Friday, 16 March 2007

Work gets in the way

I've been having to squeeze the hobbies in around the job the last few days, frustrating but then one does pay for the other (wouldn't it be nice if the hobby paid for itself?)
I did get a bit more stitching done on my March applique block, and also managed to assemble the central panel of my UFO Flowering Vines project. But mainly I finished knitting this handbag from fabric strips. It is a pattern by Astor Tsang of Vancouver which was published in the knitting calendar I am using this year. I cut up three yards of an unwanted quilting fabric into 1-inch strips, using a clever continuous strip method that I saw demo'd at a free workshop in Paducah. It's been really fun to knit as the not-much-liked fabric print turned into a lovely scrunchy mosaic of colours. I found knitting with fabric much more physically laborious than knitting with yarn, there is a lot of friction on the strip and I resorted to knitting with a manual yarn over rather than using my left hand index finger in the continental style which is how I knit yarn. Initially I was worried about the wrong side of the fabric showing on stitches, but it turned out not to make any difference and the colour variations just added to the palette. The finished texture is quite thick and has a sort of scrunchy alive feel to it, but it isn't as stiff as I expected, still relatively flexible. I don't think I would want to wear a garment (say a waistcoat) knitted in it, but it would be good for other bags, or table runners, placemats, carpets, that sort of thing. The workshop I went on said that you can also knit with strips of fleece fabric which is much softer.
The picture on the ironing board shows the finished bag with its integral bottom, knit to the pattern's dimensions. Unfortunately, when I sewed this up last night, I didn't like it at all. It came out very long and skinny, looks a bit like a bag made out of a hairy sock. So now I need to frog it back a few inches and make up a new larger bottom to give it more shape. I think unpicking is going to be a bit of a chore as I sewed up with more fabric strips which are now virtually invisible. against the knitting.
All the components of the Flowering Vines quilt are now completed, I just need to keep assembling, hopefully will get more done on that next day.

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