As part of my stash-busting resolution for 2015, I’ve made a handbag from a couple of leftover pieces of jacketing fabric. I based it loosely on the Madeleine bag on the curiously named Imagine Gnats blog, although I changed the dimensions, proportions, strap, lining, interior pockets, topstitching, you name it. It’s almost finished, I just need to topstitch by hand in green around the top of the bag, to match the other topstitching.
There is still tacking visible in the photo and the bag needs a darn good press. When it’s done I will resist using it because a) I don’t need another bag at present, and b) it’s nice to have something put by for those occasions when you forget a friend’s birthday until the last minute and don’t have time to go shopping. I’ll probably make a few more, I certainly have enough fabric, interfacing, thread, etc. This is the first time I’ve used a magnetic fastener and I found it very straightforward, a lot less fuss than inserting a zip.
Natalie’s on her last legs
I finished the second sleeve of my Natalie sweater last night, so just the neckband to go – and all the sewing up, of course. I’m blocking the front at the moment, because I’d already washed and blocked the back before it occurred to me that it might have been better to knit the neckband first and then block front and back together. Ah well.
I took a photo of the back and front side by side, one with the grease washed out of it and blocked and the other straight off the needles. You can certainly see the difference: beautifully even versus lumpy/bumpy. The blocked piece has grown a little too, so the fabric is drapier.
The Natalie front is pinned out on the carpet because my new interlocking blocking mats have my gansey on them. I dared to wash it for the first time the other day, by hand and very gently. I might risk the washing machine the next time, but after spending over seven months knitting it I didn’t want it to shrink on the first washing. I put a splash of olive oil in the final rinse to help keep the wind- and water-proof properties. Most pundits recommend using mineral oil such as baby oil, but I don’t have any and I’ve always used olive oil for Guernseys. I suppose if you were going to put a jumper away in a drawer for a couple of years it wouldn’t be a good idea as a vegetable oil might turn rancid, but my jumpers get worn regularly all through the year because I’m a cold-blooded soul.
I dry-blocked the gansey under a rug when I’d finished it, so this has been the first time it has had a wetting. I thought I’d take the opportunity to block it as it dries. The sides of the body have had a tendency to pull in and I’m hoping a good blocking will resolve that. I have put my new blocking wires, aka welding rods, to use. It’s going to take about a week to dry at this rate, despite having been squeezed out in towels. Ganseys have a reputation for “turning” rain and sea spray but I can tell you, once they get wet they hold the water as effectively as they resist it when dry. I just pray it doesn’t go mouldy, it’s sleeting as I write and not far above freezing so opening the windows wide is not an option.
The gansey is inside out in the photo below which is why the stitch patterns aren’t very distinct. As you can see, I haven’t yet got around to ruling a grid on all of the individual mats.
I now have a couple of days, at least, before I can finish Natalie, which means I need something else to keep my hands occupied while watching TV of an evening or listening to the radio. I’m planning to knit a few egg cosies for an Easter fundraising effort in support of the Joanna Project, a Leeds-based charity which works with local prostitutes. That should get rid of a bit more of my yarn stash.