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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Laptop bag from unfinished 1985ish knitting

Yesterday I sorted out the contents of the camphor wood chest I bought when my grandmother died in 1981. In it I had stored the remains of her meagre possessions - knitting needles, mending equipment and various things she had treasured or made. In 1993, when my mother died, I added a lot more knitting needles, threads and unfinished embroidery  - that is, the ones I didn't finish at the time.

Amongst the things of my mother's was the front of a jumper she had knitted in about 1985 for one of my daughters. I suspect she ran out of wool, or the recipient grew faster than she knitted. There was only one ball of each colour with it.  I thought of knitting sleeves and back in a plain colour but by the time I inherited it, it would not have fitted anyway. I reconsidered for my grandchildren, but it seemed too complicated.

Looking at it yesterday I had an idea. I cast off most of the stitches, leaving 10 on the needle and knitted a long strap. I considered an icord but decided on a strap. The needles broke, so I found others and continued.

I stitched the sides together, ignoring the fact that the top edge was narrower than the bottom, and attached the strap to the other side.

I then studied the manual for my front-loading washing machine and figured out how to create a hot wash. I bought this machine when I moved to my apartment and have never used anything other than the programmed cycles. I discovered I could create a cycle at 90C so set it for 2 hrs 15 minutes and put the bag in to felt.
When it came out it looked as if it might work for a a bag to hold a knitting project. It felted well - especially the patterned section which had layers of thread carried across the back.

 I set it aside to dry.

As I looked at it, I had another idea.

I got my laptop and placed it in the bag. I then pulled the bag into shape, pinned the top edges together and left it to dry overnight.

This morning I measured it, dashed off to Spotlight to buy a zip, came home and machined the zip in . By hand I stitched down the edges of the zip inside the bag and stitched the handle into a tube. Should have gone for the icord!

The handle is not perfectly centred. However, it works.  My laptop fits perfectly.

I feel elated with this outcome. I love using a lovely piece of knitting. I love making something useful and feeling I've done justice to my mother's effort and intention. It's strong, practical, durable, presentable and imperfect. A bit like the women who contributed to its existence.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Nicola Jarvis Bluebird: at last!

I have had the kit for this since it appeared in Înspirations Magazine Issue 82. In January I decided to take it on holidays with me and try to finish it.

It was a lot of fun - and interesting - to stitch.

For the purposes of stitching the bird is divided into sections - not surprising, really, but there were more sections than I had imagined, and I was surprised at how manageable it made it.

The tracing needed to be precise. Mine wasn't and I needed to correct it a couple of times.

I really enjoyed the simplicity of the shades of blue - and the effect one could achieve with them.

I found I worked best with five needles threaded up with the five different shades.

I can see these might become addictive - it's the texture, I think, that is so intriguing.

There is just a touch of bling - in the eye and a metallic thread.

I wanted to start another one as soon as I finished!

I had originally intended to make this into a bag. To this end I positioned it in one corner of the cotton. The original was suggested as a tray cloth, which I didn't need. When I had finished the embroidery, however, a bag of cream cotton with a single blue bird seemed a bit tame.

I decided to appliqué it to a denim shirt.

I tend to wear this shirt as a light jacket. I was a bit nervous cutting out the bird, but it worked well and fairly easily.

I like it so much I am considering purchasing more of Nicola's birds and appliquéing them all around the bottom of the shirt! Trouble is, they are not easily available in cotton thread on cotton.

Perhaps I'm just a glutton for punishment! It's not as if I have nothing else to stitch - I am currently focused on Nicola's Wordsworth Sampler from the Crewel Work Company Spring Retreat. Not to mention my knitting and zenbroidery....