Monday, March 06, 2006
"It Felt Random" Bag Pattern
Done! It's leaning a bit in the photo, so it really is taller than the Stitchionary, I promise. This one turned out 11-inches tall, 9 inches wide (after folding) and 6 inches deep. “It Felt Random Bag” Supplies: Size 10.5 Circular Needles 3 or 4 hanks Cascade 220 (all different colors) Stitch Marker 8 Large Grommets and Grommet tool Hammer 1 - Size 19 Knitting Needle 6 Peg Knitting Spool or Size 10.5 Double Pointed Needle Gauge: Not terribly important. Loose enough you can see light through, but not pretend your Zorro. Pattern: Go to the Random Stripe Generator and check off the colors you’ve chosen for your bag. I recommend at least 3 colors. For the bag shown, you’ll want to check off 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 for the allowed stripe widths. Key in 96 for the number of rows you want generated. (I won’t tell if you leave it at 100, it’s not that important) Click “Generate My Stripes” and keep refreshing your screen until you see a stripe pattern that you fall in love with. Print it out. (The picture of the stripe pattern will not print, if you really want to have it for reference, right click, do a “Save Picture As” and put it somewhere on your hard drive. Print separately.) With the 4 yarn colors you’ve chosen tossed into a bag, close your eyes and grab a ball. (This is a random bag remember, just do it.) Take that color, and cast on 50 stitches. Knit every row for 50 rows. When done, start picking up stitches. On the short sides, you will pick up one stitch for every ridge, so 24 stitches. All told, you’ll have 148 stitches on your needles when you get all the way around. Starting from the bottom of your generated stripe pattern, work your way up. If the first stripe is the same as the base of your bag – happy day! You don’t have to change yarns! But please, do place the stitch marker at the point of joining. Tip: When changing colors, knit one round with the new color, and when you get to the beginning of the 2nd round, knit into the stitch below the first stitch of your new color. This reduces the jog, and yeah, I know you’re going to felt it, but it doesn’t hurt to practice and it looks oh so nice as you’re knitting along. If you run out of one of your colors near the end of your bag, don’t sweat it. Grab one of the other colors and move along. This is a randomly striped bag remember? No buying another hank if you run out of one color! You have more than enough yarn in front of you to finish. Save your money for another color for a future bag. When you finish your stripe sequence, weave in all the ends (you'll thank yourself if you do this every so often as you're knitting along instead of saving it all for last) bind it off and put your remaining yarn back in that bag (but only the colors that you have a fist full of). Close your eyes, or have a friend close their eyes and reach into the bag and grab a ball of yarn. This will be your strap color. If you happen to have a cool 6 peg knitting spool like I do (thanks, Mom!) then make an i-cord with it as long as you are tall. If you don’t, make a 6-stitch i-cord with that 10.5 double pointed needle you have. Unless you’re the height of an oompa-loompa – then make it as long as your averagely heighted friend is (I’m 5’5”). Throw it all into a zippered pillowcase, toss it in a washing machine set to “Hot” with some towels or jeans and some wool wash, walk away for a bit. Don’t check it every 5 seconds, it’ll get you nowhere. Give it at least 10 minutes before you peek for the first time. When you can’t see the stitches anymore, it’s done. Take an appropriately sized shoe-box (if you don’t have one, go shop for shoes that come in a box that’s the right size.) Put the box in a plastic bag so it doesn’t get all cardboardy-wet-like, and put your wet, smelly, felted purse over it upside-down and let it dry. Hang the felted i-cord up somewhere and let it dry as well. When it’s just about dry, or when it’s completely dry (depending on your patience) take that big-ass size 19 needle, your grommets, hammer, and purse, outside to some pavement or concrete. Don’t do it on a second-floor condo patio. It’s too loud. And don’t do it on a kitchen floor either, you won’t hit it hard enough. Go to concrete I say! Once outside, you’ll want to fold the sides of the bag in like a sandwich bag, decide where you’d like your strap holes to be, and poke away. I go with a spot right on the edge of two stripes, to make it easier to line them all up. You CAN poke 4 holes at once so that they all line up the way you want. I did it, and I’m not exactly She-Ra, Princess of Power. Just slip one hole off the needle at a time (reading that, it makes no sense, but you know what I’m talking about.). Place the part of the grommet that DOESN’T have the sharp pointy things on the OUTSIDE of the purse, then take that part of the grommet that DOES have the pointy bits and put that on the inside of the purse. Take the base of your grommet tool, put it on the concrete, and put the grommet on the outside of the purse on it. Take the grommet tool and place it on the interior grommet, grab that hammer, and give it a few good whacks (being careful not to hit your fingers – trust me, it’ll throb for minutes!). Whack that grommet until the join is nice and smooth. Slip the next hole off the big-ass needle, and repeat. When you’re all done, slide your felted i-cord through so that the ends are on the side, knot them together. Ta-Da! You have your random bag! But, wait, does it flop? Well, fix it!