Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's In the Bag

A little while ago, I was asked if I would be willing to test knit a pattern by Heather Desserud, the woman who designed both the Ruba-iyat and Lilac Mittens. I've knit both those patterns and I'm a big fan of her designs. Well, this past week, Heather sent me the test pattern and, after waiting for my yarn to arrive, I've jumped right in.

I LOVE these mittens! I love this yarn! I've never knit with any kind of Knit Picks yarn, but I have to say, I love it! This is KP Palette fingering weight yarn, 100% Peruvian wool and I'm knitting the mittens on 2.25 mm double pointed needles (5 of them). The price of this yarn is just right ($1.99-$2.19 USD/50 gram ball) and the choice of colours is amazing!

In the pattern, Heather explains that the inspiration for these mittens came primarily from an Art Nouveau painter, Alphonse Mucha. Given that information, I went online to search for Art Nouveau colour palettes; that search led me to this website. Given the colours on that page, I chose six colours of Palette yarn and ordered one ball of each, enough to make three pairs of mittens. I didn't make my final decision until Heather sent me the pattern, and once I had it in hand, I chose the two colours you see above, Sweet Potato and Masala. I'm really liking the tone on tone and I'm really enjoying working with this pattern and this yarn. I will definitely be using more of this yarn in the future!

I do believe that Heather will be offering this pattern, "La Joie du Printemps" (the joy of spring), for sale once the test knitting's done and the pattern is finalized. If you're interested in seeing more of Heather's work, you can find her on Ravelry as strikkehedda. I have a feeling that the knitting world will be seeing more of her work.

Did you notice the bag that the mitten is resting on/beside? One of the girls in our Sit & Stitch group has a really neat bag and, from the first time she showed it to us, I've been trying to figure out how it was made. What stumped us was the fact that, apart from the zipper, there were only two seams, and yet the bag was triangular.

Well, last week I figured it out! I was watching a cooking show on PBS, an Italian cooking show, and the woman was making some kind of dumpling. Just the way she cut the rope of dough made me realize how this bag was constructed!

Now, I don't know the average age of those of you who read this blog, but the way this bag is constructed is the same way restaurant creamers were made before they came out with the little plastic cups. Basically, the bag is a tube. The bottom seam is sewn at right angles across the zipper (does that make sense?) and the second seam is sewn in line with the zipper, with the handle sewn into the seam. Simple!!

I put this sample together in about 15 minutes, from start to finish. The entire bag cost me next to nothing; the zipper alone cost me a whopping 13 cents! Both the zipper and the fabric were purchased at the thrift store near work.

There are a few things I would do differently next time I make this bag. First, the fabric I've used is one that frays... badly! Everything is sewn, zigzagged and reinforced, but it's definitely not the right fabric for a bag like this. As well, I didn't put the zipper in correctly and I may just go back and sew the zipper down better. The other thing I would do differently is to move the handle down a bit in the seam. Where it is right now, I'm finding it interferes with the zipper a little. Considering that this is just a trial, though, I'm pretty happy with it and it makes a great carry along for a small project. I can see making these as gift bags at some point; they're somewhat unique and definitely interesting!

Incidentally, along with the yarn from Knit Picks, I also took advantage of their book sale and picked up a couple more books. One of them is Susanna Lewis' "Knitting Lace". In Episode #13 of the podcast, which is now out there (you can listen to it on the embedded player in the sidebar), I've reviewed the book. I'm glad I have that book; I'm very pleased that Schoolhouse Press decided to reprint it.

Oh, before I forget completely, the results of the biopsy came back this week; the original diagnosis has been confirmed and there are no abnormal or cancerous cells. That's excellent news, and wasn't unexpected. The condition I have is easily treated with steroid cream. Thank you all for your kind thoughts!

Now, it's on with our day; John and I have some shopping and other errands to attend to today. And there's knitting to do!

P.S. I almost forgot! I wanted to share a link with you. This was an article in the Vancouver Province (newspaper)... "Five Easy Steps in Getting to Know Those Who Live Here". It made me chuckle and I thought you might enjoy it, too.


  1. I agree with you, the mitten is gorgeous and the colors you chose are wonderful.

    I'm a huge fan of all things KnitPicks. I've used a few of their yarns and never been disappointed. I have both their Harmony and Options interchangeable sets, and can't even imagine how I got along without them as long as I did. And their prices are always right on.

    I'm glad you were chosen to test knit the mittens. You are very skilled and do well for the designer.

    The bag is amazing. How fantastic that you were able to figure it out so quickly. Totally unique too. :)

  2. LOVE the Province link!! Too funny!

  3. I made a bag like that once out of quilting fabric scraps - must have given it away because I don't have it any more. It would be a good knitting bag for small projects though, maybe with a handle that Velcros shut so you can hang it from a belt.