Wednesday, January 7, 2009

January Bag- Finishing the back

When you finish the last group of rows (3-11) follow the instructions for the shaping rows. Then you do the 3 extensions that will wrap around the handles. The pattern is pretty clear- work the first group of stitches, then bind off 3, then the second group, then bind off 3, then the 3rd group. At this point, you will just work each of the 3 sections, one at a time, and bind them off. The back is done! You work the front the same as the back... so you will need two of these.

Now, a few words about blocking. Remember- I own a quilt shop and I also love to knit. If you talk to someone who owns a yarn shop, and she tells you something different- believe her and not me. I hate to block my knitting, but I see the folly of my ways when I cut corners and don't bother. Knitting is so much more professional-looking when it's blocked. We are going to line this and it will be tricky to sew up the sides and get a neat lining while fighting with curly corners. My back piece in the above picture was flattened out around the edges with a steam iron. Here's my understanding of blocking and steaming. Chime in if you have words of wisdom to offer! Blocking shapes a piece to the exact size you need. If you're making a sweater and you need the sleeve to actually FIT you, you really need to block it. When you block knitting, you wet the piece and pin it to a blocking board that is marked with the outline of the pattern, or with a grid that has size markings on it. As it dries, it ends up in the exact size and shape you need it to be- with no curly edges. With this purse, we are going for shape. I don't care if it's an inch bigger or an inch smaller than yours. All I care is that the front and back are about the same size, and that it looks pretty. So... I took a steam iron and ran it over the corners where it was curly. I DID NOT mash down on it with the iron! I just held the iron really close to the knitted piece and pressed the little steam puff button on my iron and gave it a shot of steam. Then I shaped it with my fingers, gave it another shot of steam, another finger shaping, and back and forth a few times until I was happy with it. I emphasize- this is the "cheater" way to "block" the bag. If you're a purist and you know what you're doing- by all means- you should actually block it. Also note that I am working with a blend that can be washed- if you're working with 100% wool, you don't want to accidentally felt it. Be careful with the steam.

I'm trying to work fast to get this done by next week so you will have the rest of the month to work on it at your own pace. Don't worry if you're not keeping up!


Anonymous said...

Miss Sue I had no idea-you have me surpassed in every way. I still stay at the easy patterns. Happy New Year!

Karen R.

Sue said...

I'm sure YOU surpass ME in many ways, too! The blog is intended to inspire you to create. It doesn't matter what you create, as long as you enjoy the process. Rest assured that the bag projects will vary. Some will be easier and many will be fabric. I just stared with this knitted bag because it caught my eye.

Thanks for the comment, Karen. I'll put your name in the drawing for the free calendar. Happy new year to you, too!