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