Sunday, June 22, 2008

Worldwide Knit in Public Day and the Celtic Tote

Last Saturday was Worldwide Knit In Public day, and to celebrate, our group went to an event planned by a few LYS's: A Stitch in Time, The Local Needle, and Fran's Knitting Boutique.

It was a great time. There were at least 35-sih people. I got to meet some new people and see some faces I hadn't seen in a while.

Unfortunately I had camnesia (and only took a few very poor shots) and didn't do nearly enough mingling, because I was too busy working on Arrgyle socks for Nerdy Husband.

Just in time for Knit in Public day, I finished my Celtic Tote.

Celtic Tote Completed

Pattern: Celtic Tote, Interweave Knits
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Worsted in Wild Oak (embroidery in Sable)

I was such a good little knitter, I not only made a swatch, I made an extensive one to make sure I liked the decreases and increases, and to practice needle felting on the embroidery.

Celtic Tote swatches

And I even felted the swatches (no pictures of that, you'll have to trust me).

Here's the completed bag before felting.

Celtic Tote-PreFelted

I used half a skein of Sable to do the embroidery, (thanks Brenda) and needle felted the yarn down. Instead of using a brush to support it while needlefelting, I used a pillow form. When I tried using the brush on my swatch, it caught on the fuzzier fibers and made a huge mess. See, those swatch things are useful.

The mesh in the bottom wasn't really that wonky, that's just how it was hanging.

And then I felted it.

Celtic Tote-Post Felting

Somehow, during that felting, the mesh in the enclosed pouch managed to double itself over. And the bag overfelted a little, so the pouch was too small for the mesh. It was a pain to work it out.

When I finally got the mesh as flat as I could, it was clear that the mesh and the bottom of the bag were bent. Since the only way I could get it out would be to cut the purse, and that didn't appeal to me, I had to find a way to straighten it.

What I came up with was a bit strange, even for me.

Celtic Tote-Blocking

Behold the Leaning Tower of Totebag.

I figured that I needed to put weight on the bottom of the purse to flatten out the bottom, but didn't want to put weight on the handles, but still wanted them to dry in a sort of natural position. So I hung the purse on a doorknob and got enough random things to reach from the floor to the bottom of the purse (a bucket, our new phonebook still in the plastic bag, and the box from our Wii Fit). Then I raided our pantry for cans (for weight) and plastic bags (for shape), and stuffed it to the shape I wanted.

I then turned down our dehumidifier, said a prayer to the Fiber Gods, and went to bed.

It worked out reasonably well, with the exception that the bottom didn't really dry well, not being exposed to air and all. Putting a towel under the purse would have helped, but the inside would have still been wet. The basic shape of the bag was right after drying in the tower overnight, so I stuck it on a hanger and let it dry naturally, turning it inside out a few times a day.

The other problem was the fuzz. It took over the purse, and then became aggressive. Some of it tried to escape in the form of pills that came completely off the purse while felting.

Celtic Tote-Fuzz

Some of it even tried to eat me.

Celtic Tote Fuzz

This is probably what happened to Cousin It and Chewbacca.

I had limited time to find a sweater stone before WW KIP day, and the best I could come up with was one of those shavers. It had absolutely no effect on the swatch (handy little thing) and I think I killed the motor trying.

The purse was still wet and fuzzy and unlined when I went to the event, but I was happy as anything it was there.

It's not quite as fuzzy as it seems in the closeups, but it's close.

A few days after the event, I stayed up till 11:30 lining it.

Celtic Tote Lining

It brought back memories of sewing with my mom, who always seemed to be sewing late at night. It makes sense; with several munchkins running around and a full time job, she had her hands quite full. That woman taught me a lot about balance.

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