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knitting

After I took my first knitting class last month, I got the yarn and needles home and I realised I’d need some kind of knitting bag to store and transport them in (duh, right?). Could I have used one of my bazillion free Old Navy totes, or another random bag I had around? Of course. Did I see it as an excuse to make a cute bag? Obviously.

Here’s an even more brief How-I-did-it-orial than the last one: I cut two 11 inch squares of fabric (left over from the Kindle case I made my mom for Christmas) and two matching squares of lining. I interfaced just the exterior fabric. The bag is constructed the same way as the body of my messenger bag – sew around three sides, make triangles on the bottom corners to box-y it up, put exterior inside lining and stitch around the top edge (I sandwiched the ends of the handles between the layers with the handles facing down), turn right side out and topstitch. Easy little knitting bag! It’s pretty small, so I don’t know that I’ll be keeping any, like, afghan projects in it, but it’s perfect for a skein or two of yarn and a couple needles.

As for the knitting this bag enabled, I’ve finished my first project!

I’m really proud of them, actually. No wonky or dropped stitches, everything how it’s supposed to be (I think)… just don’t look too closely at how I stitched them up on the side (turns out I hate hand sewing even in knitting!). I think I’ve got a handle on the basic knit and purl stitches, so, now what? I’m interested in upping the skill level a bit (ribbing sounds fun), but nothing so complicated that I have to devote large blocks of time to it. Cowl maybe? Heading into spring, knitting warm things seems a little silly, but I don’t want to lose my newfound skill. Suggestions for my next project?

After my failure in the fall to include any garments in my planning that would actually be practical for me (i.e., knits), I resolved to basically only make knit garments for winter. I’ve been liking tunics and short dresses to wear with leggings this year – comfortable and bike appropriate – and I’ve been trying to increase my stock of them. Here’s my latest addition:

This is the Vogue 1197 tunic, a Sandra Betzina pattern (I’m clearly supposed to know who she is, but I have no idea). I liked the idea of the ruched sleeves, and I’m a sucker for cowls, of course. Something I’m realising, though, is that I need to not make any more straight up and down tunics – I clearly need waist definition, since I basically have no waist and need to create the illusion of one. This tunic as drafted has almost no shape to it at all. I took in at least an inch on each side at the waist, and I probably should take in another inch. So it’s not the most flattering thing in the world. Also, I’m not totally sold on the sleeve design. The pattern pieces are big “J” shapes, and you stretch elastic along the outside (longer) curved edge to create the ruching and turn the sleeves into the right shape for arms. It does funny things to the stripes, but that’s kind of cool. The weird thing is that because of the shape and ruching, it’s pretty impossible to push the sleeves up, which is how I wear basically all of my long sleeve shirts. I only wear sleeves all the way to my wrist if I’m freezing, and sometimes not even then. It’s no fault of the pattern, I suppose, just something I’ve learned about myself – I much prefer to make my own ruching, I guess.

My full pattern review is here.

So the best word I can think of to describe this tunic is “cozy”. The long sleeves and all the extra fabric for the ruching and the giant cowl make it very warm, even in this decidedly midweight jersey (from Girl Charlee – what a great source for cute knit prints! Check it out). It’s been relatively chilly here the past couple days (after the 70+ degree weather we had Friday, when I took the picture, sweating), so the tunic was perfect for riding my bike downtown this morning for this:

Yes, I have succumbed to the sewing-bloggers-who-knit epidemic. As though I needed more things to do in my no-time. A local yarn shop offers a “Knit 101” class every Sunday morning, and today was my first opportunity to attend since I noticed the sign out front advertising the class, oh, say, three months ago. Unfortunately, this will be my last available Sunday for several more months, so I’ll have to go it alone I suppose… The pattern is all purl stitches until the thumb hole, and then I may have to drop by the shop some other time to get help! It’s a lovely place, and so cool to get to learn from an actual person instead of a diagram. I crochet, but I’ve always prefered the look of knitted items (stitch variation, and patterns, and man, cables are so cool!) over the look of crochet so I’ve not made anything with yarn in a couple years. But I’m excited to give yarn another chance in this new form and see what happens! We shall see if my total impatience and slapdash sewing tendencies make this a no-go for me as a hobby…