Saturday, June 24, 2006

(Finally) FO: Chinese Prosperity Fish Bag and Crawfish Purse

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? ;-)


Pat said...

I love your Fish Bag! That's awesome!

Allison said...

This will be a strange request, but....I bought some Sinfornia yarn at Hobby Lobby on our visit to Wyoming in July. I'm using it to make a sweater for my daughter, which I didn't plan to do until AFTER we got back home (home's in Western New York). Wouldn't you know, I need ONE MORE SKEIN to complete the sweater (don't you hate when that happens?). I went looking for the yarn, to see if maybe I can order it online (instead of going through my husband's step mother to get another skein for me) or for more information to give to said step mother to get me another skein (so she gets the right one!!!). I know she knows the yarn---I showed it to her many times. I just need the accurate information. Could you at least help me make sure I have the name right? And other details than the color? If not, I understand...but it would be really helpful.

Thank you. I know, weird request....