Sunday, February 3, 2008

Handbags are a girl's second best friend

By popular demand - I'm going to post some pictures of the handbags/purses I've been making over the last few months. However, let me first explain (since I know you're on the seat of your office chair dying to know) how it is that I've been knitting so much lately:

Why in the World is Lisa Knitting?

When I was around 8 years old my mom's sisters (3 of whom are MASTER knitters) taught me to knit. My dad's mother was also a super talented knitter and "tutored" me during this short time during which I was pretending to be a child-knitting-prodigy. They all said I was a fast learner and were impressed when I was able to master a cable. However, my interest was short lived (mostly because I wasn't taught how to bind off and my projects would go on forever!) and the knitting stint only lasted a year at most. Fast forward to September 2007 when, on a whim while browsing the aisles at Michael's, I decided to buy "Learn to Knit in Just One Day", some needles and a few balls of yarn and re-teach myself by making (what else do you learn to knit on?) a scarf. I decided with grandma already gone and aunties getting quite a bit older it’d be a good time to take up knitting again while they’re still around, in case I have questions… The scarf project worked out fine but actually bored me; especially around the 60th inch...

In October my cousin, Robin showed me an adorable cable knit bag she made and I decided I was going to make one! It was Princess Philo's Cabled Tote and I have to thank Miss Philo for making me really EXCITED about knitting. My first bag was her Kelly pattern. I used the same yarn - Wool Ease Thick & Quick in wheat - and the same handle from JoAnn's Fabrics. This bag turned out SO well! I used a lot of my sewing skills (I took sewing lessons from ~age 7-10) for the lining and was so so pleased with the results! It knit up really fast too - especially for a brand spanking new beginner. The lining probably took the most work just because of the tediousness of it.

By this time I was cruisin' the knitting blogs online scopin' my next project. And found it! I didn't do exactly Ruth's Cabled Clutch but used her instructions as inspiration to create my own. I used the same Thick & Quick yarn in black. Just created my own cable/stripe pattern and made sure it would look the same up and down so that I could just fold it and only seam up the sides. Then painted the dowels black before whip-stitching them to the purse. I had leftover fabric from the other bag so I made another lining and this time used invisible thread to sew it in. I had used regular thread to sew the lining in the first bag and didn't like how you could see it - so the invisible worked MUCH nicer. I was so happy with how "professional" this bag turned out that it became a belated birthday gift for Ang!

And finally - the bag I'm most proud of! I created this pattern all myself. Though I cannot take credit for the Saxon Cable running down the center. Basically I looked through a cable book and chose some cables and created a pattern for this bag. The Saxon Cable took FOREVER. You literally have to read every other line of the 16 rows of pattern or you WILL mess the cable up. (Unless you have a knack for memorizing 16 rows of "twist 3 back, cable 4 front, twist 4 front, twist 4 back, cable 4 back" etc.) I wanted to kill myself about 3/4 of the way through this large piece of knitting though. With all the cables and twists, the bulky Thick & Quick (in charcoal) got very stiff and heavy and I was SO tired of reading that pattern every row. I would have liked to make the bag taller but that would have meant knitting longer and I was just DONE after my 2nd skein finished. I seamed up the sides and put on these handles I got at JoAnn's, but I don't like them. They're too wimpy for the bag. So I ordered these nice leather ones from Tall Poppy. I still haven't sewn them on - and therefore have not finished a lining either - and therefore am not done with the bag. But I will do all of that soon!! I love the look of the bag though. I'll need to iron some interfacing onto the lining - maybe even 2 layers to stiffen it up a bit. But it's still adorable! (if I do say so myself!)


  1. gorgeous!! i love your choice in linings too. which reminds me, i have like 5 handbags waiting for me to finish up. =)