Monday, September 10, 2012

In which I do something I haven't done in a while...

I love knitting, which comes as a tremendous, unprecedented shock to most of you.  This means that I usually have 2 or 3 projects germinating in the back of my mind at any given point, and only my restraint and good sense (okay, maybe just common sense) keeps me from casting on a seemingly infinite number of projects.

That being said, I have a tendency to make only a few, specific things--neck, torso, head, and hand coverings. I occasionally foray into the world of stuffed animals or socks, but rarely because that's not what I "want" to be knitting but rather something for someone I know who will appreciate the finished product. I'm not a selfish knitter and I'm aware that I would knit exactly 1 sock if I didn't have someone waiting for the finished pair.  There's a few projects which you will almost never see me make, and the rarest of those is the felted bag.

There are a couple of reasons for this. I made 2 purses while I was still in high school and I used them, but I recognize that they were, on the whole, very ugly. Felting is a weird process to begin with and modifying the process for our high efficiency washer was a bit daunting. That's not to say nothing was felted in that machine--my mother insisted on washing my Hemlock Ring Lapghan after I'd finished it because back then Eco-wool smelled exactly like a barnyard. I told her it would felt. She said she'd use cold water. I told her it would felt. She told me it wouldn't.

I was right.
Dang it.
The lace was still visible and the pattern was unharmed, so I still used it for quite a while with no real ill feelings over the whole debacle, but the blanket was a bit smaller than I might have hoped...

But I digress. I just haven't found a lot of purse patterns that I like. Most felted bags are be-decked and be-dazzled in various ways to make them more "eye-catching"... shiver.. Which is not to say that all of them are terrible, but rather that it is a sub-genre of knitting I tend to avoid for practical and aesthetic reasons.

There is however, one purse which has called to me for years--we're talking way back when I first started knitting--and I haven't tackled it because I am cheap and don't buy books of patterns--$20 is too much for a single pattern. Recently and much to my delight, Interweave has been releasing a slew of patterns from their older publications as bait for purchasing those books. I won't take the bait, but I'll take the free, well edited pdfs, thank you very much. And that's how I got my pattern.

I had a bunch of yarn still unpurposed after the business with Anhinga and I used every last yard of it (seriously. Those cable swatches? Gone. I needed them. That's why the top is a crinkly mess.) making the Formal Boot Bag, which took a day and a half to knit. The felting and finishing has taken a couple of days. I sew like an idiot, so making the lining took more than a single attempt. I didn't understand the handle installation and ended up having to manufacture alternate means of attaching them to the bag (Who makes rings that aren't meant to be opened? Me. and the handle manufacturer. Not a good combo. I like my solution but I still feel like an idiot for not reading the directions before I felted the sewn down handle tab...) But it's done and it looks amazing. I could not be more pleased. Even the extra front pocket seems perfectly functional.
There are supposed to be buttons along the front pocket as little accents. I stared at the buttons for 20 minutes and came up with exactly zero acceptable possibilities for that purpose. I may go back and try again, but when the only thing you can think of changing is a minor cosmetic accent, things are going well.
Look! Purple flannel lining! 
I'm playing around with some stash yarn for the time being. I have a bug in my brain and if I can pull off the cowl in my brain, things are going to be a lot more colorful this winter.

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