Felted Floral Bag, Knitting magazine issue 78

First sketches for the felted bag

I don’t just like designing bags, I LOVE designing bags. Even as a child I was fascinated by the various bags and accessories in my mum’s wardrobe, and as a God-fearing Bajan woman my mum went to church twice every Sunday elegantly turned out in a fab outfit finished off with a killer hat and co-ordinating bag. Now as an adult I’m not one of those shoe obsessed women, I’m proud to say that I’m a bag lady.

This bag is knitted using my felted bag yarn of choice, Jamieson & Smith’s 2ply Jumperweight. Like the Gladstone Bag I designed for The Knitter, I’ve used the yarn doubled to make it DK. The large scale florals are worked using the intarsia technique with bullion knots and beads worked at the centre of each flower and the swirling foliage Swiss darned into the background  after knitting. Felting not only tightens up the fabric to make the bag more substantial and less likely to sag when used but also blurs the colours slightly, almost like taking down the colour setting on the TV, ( does that make sense?).

In terms of difficulty if you haven’t tried intarsia before  this probably shouldn’t be your first project as there are lots of colour changes and therefore ends to deal with at the flower centres. If you have knitted intarsie before it’s a really enjoyable project to do, just enough changes to make it interesting with all the flowers placed to the right of the bag and then a contrast of a plain background to knit in stocking stitch. I thought the dark colour of the background would be too ‘heavy’ against the bright flowers so it’s broken up with curls of Swiss darning. The beads and bullion knots are added after felting, you could add a lot more knots, use  much bigger beads or even small buttons at the centres.

Although I tend not to line my bags I have lined this one and finished it off with a curved bamboo handle from Bags of Handles.

Detail of embroidered floral centre
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Back from the smoke and goodbye duppdupp

Well fresh ( ok not exactly fresh, we got back late on Sunday ) from the smoke Summer’s finally hit Edinburgh and though it’s not like Summer in the south east where you can expect to see the sun for a whole day, it’s  warm and although we may not get the full on heat of cities like London  up here the air is clear. So I’ve finally brought an end to my duppdupp online shop. Please don’t place orders through the site as I don’t have any stock left. The site will be removed on the 1st of July. If you’re a Boye needle lover and worried about getting withdrawal symptons keep checking back as there will be some good news about where to get them in the next few weeks.

I’ve got some very interesting projects coming up that need my full attention and so duppdupp.com had to go. I’m planning to continue making the lovely needlecases and in fact that’s what I’m doing today, working on an order of 4 cases, 3 down, 1 to go and then it’s down to getting through the list of ‘to dos’ that has to be checked off before we get away to Provence on hols. Wahey!

Down in the smoke part 2

I’d forgotten what it was like to commute in London. I did it a lot in my younger days, either travelling in on the train and tube or at its worst getting up at 5.30am leaving my house at 6.30am and then driving to High Wycombe for 9.00am and THEN starting work. When you’re in the midst of it it’s just a necessary eveil but it’s not until you come out of it – in my case moving to Scotland – that you think ‘did I reallydo that everyday?!’

Anyway I had a little trip down commuting memory lane on Friday as Sam had a job in Westminster and it was my job to get him and all the equipment there safely and on time. The down side however was sitting and waiting around all day for the job to finish and then get him home again. Bored doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt, yes I know I could have taken work, in fact I did, but you know when you’d just rather be somewhere else? Anywhere else?

I did however manage to escape for a couple of hours and wandered off to Oxford Street. A quick visit to John Lewis, not what it used to be. Why is yarn & haberdashery on the 4th floor next to toys? I nearly lost the will to live by the time I got up there, then it was off to Liberty always worth the effort with it’s weird layout it reminded me of Jenners and the instore displays are beautifully stylish with a wonderful sense of fun.

The highlight of my  wee dander though was a visit to MacCulloch and Wallis on Dering Street. If you haven’t been you must. It hasn’t changed a bit in all the time I’ve known it. Spread over 3 floors it has everything a nimble fingered crafter could need and it makes a fab change from the more slick and polished haberdashery departments. I could have spent a lot of money but I had to keep in mind the de cluttering we’re supposed to be doing at the moment so all I came away with was some velvet ribbon to finish off a design I’ve just done for The Knitter

but lots and lots of ideas for future designs.

Down in the smoke

I have posted for a while and it’s not because I’ve been idle – anything but! We’re in the Big Smoke having travelled down from Edinburgh at the crack of dawn on Wednesday morning, and I mean the crack of dawn. The early morning start and 7 hour drive were definitely worth it though as it meant that we got to High Wycombe for lunchtime where we had lunch with my lovely friend Fie who runs the most innovative and exciting knitted textiles course in the country at Bucks New University. The degree show is up in the good old Red Shed where I spent many years working before I came up to Scotland. The final years students’ work is definitely not your average knit and purl and more than worth a look if you enjoy seeing really exciting work that takes you out of your knitting comfort zone. Understandably I couldn’t take photos which is why there are no pics here but some of the work moves onto the Business Design Centre for the New Designers exhibition from 1st – 4th July 2010.

So what have I been so busy doing? More designs for The Knitter & Knitting magazines and Ask Jeanette my regular gig at Knitting. I’m also working on some exciting changes to do with kitglobal. Oh yes and despite a really good price and lots of people looking, the 10 gauge Stoll remains unsold which is a bit of a bummer really. If you can collect it from Edinburgh I’m willing to part with it for £500. That’s it for now though