Orient Doctor’s Bag, Knitting Magazine issue 88, April 2011

Just like waiting for a bus, no blog posts for ages and then they come along in threes, alright two, but you know what I mean.

Hot on the heels of the Pyjama Case in the March issue of Knitting comes my latest design in Knitting’s April issue 88, the Orient Doctor’s Bag.

I really feel in my element designing bags and with every design I try to improve on the finishing touches that mean the difference between something that looks ‘homemade’ and something that’s been handmade.

This design marries the types of patterning and motifs you might find on Far Eastern carpets with the generous domed Doctor’s bag shape. ‘Orient’ is mainly knitted using a single end of  JC Rennie’s Chunky Aran & Jamieson & Smith’s Shetland Aran though for a couple of colours I used 3 ends of JC Rennie’s Unique Shetland 4ply to bring it up to an approximate Aran weight. I also had to make a conscious effort to stay away from my usual palette of Autumnal browns & reds or bright pinks & orange and work with what for me is a fresher colour story, ocean blue, azure, mint, marzipan, white and ochre.

The gently curved sides of the bag are charted and worked in intarsia combined with Swiss darning to create the ‘background’ patterning. On top of that twisted chainstitch, regular chainstitch, French knots and bullion knots are used to work the 3 dimensional tendrils, flowers and buds. As with my Eastwood bag ‘Orient’s base creates a contrast both in terms of pattern and texture and because the base of the bag is likely to get the dirtiest I chose to use the dark blue ( Ocean Force sh 1048 ) as the main colour for the stranded pattern accented with white and ochre which also picks up the colour of the bag’s brass feet. A purl stitch stripe breaks up an otherwise plain stocking stitch top panel and strongly coloured horizontal stripes focus the eye on the chunky zip fastener and its tassled pull ( the zip is inserted after the bag has been felted ).

Once again I’ve been drooling over the pages of product over at UHandbag.com and chosen the best hardware I could find to give the bag a professional touch. The bronze bag  feet, chocolate brown Italian Piped Leather handles and bag bottom are all available there. (Thanks Lisa).

I’ll be posting a tutorial on how to make up the bag base for this design in the next couple of weeks. There’s been a slight ‘oops’ in the printed instructions on page 80 of the magazine and the key to symbols is missing. Apologies all round but I’ve added one here

Pyjama Case, Knitting issue 87, March 2011

All’s been a bit quiet on the blog front for what seems like quite a while now. That’s because I’ve been busy with the final amendments to the book , ( more on that next week )  more work for the lovely folk at ‘Knitting’ magazine as well as making some changes to the website. I’m hoping that all that will be ready to upload next week but I’m also in the midst of packing to move house – again.

My latest published design is in the March issue ( no 87 ) of ‘Knitting’. It’s a pretty pyjama case knitted in Knitshop‘s gorgeous Mulberry Silk / Merino Wool. This DK weight yarn is a 50/50 blend and has a very soft twist which actually makes it more like roving in terms of it’s construction and the silk content gives each of the colours has a wonderfully lustrous quality. The case combines a beaded rib structure dotted with tiny ‘nupps’ and a central panel of twist stitches and eyelets.I’ve used 2 different colours of beads ( from  my lovely friends at The Little Bead Shop ) which echo the colour of the yarn.

The case is just the right size for storing your favourite pair of PJs or even your prettiest nightie and the front opening is finished off with 4 small knitted buttons.

Every boudoir should have one!

100th International Women’s Day

Today, the 100th International Women’s Day, there are 100 events taking place at Glasgow’s Tramway and Hidden Gardens. Organised by garterstitch100 the events which include speakers,dance, music, sound installations, visual art, children’s events PLUS a whole lot of knitting.

100 Million Stitches, a beautiful knitted centrepiece made from hundreds of contributed knitted squares,  will not only celebrate women’s achievements but also mark the estimated 60 million to 100 million females said to be missing from today’s global population. If you can, get along over to Glasgow and join in the fun and if you can’t be there in person have a look at what a lot of nimble fingers have created so far here