Monday, August 1, 2011

Our Next Knitalong

For our next Knit-Along, Dena and I are planning to knit the backpack on the cover of this book.  This is my yarn - the I think the dark green is the background and the beige the pattern.  Then I have yellow and a lighter green to do the embroidery (what you see as red and maybe you can see the green on the pictured bag).  I might change the yellow though because it's not my favorite color.  

Back to the bag - we decided that it would be much sturdier if we felted it.  That meant a couple of things change from the pattern.  First, we don't HAVE to line it, it might be nice if we do, but we don't absolutely have to and neither one of us sews, so that's a good thing.  Second, we need more yarn but we don't exactly know how much more.  We more than doubled the quantities called for in the pattern and  we hope that will be enough.  And third, we need to use a larger needle size but we don't know how much larger without some testing.  So, here is a near perfect example of when swatches are incredibly useful.

Being the nice sister that I am, I volunteered to knit the test swatch to determine both needle size and how much shrinkage there will be during the felting process.  The swatch was knit in the lovely combination of Orange and Yellow because that is what I happened to have with me when I went to Idaho which is where I started the swatch.  (The orange was the beak and feet for the rubber ducky and the yellow was supposed to be the centers of my flowers but it's kind of ugly so it probably won't be anything in this bag.)  As you can see, the top of this piece is wider than the bottom.  That's because the bottom was knit using a size ten needle (not ten and a half - just ten) and the top was knit with a size 11 needle.  The front is knit using the pattern that goes up the front of the bag and the back is the pattern that goes around the rest of the bag.

After I finished the swatch, I washed it and let it soak.  This makes the yarn bloom and you can see the stitch definition so much better.  You can also get a more accurate measurement of the finished size of the piece.

These are the before measurements on the front of the piece.  Approximately ten inches across end knitted on size eleven needles and approximately eight inches across the part knit on size ten needles.

And the backs - about the same size.  The stitches do look a lot better after it's been blocked and you can see the pattern better.

The front of the felted piece.  The top and bottom each shrank about an inch.

And the back of the felted item.  What you can't see very well in the pictures is that the end knitted on the larger needles did not felt very evenly.  Maybe you can see in the last picture - the left part of the top of the piece is over felted and the right half is under felted.  The bottom half - the part knit using size ten needles - felted much more evenly.  It was also much easier to knit the stranded colorwork with the size ten needles than it was using the size elevens.   I think the pattern held up pretty well on both sizes so felting is not going to cost us anything in clarity of the design.

I think we go with the size 10 needles, but I'll mail the piece to Dena and she can judge for herself.  I can't start this bag until I knit a few more shawls and some baby stuff.  Wonder if Dena needs baby stuff too?

Anyone else want to join this knit along?

1 comment:

Bri's Bits said...

I love your swatches, and the needle size made a huge difference in the felting process. I am going to make a couple hand bags when I am done with my shawl I am working on now. If I were in to yellow and orange, this would be a wonderful piece you did, I really like the pattern.

I am getting ready to post a couple of pics of the progress on my shawl, though I have nearly 100 rows to go on it.

I am not good at knit alongs, I don't work well with time constraints, lol, I am so fickle, but I cant' wait to see your progress!