Sunday 6 September 2009

Bag and Purse Combo

Even though I have been surrounded by crashes and bangs over the last week, I did manage to sneak in some felting. As my favourite bag, my On Target Bag, is being demanded to pose for sales purposes at Mary Clare, I decided that was reason enough to knit another. Being the Crafty Cripple that I am, I couldn't do the same bag again, because that would be boring, and besides that would mean I would have two bags the same when the first one was returned. I decided to knit and felt a whole new bag. It was a bit experimental, but on the whole I'm pretty pleased with it.

As you can see, the bag has no handles and has not been lined, because though I was able to fight my way through the clutter, to the washing machine, there is no surface clear enough to sew a lining and attach the handles.

I used two skeins of Brigantia Aran weight yarn, one in Delphinium and one in Gun Metal. I have used this yarn for felting before and feel it is very reasonable in price, it felts well and one skein can produce quite a sizeable project.

I knit the bag in the round and decreased and increased to get the points and the zig-zags. This meant that the bag is only one strand of yarn thick. When it came to the bottom of the bag, I used short row shaping, between each point, to add a triangle and make the bottom edge straight. I then reduced at 4 places in the knitting to produce a rectangular base. I grafted the bottom edges together, then added an applied i-cord to the top edge of the bag, and again at the base of the bag. I-cord at the edge of fabric to be fulled, is a great way to ensure that the fabric doesn't curl and distort. I added it at the base to provide stability and extra strength.

When I line the bag, I will attach tabs to fix the handles to the bag. The handles I purchased, are made by Prym and I picked them up at John Lewis.

I think they look like leather, but are actually made of cotton. I hope they will suit this bag, and they are long enough to fit over my shoulder.

With the yarn I had left, I decided to make a little purse/wallet to clip inside the bag. That way, I could find things like keys, glasses or mobile phone. To get the zig-zag pattern this time, I made up a simple pattern in fair isle and knit it stranded fashion. I even found a video on how to knit backwards, which made the whole thing much easier than normal. I hate doing the purl rows on flat stranded knitting, but this project was too bulky, for the small size, to do it in the round. I wish I'd known how to do it before I did the short row shaping on the large bag, it would have made the whole process much quicker.

I plan on lining the purse with the same fabric I line the bag in, then attaching it with a clip to a tab inside the bag. I also intend to add a zip. When put together (without the lining fabric), all the bits look like this.

I think it will work well, and once I get round to sewing it all together, I'll post the pictures. I already know what fabric I'm going to use and it is lovely.

In summary, I am pleased with the bag, but if I made it again I would use smaller needles and make it slightly wider. I would also full it to make a more dense fabric as there are thin patches where the increases are made on the zig-zags. But, for all that, I think once it is lined, the bag will do the job it was made to do, look pretty on my arm.


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