My current work in progress:

Sundew,by Martin Storey, knit from Rowan Softyak DK, using 3.25mm and 4mm needles.

Archives for November 2003


No, not the fragrance by Calvin Klein.

Something that Julie (Queen of the Booga Bags) said in my comments yesterday got me thinking:

And you say you love bags. Do you also love baskets, boxes and other
containers? I am obsessed with them and my husband says it must be
somthing psychological — this obsession with containers. He he!

I hadn’t really thought about it before, but yes, I do love all sorts of containers. To the point of obsession. Thinking back on it, I think I’ve always had a container obsession.

I have an embarassing number of purses, because I am always in search of the ultimate purse. No purse yet has met all the requirements for ultimate pursedom. It must be able to sit in my lap on the train without falling over. It must be easy to open and close with one hand. It must have an outside pocket to hold my farecard and car keys. It must have an inside pocket to hold my pens and other small junk. It must be large enough to hold my purse stuff plus a smallish knitting project, but not be too large as to be unwieldy. Oh, and it must have both a shoulder strap and carry handles.

Many purses have tried, but none have yet met all those criteria.

I have Coach purses, Louis Vuitton purses, Dooney & Bourke purses, and Brighton purses. All have tried, none have met my requirements for Purse Charming.

I have similar issues with luggage and totebags.

I love baskets. I love small collectible boxes. I have always wanted to collect Battersea enamel boxes and antique Limoges boxes but they are too bloody expensive.

A Special Treat!

Here’s a special treat, courtesy of Vanessa, a frequent Wendyknits reader and commenter.

Wendyknits presents . . .

Vanessa’s Tiny Felted Bag


Isn’t that adorable? And what a great way to use up leftovers from your Booga Bag!

Here are photos of it in its pre-felted state:



And here is the pattern:

tiny purse-
leftover kureyon
co 40 sts (10 1/2 needles)
k1, sl1 across, turn
k1, sl1 across, turn
repeat each row 21 times, or 42 rows altogether. you are making a tube which will be turned inside out, so don’t mess up the k1, sl1 or it won’t be a tube!
alternate slipping every other stitch onto separate needles, now you have a tube.
b.o. 20 sts,
k 20 sts
p 20 sts
k1, ssk or sl1 k1 psso, k to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1.
repeat last 2 rows til you have 4 sts left.
p1, p2tog, p1
do i-cord to make a loop, b.o.
sew loop together.
turn the bag inside out.
you have a tiny envelope.
felt along with your bag.
sew on button. done!
of course you can make it as big as the amount of leftover yarn you have, i had a pretty small amount.

Questions, comments, praise? — email Vanessa!


Lucy helped me do a bit of work on Amphora.


This is the narrow pattern that is worked at each side of the body. Cute, eh?


November Contest

The November Contest will be announced on Monday — watch this space!

Speaking of Monday, I’m taking the day off work. Tuesday’s a holiday so that means . . .

Four day weekend!

Bag the Q&A

More questions about Booga Bags!

From Janice:
I was at SOAR last week and on my way home I stopped at the famous bakery and knit shop near Traverse City Mi. and bought some kureyon 91 to knit a booga bag. question—Does your other bags take most of three skeins? Three is what I bought and I would like to make my bag larger also.

The pattern as written takes exactly three skeins for me. A bit over two skeins for the bag, then I use up the remainder of the third skein knitting the i-cord for the handles. So if you want a bigger bag, buy more Kureyon!

Silvia sez:
I’m buying shares in Noro if this pace is maintained! Yet another gorgeous bag, and the i-cord detail will provide the perfect opportunity to shop for buttons! I also noticed the fabric store selling the “tortoise shell” handles that beaded vintage bags used. Have you thought of trying to make a bag using those handles or the bamboo hoops? Could be fun…

Shares in Noro might not be a bad idea. We all know how obsessive I am about yarn.

Tortoiseshell handles sound like a fun idea! Has anyone tried this? Hey Julie, if you’re reading this, maybe you can do a bag pattern using these handles! Hinty, hinty, hinty! 🙂 I saw on Julie’s blog that she’s started a business — Black Sheep Bags. This is good news for me, as I love handbags and tote bags of all sorts!

Lucy spent the evening waiting for the heat to subside.


And Lucy’s mom spent the evening with a migraine, probably due to changing weather (a rainstorm came through last night).

But I did get up long enough to take a photo of Amphora-in-progress:



And it’s supposed to get a bit cooler today. But not by much. It’s 5:00 a.m. and 71 degrees.

Lucy is waiting patiently.


Those of you with snow who offered to send me some? Bring it on! Lucy would appreciate it.

Booga Bag Update


I’ve finished the bottom of my bag and started the sides. As you’ll recall from yesterday, I cast on 60 stitches and did 40 rows. I picked up 19 stitches on each of the short sides, and 60 stitches on the cast on side. That gives us a total of 158 stitches around, for those of you keeping score.

In my comments yesterday, Vanessa suggested doing an i-cord loop for a button to use as a closure. Pure brilliance! I haven’t done an i-cord finish on my previous bags, but I will on this one, and incorporate her great suggestion.

