Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Dozen Bags- Cable Ready Bag

For those of you who have been long-time readers of my blog, you may remember my "Dozen Bags" project. In January of 2009, I started a bag a month that would utilize a free pattern- either my own or one found somewhere on the internet. The bags would be quilted, knitted, or whatever. Well... I think I got up to 4 bags and then life happened. This has been a crazy year for me. I got behind and the project pretty much got put on hold. Well-- I'm going to pick it back up here. I am not on track for a bag a month- that ship has sailed. But I'll keep going until I do 12 bags. I'd love to sprint to the finish and get them all done in 2009, but I'm not sure that will happen. We'll see.

I made this bag when we took our drive from Oregon to NJ and back. I got a LOT of knitting done on that trip! (You'll see it all in future posts). My greatest love is quilting, but knitting makes a great travel hobby.

This bag is a free download on the Lion Brand Yarn website. They have tons of great patterns on their site for knitting and crochet. This one is called the Cable Ready Bag. You need a really chunky yarn. It calls for Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick. I made it with the same colors called for in the sample they have. You could certainly make it in one solid color, as well. It's a great project for learning to do cables because the yarn and needles are so big- easy to see what you are doing.
I have a few tips for you if you plan to make this bag. The patterns is written pretty well, but there were 2 spots that made me think a little. When you have completed the front and back of the bag (which are identical), the pattern tells you to sew the sides and bottom. But it doesn't tell you how far up the side to sew. If you sew all the way up, you won't be able to get anything into the bag. So I went up to the last color change, or about 3/4 of the way up from the bottom.
When you're at the top and ready to deal with the handles, it's really very easy, although the pattern was a little confusing. It's just a matter of taking the crochet hook over the top and grabbing the next stitch off the knitting needle, then going inside the hoop (under) and grabbing the yard from underneath for the next stitch. This wraps the yarn around the handle.
You'll eventually get all the stitches off the knitting needle and then you continue on to wrap the handle. I have 2 pieces of advice here. First, count your stitches so you put the same number on both handles. Second- cram as many stitches in here as you possibly can. I think I did 150 on each handle. Really, really stuff them in there. When you think you're done-- keep going. I mean it- I stuffed and stuffed. Now that I've been carrying the bag for a while, they are loosening up and I'm so glad I wrapped it so tightly.

You can get the handles at most craft shops. The size called for in the pattern is perfect.

I have not lined mine yet, but I need to. My nail file and pens keep making their way through the knitting. If you like to knit bags but don't like lining them, a tip here is to make a drawstring pouch for the little stuff. Your wallet and paper items can go in an unlined bag just fine, and all the little stuff can go in the little drawstring bag. This also makes it easier to change bags AND to find things in your bag.

If you're new to knitting cables, it's surprisingly easy. There are lots of tutorials online. Here's just one of many. I'm sure you could find a video tutorial on you- tube. Basically, you knit a few stitches, then put a few stitches on a holder or double point needle and hold them either in the front or back of your work. Then you knit the next few stitches. Finally, you knit the stitches off the holder. You are holding a few stitches off the work and then adding them back in. It crosses them over. If you see it done once, the patterns are usually pretty easy to follow.

Have fun with this bag. I have a few more in process- we'll eventually make it to 12! For those of you looking for the ones I did earlier in the year, look over to the right side of the blog and click on "A Dozen Bags" on the list of labels.


Melinda said...

Nice bag - I really want to make one of these. I am looking forward to your next bag.

Jocelyn said...

It looks very lovely. I love seeing things like this made up.

fabricartist21 said...

You have so much in your blog and I haven't blogged for a while that I got lost in all of your stories but my favorite was about the animals and their pics. Soooo cute. I do knit and that looks like a neat bag. I am making dish rags. Boy are they nice to use. I love them.

Sue said...

I've never made dish rags because it looked like too much trouble to make something you would just get grungy. But several people recently have told me how nice they are to use. I really do have to try making some. What kind of yarn do you like to use?