Another Sophie Bag

A couple of weeks ago, I completed Sophie Bag #2, which will be a Christmas gift for my sister-in-law.

I made several unsuccessful attempts to line Sophie Bag #1. After wasting fabric with my failed attempts, I decided to take a bag-lining class from Knitique in November. I’m looking forward to getting these two bags truly finished!

There isn’t much knitting news to report. I have been feeling very overwhelmed with having multiple projects on the needles. I feel like I’m not making much progress with anything. I decided that I would finish DH’s ribbed scarf, the ZigZag modular scarf for my sister, and the Tivoli tee before moving on to the Kepler, Freida, and Salina sweaters. It was a hard decision to make, because I’m so excited about knitting the sweaters, but I am really bothered by the fact that I’m not finishing anything. I really, really need to switch to a one-project-at-a-time approach!

In cooking news, DH and I recently tried a Pasta Primavera recipe from Cooking Light’s Superfast Weeknight Dinners. I was a little bit skeptical about whether I would like it (can you really make pasta sauce from just a little bit of white wine, whipping cream, and lemon juice?), but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the dish was really yummy! And the answer to the question is yes, you can make pasta sauce with just a bit of white wine, whipping cream, and lemon juice!

Many thanks to our friend Jeannie for giving us the wonderful pan that fits an entire pound of pasta plus veggies!

Lastly, thanks to everyone who looked at my de-stashing sale. I have added several more items and reduced a few prices, so please take a look.

Have a wonderful week!


Sophie Bag

First, a belated thank you to Tori of RAOK for sending me these lovely stitch markers last week!!

Also, my wonderful SP5 sent me a $20 gift certificate!!! YAY!! I’m excited about using it! I’ve never received an Amazon gift cert before!!! Thank you, SP5!!!

Last week I knit the Sophie Bag, which will be a Christmas present. This is a very quick and easy knit, so I highly recommend it if you want to knit a small gift for someone but are limited on time. It only takes 1 skein of Cascade 220, so it’s also an economical gift. I knit the bottom of the bag on Tuesday and Wednesday (though I don’t know why it even took me 2 nights to knit 39 short little rows), did the sides and the handles on Thursday and Friday, and felted it on Saturday. Here are the pre- and post-felting pics:

I plan to line the bag (my first attempt at lining) and add a magnetic clasp. I’m a bit hesitant about doing the lining because I’m horrible at sewing, but I’ll let you know how it goes.

From this easy project, I learned something important about myself: I take knitting directions much too literally. Example: When binding off for the top of the bag, the instructions say BO 29 stitches, put next 6 stitches on a stitch holder, and BO next 29 stitches. The handles of the bag are knit from the 6 stitches on the other side that are not put on a holder. After the handles are done, they are Kitchenered to the 6 stitches on the holder. Well, if you follow the directions too literally like I did, then the handles will not be attached appropriately on one side. There is a gap (for lack of a better word). Here are some photos to explain what I’m referring to:

Correct handle

Incorrect handle

What I should have done was BO 29 stitches, cut the yarn, put the next 6 stitches on a holder, re-join the yarn, and then BO the next 29 stitches. I elected not to re-do the handles because I didn’t think that this was a crucial issue. Yes, it’s noticeable, but only if you’re looking carefully at it. I can still see the difference after felting, but I don’t think it takes away too much from the bag. I’m planning to knit a second Sophie bag down the road as another Christmas gift, so I’ll make the adjustment the next time around.

Yesterday I cast on for the Irish Walking Hat that is a modification of the Basic Cable Hat in SnB Nation. This is my first hat! I’m knitting it to match the Irish Hiking Scarf I finished a couple of months ago, and two together will be a Christmas gift. No pictures yet, but barring any major brain farts this looks like another quick knit. I’ve learned that I need to have at least one easy knit on the needles so that I can bring it with me to SnB. =o)

I have been wanting to knit the Tivoli for myself and my sister. I keep reading such great things about the pattern! I was planning to knit the medium size first for my sister using Lion Brand Cotton-Ease that I found on clearance, but now I’m not so sure because: (1) I’m not entirely convinced that the 36″ would fit her — it might be too big, and (2) I can’t seem to match the row gauge in the pattern using Cotton-Ease. With size 7 needles my swatch is 5″ long instead of 4″, and using 6 needles I’m still off by 3/4″. I don’t really want to go down further because I think the fabric would be too tight. I’m rather puzzled because others have managed to match the row gauge using Cotton-Ease, and I’m usually a tight knitter so I was expecting this swatch to be small. Hmm….but I think my main reservation is that she is between the 31″ and 36″ size so I don’t really know which one to knit for her. I might just have to knit myself the small one using the Cathay, and then see how the sizing turns out. Of course, I have too many WIPs on the needles right now, so this will have to wait. Perhaps when I finish the Bolero, I can cast on for Tivoli.

