Sometimes, it's so hard to make myself finish a project. I can be totally in love with a particular project, but put it aside, unfinished, because I'll think something like "Oh, that's going to be so easy... but so time-consuming... I'll do it later." Then later doesn't come for months, and I find myself looking at that project thinking "Boy, I really, really need to finish that."
That was pretty much what happened with the Chinese Prosperity Fish Bag from Folk Bags. I love the bag! I saw a picture someone else had knitted, and tracked down the book specifically for this one bag. I never saw anything else from the book until I got my copy. It was such a fast knit! I was very happy with it and couldn't wait to have it finished. Then... oh no... the details are EMBROIDERED. Ok, that's not so bad, I learned to draw, crochet, and knit with no problems; I can learn to embrodier. Well, folks, lemme tell ya something. Embroidering is not easy! In fact, I couldn't figure it out at all. A "simple" outline stitch is apparently something Ms. Crystal just can't grasp. I sat there, beside three different descriptions of how to do it, for hours, and it just looked bad on my swatch. Sad and discouraged, I put the beloved Fish Bag away. I picked it up some time later, and tried again. I did no better with the embroidery, but I did think of something else. I decided it didn't really HAVE to be embroidered, as long as it was there. So, I BSed it. I took the needle, cut a long piece of the yarn I was using to "embroider", and just messed around with it until I came up with something I thought looked ok. I actually like how it turned out. I like that it is definitely not store-bought... it's obviously handmade, but (and here I flatter myself) I think it's more like artsy-fun-expensive-boutique handmade, instead of being like the little pins you made for your mom in elementary school, that she wore out of pride no matter how ugly they looked. I also even like that the two sides look different; it's apparent that they are meant to be the same design, but they vary anyway. I think it adds to the purse, instead of taking away.
As already mentioned, the Chinese Prosperity Fish Bag is from the book Folk Bags. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves purses, and particularly to anyone who loves purses that are unlike-the-norm. There are several patterns in it that I would knit.
The bag is knit in Plymouth Galway, on either 10 or 10.5 (I think the latter) needles, and fulled. It was my first time fulling. I did 3 cycles in the (front-loading) washer, and am not quite happy with the amount of stitch definition remaining. The yarn was nice to knit with, and I will probably use it again, although I won't say it's my favorite wool so far. I wasn't sure what a fourth cycle would do, so I stopped at 3. I don't remember the color, but it was the brightest red I could find. The whole bag only took one ball. The yarn I used to embroider was a sportweight cotton yarn I found at Hobby Lobby, called Sinfornia, and I found the buttons and beads used for the eyes there, too. I omitted the tassels because the tail fins are pretty much fulled together, and I didn't want to mess with that. I am planning on making another of these bags.
The crawfish purse I sewed was also a cast-aside project. That instance was out of laziness, not frustration. I just never bothered attaching the handles. I finally did that yesterday, so now I can post pictures and tell a little about the bag.
This was the first thing I ever sewed. Mrs. Nancy helped me figure out how to put it all together, and let me use her machine to sew it. The bag is from a McCall's pattern, Easy stitch n' save M5082. I am really pleased with it, although I'm not quite happy with my placement of the handles. I think they are supposed to be lower, and they may end up that way. The fabric is a crawfish-on-newspaper print I just had to get when I saw it on eBay. I only had one yard, but that's enough for 2 purses, so I am going to make a purse for my mom out of this fabric as well. The lining is a heavy black fabric Mrs. Nancy had left over. There is interfacing to give it shape, but I omitted the cardboard called for in the pattern for the bottom. I also gave my purse two pockets instead of one, and for the pockets I used the crawfish fabric, again lined with the thick black. I really love that detail! I still need to add snaps of some kind - I hate bags that don't close.
I feel it still needs something. Perhaps some corn and potatoes? ;-)