Thursday, July 26, 2007

Learn From My Mistakes


2. Crow beads eat seed beads! I started off my first beaded bag in the usual way. I chose my beads (turquoise crow beads and # 6 seed beads from Fire Mountain. I charted my design on graph paper for both the front and back of the bag. I strung the beads in order on one strand of my yarn and got ready to knit. Things were going swimmingly until I got to a place where I needed a seed bead and had a crow bead instead. “How stupid” I thought, “You’ve miscounted again.” I broke the yarn and added the necessary seed bead, reattached my bead string and continued. Now I had an extra seed bead. Muttering to myself, I removed the offending bead. Now I was moving along and again another seed bead is missing. I decided that a recount of my bead string was definitely necessary. AHA! Seed beads were stuck in the holes of the crow beads. In the case of the first one the hole in the crow bead was large enough to let the seed bead pass through it to the other side. Undaunted, I got a # 3 knitting needle and used it to unwedge the seed beads that were stuck when I came to them. If you scroll down to Pandora's Bag, the finished bag is in the upper left corner. I’m a gardener. I should have known that crows will eat seeds if they can.

The bag pictured above is one of Purl Too's. She has gone to a different shape, changing the bottom of the bag pattern. The beads on this bag jiggle in a wonderful way. It makes me think of going out dancing.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Knit One's Bag of Tricks


Knit One's Bag of Tricks

This is my first pattern. Please use the comments to ask any questions that come up. We would love to see your bags. Send photos to closeknitfriends@gmail.com

Needles: size 13, 16" circular or double points size 13, straight needles for binding off Yarn: Three 100 gram skeins of worsted weight 100% wool, (Plymouth Galway is my favorite). You will have yarn left over, but this gives you the 3 strands you need.

Or you could use 2 skeins of 100% wool and 100 grams of a non felting novelty yarn that has been hot water tested for color fastness and appearance.

(1) Using two strands of the 100% wool yarn, and leaving a 6" tail, cast on 3 stitches. Work I cord. (Knit all stitches, slip stitches to left-hand needle, repeat.) Work for 12 inches for wrist strap. This should shrink to about 9 inches when felted. If shoulder strap is desired, work for 44". This should shrink to about 36" when felted.

(2) Using Knit cast on, (knit one stitch, insert right hand needle and pull loop through as if to knit, do not remove original stitch from needle, slip loop onto left needle, repeat) for 57 stitches, (60 stitches in row). Join and mark the beginning of round. Knit 1 row, purl 1 row for eight rows.

(3) Add the third strand of yarn and work in stockinette stitch (knit every round) for 8 inches or desired length. (Note you can overlap yarn for several stitches when joining and trim off the ends after felting.)

(4) When you are ready to bind off, you will need to decide which you prefer for the right side. Turn the bag so the wrong side is out. Slip half the stitches onto a stitch holder and then onto another needle. Knit one stitch from each needle together, repeat and bind off one stitch. Continue to bind off in this way and end off by bringing the yarn through the last loop. Weave in end. Stitch the end of the I cord to the bag. It should go at the base of the I cord for the wrist strap or directly opposite for the shoulder strap.

(5) Enclose in a mesh bag and place in washer set on lowest level, hot water and highest agitation. Include a pair of jeans or tennis balls to increase agitation. Add 1 1/2 tsp to 1 T. dish soap. Check after 10 minutes. (10 minutes works great for my washer and Galway yarn.) The times and amount of soap needed may vary depending on your water, the temperature, your machine and the yarn you are using. The ridges and stitches should be hard to see, or check the length of the strap. Spin gently and rinse by hand in warm water in the sink. You may spin gently to remove rinse water, but fast spinning can crease your felted fabric. Roll in a towel to remove excess moisture. Lay flat to dry. Trim any loose ends. Sew in a large snap as a closure.

This pattern is for personal use. Please contact me for permission for any other uses.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pandora's Bag


Did you ever find a knitting project so compelling that you made one and then you had to make more? Purl Too and I are entrapped in such a project. WARNING: This may prove addictive. It's not too late to turn back ! We have fallen down the rabbit hole of felted bags. Interested? Want to join us? Scroll down to the bottom of the page and subscribe to our blog. You will then be able to print out the pattern that will follow. Page 2 will give you the photo and pattern. You will need to reduce to 70% to get it on one page because for some reason it spills over without going onto another page.


Knitting and then felting in the washing machine is fantastic fun. I started with slippers. There were a few pitfalls there. I may post those someday, but now it's all bags. You will need 100% wool yarn. Plymouth Galway is my favorite. It felts well, comes in many colors, and is affordable. My first bag is done with red and a novelty yarn that I pulled out of a sale bin some time ago. Did I mention rabbits? They multiply fast! Here are some bags!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

And the Wheel Goes Round Again


When everyone saw Knit One’s pinwheel purse, we all wanted to make one. Being a generous soul, Knit One gave an informal class for a few of us. Now, just a word about modular knitting. Once you get it, it’s fabulous. It’s amazing the freedom it gives you and the wonderful shapes you can form will delight you. But, and it’s a big BUT, it seems to fly in the face of everything you’ve always known about knitting. Knit One says, “You have to think outside of the box.” Didn’t help me since we were knitting triangles but Knit One’s such a good teacher, and she held our hands as she helped us thread our way through the pattern in Modular Knits. The photo above is my effort. It’s larger than Knit One’s because of the size of the yarn (an unknown boucle from my stash) and the size of the needles I used. After I got it going, it really was easy. That’s the thing about modular knitting. It’s very off-putting at first, but once you get the picture, it’s actually fun.
After I made the purse, Knit One helped me make the lining. We even put a zipper in. The last time I put in a zipper was in 7th grade Home Ec and I managed to sew my skirt project together four times before I got it in. I’ve avoided zippers ever since then. But Knit One has a trick for zippers too!
My point is, even if you don’t have a close knit friend who thinks outside the box, you can do this. Try it. Let us know how yours came out. Send a photo; we’d love to see it.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Two Cupcakes


Well, I managed to get my second cupcake together. Looking at the first one I decided that I would like the cupcake bottom to taper like a real cupcake paper. I tried knitting the base by beginning with size 4 needles and changing to size 3 and size 2 .I went back to size 3 to do the bottom. As you can see it made very little difference. I definitely like the first one best! It's the extra frosting! When I bake cupcakes, we always eat the ugliest one first. That's not an option here.