PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Doctor, Doctor, Gimme The News, I Got A Bag Here To Show All Of Yous!

Doctor's Bag

Wow. This was a fair amount of work, I have to say. So I'm going to pepper this post with pictures, dammit! This is the Doctor's Bag, from "Knit 2 Together: Patterns and Stories for Serious Knitting".

Side Shot

I finished the pieces for this bag.... last winter. (Very early '07.) And they sat patiently waiting for me to get the finishing done. Mostly I dreaded doing the lining. But then last summer, I got motivated and bought the purse handles, the bamboo rods, and the lining. And they also sat and waited, several months, until I finally carpe diemed the damn thing. I have spent most of my evenings this past week working on this - blocking on Saturday; Sunday was for cutting out the lining & doing the seaming, which then was finished on Monday. Tuesday was for binding in the rods and sewing the lining, and last night was attaching the lining, along with the interfaced piece to the bottom, and hand stitching it all into place.

The lining is an Asian-influenced satin brocade:
Closeup of Lining
It was a challenge to get the detail without a flash, and with the flash, because it's so shiny, it obscures some of the detail. I have marked the portion of fabric on the Flickr photo to show which part is the most representative. I ended up not putting pockets on the lengthwise pieces of the bags, but instead cut duplicate pieces of the end pieces, folded down one for each side, hemmed it, and sewed them both in to the lining. (In other words, the pockets are at either end of the bag, where the short knitted pieces are.)

The fabric base is a very rich, deep fuchsia:
Another View of Lining

Notes on the bag, overall: I used 3+ skeins of Mountain Colors "Twizzle", in a bright turquoise-blue (variegated). If you choose to use a yarn that has variegation? The herringbone pattern will be more muted. So keep that in mind if you want the pattern more pronounced. If I were doing it all over again, I probably would have chosen a solid, but I'm not doing it again, and I love the color so much it makes up for any detail obfuscation! My only quibble with the pattern was that in seaming, you pick up stitches all along the edges, for both pieces, and then do a three-needle bind-off - but the stitch count was smaller than the actual stitches used to create the piece, so I had to re-do the stitching several times to get the correct number of stitches and have them all evenly spaced. If you're going to make this bag, save yourself some of this headache and mark the pieces at the halfway point (or more) and divide the stitches accordingly. That way you don't get to the end only to discover you can only put three more stitches on and it looks wonky. And, I only used one layer of heavy-duty interfacing to stabilize the bottom - it might be worth using really sturdy cardboard or chipboard, or multiple layers of the interfacing to really attain that crisp, rigid bottom.

The sides do not naturally fold in for the satchel tote look. That is completely photo styling on my part. It looks more like the project and it looks way more tailored when you do it, but know that those sides don't do it normally. I think a really dedicated person could attach a purse frame inside the lining, or you could even do snaps, which I toyed with for about half a second, and then decided that it really didn't matter that much to me. You may decide it is, knowing this info!

All-in-all, I have to say that the time spent was worth it - the bag is very classy & classic looking, and will be a great knitting bag. I even have a sore thumb, because in hand-stitching the lining in last night, I stabbed myself at the base of my thumbnail, which is really not a good place to jab a needle, if you're truly interested in all the advice I have to offer on this project. I can assure you it hurts far more than say, a fingertip. We may get indignant here at Passion Knit, but we also love to help and share wisdom.

One more shot of the bag, for I do indeed love it!

Doctor's Bag


posted by PlazaJen, 12:11 PM