Friday, November 24, 2006

Left over lovliness

So what to do with left over felted fabric that I cut from the Run About Bag? I thought about leaving the pieces flat and using them for spare hot pads, but they were just too pretty for that.

There is always a shortage of coasters in our house (the baby tends to wander off with them) so I turned one piece into simple coasters. It proved to be a good project for my 13yo who for some reason was fascinated with the border stitch. The top two we did with yarn. The bottom is embroidery thread, which doesn't show up very well.

The other piece clearly needed to become a small bag of some sort. It turned out to be just the right size for an eye glass case. I folded up the bottom to form the case and sewed it by machine. I then folded down the top to fold a flap. I added a magnetic snap and covered it up with a funky button. I got the stripe on the side by folding it horizontally instead of vertically. It is 7 inches long and 3.5 inches tall. I like it enough that I would consider making another on purpose. It would be easy to knit a big rectangle, felt it and then cut it to size.

Lopi loopiness

I bought a bunch of Lopi yarn with the intention of making a Constant Companion bag. But the yarn had a different idea. It told me that it should become a Run About bag that I had been thinking of making.
Sometimes, one ought not listen to the yarn. But I haven't knitted enough with enough different yarns to know better.
The runabout bag is a free pattern on the Internet. You knit a tube and then the main bag. The tube is sewn inside the main bag to form pockets.
The colors are great- a burgundy, a mauve, a tan, and a turquoise. The burgundy actually has bits of turqouise in it.
Soon after I started, I realized I wouldn't have enough of the dark burgundy to make both the inside tube and the bulk of the outside bag as I originally planned. To compensate, I striped the tube, which would have made a nice decorative element, had the rest of the bag came out as intended.
Both the tube and the bag were knitted in the round and came out with a horrible bias. That meant that when I flattened the bag and tube to sew up the bottom, it didn't come together evenly. I straightened it as best I could and hoped it would work itself out during the felting process. It didn't.
On top of that, the inside felted at a different rate than the outside and it all felted up very bulky.
It was time for some serious knitting first aid. Thankfully, felted fabric can be cut without raveling. I cut the bottom and planned to sew it with thread. The inside tube proved to be too bulky and wouldn't sit nicely in the bag. I cut out the tube and planned to line the bag so I could add pockets.
Prefelting, I also crocheted a picot edge around the flap of the bag. I love how it came out. That is a technique I'd like to try again.
My conclusion is that Lopi is NOT a good choice for the Run About bag. It's also felts very fuzzy, which I'm not crazy about. If I get that bias again, I will just close up the sides and felt it without sewing up the bottom. It can always be trimmed and sewn after felting.
I hate to waste knitting, so I haven't tossed the pieces I cut from the inside. I have some plans for those that I'm working on now and will post about soon.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Baby days

A baby has arrived. My cousin gave birth to a little girl, Kayla Ray. That can mean only one thing - all other projects must come to a screeching halt to make way for a sweater, booties and hat to the new little one.

It was the perfect excuse to try the baby sweater in the Mason Dixon book. It took a weekend of intense but broken knitting. The sweater is Peaches and Cream knit on size 6. I added a crochet picot trim - sc;* sc, chain 3, sc; sc* repeat from * to*.
The crocheted hat and booties are Caron So Soft using a pattern from Bev's Country Cottage

This is the hat pattern:
And for the booties:
The flower on the hat is from Hooked on Crochet.

I've learned this about baby things - it's great to find an easy, quick hat and bootie pattern that you can whip up quick when you need a baby present.

