Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Smallish Knitted Thing

So, what seems like a long while ago, I was browsing the new patterns on Ravelry whilst bored and saw le petit sac. I'd been in a knitting holding pattern for a while, simply knitting mitts to use up left overs and stock the holiday gift bucket while waiting for the urge to knit something else to hit. Without thinking much beyond, "Oooh, pretty," I ordered the yarn and pattern and waited for the mail to arrive.

Then I started knitting and realized the needle I had in the correct size, an Addi Turbo, was way too slippery for this yarn. After making several mistakes, I went shopping for a bamboo needle and ended up with a Hiya Hiya (yes, this is important), not my usual brand of bamboo. I started the sac for the third time, but the twice-used yarn was too splitty by this point, so I rewound the ball from the other end and began again. (By this point, I was sick of the sac but determined.)

I actually began to make some progress.

I realized, though, that I was off gauge. In order to successfully knit that stitch pattern (which includes right and left twists) with that yarn and that small of a needle, I had to consciously knit a little looser than normal. No way could I go to an even smaller needle, especially a non-metal one; I barely made it through the pattern with that Hiya Hiya (which I'll never buy again) because it cracked. I don't know how they knit the original. I'd say I knit neither tight nor loose but fairly evenly, but I don't think I could have gotten gauge here without more broken needles and maybe broken fingers. So, since the bag was coming out wider than written, I decided it needed to be longer, too, to compensate, or else the proportions would be all off.

At this point I realized what I was doing wasn't far off from knitting a scarf in that I was knitting the same thing, over and over, until the rectangle was long enough. You know why I don't knit scarves? I think it's dull to knit the same thing, over and over, until it's long enough.

Still, I wanted this cute linen bag in time to use it this summer. Did I mention, what with the looser gauge and the yarnovers I decided it was absolutely necessary for me to line it? I was going to anyway, although the pattern doesn't call for it, but it simply wouldn't be usable without one. So when I was finally done knitting, and blocking, and sewing up, I measured my bag, cut some muslin, and hand-sewed a little lining. I matched my thread to the yarn, so you can't see my tiny stitches from the outside of the bag.

(The quality of the photographs on this blog is going to go way down
when summer is over, I think!)

The cord is supposed to be i-cord, but I felt that was a little too skinny once the bag got bigger, plus it was really annoying with this yarn, which I swear is splittier than other linens I've worked with. So I just did garter stitch, which I sewed to both the knitted edging and the muslin lining, for extra security. I never intended for this bag to hold too much, but with the lining, I feel like I can put in my wallet, keys, phone, and maybe a pen and little notebook without the whole thing stretching out of shape (and without losing the pen through the yarnovers). 

I'm not so thrilled with the line that emerged when I picked up stitches for the edging, but not so not-thrilled that I felt like doing it again. Because by this point, I was sort of tired of knitting the bag and just wanted to be done with the bag and move on to something else already. In retrospect, this is a cute little bag but a little bit more work than the pattern would lead you to believe. (Looking at the few other pictures on Ravelry, I don't think I'm the only one who had it knit up looser than advertised. I'm glad I know how to sew in a lining!)

My next job is to sew some skirts to wear with my linen bag this summer. Because I wait for bare legs-skirts-sandals-linen bag season all year long!


MadMad said...

Though it's all of 40 degrees today... I just sat for an hour in the rain in a lax tournament and don't know if I'll EVER warm up again. Welcome to New England, right? Anyway, great work on the bag - it came out very cute; I would have given up, I'm sure. Hey, what's the name of the shrub on which it's hanging? We have one, and the flowers are so pretty, but I don't know what it's called.

amy said...

Mmm, me neither. Anyone? The flowers seem to grow in clusters, and it's got thorns, and the leaves are toothed and pointed at the end. It smells really nice (I have some in a blue jar on the table and it looks so pretty & is all I can smell!). I will do some digging in my plant guides and see if I can figure it out.

At least since it's chilly & raining I won't feel guilty about staying indoors to sew. ;)

amy said...

re: the flower, I believe it's a species of Hawhorn (Crataegus). Newcomb's says there's over 50 species in the area, so I'm not going to try to ID to species level. :) said...

god what an ordeal just for a bag! Well done sticking to it. I've never worked with linen, not once. It sounds interesting. I bet it's hard on your fingers?

I quite like the line where you picked up stitches. I don't like it when it happens on a garment but I think it adds interest to the bag!

amy said...

It can be very hard on the fingers, yes. That's probably why mine have been aching so much lately, actually!

Rose Red said...

It's a lovely bag - what a shame it was such a trial to knit. Great colour too.

amy said...

RR, I'm not usually a pure product knitter but in this case, I just wanted the darn bag!! (I do love the natural color myself, too.) It was worth it!

Olivia said...

At least the bag worked out lovely and usable in the end. I have gotten that line sometimes when picking up stitches, but I wouldn't know how to avoid it without trial and error. I still find picking up somewhat mysterious at times. I agree with Bells though, it looks good as part of the bag. Hope you get your summer weather to go with it, soon!

Jill said...

Nice bag. I hadn't heard of it in so long I thought it might be in time-out. I am freezing. Wearing a scarf. Indoors.

Michelle said...

Perfect summer bag! Great job!