Monday, July 30, 2007


I have a huge stash of beads (my last obsession before I found knitting again) and I thought it would be nice to try to use some of them in a knitting project, just to give it a try. I wanted to do a small bag and had some Louet Gems Merino (left over from another project) which seemed like a good choice.

I looked around on the internet for free patterns for beaded bags and I ran across a cute crocheted bag that seemed like a nice little starter project. Now I hadn't crocheted anything in many more years than I'd care to admit, but I've been itching to try it again after seeing so many great crocheted bags on other knitter's blogs.

I meant to take some pics of this little bag in progress, but it was done almost before I knew it. I even had to frog a few rows after going too far before doing the holes for the drawstring. This bag is t-i-n-y. I thought it would be a cute bag for carrying a cell phone and maybe a credit card, but it is really too small for either. I wish I'd put something in the picture for scale, but it's about 3" tall with a 2" diameter.

Materials used:
Louet Gems Merino in Caribbean Blue (a very small portion of a skein)
180 Size 8 triangle beads (I made the bag a little taller than the instructions so I needed the 20 extra beads)
Size C Susan Bates crochet hook
1 yd matching rat tail cord

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Ahh, where has the last week gone? I finally had a chance to finish the small stranded bag I've been working on for the Purse Round-up KAL. I finally decided that I just wanted a long simple strap, but I had to come to terms with what was rapidly becoming my nemesis: I-cord. I don't know about you, but it drives me nuts when what seems like nice strong handles stretch out so much over time. I've even made handles that were really a little too short for a bag, knowing that eventually they'd stretch out and be about right in time. And I knew that the longer the handle style the worse the problem would be.

Well I think I've come up with a good solution for my I-cord woes. I started thinking - if plastic canvas can be used to reinforce the body of the bag - why not the handles? I had already knit a couple of feet of I-cord and I thought it might be difficult to get a strip of plastic canvas through it, but to my surprise it was actually pretty easy. I didn't try to get too wide a piece of canvas through the cord, partly because I figured it would be too difficult and partly because I wanted to allow for the yarn to shrink around it. I had to sew together three lengths of the canvas strips to make it long enough and still have a few inches left to stick out on each end. I made sure the cord was loose on it (no stitches stretched out too much) and went about felting it. After one wash one of the ends had actually worked its way up into the I-cord. I was surprised - I had assumed the cord would shrink away from the ends. It was easy enough to retrieve and I readjusted the cord on the canvas and washed it again.

Then I started on the plastic canvas and lining. I like to take a few measurements and fit the individual pieces in the bag before I start assembling. Usually I start with pieces that are a little too large and I gradually cut them down to size until they work. You can see how I angled the corners of the bottom piece (the piece sticking out on the right) to conform to the bottom of the bag.
Here's a view inside the bag with my plastic canvas "box" in place. You might notice that the sides of the box don't extend all the way down the bag. I had been planning on not doing side reinforcements at all at first. Then when I decided to attach the handles on the sides, well I had to have some extra reinforcement for them. I think the pieces I used will provide plenty of strength for the handles and I saved myself the touble of having to fit (and sew) the side pieces all the way down to the bottom.

Then I cut my lining pieces to more or less fit the canvas box. I assembled the lining by machine, but sewed it into the bag by hand. Each stitch goes through the lining, the top row of the plastic canvas, and then the bag itself. The canvas actually helps keep my stitches nice and even, since I'm making one stitch through every top hole. With the lining I made a couple of tabs for rectangular shaped rings for attaching the handles. I think it gives it a nice finished look.

I got some sewing thread to match the handles and made sure I stitched through the I-cord and the plastic canvas securely. And now for the first time ever, I have knit handles that do not stretch!!

Materials used:
  • Lamb's Pride Worsted - Amethyst, Aztec Turquoise, Red Baron, Blue Boy, and Autumn Harvest (1 skein each - in very small amounts of each!)
  • Noro Kureyon - #182 (most of 1 skein)
  • Size 10 Denise Needles
  • Size 10 Bamboo DP's
Pattern: My design

Finished measurements:

Height - 8"
Width - 10"
Depth - 2"
Handle - 37"

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Living Dangerously

I'm almost done with the little stranded bag I'm knitting for the Purse Round-up KAL I joined. I knit the bag in Noro Kureyon and various shades of Lamb's Pride that seemed to work with it. (I'll list color details when I'm completely done.) And yes, I knew I was taking a bit of a risk mixing these two yarns in a bag I was going to felt. I know that there rate of felting is different after making my entrelac bag mixing the two, but I still liked the results I got with them. I think the main reason it worked with that bag is because I was alternating the yarns on every row of squares, so the small rows of LP were tucked between the larger rows of Kureyon. I wasn't sure what to expect when I stranded the two yarns together though. And here's where a more logical person might think "swatch" but of course I instead just jumped right in and started knitting a bag. I just had a hunch it would work. Here's the bag before felting (and now I'm kicking myself because I forgot to measure it.)

See how the top band is kind of
curling out? I took some sewing thread
and basted the bands shut at the top
so it would keep its shape during the
felting process.

I checked the bag after one washing
and was surprised to see that it was
pretty much done! I've done quite a
lot of felting and I think everything
else I've done has taken at least two
full trips through the washing machine.
Oh I probably could have run it through again but I like the way the yarns look together at this point and I didn't want to push my luck.

Here it is blocking on an appropriate size box I found in my pantry.

I'm pretty pleased with how the yarns worked together. The stitches are a little more apparent with the Kureyon but not much. I think the LP kind of pulled the Kureyon stitches into place and tightened them up.

By the way, it's a good thing I did stop after one wash because when I snipped and pulled out the sewing thread I found that the top had begun to fuse together already. One more wash and I'd have had a real problem opening the bag at all.

I probably won't have a chance to shop for a lining until Saturday. In the meantime I'll mull over what I want to do about handles. It's funny how the little finishing details can really bog things down...I'm so ready to start another bag!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Purse Roundup

I was wandering around on the web a few days ago and stumbled accross a KAL that looked too fun to pass up. It's the Summer KAL - CAL Purse Roundup, perfect for me 'cause bags are kind of my "thing" lately. The rules are fairly relaxed and participants are encouraged to knit or crochet up to four bags (to enter for prizes!) and to have fun and be as creative. I've been checking out the bags already entered and I have to say that there are some truly fun and fabulous bags there! And these women (and guys) are prolific. There's something new to see just about every day.

So I started on another bag right away. I feel like I've been in a blue/green rut lately, so I decided to make something really colorful. I also wanted to play around with a Lamb's Pride/ Noro Kureyon mix again, but this time I decided to do some stranding instead of entrelac. I sketched out some pattern possibilities on some graph paper and started knitting. This is what I've done so far.
I'm kind of wishing I'd made it a little bigger or at least wider, so the Kureyon would change colors a little more quickly, but I think it'll still be a fun little bag. When I'm through knitting I'll felt it and line it. Haven't got a clue what I'll do for handles yet - maybe some purchased ones for a change.