Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bag of Bags

Here's the "Bag of Bags" in all its recycled glory:

The Pattern (such as it is)

You will need:
5mm needles, dpns or circulars. (I use circulars for just about everything these days - you can use straights to start with but for the body of the bag you will need dpns or circs)

First make your "yarn". I used Ruth's instructions here, but there are other methods - Google is your friend.

Using 5mm needles cast on 40 stitches and work 22 rows in garter stitch. (Knit every row). This rectangle forms the bottom of the bag.

Using 5mm dpns or circs pick up and knit 11 stitches down the first short side of your rectangle. Pick up and knit 40 sts from the cast on edge. Pick up and knit 11 stitches down the second short side of your rectangle. 102 sts. Place marker to indicate the beginning of the round.

Work in the round, in stocking stitch (knit every round) until the body of the bag measures 12 inches (30 cm) - or more, or less. It's your bag. You decide.

To shape the handles:

(Knit 14, Cast off 12, Knit 14, Cast off 11) twice.

You will have four groups of 14 stitches. Leave three of these groups on stitch holders and work back and forth on the remaining 14 stitches.

Join yarn and work 1 row knit and 1 row purl.

Decrease row: *K1, SSK, K to last 3 stitches, K2tog, K1
Work three rows st st (i.e. P 1 row, K 1 row, P 1 row)
Repeat from * until 4 stitches remain.

Work 8 rows st st on these 4 sts. Do not cast off.

Repeat this shaping on the next group of 14 stitches, then graft the remaining stitches together to form the handle. You could use a three needle bind off if you prefer but grafting is neater (and it's only four stitches - you can do it!)

Repeat the whole performance on the other two groups of stitches to make the other handle.

In hindsight (perfect 20/20 vision), I might work 5 rows between the decreases on the handles and stop with 6 or 8 stitches remaining. This would make a fatter (technical term) handle, which might be better.

Use bag at supermarket/farm shop/farmers' market and feel smug - you have made something out of nothing and all it cost you was a small investment of your time.

Send me a picture if you make one - I'd love to see them.

The back field is basking in sunshine and has been mowed:

It really is the rural backwater.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

"Just START, Kate!"

That's what I've been telling myself for weeks. Just START. Just sit down at that keyboard and blog.

Well, I finally listened to myself, and here I am.

I've been doing sporadic knitting, which sounds like something you need to see the doctor for (or at least get some cream to apply.)

Knitting on the green "tablecloth" continues. I'm now on round 95, and it's slightly larger than it was when I was on round 94 - if it's scrunched up (technical term), it can fit into my less than massive palm. There is no picture. It's just a small, green, scrunched up mess.

The sock yarn blanket has reached 232 squares. Here are a couple of the latest ones:

I've been knitting in the ends as I go and then snipping them off. There are an awful lot of ends and they seem to get all over the place. In order to try and keep them in the one spot, I've been putting them into a jar:

I think they look quite attractive, in a slightly off-the-wall way.

I've also made a "Bag of Bags". I cut up all those plastic bags that, like milk bottles and wire coat-hangers, seem to breed if you turn your back on them for half a second and made "yarn". I used these instructions for cutting the yarn and about six or seven bags. Here it is in progress:

It's finished now and there will be a picture of the complete article and even the "pattern" (such as it is) in a later post. I'm thinking about making a hat with plastic bags, possibly modelled on the sou'wester, beloved of old sea dogs, to protect myself from Mother Nature. It is raining. Again.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Home Again

Here I am, back again, having had a lovely time with Mother in Italy. There wasn't much evidence of any knitting (though I did see some one crocheting on the train) and there is only one tiny yarn shop in Sorrento, which didn't have a very exciting range of yarns:

I may have mentioned that I won a prize in the Yarn Smackdown competition and the book arrived while I was away.

It's about hats, which is a good thing but it's about crochet hats, which is not such a good thing. I know the basics of crochet but have never really taken to it - whenever I have tried to make a doily, it's turned out like a hat; when I try to make a hat, it turns out flat. I'm hoping this book will spur me on to greater effort with the crochet hook.

To that end I have made "Lively" and I don't think it's turned out too badly - #1 son, pictured here, has "commandeered" it:

Here's a view of the top:

The central section, where you "close the hole" in the middle, is a little "plouffy" (technical term) but all in all, I'm very pleased with it. It was quick and easy but used a ton of yarn.

My only real criticism of the book is that it doesn't tell us which yarns were used but advises us to use "worsted weight" or "sports weight" - which isn't a big help for me. I would have preferred to know the yardage of the yarns used, thus allowing me to make a reasonable stab at substituting yarn. However, I suppose it's just a hat - it's bound to fit somebody, somewhere.

I've also been working on the sock yarn blanket, though it's a little hot to have the whole thing on your lap at the moment. I've reached 206 squares and here's #1 daughter hiding under the thing:

and again:

Many thanks again to those kind readers who have sent me yarn to add to the growing pile.

I've also been working on the green "tablecloth", but there's no picture of that. It suffers from the usual downfall of all lace knitting - it looks like a crumpled handkerchief until blocked.

I have also been wrestling with getting the "garden" here in the rural backwater into some semblance of order and have made a bed and planted various vegetables. There's not much to see at the moment but perhaps when there is, you will be treated to a picture.

No recent picture of the back field - the nettles are so high I can't get anywhere near it but if my plans for a flame gun come to fruition, there's no telling if there will be a back field left.