On the sweater - it's a great pattern for the most part. It's quick and fun. The only problem I found is that I ran out of room in the front before I had enough stitches to match the back. Next time I'd add an inch. The other problem was that I really didn't have enough of the pink or the multi color. I tried to turn that into a positive by mixing the two.

purse particulars

The coin purse/swatch was 20 stitches across on size 13 needles. The pre-felt measurements were 7 inches across and 6 inches deep when folded. It shrunk to 6 by 4 on the first felting attempt and to 5 x 3.5 on the second. I closed it with a zipper that I sewed in by hand using instructions in the One Skein book.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Felting fun

I dislike swatching because I hate wasting effort. So instead of just making a square, I made a small coin purse to go with the purse I'm makng. I happily found out that the yarn will felt beautifully. I can hardly wait to tackle the tote from the knit along:
The yarn is Nature Wool by Araucania based in Chile. The color is 49. It's a lovely verigated pink. There are no dye lots so the recommendation is to knit with two hanks, switching every two rows. I'm knitting with two strands held together, so it doesn't matter. It shrunk about 30 percent during felting.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Public Display of Knitting

As I settled into my seat at the meeting for my daughter's school, I realized it would be a long night. Everything had to be repeated in Spanish, making it twice as long. My knitting project whispered to me from my purse, "Pick me up." I looked around the room, no one else was knitting. I thought I should be good. I should just patiently sit here like everyone else. But my mind wandered. I thought about my project, I admired the outfit of the lady across the room, I pondered the pattern of the sweater worn by the man sitting next to me. I didn't really hear what was being said. "Just a couple of stitches," my project whispered, a little more loudly. No, I thought, it will embarrass my daughter. "I'm not going to get done if you just sit there," the project whispered. Ever so subtly I slipped just the needles out of the bag, slowly, I hooked one stitch and then another, all while looking attentively at the speaker. My mind focused. I could hear what the man was saying, my hat was getting finished. I didn't get kicked out of the meeting. No one glared at me. They probably didn't even notice. My daughter was embarrassed, but then she's 13, so she's embarrassed pretty easily these days.

The project, shown here in its embryonic stage, is a beaded hat made from a kit sent by my wonderful secret pal. The beads are strung on and then brought down as the hat is knit. It's quite fun.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Clean Sweep

I dream of the perfectly organized work room that contains everything I will ever need for any project. Perhaps that is why I hang on to everything I have ever brought into my room. Tiny scraps too small for anything but a Barbi Doll bikini, empty spools, patterns that I never like well enough to cut out in the first place. There have been times when I've actually found use for these odds and ends, and so I save them, letting them accumulate under the table, in the closet and up on the shelves. Enough already. I can only organize so much and then it's just clear that somethings have to go. It helps to think that they might be of use to someone else. Why should I keep them locked up? I have to set them free. Of course, some things just have to be let go. It's very hard as a child of the recycling generation to come to terms with the fact that some things just have to go to the dump.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bibs Away

I started these bibs long before the baby was due. He came early. Still, he won't really be big enough for them for awhile. I had intended to knit a sweater to go with the bibs, but since baby came early, he'll have to settle for the t-shirt. This is about as close to a sail boat as mom and dad are going to come for awhile. Of course that's the sunrise not a sunset on the back - this is afterall, a new beginning for them.

Monday, November 06, 2006

International Tote Exchange II

For the past several months I've been part of the International Tote Exchange II - a very fun swap in which crafters knit or crochet totes for each other. I've had a great time watching the progress of all the totes. I've also had a great time getting to know the woman who was knitting a tote for me. It arrived and it's wonderful. It's a backpack made out of soft felted malabrigio that matches my wardrobe completely. It came packed with all sorts of goodies - two skeins of beautiful blue yarn, chocolate and note cards, just to name a few. Check out the great detail up above. Allison used a really great stitch that blended in when felted to yield a subtle pattern on the bottom. She included a non-felted zippered pouch that showed off the stitch. The top is made of diamonds. When you open it, there is a blue top also made out of diamonds. The blue part is closed with a pretty glass button. The outer bag is closed with an long, exotic button. The tote arrived just after Halloween - what a treat!

Gratuitous cute puppy pic

Faceless Names

At long last, my teddy bear has a face. He was knitted more than a year ago, but the face eluded me. He was so cute and I didn't want to ruin him with a bad face. He sat on my bureau for months just not staring at me because he had no eyes! The break through came with the buttons. I came across some shiny black buttons I'd taken off a worn out dress and they seemed about perfect. I decided it was finally time. Afterall, it's only a face - it's not like I couldn't take it off and put on a new one if it didn't work out. Now the bear needs a name.