Enough rambles from me for now…hope you have a great week!

I felted for the first time!

I felted the Marsupial Tote on Friday!!! It’s still drying, but here is a quick photo:

It took about an hour to felt. I used Eucalan and threw in 2 pairs of old jeans with the bag. The finished dimensions are 11.5″ high by 10″ wide (at the longest points). It feels pretty thick. I am happy with it because I think it’s the perfect size for me! But it’s not the size indicated in the pattern…according to Stitch N Bitch, it’s supposed to be 10″ high by 13″ wide. I wish I had measured the tote before I felted it. My feeling is that it was never 13″ wide even before felting. As I mentioned last week, my bag is a lot taller while the tote shown in the book is a lot wider. Actually I think I ended up with a purse, not a tote. =) LOL Fortunately I don’t mind, but I wonder why my bag wasn’t as wide as it was supposed to be? I must admit that I didn’t knit a test swatch to check my gauge…uhhh…did that have anything to do with it?

Random thoughts and questions I had during the felting process:
1. I wish the Eucalan smelled better. It made my whole laundry area (as well as the surrounding rooms) smell very chemical-ly.
2. When I keep resetting the washer to prevent it from rinsing and spinning, no new hot water is added. So over the course of the hour that it took to felt, I assume that the water gets progressively colder. Maybe not by much, but at least a little, right? Would this slow down the felting process?
3. After the object has reached the desired size and you remove it from the pillow protector, what do you do with the pillow protector? I zipped it up and threw it back in the washer and let the cycle finish out. After washing, I picked the lint balls out of the pillow protector. Then I threw the jeans and the protector into the dryer. I really hope that the pillow protector contained the lint because the last thing I need is a broken washer. When we get a new washer/dryer set, I will have to be especially careful!

I went to Joanns Superstore today to purchase a snap for the bag. The pattern just says “attach snap to center of tote opening.” I admit that I am very sewing-challenged. I hope that I just have to use regular sewing thread to attach the snaps, and that the needle is strong enough to go through the felt.

Overall, I had fun felting and am looking forward to trying it again! I have enough Lamb’s Pride Worsted left over to make a another (slighly smaller) Marsupial Tote. The leftovers might also be enough for the Buttonhole Bag shown here (scroll down to the January 24th blog entry). The Buttonhole bag looks so cute! I already have 3 skeins of the Noro Kureyon for the Booga bag. And I have enough Manos to make a felted tote with a pattern from Two Old Bags. And then there is the cute Fiber Trends Sheep Tote that I saw from Cyndi…well, at least I’m not short on felting options!!! =)

Going back to my trip to Joanns — they were having a sale on bamboo purse handles, so I bought a set for the Chinese Charm bag from Stitch N Bitch. I actually wanted to make this before I made the Felted Marsupial Bag, but I had no idea what yarn to use. The pattern calls for Noro Gemstones and when I looked previously I couldn’t find it anywhere online. But once I find an appropriate yarn I’m all set with the handles. =)

In other knitting news…

I did start the Klaralund on Thursday night. I always think that I will have more time to knit than I actually do, so while I thought I could knit all Thursday night, all I really accomplished was the test swatch and 2 rows of the first side. =) Right now it’s all of 5″ long. I’m not sure how I feel about the Noro Silk Garden quite yet. The colors are beautiful, and I haven’t had any problems with the yarn snagging. The downsides are that some parts of the yarn get really thin, and there is all this “linty”-type stuff. Some the “lint” is the same color as the yarn, while some of it is light brown. From reading a thread on the KR Forum, I’ve gotten the impression that maybe this “lint” is vegetable matter? I have no idea what vegetable matter is. Anyway, I will post a photo of the sweater once I progress a bit more.

My Cloud Poncho is about one-fourth done now. I will make myself finish this one before starting the Union Square poncho, which gives me more of an incentive to finish!

