Thursday, August 07, 2008

vacation knitting

It all started with an innocent stop at the yarn shop to find some yarn for my newbie knitting cousin. The guys went with us - they stood in a corner with another guy talking about football and fishing and other manly things. (We offered to let them pick out yarn for new winter hats, but they took a pass.) I had brought projects with me, of course, but yarn has a way of seducing the addict. "Oh look at me, aren't I so pretty? Just imagine how gorgeous I could really look? You know you want to try me, go ahead..." I walked past the linen. I caressed the merino and put it back. I fondled the alpaca, but left it on the shelf. But there was this tropical colored ribbon yarn that grabbed my hand and just wouldn't let go! "I want to be a purse," it told me. "Just a small one, just big enough for a three-year-old. Please take me home. Please knit me. Pretty please, with a cherry on top?" (Ironically, that's my 3yo's favorite way of asking for things these days.)

How could I say no? It's just one skein. Then I remembered that I'd left all my extra needles at home. Oh well - can one ever really have enough needles.

I actually did math to figure out how many stitches I would need to get the dimensions I wanted if I knit to specified gauge. (I didn't actually swatch since exact size wasn't crucial) I cast on 80 stitches and knit in the round until it looked long enough. Then I bound off one end, put in a zipper, knit an i-cord (that was way too long even though I measured it on dd twice), attached the cord and then I was done. Well, not quite - I quickly realized that while ribbon is pretty, it doesn't hold it's shape very well and it certainly can't contain markers very well - they poke out through the holes. Thankfully, my mom (whom we were visiting) is the crafty sort and had a sewing machine and plenty of scraps. We added a simple lining and then, it was done. DD is thrilled (and thinks the cord is the perfect length). On me, it looks like a small evening bag, on her it's like a big tote.

After having actually completed a project, I felt the need for a reward? What would suffice? Well, more yarn, of course. Besides, big sister was jealous and wanted her own purse. I was thinking of one just like her sister's only in blue. Silly me. This one likes to peruse yarn shops. She delights in fondling the yarn and putting colors together. Pick out just one yarn? Impossible. It must be two or maybe three! No simple knit for this kid - it's gotta be stripes.

I was thinking about a cabled bag before she tossed in all the extra colors. Then I was thinking basic stripes. Just as we were leaving, however, a sweater in progress caught my eye. The lady knitting it was designing it herself and had come in for help. It was made almost entirely with the bamboo stitch. This is a darling stitch that produces excellent texture. It's made like this:
Row 1: Yarn over, k2, slip yo stitch over those two stitches. Repeat across the row
Row 2: Purl (or knit if you're working in the round)

I cast on 78 stitches (I meant to do 80 but lost 2 somewhere) and knit 7 rows with one color. Then I knit 2 rows with a ribbon yarn and then 7 with the next color, then 2 rows with the ribbon yarn repeating the stripes until the 6yo was happy. I finished it with an i-cord handle (the correct length), a zipper and a lining. She inisisted on 2 pockets to hold the cords for her CD player. I was so impressed with her quest for organizations, that I happily complied.
I know that these little side projects distracted me from the knitting I brought, especially the stole that is tops on my UFO list, but it is fun to finish something so quickly!


Janice said...

What GREAT little purses!! I am going to have to try that bamboo stitch.. never heard of it!! Sounds like you are having a wonderful time!

Bonnie D. said...

That picture of your daughter just melts my heart! Adorable!!

Lisa L said...

Two great bags - that's what vacations are for aren't they? Time filled with unexpected delights!

Holly Jo said...

What a lucky gal! I know a 3 year old little girl who just might need one of those. :)

What is it with 3 yos and "sugar on top"? Do they get a manual? Mine is saying the same thing. :)