Thursday, May 01, 2008

Of My Own Design

Now that Lauren is in preschool she's been receiving many more invitations to birthday parties, which is a good thing. The most recent was this past weekend for a girl in her class. We didn't get much advance notice about the party, but I still got the crazy idea that I could make the present for the birthday girl. As anyone who reads this blog knows, I prefer to make gifts whenever possible. So, with just 2 days to do it, I got started on the gift. I must have been crazy to tackle this, but sometimes inspiration strikes and I decide to go for it. I had all the materials on hand so at least I spared myself a trip or two to the craft store if nothing else.

My gift was a knit purse with the birthday girls' name on one side and hearts on the other. I didn't know this little girl (turning 4) very well and didn't have a clue as to what kinds of toys or activities she liked, so a purse was a sweet, generic sort of thing to give her. Every girl needs a purse or some sort of bag in
which to carry your treasures, right? And so I got started designing it.

First I did some searching online to find
patterns for the letters. I had never knit letters into anything before - no time like the present (ha ha - pun intended!) I've done some stranding / fair isle knitting before (and I need more practice!), so I felt OK tackling such a technique. I found a pattern for letters but felt they were too "thick" for a small-ish purse. So, I printed some grid paper and modified the pattern. I also found a pattern for little hearts I thought would be cute on the other side of the purse. I prefer to knit in the round vs. flat knitting whenever possible, so I did some quick counting and figured out how many stitches to cast on, etc. to knit the purse in the round. It took me a day and a half to knit the purse and the rest of the time to finish it with a scalloped crochet edging along the top and on both sides of the strap. And to sew the liner.

Speaking of the liner... yikes. I didn't think ahead too much on that one. Making the liner was simple enough and I thought I would simply sew it into the purse and save me the time of weaving in the various ends and such since all the madness of the fair isle knitting would be hidden inside the liner. Well, good in theory. When it came time to actually attempt to sew the liner to the knitted piece it was too thick or something for my machine to handle and it wasn't being fed properly. Crap! That meant I had to stitch the liner to the knit purse by hand. Which actually worked out for the best as I was better able to hide the thread within the yarn, but still - what a pain. My hand-stitching leaves much to be desired....

Ultimately the purse turned out pretty much as I had envisioned it,
minus a small miscalculation with the centering of the 3 hearts on the back of the purse. But all in all I was pleased with how it turned out and enjoyed giving it to Lauren's friend. It was met with lots of "ooh's" and "ahh's" and raised eyebrows in surprise when they found out I had made it myself. Not many of the preschool moms knew I could knit and crochet and were therefore impressed I had created the gift myself. Me? I was just glad I got the thing done in time!

What a cute bag! I'm loving your blog (I'm a SAHM who enjoys knit and crochet). Are you on Ravelry? Please join, it's a great place to share your designs. Very addictive, meet different knitters and crocheters everywhere.
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