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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.

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