Tuesday, April 8, 2008

FO: crabby drawstring bag

When I finish a big chunk of the blanket, I get to do an immediate gratification project. I joined the Knit, Read, Cook group on Ravelry, which has a monthly knitalong, readlong, and cookalong. This is the first "-along" I've done. The knitalong this months is a drawstring bag, free pattern by Janet D Russell.

I used Dream in Color Classy; color is Some Summer Sky (they have the best color names!). There was 29grams leftover from making toe socks for my mother in law, which ended up being just about right for a little bag.

Then, I wanted to make the bag a bit fancier, because it's plain stockinette. Since I've overdosed on cables and lace recently, I thought a knit-purl pattern might be nice, sort of in homage to all the dishcloths with cutesy knit-purl pictures that people seem to be knitting these days.

One of my favorite sites is Antique Pattern Library, which has old needlework books now out of copyright, scanned in and available to all for free. It's truly amazing what ladies were expected to know how to do, like knit, crochet (and there's several types of this), sew, embroider, tat, make lace (pillow and point and whatever other types there are), and all sorts of other needle arts that I've never seen in real life. The pictures and patterns are simply wonderful! Here are a few that caught my attention, as I paged through for a nice pattern to add to the bag.

A cute knit silk tunic, from
Lessons in Crochet Book No 9, by Corticelli Silk Mills, 1920. From what I can tell, Corticelli published a whole series of crochet and knitting pattern books, as marketing for Corticelli yarns. This tunic is so 1920 but still hip! If I had long legs I'd totally make this today.

There are a lot of lace patterns, and it was just ridiculous how sparse the instructions were. For this super fancy thing, the instructions are,
"Materials: Braid; Messrs. Walter Evans and Co.'s Mecklenburg thread No. 16 or 24, according to the fineness required. This lappet is exceedingly pretty. It is composed of the following stitches--point d'Alencon, point de tulle, English rosettes, Sorrento bars, d'Alencon bars, dotted Venise bars, and the fancy stitch point d'Anvers, which is not a true point lace stitch, but which is much employed in modern point." Isn't that completely ridiculous? This was from a huge book from 1870 by Isabella Beeton, whose title says it all: Beeton’s Book of Needlework Consisting of Descriptions and Instructions, Illustrated by Six Hundred Engravings, of Tatting Patterns, Crochet Patterns, Knitting Patterns, Netting Patterns, Embroidery Patterns, Point Lace Patterns, Guipure D’Art, Berlin Work, Monograms, Initials and Names, Pillow Lace, and Lace Stitches.

After some rooting around, I realized that filet crochet, which is done in a grid, was probably the best bet for something easily translatable into a knitted pattern. There's a motherlode of filet patterns in
Albums de Travaux de Cousine Claire, which is by--you guessed it--Cousine Claire. It's all in French, circa 1905, and is chock full of samples of greek/roman gods, little animals, etc. There aren't any instructions, because the pictures are clear enough to just copy. After seeing all the little greek/roman gods, I almost quit the bag to make a bunch of coasters/dishcloths with them.

Then I found these little critters.
Since I have no need for a knitted bag, and was going to make it to hold my nail polish, I thought the crab would be appropriate (y'know, all those legs). So I just purled on the stitches that are filled in on the filet pattern.

Unfortunately, the crab didn't turn out very clearly. This is the best I could get, and if you squint really hard, it looks like the picture. Otherwise it's all sort of muddled. I considered frogging, then decided that if I didn't like it, I can just look at the other side.

Like this:

I used up all of the yarn--I ran out a bit early so the bag is a few rows shorter than the pattern. I also used a braided cord/ribbon instead of making an I-cord. I had bought it to use as straps on my wedding dress, but after I realized it wasn't the right shade of white (brides are crazy), it has languished in the sewing notions stash. So 2 stashes got busted today--woohoo!

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