Friday, 20 December 2013
The Knitted Work Bag Fiasco
My friend BG prefers to be surrounded by saucers with dried up blobs of paint and half empty glasses from which she accidentally swigs turpentine. Things do not go wrong in her projects, they just develop in unexpected directions. Mostly toward a distinctively BG style of uncanny beauty.
I prefer to feel organised, but my knitting patterns don't always work out as intended. I struggle to regard such accidents as 'happy'. BG's Christmas present was meant to be a tote bag with a draw string top, to keep her craft stuff safe when she comes round to my house. I have rarely known her go out without at least three bags, all of them inadequate and one near to bursting. The work bag wasn't a bad idea, it just turned out to be one of those projects plagued from first to last.
First, the wool was dyed with weld, a trusty source of bright yellow. Lovely. Then I dabbled in the less predictable alchemy of woad. Overdyeing did not give the deep shade of Lincoln Green I intended. Over optimistic about the amount of woad in the available leaves, I ended up with paler greens and yellows. Well, it still looked ok. Unfortunately, the skeins were hung up to dry next to some other wool dyed with coreopsis. The wind blew them all into a tangle and random orange stains leaked into the green. Bugger.
Knitting a square base seemed like a good start. Making some increases in the middle of the straight edges was supposed to make it more capacious and rounded, but actually came out awkward. Hey ho, too late to frog it, I've still got socks to finish before the festivities. Not to mention purging the fragrance of old dog from the sitting room before guests arrive.
Knitted furiously round and round on a long car journey, the bag came out too short, even though I used up every scrap of dyed wool. Chunky yarn on 4.5mm needles does give a good firm fabric, only less of it than I expected.
The final straw - I found the drawstring wouldn't close the top properly. That firm fabric does not scrunch up much. Right - to the washing machine. Time for the old 'Reshape while damp'.
Like Alexander Fleming's laboratory assistant, peering at the mould killing off the bacterial colony in his petri dish, I think the result could be A Good Thing After All.
I shall present BG with the last word in needlefelter storage baskets for bits of fleece and scrap yarn. At least she can see what is in it without emptying the lot onto the floor. It will be called 'Who Left the Lid Off?'
The pattern can stay on the back of an envelope. If I manage not to lose it, this trial and error might come in handy for some future design.
In the meantime, it makes a homely nest for a needlefelted bird.