We all make mistakes

I was planning on finishing up the knitting on my Lipstick and Change last night, but I was ready to do the flaps, and they needed a little more attention that I could give them.  We were watching the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall, and I decided that brainless movie knitting would be a better plan. Skyfall is a typical Bond movie with all the requisite explosions and unlikely scenarios, but Judi Densch is terrific, and of course it’s so easy to look at Daniel. Albert Finney was looking spry–anyone remember him as the sexy star of Tom Jones nearly 50 years ago?

So this morning, I returned to my Lipstick and Change.  Dividing for the flaps and my numbers were not coming out right.  Each flap is supposed to be 48 stitches – half of the total number of stitches.  So I counted out 48 stitches and worked a couple of rows.  But the flaps look uneven.  Counting the stitches, I realized that I had 48 stitches on one side and only 36 stitches on the other.  Hmmm.  Going back to the pattern I calculated that I had started with 72 and added 12 stitches twice.  That’s 84 stitches, not 96.  Could there be an error in the pattern?  Nora is quite meticulous, but we all make mistakes, so I called her. 

Yes, in fact, we do all make mistakes, but this mistake was mine alone. 

I had missed the increase detail that was not simply kfb, but kfbf.  Instead of increasing just once, I was supposed to have increased twice.  No wonder my bag was not as poofy at the bottom as I thought it should be, and no wonder my stitch count was incorrect. 

Nothing to be done but pull out the entire bag down to that first increase round and simply begin again…and learn from my mistake.   ~sigh

Thoughts and lessons learned from the Bedouin Bag

Felting and felted bags are something I’ve been in and out of love with ever since I opened the shop. Currently, I am in love, mainly because of my new Bedouin Bag, which I think is an unqualified success. 

Felting is a magical process that completely transforms knitted fabric.  It can be rustic and earthy, fun and frivolous, or elegant and chic.  The difference is in the design and the details – finishing, embellishments, and hardware.  Here are a few important lessons I learned from the Bedouin Bag.

  1. Nora Bellows  (Noni Designs) is an extremely talented and meticulous designer.  Her patterns are carefully written and tested, and she understands that a felted bag without interesting details is just, well, a felted bag.  Her designs are really without equal.  Anywhere. If you don’t believe me, take a quick tour of the other felted bag designs on Ravelry…
  2. The right hardware is an essential component.  Whether a focal feature of the bag or a well placed detail, without great hardware, it’s just a felted bag.  With great hardware, it’s a signature piece that shows your style as well as your skills. 
  3. Laura Bellows, (Jul Designs), is also tremendously talented.  Her pieces are interesting and different, and they are hand crafted with great attention to detail and quality.  She and Nora often collaborate – Noni bags and Jul handles seem so perfect for one another because they were designed to work together beautifully
  4. If  you are felting something with a wide opening, baste the opening closed with sewing thread so that the edges of the opening don’t stretch out and splay unattractively.
  5. Heather yarns make a slightly different fabric than non-heathers. Heather felt is more dimensional and textured, non-heathers are more crisp. Both are really lovely – it just depends on the look you want. 
  6. Felted fabric heals itself, if you make openings with a knitting needle rather than with scissors.  That means that if you put a Jul handle on in the wrong spot, you can move it, and chances are good that no one will be able to see where you changed your mind.  
  7. Good quality hardware – and I mean snaps and feet – not just straps – make a real difference in form and function.  The Noni Amazing Snaps, are pricey, but they are mechanical and will hold together, while simple magnetic, or pressure snaps may not.  
  8. Noni bags and Jul handles are one piece of the creative process.  You add your creative energy to the bag as you choose your own colors, and felt the fabric to the texture and size you like.  It’s your bag – make it how you like it.  

Lipstick and Change

Love this new little bag from Noni – Lipstick and Change.  It’s just the right size for going out, and its cute little sparkly accents add just the right amount of bling to make you fell a bit dressed up. 

It’s a super quick knit worked with a single strand of Shepherd’s Wool.  I’m using a size 7 needle to get the pre-felting gauge of 20 stitches to four inches.  I cast on the base of my bag and used it as my gauge swatch.  

You don’t have to use DPNs to pick up, but it helps me pick up correctly and also allows me to get a good gauge measurement. 

I’ve had it here at the counter in my kitchen, so I can knit it off and on – you know, while I’m cruising Ravelry, or Facebook, or just having my morning coffee.  I’ve made quite a lot of progress in just a little bit of time.  I’m making the medium and am almost finished with the body. 

 I think I’ll have the knitting done today and will felt it this evening.  Loving this color – Raspberry!!!

Bedouin Bag final felting

After Nishaya brought in her Bedouin Bag, I realized that mine was not finished felting.  I had run it through the regular cycle once, but not the rinse.  It was felted, certainly, but not enough.  See how much bigger mine on the right is.

We put the handles on her bag, and it looks just fabulous!


Nishaya’s Bedouin Bag in three colors

So I went home and put mine through another cycle.  I pulled it out of the machine before the first spin started because I didn’t want it to adopt some twisted shape as it spun, so after the water had drained from the machine, I laid the bag in against the wall of the tub and let it spin.  When the spin was nearly over, I opened the machine and pulled the bag out.  It was nearly dry and quite firmly felted.  Just for fun I let the bag go through the rinse cycle and repeated the spin process with the bag against the wall.  It hadn’t felted any further, but it looked smaller and more manageable.

The additional handles arrived Friday, and I put them on my bag, as well as the mechanical snap closure that I decided I really did want after all.  (I have a few in stock if you think you would like one on yours as well.

 I’m SO happy with it now!  

Here are the specs of this one – I used the Berries colorway of Shepherd’s Wool, made the smallest size, and attached the 26″ Jul handles so that the circle of the handle (at the top) is just above the top of the bag, and the bottom of the handle tabs is just above the first welt.

I learn something with every project, which is as it should be.  I’ve put together some thoughts/lessons learned from this project which I will post soon.