Gotta go knit now!

I Finished the Marsupial Tote!!!

I am soooooooo excited that I finished knitting the Marsupial Tote!!! YAY!!!!

Marsupial Tote before felting

So now I have to felt it. I read the Felting Basics chapter from Felted Knits, and I bought a zippered pillow protector from Target (thanks for the tip, Cyndi!). I couldn’t find any Ivory Flakes at Longs (where can you find Ivory Flakes?), so I guess I will wait my Eucalan to arrive and use that. I don’t know if I’ll have time to felt during the week — maybe I’ll wait until next weekend.

I am concerned about a few things with the bag, though. First, the bag looks really long. The photo in SnB shows that it’s supposed to be wide, not long. Also, the proportion of hot pink to green seems to be off. I think I followed the pattern correctly with regards to the number of rows, but in the book’s photo the strip of hot pink at the top seems to be much bigger. Lastly, the handles are curling!!! I certainly hope that felting will resolve these problems. If not, then I’ll have to try again!! I have enough yarn left over to knit a slightly smaller version of this tote. I will just have to reverse the colors, which I wouldn’t mind at all since I love hot pink.

As for my Peruvian Collection Highland Chunky poncho, it’s coming along slowly. I have knit about 7 inches so far. I don’t think I have enough yarn — I’m short at least a skein. So if you have an extra skein of the Highland Chunky in malt heather (color #208) and are willing to part with it, please let me know!!! I have already posted on KR and the Elann Swap Center, but no one has responded.

I haven’t touched my purple cashmerino double seed stitch scarf in over week. I’m about a third of the way through. Right now I’m not too excited about it. So I guess it will have to sit on the back burner for now.

On a different note, I bought the Winter 2004/2005 issue of Vogue Knitting yesterday. I really like the orange seed stitch jacket on the cover! It’s an intermediate pattern, and after reading through it I know I’m not ready for it, but maybe further down the road. I realized, though, that if the model was wearing the sweater in a different color (like dark blue or black) I probably wouldn’t have bought this issue!!! I’m just drawn to orange!!

Marsupial Tote

These past two days I haven’t been quite sure what I want to work. Last night I tried starting a scarf in the basketweave pattern with some brown and blue Brooks Farm yarn. After one inch, I realized that I hated the brown and blue color combo. =( It looked great on the hank, but somehow when I started knitting with it my perspective changed. I asked my hubby whether he thought it was ugly, and he said that it looked fine. LOL =) I ended up frogging it. Now I don’t know what to do with the yarn. If I hate the color then I’m not going to be too motivated to knit anything with it. And I had spent an hour winding it into a center pull ball!!! ARGH!!!

I did spend some time working on my Marsupial Tote. I think it’s coming along. I’m supposed to knit to 10 inches from the base before I switch to hot pink. I’ve got about 7 inches right now, so I’m not too far. Yay!!

Marsupial Tote in progress

More on the Marsupial Tote

So after I posted the Marsupial Tote photo last night and then knitted a few more rounds, I realized that I was knitting the tote inside out and that my photo shows it inside out as well! Oh, how embarrassing! I had read that when knitting every round on circular needles, you get the stockinette stitch. Of course, I completely forgot. So the outside of the bag is supposed to be the stockinette stitch.

I can’t figure out why my “KR Secret Pal” button and my thumbnail picture of a completed scarf keep disappearing and reappearing???

Felted Marsupial Tote

Felted Marsupial Tote: The Beginning

Last night I started knitting the Felted Marsupial Tote from Stitch N Bitch and it’s been an interesting experience so far. Lots of “firsts” involved…first time knitting on circular needles (and I really like the Addi Turbos, by the way), first time knitting with two strands at once, first time picking up stitches, and first time joining the round. I had a lot of difficulty picking up stitches. First I picked them up in the wrong order and then had to put some stitches on a holder so that I could correct the order. Aside from that, I think I did it right along the sides but I’m not so sure about the cast-on edge. If I picked up the stitches incorrectly, will my bag be completely messed up? As for joining the round, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but even with the stitch markers I have a hard time remember how far I have gotten in a particular round. LOL

So the picture above is supposed to show the bottom of the tote…I say “supposed to” because I’m a little skeptical. The bottom of this bag looks nothing like the bag in the picture…Ummm…maybe it will change after felting? I certainly hope so. So far, though, I really like knitting with the Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted.