"Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber." Proverbs 31:19 NLT

Thursday, June 12, 2014

It's A Tote (noun)

When I was a young girl living in Atlanta, Georgia, if you had to take someone somewhere, you were "carrying" them to wherever. When you had to carry something, you were "toting" it (verb). I think a grocery bag was also called a tote (noun). (My grandparents in Tenn. called that same bag a "poke.")

Just a couple of weeks ago, I saw a pattern for a really nice, simple tote (noun) or purse in the Love of Knitting magazine, Summer 2013. Not sure how I missed the tote bag when the magazine first arrived - it's on the front cover. Here's the picture as it is shown in the magazine →

I really like the bag, but wasn't as sure about that big ol' rose. It might be nice but I looked for a different knitted flower - I'm not a crochet-er.

The bag is knitted long-wise, as usual, but is sewn together short-wise, so the rows are vertical. Clear?

The yarn I picked is Plymouth Yarn Chunky Merino Superwash  and the color is #11, Rust. I'm probably not supposed to print the instructions but it is basically a 30" rectangle in stockinette with 50 CO stitches, size 10 1/2 needles. When the rectangle is finished, you seam up the cast on and bind off edges together and seam up the bottom, to form the open-top bag. I also put little "triangles" on the bottom to form a base. The top row near the handles ↑ is "pick up and knit" 120 stitches and then bind them off. I found a YouTube video to explain that here. And if this one is too tedious for you, here is another one, - it is short, sweet, and complete.  AND I decided to add a few randomly placed garter stitch rows to add texture and interest to the straight stockinette.

I also had to look for handles, which I found for the best price on eBay. And JoAnn Fabrics had the great lining fabric.

My dear friend, Catie has taught me well - "put a
bird on it." Or in this case, several.

For the lining, I wanted to have pockets sewn in for a cell phone, gum, etc., etc. The magazine pattern didn't give any tips on how to make or install a lining, other than to say it was optional, so I had to put my thinkin' cap on. Here's what I came up with:

Not sure the pictures capture the pockets, but they're pretty cool.  :^)  

And here is the final product.

Oh, yes, and here's the link to the knitted flower tutorial.

I haven't decided if I want to add a closure, which I suppose at this point, would have to be Velcro. I guess I can decide that after I "tote" it and see how much falls out.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

To Lace or Not to Lace

I found some fuzzy yarn ON SALE at a great discount. Hmmm, but what could I use it for? It's pink (not my favorite color) and it's fuzzy. Really fuzzy. Well, I had been thinking of trying to making a lace and my mother wears a lot of pink. So I got it:

Fluff of New York! Whatever that is. :^)  I looked for a pattern and finally settled on this pattern at Ravelry. It is for a lovely scarf, which my mom likes to wear and I thought the FUZZ would be a unique feature. And it calls for some beading on either end for weight - I was very excited about that. I've been wanting to try that for a while, too. (The pattern is nice but if you decide to make it, be aware that it is only for one of the V's and then the "2-hole" part on either side. The picture on the pattern shows 3 sets of V's.)

So after a little bit of knitting, the scarf was going fairly well, except that the fuzz made it difficult to keep track of where I was. It looked like this:

I really got excited when the pattern began to emerge. But sometime after these pictures were taken, I began to increase stitches and could not see how or where. That, of course, threw off the pattern. I ripped out about 3 times and finally had a tantrum and threw it away! I was going to use a different pink yarn but when I held this fuzzy thing up to my neck, it felt so nice. So I decided if I was going to use this crazy yarn, I'd have to do something easier for my first lace.

This is what I ended up with.

The left hand picture is just after it was sprayed for blocking. The spots in the middle are just wet spots.

It's basically several rows of alternating "holes" with a straight stockinette in the middle. It definitely is not the fancy lace I was going for. But I guess I'll have to practice that with fuzz-less yarn.

Here's what I did:

# 7 needles
Cast on 34 stitches (or any number divisible by 4 plus 10)
For the bead work on the ends, I followed the pattern above that I linked to. I think I'm not supposed to reproduce it here, but it is a free download. (You could omit the beads and use a seed stitch for the edges.)

After the bead work or seed stitch edging,

Row 1: (RS) K across
Row 2: (WS) K5, purl to last 5 stitches, K5
Repeat both rows one more time, for 4 rows

Pattern rows:
Row 1: K5 *YO, k2tog, k2* then repeat *-* until last 5 stitches, k5
Row 2: K5, purl to last 5 stitches, K5
Row 3: K across
Row 4: K5, purl to last 5 stitches, K5
Row 5: K5, *k2, YO, k2tog* then repeat *-* until last 5 stitches, k5
Row 6: K5, purl to last 5 stitches, K5
Row 7: K across
Row 8: K5, purl to last 5 stitches, K5

Repeat this 8 row pattern until desired length. Then

Row 1: (RS) K across
Row 2: (WS) K5, purl to last 5 stitches, K5
Repeat both rows one more time, for 4 rows.

Finish with the same bead work as you began with.

Shawl Pin - eBay find!
I was planning on making it quite a bit longer but that yarn was making me CRAZY so I stopped and ordered a shawl pin on eBay so Mom can pin it shut rather than tying it or looping it.

So that's what I did with Fluff of NY, but it is not fancy lace. I'm not going to give up on lace-making, however. I plan to make another scarf with easier yarn to work with.

Friday, June 6, 2014

YOUR Opinion, Please

My last post was I ♥ Table Linens about the new placemats I had just sewn. But when I did the post I was under the influence - of a nasty head cold. So I didn't have the energy to take pictures of the new placemats on the table. Now that my head is a bit clearer, I got the pics taken.

I love the placemats. I ususally go with darker blues so I like the new, fresher, lighter blue. But I can't decide if the dishes that are close in colors to the placemats are too much of a good thing. So I am asking you to chime in on the table setting. I have navy placemats that look great with these dishes so that's not a problem. But do these new linens go with the dishes?

If you would kindly leave a comment with your opinion on these dishes and these placemats together, I would greatly appreciate it.  Thank you so much!