Saturday, December 1, 2007

December WIP updates

It takes me far too long to get around to actually posting all the things I've been thinking about, knitting, and doing.

So, here is a WIP update:
  • Stag Bag
My stag bag is coming along quite nicely, and I'm proud to say I'm even adjusting the knit to be more what I'd like! The original pattern makes a flat tote like bag with a distinct front and back. The front has a picture of a stag in the woods surrounded by a chevron design, and the back has some pattern on it. Were I a more experienced knitter, I could describe the back to you just from reading the pattern....nope, not me. It being the back of a bag, people don't have many pictures of it, so I'm not sure what it looks like.

The most common complaint I've read about this project is that the bag ends up really really large. It seems almost carpet bag-esque in proportions, something I know I didn't guess from the pictures of the bag-with-girl with the pattern. As I was knitting the side chevrons, I realized (like many other people) that the size of just the stag portion was closer to what I'd want the finished purse to be like. I did, however, love the look of the side chevrons. So! I came up with an ingenious plan....the bag, rather than being shaped like a common tote bag (as a big tube) is going to have a front, a back, and sides - like a grocery bag! I tend to stuff my purses pretty full, so this should also make it easier for the bag to hold things without getting too lumpy.

So, I finished the front and two sides and I realized that maybe this bag, as designed, wasn't the best idea for see, I am a clumsy person. I will regularly put my current purse (which, like most purses, does have a 'back' and a 'front') on backwards. If I did that with this bag, it would be much less impressive. How could I solve this problem? Simple! Don't have a front and a back! I decided that, despite the extra work it'd take, it would be worth knitting up another stag pattern for the back. Since the pattern, particularly in my color choices, reminds me almost of a stained glass, I decided to reverse the pattern for the 'back'. This means that, while both sides have a deer, you could also see the designs as the 'front' and 'back' of the same deer - on the front it's looking to the right, on the back it's looking to the left. (If this doesn't make sense, imagine that you could put a 3D stag between the front and back of the bag, and it wouldn't have to flip around.)

I'm now in the position where I have my front and back stag portions, one of them attached to my two chevron sides. Still to go are attaching all the pieces, knitting the bottom, figuring out the straps, and choosing/sewing a lining. I've been delaying seeming the sides because I realized my chevron sides will be unbalanced - there are already two rows of knitted CC before the MC chevron design and after the MC chevron design. This means that, to use any yarn to attach the side to the back will add a third row of CC on one side, making the entire side asymmetrical. Since both sides will be asymmetrical in the same place it won't negatively effect the shape of the bag, just the look.

I'll admit I'm also nervous about the seaming because the seam is going to be in such a prominent place, and I don't have much (if any) experience in attaching the BO edge to a side edge. the handy little KnitSpeak book I got out from the library has some directions that should help, but I'll admit I'm still a little nervous, partly because this is my most impressive project yet, and one that will (hopefully) be getting a lot of wear. I figure if I mess up terribly, I can always knit a whole bunch of icord and go over all the seems in the end, like piping.

The other thing I'm trying to figure out is how I want to deal with the straps. I have never used bags with small straps - if the bag isn't easily accessible while still on my arm, I'm not interested. I've rarely used bags that don't have adjustable straps. This poses a problem, as most bag handles you can buy for knitted goods are neither long nor adjustable. What I'm thinking of doing is knitting a strap - because the chevron pattern is now the 'side' of my bag, I think I should be able to continue it up the length of the strap and down the other side to continue the look. I know there's no way a knitted strap would be strong enough on its own, but I was thinking I could knit a 'tube' (with the chevron on the 'right' side and solid MC on the 'wrong' side) and I was thinking I could then fill the tube with a strip of pleather or some other sturdy material. That way the bag could still have aesthetic continuity, but the structural integrity wouldn't be sacrificed.

Along those lines, (hah! joke!) I still need to figure out what I want to line the bag with. I think if I found a nicely patterned fabric, that'd probably be my first choice, but I haven't seen anything in the right colors. I don't like the main color enough on its own (it's a light brown) to want to line the bag in that, but I worry the contrasting color (a dark blue) would make the contents of the bag too difficult to see. I'm also a little concerned about the teeny tiny detail that I've never successfully used a sewing machine in my life....well we've all got to learn someday, right?

No comments: