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Archive for July 1st, 2009

My Ad is Live!

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

featuredpatternturkish1.jpgI have a Featured Pattern Advertisement which will rotate with several others, for the next few weeks. It is on the main Patterns page of the knitting/crochet site, Ravelry. You need to be a member (it is free) to get into the site. For non-members, you can see my ad here.

The pattern I wrote originally for Dawn Brocco’s former Heels and Toes Gazette publication. It is based on the structure of a pair of socks I acquired that were actually knit in Turkey. (They are the “turquoise” pair if you click this link.)

I had not seen that heel structure or toe style before, so I did a bit of digging around and wrote a pattern based on those features. Thank goodness for Priscilla Gibson-Roberts’ book “Ethnic Socks and Stockings.” She was clear where I could not figure out what was going on.

Many Turkish socks are made with several colors of yarn, but not all. I made this a one-yarn project so that knitters could just concentrate on the unfamiliar structure. I think it is an attractive sock.

If you want more details on the pattern from my own site, click here. To see the many photos and information on the Ravelry details page, click here (if you are a member). To sign up for Ravelry, click here.

I think I’m getting better at ad layout. It will take a lifetime to really get good, but I will keep on working at it. When you are self-employed, you do every job which needs doing. It keeps things interesting, anyway!

“Knits and Pieces” Bag Project

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

wovenbag20.jpgSchuler Books asked Rae and I to do another event with them this summer. They are doing a “Green House” series and wanted me to put together a project, good for experienced knitters but also do-able for beginners. A project that was “green” in some way.

I ended up with a bag concept which uses two strands of yarn held together as one knits. It is designed to use up small balls of leftover yarns. When one color runs out, you add in a new yarn. One can make it very stripey/contrasting, or somewhat subtle.

I started with the idea of an old favorite bag. It is very simple, just one piece of fabric folded in half with a braided handle sewn on to the edges. It has no button or closure, but I really love my bag and only stopped using it when the handle started to look a bit worn thin.

My inspirational bag is pictured here. I am pretty sure my mother bought it during her travels in Latin America in the late 1970’s. It was woven, and looks a little bit like the rag rugs I grew up with, but on a smaller scale. It has embroidered patterns on one side for more color/visual interest. I love the texture of the weaving.

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My bag started with piles of small balls/partial skeins of yarn from my stash. My rule for myself was that I would not purchase any new yarn for this particular project. I have no qualms about buying yarn for projects, but this one was intended to use current resources fully.

I ended up making a sort of “rainbow” of warm colors on the top of the photo here. At the bottom I did the same thing with cool colors. All of my yarns were natural animal fibers, mostly wool with some mohair blends.

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I then looked to see if any yarns did not fit for any reason. I pulled out a few because they were much more or less gray than the rest, so their intensity/saturation did not look right.

I then realized that almost all of my yarns were feltable rather than washable. Feltable yarns are stickier and less likely to stretch out if the bag gets really full, so I pulled out the washable wools. (You can see in the above photo, the yarns I kept are on the left and the rejected ones are on the right. I did end up with a few more yarns before I was done knitting.)

It turned out that the remaining yarns were all “singles” (one ply versus several plies spun into what looks like a rope structure). I happen to really love singles yarns, so that is what I had in my leftovers. You might end up with a lot of some other style/fiber of yarn, it would still work.

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My yarns fit in the worsted-weight to aran-weight (also called heavy worsted) range. These would knit into a stockinette sweater at between 4.5 to 5 stitches per inch (18-20st/10cm/4inch). The stitch pattern I am using is based on garter so is much more dense. I’m also holding two strands together as one, so it is like having a much thicker yarn.

I want a pretty sturdy fabric, not a stretchy one. I might typically knit worsted-weight yarns on anywhere from a size 5US needle to a size 8 (3.75mm-5mm). For this project, I used size 10 needles (6mm) and got a very firm fabric even though it is a stretchy stitch pattern.

The final photo here is the last photo I have taken of the project. I have now finished the knitting of the bag portion, other than binding off. I will need to sew up the sides, braid a handle, and sew on the handle. I may also add an optional ribbon reinforcement on the inside, which may not be necessary with my yarns but would help with cotton or other stretchy yarns that do not have a “sproing back” memory.

I will post more photos as the construction becomes complete. Right now, I’m more fascinated with knitting little squares than binding off a bag which has all its knitting complete.