able to fix some of the mistakes I made first time around.

swirly dress - back

For a start, the zip is a bit better; I’d overlapped the edges and placed it too high so there was a lumpy bit at the top where I’d had to fold the top over. Now, it’s just a bit wonkily sewn… and I placed it too low. But one quick hook and eye at the neckline and it’s fine.

swirly dress - a fine, crisp corner

I’d also done a pretty bad job of the corners of the neckline; but look at that now. Look how crisp that corner is. Turns out that a single stitch in the wrong place is enough to stop that corner turning under nicely, and make it lumpy and crap. Attention to detail. I appear to have some now.

swirly dress - pleat detail

My pleats are also much better. I’d never done pleats before, and I guess I was a bit slapdash in transferring the pattern markings. This time I got out an orange pencil and drew the things on in pedantic detail. They are now the same length and pointing in the correct direction, which I consider to be a win.

swirly dress - on

I did have to do a bit of a hack job to fix the lower contrast trim; I’d cut it when the skirt was two inches slimmer, so of course, there was a big old gap in the side and no more material to cut a new one. So I cut a 2-inch strip from the scraps, and sewed that in, reasoning that if anyone got close enough to my hemline to comment on it, they’d be right in position for a knee to the face.

swirly dress - belted

Another problem is that the fabric appears to be woven from the purest solidified static electricity. I’m going to need some sort of lining, or a separate slip. Or to fit myself with an earth wire. Shuffling my feet could be fatal.

But; it goes on, it looks pretty cute with a belt, and it was actually a really quick sew when I wasn’t botching bits all over the place. Maybe I can wear it for my birthday this year.

Keyboards and cushions

The sun is shining (a bit), the birds are singing (well, shrieking, we’re talking seagulls), and after the usual winter lull I am launching into the crafts like a woman possessed.

First task: a dust cover for my partner’s electric keyboard. One wasn’t enough, either of keyboards or covers, so I was tasked with making a new one. The room it’s going to be in is very white (yay rental properties), and we’ve also ended up with a lot of white and dull-coloured furniture (yay IKEA). So we decided the place needed brightening up a bit.

Subtle. @davegurnell , your keyboard cover is done!

That should do it.

It’s very simple in construction; I threw the fabric over the keyboard, wrapped the edges around the sides and a little way around the back. There’s enough leeway for the piano stool to fit underneath and for the cables to stick out behind. I was exceedingly lazy and used the selvedges along the bottom and at the back to avoid hemming. I regret nothing.

In fact, here’s a schematic, in case you ever have need of such an item. Or, more to the point, in case I have to make another one, because I spent altogether too long trying to work out how to put it together.

Keyboard cover schematic

For a 6-octave keyboard (sorry; ~music workstation~), I used about 2.5m of 140cm wide fabric. It’s a light-ish printed cotton, which is enough to protect against dust, but probably not so hot for bumps or scrapes. I may have to add some cushioning to protect the touchscreen and some of the more delicate knobs, but as I’m not quite sure how to do that, I’m going to ignore the problem for now and hope my subconscious works something out.

With the conveniently almost-square-shaped offcuts, I decided to accessorise the living room with a new cushion cover.

And because over-accessorising is for winners...

Ta-daa! Cheap and cheerful. Definitely not subtle. I’m not going to be able to use this room when I’m migraining, but the rest of the time it will be great. 😀

FO Friday: Lace and Cable Jumper

Ladies and gentlemen, lace and cables is finally complete. I posted about nearly finishing this in December last year, which means it’s taken me at least six months to block and photograph it (which is pretty bad, even by my standards). But now it’s done!

lace and cable jumper: front

It’s a recreation of a jumper I spotted ‘in the wild’, but tweaked to make it a bit more sweater girl (minus the bullet bra, however). I have a feeling it’ll look particularly awesome with a slinky pencil skirt.

lace and cable jumper: back

I was quite proud of the neckline detailing – I built the increases into the pattern, so the cable would grow seamlessly and neatly out of the neck.

lace and cable jumper: neck detail

This very nearly turned into my first FO disaster. I decided to wet it for blocking by throwing it in the washing machine on a cold rinse, with a gentle spin. It came out looking like a sheet of felt. A miniature sheet of felt. This yarn (the now discontinued Rowan Purelife) obviously does not like even the slightest bit of agitation. At least I discovered how sensitive it is before I put it in warm water, right?

It has stretched back out to its pre-blocking dimensions but the pattern isn’t quite as crisp and lovely as it was before. But no matter! One more finished object. In fact… according to Ravelry this is my seventy-third FO. Holy balls. I’m going to go and have a stiff drink while I think about how much time I must have spent knitting over the past few years. O.o

FO Friday: Leek

If nothing else, the photography session was worth the wait. I decided to go ALL OUT, makeup and everything, so naturally I had to answer the door partway through. Jehovah’s Witnesses, bless ’em. They gave me a pamphlet with a moose on it and scampered away from the crazy lady with a camera and too much blusher. XD

Anyway. Here it is. Leek!

leek: finished!

Top-down, raglan, mainly stockinette cardigan done on 3mm needles in an acrylic/wool blend. It was originally intended to be sleeveless/cap sleeve but at some point I obviously decided that this was not what I wanted. Possibly after making my peacock eye cardi, possibly after I found myself wearing wristwarmers in July.

Here’s the front detail which was totally intentional and not due to a miscalculation at all, oh no.

leek: front detail

OK, I confess, I was aiming for a deep V-neck but put the bottom of the V far too high. I like it this way, though, it’s actually the perfect place to have that single button. That was deliberate – I very rarely do up more than a couple of buttons on cardigans, and I really wanted to use the last of these mother of pearl buttons (previously used in this cardigan).

leek: back view

The underarms are a bit baggy due to picking up too many stitches when dividing the sleeves from the body. Also the whole using-3mm-needles-after-swatching-on-2.75s thing. Still; not terrible. I suspect it’ll balance out as it lengthens after a bit of wear.

I normally hate photographing finished objects but for some reason this session was hilarious. My camera has a double-timer setting – it pauses 10 seconds before the first picture, then another 3 or so before the second. The lighting often comes out better on the second shot, but I almost always mistime it and end up with a shot of blurred movement or daft expressions.

My best duckface:

leek: now with bonus duckface

‘wtf is that? is that a feather? Damn that red boa.’

leek: feather removal

I don’t even know what’s going on here.

leek: distracted by own backside

You can see all the pics associated with Leek under this Flickr tag, and some of them on the Ravelry project page.

FO: Lace-trimmed top

I wrote a WIP post about this the other day, so this is probably one of the fastest projects I’ve done in months. No sitting in the corner making me feel guilty for weeks! Woo!


Only now I notice the doorknob creeping in the side of the shot there. Cheeky thing.

As mentioned before, it’s a Butterick B4685, view D. I’ve had to omit the empire-line elastic due to lack of suitable binding. I’ll decide if I want to put that elastic in once I’ve worn it a few times.

The pattern’s nice and straightforward, with some good instructions. There were a couple of problems with it, however. The pattern calls for one-sided scalloped lace for the central trim, but the picture shows double-sided, and I think one-sided lace would look a bit odd as a central motif. Not a big issue, but could cause confusion. Also, the particular view I picked requires bias tape/binding, which isn’t mentioned in the notions list on the envelope. You’ll need a couple of metres of 1-1.5cm binding to do the waist elastic.

I’m quite excited about this top because it addresses a major gap in my wardrobe. I’ve made skirts, jumpers and cardigans, but never the shirts and tops you need to wear with them. I was a bit worried it’d look obviously hand-made, but it actually looks pretty good. Aside from the wonky hemline, that is… I’m not very good at curves yet. 😀

Here’s a shot of the back…


I’d show a side shot too, but there’s so much fabric gathered up by that neckline that it sort of… inflates. Plenty of room for expansion after a big dinner, sure, but yikes. Not a very good look. Hopefully it’ll calm down after a bit of wear, and a couple of washes, but if I make any other views of the pattern, I might stick in a couple of darts to get rid of some of that excess fabric.

And there you have it, my first Me Made May inspired FO. Anyone else resorted to a cheeky new project to extend their hand-made wardrobe? Or am I the only crazy enough to bother? 😀