Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Travelin' Bag

I had a hankerin' to knit this carpet bag as a carryon and managed to eke it out just in time. The knitting was done and overwith some time ago, but motivating to get the fabric, purse form, and handles, then felt, line, blah blah blah... Needless to say, this FO was a freaking process to finish, but the end result was worth it!

First, let's take the knitting. Hated it. Okay, maybe hate is a bit too strong a word. But it's pretty damn close. I knitted this double stranded with Cascade 220. Endless colors. Nice big hanks. Eminently feltable. But so not fun for my wussy, thenthitive skin. My hands find it scratchy, and double stranded it's a sticky as...as...(suddenly all that come to mind are pervy thoughts)...er, make that grippy. And hooo boy, is this pattern boooooorrrring. A zillion stitches round and round in stockinette with scratchy yarn that grips to the sticks like velcro. That was for the medium size, too! My hats off to those who've taken on the rather huge one, that would've sent me screaming to the hills.

Brief mod note: Once I did the bottom panel, I wasn't real keen on the skinny rows. To plump them up for the sides, I did twice as many rows in half as many sections.

Second, let's take the needles. I was very excited to try the KnitPicks Options and made this the inaugural project. But I must side with the minority here and say I was less than impressed. Yes, they're cheap. Yes, the cable bends it like Beckham. Yes, the tips are fabulously pointy. But I found them heavy, hard on the wrists, with a finish that was smooth but not nearly as slick as Addis. Some think they're the greatest thing since superwash, but they just weren't for me. So I swapped them away and hopefully they've found a happier life with trillian.

Third, let's take the felting. I've done one felted bag with no problems. Wish I could say the same for this one. Maybe it was the Eco vs. the 220. Maybe it was the lighter colors vs. the darker colors. Maybe it was the single strand vs. the double strand. Whatever the reason, this thing shed like a freaking mofo. Through one zippered pillowcase. Then two. Then three. Yes, tripled up and there were still fibers fibers everywhere! Finally I gave up and just kept it in the one and used a strainer to fish out the rest. Or what I hoped was the rest. Crossing my fingers there's not a little wool snarf shacking up in the tube, waiting to haunt me later. All in all, it took about 4-5 cycles to felt the stitch definition away.

Patiently waiting to board at CDG, filled with all my bright shiny distractions - sock yarn, iPod, book, caramel apple lollipops, camera...

Once all that was done, I procrastinated. Then I procrastinated some more. Then it was Thanksgiving and I realized I had to get off my ass and head over to Joann's, where I found this lovely clearance fabric inspired by my people, plastic canvas to sturdy up the sides and bottom, and stitch witchery because I truly suck at sewing.

I sewed on the leftover flowers from my other Noni bag, then the plastic canvas, whipstitching the entire border of the bottom and the four corners on the two sides. Then I spent a decade fitting, measuring, pinning, refitting, remeasuring, and repinning the fabric for the lining in a seemingly endless cycle of hell before it was finally ready to iron on. Once that was done, I spent another hell cycle making the flaps for the handles - which by the way I cut off of a freebie giveaway bag, Bezzie, aren't you proud?

Then I put it away for a day to try and dissipate the grumbly mumblies (can't have the bad vibes when it graduates to FO status!). Trotted it back out, fused down the handle flaps, sewed just bit up at the top by the handle rings for reinforcement, and finally, the behemouth was done! I pranced about the living room with it flung over my shoulder to the admiration and awe of all. Well, of Hubster.

Final thoughts: This bag was a total PITA from CO to the very end, but I so dig the finished product! It worked perfectly as a carryon - roomy enough to hold a boatload of distractions but compact enough to fit under the seat. Much as I love how this turned out, however, I'll be avoiding any double-stranded or felted projects for a while.

Noni Carpet Bag
Yarn: Cascade 220 in #8555 and #4002
Needle: KnitPicks Options 11, 24"

Size: Medium
Mods: Doubled up the number of rows for nice fat stripes
Lesson learned: Dark yarn sheds like a mofo, have a strainer handy!


Blogger Bezzie said...

Ha ha! NOW I can comment!

I love, love, love this! I'd make one myself but I hate lining bags!

5:09 PM  
Blogger Sssarahevt said...

Holy crap that bag kicks a**!!!! You rock! You are my felted bag guru! Sweet!
Boy, and all I came for was your christmas questionaire! Bonus!

7:03 PM  
Blogger Batty said...

Very pretty bag, and I love the lining.

3:41 PM  

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