(And Janet, yes, I am using size 10.5 needles. Check my sidebar for my current works in progress and you’ll see that I always list the needle size I’m using.)

Teaching Knitters

In yesterday’s comments, speaking about teaching new knitters, Purl said:

I find that the biggest challenge is how to get them over the hurdle of their first dropped stitch(es). Any ideas?

What I’ve done in the past when teaching coworkers to knit is to tell them to practice on their own, and if they drop a stitch or something looks not quite right to stop there and bring it to me the next day. Then I can scrutinize the work and tell them what happened, and show them how to fix it.

This works very well when you are teaching someone you see every day. And it’s not long before they start figuring out and fixing their own errors.


Dorothy asked:

What gauge does the Hebridean knit to? Could you substitute it for the 2-ply jumper weight that Starmore uses in many of her patterns? I love the colors in the Smith & Jamieson Shetland, but it is rather coarse – is the Hebredian softer?

The Hebridean is slightly heavier than jumperwieght shetland, so some modification is needed. Not a whole lot — it might just be a matter of knitting one size smaller with Hebridean than with jumperweight and adjusting the length slightly. My gauge with the 2-ply Hebridean is 7 st/inch on a 3.25mm needle. My gauge for shetland jumpweight is closer to 8 st/inch on a 3.25mm needle.

And it is softer than shetland — significantly so. If feels lovely to work with and to wear.

Time to head off to work . . .

Don’t Hate Me Because I Am Beautiful!


No one can accuse me of being vain after seeing that photo.

Besides, it’s just silly. Those are Ian’s glasses.


Lucy declined to wear the glasses. She’s a smart little girl.

I’m Hooked!

. . . on Booga Bags!

Thanks again, Julie, for sharing this pattern with all of us. I just can’t stop knitting them!

As I mentioned yesterday, my current bag is in Kureyon 55, shades of brown and cream . . . like Lucy. I’ve got a bunch of Kureyon in this colorway, thanks to L-B, who sent it to me in a trade. So I’m making a bigger bag for myself. I love how the bags stand up by themselves, so I wanted to make one to use as a commuting knitting bag/purse. So I wanted it bigger.

I have cast on 60 stitches instead of the 34 called for. I plan on knitting 40 rows for the bottom, rather than the 34 called for. I want it a little bit deeper from front to back, but not double. The pattern has you knit 64 rounds after you pick up stitches around the bottom. I’ll play that by ear. I do like the height of the bag as it is, so I might not mess with that, or if I do, just a few more rounds.

I’m going to knit a rectangle to felt and sew on the outside as a pocket (maybe 40 stitches wide?) and if I have enough yarn, I’ll knit a pocket for the inside too. And a skinny rectangle to make a tab to use as a closure on top. I may make a big buttonhole in it and look for a “fun” toggle button to use.

The possibilities are endless. 🙂

I’ll post a photo of my bag in progress when I’ve got enough to give you some idea of the colors and striping sequence.

Teaching Knitting

A question in yesterday’s comments on teaching beginner knitters.

What I have done in the past is to cast on stitches and knit the first row, then give it to the student and explain/demonstrate the knit stitch.

My experience is that casting on can be scary to a new knitter. Knitting the first round after casting on can be difficult too. I like to see students get comfy with the knit stitch before I make them cast on.

When said student seems to have gotten the hang of “knit,” I teach purl. I don’t like to wait too long before teaching how to purl, because of my own experience. I knew how to knit years before I learned how to purl. I detest purling, and I blame that gap between learning the two skills. I think if someone learns knitting and purling almost simultaneously, it’ll be easier.

What do you all think?



Mmmmmmmm . . . it’s just plain yummy to knit. A real stress-buster! The pattern is intricate enough to keep my interest but simple enough to be a pretty quick knit. And the 2-ply Hebridean wool? If you haven’t tried it, I encourage you to do so. It’s soft and springy and a sensory delight to knit!

What the Heck is with the Weather?

The forecast for yesterday was in the low 80s. I think we broke a record for heat. It’s supposed to get to 81 today. As you can see, Lucy does not approve of such heat in November!


Knittin’ Class!

On Friday I brought my PiS sweater to work for show ‘n tell (my boss always asks about my knitting progress) and when I was showing it, I think I attracted another potential knitter in my office! Woo-hoo!

In addition to the lovely young lady who is raring to hop on the knitting bandwagon (and I’ve already got her addicted to Noro Kureyon, thank you very much), another woman came over to my office this morning and expressed an interest in knitting.

So I think knitting class ought to start up sooner rather than later. As soon as things start to (hopefully) slow down towards the holidays.

Thanks for all your compliments about my FO! We did do a PiS photo shoot over the weekend, so the photos are available on the Official Leaf Sweater Page. I can’t bring myself to title the page “PiS Sweater.”

No, I didn’t get dressed up and wear matching cowboy boots. It was 80 degrees over the weekend and I was not comfy with dressing up and stuffing myself into a wool sweater, so I just threw it on over jeans.

Lucy was a big help.


I also finished a Booga Bag in Kureyon color #89.


I’m starting a new one in color 55 for me, and am making it about twice the size of the ones I’ve made.

I also got started on Amphora. Here is the bottom border done, with a bit of the body pattern started. Pretty colors, eh?