Saturday Night Purse

In addition to the Celtic Love Knot Scarf, I also made a purse for my friend Jenny’s fundraiser for her mission trip to Kenya.  I found this beautiful purse on cogknition’s site.  The pattern is freely available on the site.

Unfortunately, I did not have time before the auction to try to get the beautiful custom handles and leaves.  Instead, I was forced to purchase plain black bamboo handles from my local JoAnn. For the purse itself, I had a very difficult time achieving the crisp herringbone pattern shown in the picture.  The pattern is achieved by slipping some stitches from the left to right needle while holding the yarn in front of the stitches.  The purse is knit very tightly so that it is quite sturdy; however, I had a tendency to hold the yarn too tightly resulting in a non-existent herringbone pattern.  I ripped out my first attempt and started placing an extra needle under the yarn as I passed it in front of the stitches.  This helped, but the needle wasn’t big enough.  I ended up placing an extremely large (size N, 10mm) crocheting hook under the yarn as I passed the yarn in front of the stitches.  This process slowed me down, but I did achieve a herringbone pattern.  My pattern was still not as crisp as that shown in the picture.  Also, since I didn’t have the fancy leaves to put behind the roses, I didn’t think the knitted roses really looked like roses.  I substituted this Megan Mill’s crocheted rose instead.  Either I didn’t count right while making the rose, or the pattern had a problem.  It wasn’t necessary for the pattern to be exact, so I didn’t go back to see why I didn’t have the correct number of stitches left as I reached the end of Row 3.  I finished off and sewed the rose onto the front of the purse.

The purse turned out beautifully.  It is quite sturdy and both larger and heavier than it appears.  The knitted section of the purse ended up being about 8 in. tall and 10 in. wide.

Saturday Night Purse

Difficulty:  Moderate

The purse was constructed of a modified stockinette stitch, so the stitching wasn’t difficult.  The herringbone pattern was difficult to achieve as noted above.

Time Required:  8 movies

I didn’t like how the pattern was turning out, so I repeatedly knitted and ripped out stitches.  It would have taken less time if I hadn’t ripped out so much.

Overall Experience:  Good

The purse turned out really cute and sturdy.  I would make it again.

Cross-Stitch Portrait

I’m a big fan of the site Uncommon Goods.  As the name suggests, the company carries fun unique products.  A few months ago, I was pleased to see a cross-stitch item advertised.  I rarely see cross-stitching anywhere and greatly enjoyed it as a child.  The site offers custom cross-stitched portraits for the staggering fee of $175-$225.  I was shocked at the price.  The designs, while adorable, were extremely simple.

Cross-Stitch Portraits

Two of my friends, Nathan and Lara, were going to be married so I decided to make them a cross-stitch portrait to add to their wedding shower gift drawing inspiration from the Uncommon Goods portraits.   The pattern I developed is shown below.  (Click on the pattern to make it larger.)  The bold lines represent backstitching and the triangles are French knots.  The other symbols represent cross-stitching in different colors.  If you choose to follow the pattern, any color may be used.  I chose colors that matched Nathan and Lara’s wedding colors (pink and navy).

 

Portrait Cross-Stitch Pattern

Nathan&Lara

Difficulty:  Easy

The project is about as easy as cross-stitching gets.

Time Requited:  2 Movies

Overall Experience:  Excellent

The project was fast and simple.  Nathan, Lara, and everyone at the shower loved it.

Celtic Love Knot Scarf

My friend Jenny is going to Kenya to work in an orphanage as part of a year long mission trip.  She held a silent auction to raise money for the trip and asked me to make a couple of things for the auction.  Since we are in Houston and it is ridiculously hot, I chose to try my hand at a love knot scarf.  I had seen some love knot items floating around Pinterest but didn’t really fall in love with a scarf until I found this free pattern on Ravelry.

I’ve been crocheting since before I can remember, but I had never made love stitches before.  Lucy Croft, who wrote the pattern, really covered all of her basis.  She included pictures with instructions for both left and right handed crocheters with both written instructions and a chart.  The directions were clear and easy to follow.  She used a light-weight yarn in her example that clearly showed loops (for lack of a better term) between the actual knots.  I used a heavier weight yarn (normal four-ply yarn) which resulted in less defined loops.  The final product was still a beautiful, light, summer scarf.

Love Knot Scarf

Difficulty:  Easy

Time Required:  1 Movie

Overall Experience:  Excellent

Knit Your Own Cat

My fiance loves his cat.  I’m not so sure that he doesn’t love her more than he loves me.  A couple of months before his birthday I stumbled upon a book on Amazon, Knit Your Own Cat.  The cat featured on the front cover even resembled his cat, Kittyface.  I purchased the book.  Being an avid knitter, knitting a small cat looked like it would be a quick, easy project that would amuse my fiance.

 

Kittyface

When the book came, I was disappointed in the pictures of finished cats that I saw inside.  The instructions called for the knitter to knit each piece flat and then sew all of the pieces together.  Not only does this increase the amount of construction time, but it also resulted in unsightly seems along the backs of the legs and down the center of the cat’s back.  I made many alterations as detailed below.  The finished project turned out really cute!

Knit Kitty

Difficulty:  Moderate

The knitting itself was simple.  A stockinette stitch was used for most of the project.  However, the cat was knit extremely tightly on tiny needles, which made the knitting more difficult.  There are many color changes that require a lot of attention.  The construction of the cat is rather time consuming and difficult.

Time Required:  11 Movies

I thought this was going to be a really quick project.  Boy was I wrong!  The construction alone took me three movies to complete.  (I monitor time in the number of movies I watch while crafting.)

Overall Experience:  Good

The product turned out very cute.  I would only make it as a gift for someone I know would really enjoy it.  Someone offered me $20 for the cat.  I wasn’t willing to part with it for that price!

Pattern Tips and Alterations:

The pattern is copyrighted, so if you are interested in creating the cat above, please purchase the pattern and follow the alterations detailed below.  This is for the pattern “Tabby Cat Prowling.”  I do not include pictures of the steps because I decided to start this blog after finishing the cat.

Legs:  Knit the legs in a round rather than flat using double pointed US 2 needles.  To accomplish this, follow the directions as written for each odd row.  For the even numbered rows, knit rather than purling and follow the row backwards.  This removes all seams from the backs of the legs.

Side of Body Pieces:  I made the side of body pieces as they were written in the pattern.  Later during the finishing phase I used a revised Kitchener stitch detailed by Anonyknits.  This resulted in losing some of my body stitches and a slimmer cat.  If I were going to make the cat again, instead of binding off stitches along the top of the body, I would leave the stitches on an extra needle and use the actual Kitchener stitch.

Tummy:  I knitted the entire tummy white to match the coloration of my fiance’s cat.

Finishing:  Since the legs were knitted in rounds, they do not need to be sewn.  The directions tell you to embroider the face after sewing the cat together, but obviously that need to be completed before construction of the cat.  The cat should be sewn along the back as mentioned in the “Side of Body Pieces” section.