So, I finished the Clothespin bag at the very last minute last night with some generous help from my talented roommate whose sewing skills vastly out-strip mine. You can see some pictures of the Clothespin bag in its formative stages hereandhere.
I predicted that I would finish this project with time to spare, but I hadn’t taken into account the time required for finishing. I’m looking forward to the projects coming up since there’s no sewing involved.
The above picture is the completed version with the lining sewn in, the sides crocheted together, and the hanger placed inside. Crocheting the knitted edges together went quite quickly and, in my humble opinion, actually looks better than sewing the edges together on the machine. I also worked a single crochet stitch along the curved edges of the “envelope” (as Debbie Bliss describes it), which I think will give the edges a bit more strength.
With the hanger, I resorted to good old-fashioned elbow grease and a sharp aluminum knitting needle which I used to open up a hole in the fabric and force the hanger hook through. Bliss was (not atypically) maddeningly vague on how exactly to do this part of the finishing.
Sadly, since I live in an apartment, and have no backyard, I don’t have a clothesline from which to hang my new bag. I’ve decided to use it to hold my vast collection of plastic grocery bags awaiting recycling — not a very glamorous use for beautiful handmade bag, but it will look pretty hanging in my utility closet and maybe that will make recycling a happier chore.
At last the knitting is finished, and the finishing begins!
The original pattern calls for the knitted part to be machine-sewn together when the lining is attached, but machine-sewing the lining to the knitted piece and then crocheting the knitted sides together seemed so much easier. Crocheting is so much easier and faster, and allows me to really control the seaming. The navy blue cotton tie you see at the top of the fold marks the center where the hook of the hanger will go through.
My friend Deborah, who is something of an expert seamstress, helped me with the lining and the machine sewing. I must admit, sewing machines still intimidate me a little bit. The fabric is some old calico-style print I bought on sale years ago — so long ago, in fact, that I can’t remember where or when. It matches well with the sage color of the yarn though.
Here’s the bag folded into the proper shape (note the fancy camera angle I learned in my recent “how to photograph knitting” class at Wildfiber in Santa Monica):
And here’s the same bag photograph straight-on (as I would have done it before I took this class):
As soon as the lining is sewn on, I can begin using single crochet (size H hook) to bind the sides together. I have chosen a short, padded wooden hanger to hang the Clothespin Bag from. It should look quite sweet when done.
Here we have the “Clothespin Bag” in progress, from p. 48 of Debbie Bliss’s book The Knitter’s Year. The yarn I’ve chosen is Knit One Crochet Too Cotonade, color 832, “light moss.” It’s a sturdy, worsted-weight 100% cotton with a second, much thinner cotton thread intertwined with the main strand; this intertwining creates a kind of nubby “zig zag” effect that looks great with a simply textured stitch like this one.
By the way — just between you, me and the lamppost — Cotonade is exactly the same yarn as Cascade Luna and Suss Cotton. The latter is absolutely interchangeable with Cotonade; they even use some of the same color names. Off the record, on the QT, and very hush-hush…
The knitted pattern basically alternates between one row of seed stitch and one row of stockinette, so this is great, mindless zen knitting. There’s some minor shaping at the beginning and end of the piece to create the concave edges.
And here’s a close-up:
I’m making great progress and I expect to have this one done with time to spare.