I have some sewing skills!

This week is Holy Week, which means that in Spain on most days everything’s closed and people are on vacation. Being one of the lucky ones who gets some days off work I had time to play with my sewing machine. I’ve been wanting to make myself a bucket bag that stands up so I can tote around my projects and also pull on my ball of yarn without it rolling all over the place. And so, with some leftover fabric from when I made some throw pillows, I came up with this:

Photo Mar 24, 7 17 46 PM

I also made bags for two knitter friends of mine:

I got the basic idea from this video, which shows you how to make a bucket bag: https://youtu.be/uLlHY_BZHxI

I wanted the bag to stand up on its own, so I chose some medium-strength fabric. Also, I did not want sewn lines all around the top and I didn’t feel like sewing on any facing, so I chose to use canvas fabrics that are the reverse of each other (as in the first black and white example) or canvas fabrics with the same prints in different color schemes (as for the two bags I made for my friends). I didn’t want pockets or anything like that because I hate knitting bags with pockets and I didn’t want zippers, either. The bags close with a drawstring. In the video tutorial I linked to above, the drawstring is applied by punching holes into the fabric with metal rings. I decided, instead, to sew two loops onto the bag, one on each end under the shoulder straps. My friends are getting fabric drawstrings. I made a kumihimo braided cord for my bag’s drawstring.

The best part of all is that it only took me about two hours to make each bag, they cost me roughly $3 each, and they are designed exactly for my needs. As you may know, there are knitting bags on the market that can cost as much as $100 (or sometimes more).

I’m also pretty sure that, now that I’ve figured out the process, making these bags will take me even less time in the future.

 

 

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I still have time to wear my gloves

I’m hearing from family and friends back home in New England who are enjoying 70 degree weather. Here in Valladolid it’s still wicked cold! This week I finished my gloves and I’ve been wearing them. The warmer days of March are still far away for me, but at least I get to enjoy my knitwear for a little longer, right?

Of course, I have a picture of my blue gloves:

wearingbluegloves

They’re really comfortable and I really like the color a ton.

It seems that knitting a pair of gloves was not enough to procrastinate on the sleeves for my sweater (I guess now it isn’t knitting itself!), so I’ve casted on a pair of socks. It’s the famous (and free) “Owlie Socks” pattern. Here’s my progress so far:

owlie1

These are SO MUCH FUN TO KNIT OMG. I can’t stop knitting these socks, really. They’re going to look wonderful on my feet when I finish them. I needed a size larger than the largest written into the pattern but that really wasn’t difficult to modify at all thanks to the fact that the pattern charts are for exactly half a round (or the instep). I’m also getting some extreme satisfaction from the fact that the stitch pattern matches my stitch markers!

Fingers deserve to be warm

There are so many knitters who hate putting the fingers on gloves that most of the patterns for hand accessories are for mittens and gloves without the fingers. Why do knitters hate knitting fingers and thumbs? I think it’s because of the small number of stitches that have to be knit, usually on DPNs, which causes lots of slipping and sliding. I don’t really understand the science of it, but for some reason, the fewer number of total stitches distributed across three or four DPNs, the more likely the needles are to slip free from the stitches. Knitting small numbers of stitches on DPNs just feels awkward and out of control.

I can’t explain why knitters, even the ones who adore knitting socks, just can’t bring themselves to top off a mitten. Mittens are like socks for hands, really. There are some mitten styles that, as a matter of fact, finish in a similar way to decreasing for a sock toe. Other designs are rounder and still others are more squarish.

I am not the type of knitter who gets annoyed by fingers on gloves or thumbs and tops for mittens. As a matter of fact, I have never in my life knitted a pair of fingerless mittens, or “muffateens” as they were called in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Of course, I have my own special secrets for making the fingers enjoyable to knit. First of all, if I’m using a thicker yarn (like DK or worsted), I know that will mean that my finger stitches will be few, so I use wooden DPNs to minimize sliding and slipping. Or, I just use sock yarn on US size 1 needles. The finger stitches are more numerous which means my DPNs remain stable and I have another joyous day to use my KnitPro Nova DPNs. I love these wonderful sock needles. Their tips are sharp but not too sharp, they are sturdy and strong, and they are inexpensive. Right now I’m knitting myself a pair of gloves with some luxurious Malabrigo Sock yarn in the Persia colorway. I’ve already finished glove #1 and I am fast approaching the little finger for glove #2. Here is visual testimony to how putting the fingers on gloves is not a painful activity at all. It’s even possible to knit them and take a picture of them at the same time:

The photos, above, are of when I was working on glove #1, which I finished on Saturday. Not only do the pictures testify to how easy it is knit fingers on gloves, but also demonstrate that gloves can be tried on as they are created.

Where did I get the pattern? Ann Budd’s The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns. Does everyone need to have this book? I think so. It has basic, “vanilla” patterns for all sorts of accessories, like hats, tams, mittens, gloves, etc. It even has a sweater pattern. All of the patterns are written for various gauges.

My fingers have most definitely not been left out in the cold.