Saturday, November 24, 2007

Can't get better than this.

Sitting here listening to Van Morrison working on a new bag. Don’t get much better than that, does it?

Have you ever heard of a Miser Bag? It was popular from the sort of mid-1800’s to the early 20th century and is something that has always intrigued me. I have sketches of it early on in my design sketch book. Here’s a picture of a 1920’s
pattern for one – see the extensive pattern instructions! I think it’s the mechanics that intrigues me. As you can see, the bag parts are on each end with a middle part with an opening to access its contents. There are rings that can be slid one way or the other to get at the contents or each can be slipped out to the opposite ends to keep everything in and safe.

At the little presentation about Civil War-era purses, the presenter talked about
the fact that these were great because they could just be hung over a belt to be carried and then be right to hand when needed (they were used by men at one time as well). She also mentioned something I had never noticed before – the 2 ends are made differently. One end is rounded and the other end is sewn flat. The reason for this is that the user would keep their gold coins in one end and their silver coins in the other end and would know what end to go into just by feel, taking the guess work out of the process.

I’ve finally started experimenting with a rather traditional patterning – here’s what I’ve got so far. It’s a smallish version but I think it’s really pretty with the green thread and the transparent grey seed beads. The beads are transparent enough to pick up the green of the tread and really complement it.

I’m thinking that you could really update the look with some cool ring beads in the middle and an interesting handle. The sample above doesn’t show a handle but I have seen examples with a sort of bracelet handle that I think could be made really modern. It’ll be interesting to see where it can go.

Skrå-trøyer update: Well, I have done absolutely nothing that I’d hoped to get done
this week, mostly because I became obsessed with my Skrå-trøyer sweater. Here are a couple of photos that show that I’ve got the body worked all the way to the half gussets at the armhole shaping. The second photo shows the side panel and how it splits to work in the half gusset. The body is worked in the round and then at the point where I am now, I have to start working flat. I’ll have to be careful with my gauge because changing from circular knitting to flat knitting will produce a different gauge, especially since I’m working 2 different weights of yarn. I’m just making some adjustments now and I took today off from working on it to give my hands a break – one can only work for so long with US size 1 needles and worsted weight wool! I’ll get kicked back in tomorrow once I’ve finished my little Miser Bag. I certainly feel that I’m a good half way through although I still have to do the sleeves and they can be a little tricky with the way they’re made. But I’ve got a lot done and I think I’m not going to be too far off my goal of finishing it by the end of the year.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

We've been getting very spoiled here in Central Illinois with temperatures as late as day before yesterday at 70 degrees. But it did finally decide to cool off in time for the holiday so it's a very autumn day as I watch the local squirrel jump round my patio in search of the plants I rescued into the house. If you've followed the squirrel saga, he did discover how to move a few of the rocks in the herb pot but he didn't manage to do too much damage.

I've almost finished my little beaded clutch experiment. The body was quite easy as it was just round and round with the beads being slipped on each half of the double crochet stitches. It was interesting to see that each half of the stitch twisted the beads in a different direction. I don't know that you can really see it on the pictures below but in person it created a sort of chevron pattern.

I was a bit stumped on the flap because I would have to work it flat. When you're crocheting with beads in this style, the beads present to the side away from you which is fine when you're going in a circle but wouldn't work working back and forth. It was already getting a bit heavy since there were so many beads in the body of the bag. My solution was to work the flap without any beads. The pearl cotton is quite heavily mercerized so has a bit of a sheen on it so I thought this little shell stitch would compliment the beaded body. I didn't quite work the flap wide enough so I decided to do a couple of rows of the shell stitch on the outside border of the flap and then finish it up with a row of single crochet with the beads along the outside. I'm really very pleased with how it ended up. I just need to do the lining which I'll have to do with some heavy facing to give the body some...well, body! It wouldn't do to have it flapping about, would it!!

It's pretty small - only 5" wide by 4" tall but I really like it. As with others bags, I'm not sure what I'll do with it but I'm enjoying it. Maybe that's enough.

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday.