Just So Bag by Andrea Babb

Lace Panel in ProcessLast summer I bought the yarn and pattern to make a Just So Bag. The bag was published in Interweave Knits, Winter 2012. (Back copies can be purchased on Ravelry.)

My knitting “teacher” in Maine had one in a light gray and it was very, very pretty. I wanted to make one for me. They didn’t have the yarn called for in the pattern in a dark gray (Rowan Pure Wool Aran) so we substituted Lambs Pride Worsted. Mine is in the Charcoal Heather color way. Theoretically, a good call. Practically, however, the mohair content … at least in my skeins … was very “fuzzy” and the beautiful stitches in the lace panels are somewhat lost.

If I were to make this pattern again, and I think I probably will, I would be very certain to use a yarn that was NOT fuzzy and in a lighter color. Both will show off the lovely lace in the end panels. And if you’re going to do all the work, you want to choose yarn that accentuates your stitches.

The pattern itself is very straight forward and, done with yarn held doubled, it’s a quick knit. My friend said it was difficult on her hands. It’s a very dense fabric that is constructed on relatively small needles. I had no trouble but someone who has arthritis may find this difficult to knit. One knitter on Ravelry was wise enough to do the body in one piece. Starting with a crochet cast on, she knitted the “front”, picked up the live stitches, knitted a row of reverse stockinette, the base of the bag, another row of reverse stockinette and finally the “back”. Smart thinking! I still don’t love seaming … do you? I’ll try this next time.

The lace panels on each end are gorgeous. They’re (thankfully) knit with a single yarn and much easier on your hands. I struggled with the chart, as did several of the others who have knitted the bag. If you’re not comfortable with carts, take the time to write out the entire chart. Save yourself! I chose not to. I battled the chart … it was a valiant effort and I won in the end.

The first time, I was working with dark gray yarn and dark gray needles. Not a good start. But like any good knitter, after several false starts (and frogging yarn with a lot of mohair “fuzz”), I tossed all the parts in the “naughty” closet and left it for almost a year while I worked on other projects. I wanted to finish it this summer and at the start I found it challenging but as soon as I changed my needles, I got it. I had to be mindful and watch the right side and wrong side of the panel. (I worked at home, alone, in a bubble and did a lot of talking to myself.) Once I got the rhythm of the lace chart, I was fine … except when I got to socializing and I consistently forgot the last yarn over. Oops!

I’ll post a picture of my bag when it’s completed. I still have to purchase supplies and manufacture my handles (or ask my better half to do so) but I’m eager to use the bag and I may even have my friend help me figure out how to sew pockets into it. Her bag, knitted with the same yarn, turned out beautifully and it’s not as fuzzy as mine. Go figure! I think the double-stranded sides will be stiff enough to give it some structure. One Raveler said she added a hard plastic bottom on her bag. That’s also a good idea. Once filled, the bottom sags a lot.

Gone knitting.

iPhone Ear Bud Cozy?

I’m not really sure what to call these things. But, suffice it to say that I’ve made a sweater for i-Phone earbuds … mine and my daughter’s, too. The idea came from a photograph somewhere or an article somewhere and I’ve blogged about the process before (here).

But, they are quick and easy to knit up if you know how to knit i-cord, and they are really fun to wear and the best part is that they keep your earphone cords from getting impossibly tangled up.

This pair, for my Chicago daughter, is a merino and alpaca blend of wool and they are really soft and she liked the neutral gray color. They knitted up in a few hours because the yarn is a worsted weight.

I cast on four stitches on my number US 4 short DPNs and knitted to the “Y” split. I added a couple of additional stitches to cover the “Y” (six stitches now) and then put three stitches onto a stitch holder for one side and then continued on the remaining three stitches to the ear bud. I then went back to the stitches on the holder and knitted up to the speaker/volume “bar” (for lack of a better word) where I just knitted on the right side and purled on the wrong side until the bar was covered. Past the bar I just started up with the icord again.

I’ve heard a couple of people suggest that you can add a drop or two of glue to hold the stitches down but I’ve chosen to let the sweater creep up because I can also pull it back down if I want to. No big deal.

Next (just as soon as I finish the candy) I’m going to paint an Altoids box (and I may line it in glue or decoupage the interior) to keep them in so they don’t get all messed up floating around in my purse.

Another great quickie knitting project … I hope she loves them. I sure do love her!

Gone knitting.

 

Ruffles Are Not my Style

Knitting the ruffle yarn scarves is all the rage.

Though not my style, I now understand why people are knitting so many of them – they’re a quick knit and they’re so simple once you figure out how you want yours to look. Tight ruffles, loose ruffles, somewhere in between.

I brought a ball of ruffle yarn home from Michael’s so that I could give it a try and see what all the hoopla is about – and also be able to teach it because there have been requests! And in a matter of a few minutes, I’ve figured it out.

I don’t have the ball band (because I had to give it to my manager for accounting purposes) but it’s a multi-shade yarns in blues – gray blue to teal to turquoise – with a little bit of silvery sparkle at the end.

It’s a fun project and I look forward to adding it to my November teaching calendar!

Gone knitting!