Thursday, August 30, 2007

Fuzzy Caterpillar












Don't you just love a knitting project that allows you knit along and get into that repetitive motion relaxed state? I was working on a bag using Lion Brand Fun Fur in copper. It is at those times that knitting ideas pop into my head. Sometimes they are overly ambitious , sometimes silly. This time that wonderful, hairy yarn made me think of a woolly bear caterpillar. "What would you do with that?" I asked myself. The answer came "you can put it on the blog." With some black Fun Fur swapped with friend I was in business. I stuffed and felted him and attached magnetic jewelry clasps to each end. If you play with him too much, he curls up just like a real one.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Papa Bear and Mama Bear




Well, now that we have established that I like small . . . I’d like to introduce you to Mama Bear and Papa Bear. Papa Bear is worked with a slip stitch mosaic pattern. I love it. It’s large enough for a weekender or a carry-on. Mamma Bear was bits and pieces of yarn I couldn’t bear to waste. The bottoms are flat so if you use them for project bags, they sit nicely on the floor and hold your work. Easy to get an afghan in the works into these babies. Don’t know what came over me. I’m back to small again. I am working on several baby bears all different heights.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Piece of Monet, Deux



This side of the bag is actually supposed to be a piece of a Monet painting. If you are a Monet fan, you might be able to tell what painting I was looking at when I was knitting this. The colors are not perfect and the shadowing on the path is missing. Anyway, j'aime ce sac.

There is a handle variation on this bag: Cast on 4 stitches. Knit 1 row, Purl 1 row, twice. (This is Purl Too's tab for sewing to the bag ) Change to I cord and make your strap the desired length. On your cast on row, cast on 28 stitches , place marker, cast on 28 stitches. Join the round. Knit 2, place marker. Now you can begin your rounds for the top band. This moves the strap to the side of the bag . Continue your bag at (3) in the Knit One's Bag of Tricks pattern.

A Piece of Monet



Look where Intarsia can take you! This side of my "Monet" is done by using 3 colors of yarn wound together to make blotches of color. It is pretty much random, not worked from a chart. Can you smell the flowers?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Slot Handle Variation



The bag can be made larger by adding more stitches, but keep the hole for the handle centered and the same size.

Cast on 60 stitches. Join round without twisting. Work in knit one round, purl one round for 6 rounds. Next round *K9, bind off 12 stitches, K8**. Repeat from * to **. Next round *P9, cast on 12 stitches, P9**. Repeat from * to **. Knit one round. Purl one round. Continue pattern at (3).

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Landscape




Here it is, my first intarsia bag. I used the pattern in the round until I got to the landscape and then left the side seam open and worked back and forth , knit a row , purl a row. The back of the bag is about the same as the front although I did not follow a chart , just a rough sketch. Who has time to find the graph paper? The usual three needle bind off was used, and the side seam was closed last. I used Kaffe Fassett's hanging threads method having given up my bobbins years ago. The shape of the bag is a result of using two different yarns. The blue was from Purl Too's stash. You can see that is didn't felt the same as the Galway, so the top is wider than the bottom. I rather like the different shape. Color blending using different colors for the three strands opens up a whole new area to experiment with. (As if I need another one.) Take a tip from me and wind your 3 strands together for each color section. I did not take the photo of the bag connected to all those skeins of yarn it was TOO SCARY!!! There is some inevitable yarn tangling involved, but the results are definitely worth it. Try this, you'll like it!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Small is Good Too



As you can see, Knit One knits 49 bags while I’m still casting on for one. Knit is very kind about this and points out that she has been playing with two sticks and a string for many more years than I have. I do wish I could keep up. In an effort to even the odds, I came up with a neat idea. I make them smaller! In my defense, I have to say that it’s not purely to finish them more quickly, I like small. Anyway, I use the same size needles and the same yarn but then the changes begin.

Step 1: I use the shoulder strap. When I cast on the three stitches I work in stockinet for 3 rows. This makes a nice tab to sew on to the other end when I am finished. I know that making a shoulder strap seems to lengthen the process instead of shortening it but I like shoulder straps. I do make them shorter than Knit One’s but I am a shorter person and like the feeling of the bag right under my arm so it works for me

Step 2: I only cast on 47 stitches so I have 50 stitches in the row. 10 stitches less doesn’t seem like much but it means 10 less stitches every row and it adds up. I haven’t added it up but I’m sure it must be less. I mark the beginning of the round and I also use a marker for the center of the round so I have 25 plus 25. I garter stitch for the eight rows just like the original pattern.

Step 3: I add the third strand of yarn and work for about 7 inches. At this point I start to decrease. After the starting marker, I knit one then knit two together. Two stitches before the middle marker I knit two together, slip marker, knit one and then knit two together. Knit to the two stitches before the first marker and knit two together. Next row I knit.

Step 4: I continue this manner of decreasing until I have 14 stitches left, 7 between each marker. I turn the bag inside out, and work a three needle bind off. Since I’m using circular needles, I don’t slip any stitches off to another needle, I just hold them together and use a third needle to do the knitting. I’m not sure this saves time but it saves me dropping stitches which I frequently do when transferring from one needle to another. Picking up stitches really adds to my knitting time. Then I stitch the end of the I cord to the bag at the other side. Since it has a little flat tab, it is easier to sew on than the tube the I cord makes. I’m also into simpler. Anything that makes it easier is good.

The rest is the same. Maybe one day I’ll figure out a way to shorten the felting method.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Even More Bags?


Yes, I'm still at it. More colors seem to be needed and we all know what that means... MORE YARN! Hope my friends and family hold off on the intervention that I obviously need. I'm still having too much fun. There are so many different things to try, perhaps a landscape? Purl Too has been busy too, but sadly her computer is unwell. With good luck we will hear from her soon.

Friendly Felted Flower



I just had to share my birthday present from Purl Too! What could be better than a present made by a close knit friend? I'm a lucky girl!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Results!













You really are out there. A brave soul has tried our pattern and has sent us photos of it. The first photo is the bag pre-felting and the second is post felting. The yarn was from Lion Brand and it didn’t felt quite the way the Galway from Plymouth does. In a case like this, sometimes going through the felting process once or twice more will cause it to felt more. We are so excited to have one of you participate and tell your story. We would love it if more of you shared your experiences with photos so we can post them. Just send your e-mail with photo attached to closeknitfriends@gmail.com. We’d also love to see any variations you may have made to the pattern. We’re not alone! How lovely!!