Weekend Project: Knit Lace Mesh Bag

We continue the saga of Candice learning to knit with the introduction of… Double pointed needles (dpn).

I’ve spent the last two days working on a knit lace mesh reusable shopping tote. I found the pattern on Ravelry: The Grrlfriend Market bag by Laura Spradlin. It is a quick knit and great for beginners, because it uses mostly simple stitches including knit, purl, k2tog, yarn over, and cast off purl wise. That’s it!

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The dpn’s come into play because this bag is worked from the bottom up, in the round. Laura’s instructions are easy to follow and I loved the story of how she came up with the pattern.

For my bag, I used size 6 dpn’s, size 7 – 16″ circular needles, and size 10 – 16″circular needles. I used about 100 grams of Lily’s Sugar and Cream cotton yarn, worsted weight. I also had scissors and a yarn needle on hand for finishing.

I loved this project and look forward to making another! The bag stretches a LOT due to the lace pattern, and as this was my first time doing such a thing, when I remake the bag I’ll know better how to adjust for the stretch. Personally, I will make the strap shorter because it stretches out as you load the bag, and I also think I will make the base a big larger before starting the net, and also make the bag taller in the net before I start the top color band. But overall I’m very pleased with how this turned out. I can see using this little bag for quick trips to the farmers market in the summer. 🙂

Enjoy the photos of this fun project!

Here we go… Starting out with the dpn’s. eek!

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Well, so far so good…

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Fast forward about four hours… (I don’t know if this should really take 4 hours. Remember, I’m just learning!) This is the point where you switch from dpn’s to circular needles to start the mesh.

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And fast forward again to the next day, working on the bag and checking for stretch…

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Here’s a look at the inside of the bag, holding it up to the light so you can see the pattern…

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And the finished product, loaded with yarn for the next project!

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Quick Project: One Hour Knit Dishcloth

My knitting prowess has been growing these past few weeks! Today I would like to share a fun online resource and a great idea for a quick project.

The resource? Ravelry.com: a free online community for knitters and crocheters that has zillions of patterns (free and those you can purchase) as well as tutorials and blogs. I have just begun to explore Ravelry, so I’ll post more as I learn more. In the meantime, check it out!

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Now, onto the project! The One Hour Knit Dishcloth

I got this idea originally from my favorite redhead, Julie, who has her own fabulous blog, Outtakes on the Outskirts. (I know Julie in real life as well – we went to college together and are sisters in Sigma Alpha Iota, but I digress.). Anyhow, she posted a great mini blog series recently about doing Christmas on the cheap, and mentioned homemade gifts that were quick, easy, and inexpensive. One of those ideas were knit dishcloths.

The idea was so simple I literally smacked my forehead when I read that, thinking, “WHY didn’t I think of this earlier?!” Having conquered the hats and scarves I had attempted, I quickly set to searching Ravelry for free knit dishcloth patterns.

The amount of free patterns Is overwhelming, and I’ve made a few different kinds so far.

This is the first one I attempted: a basketweave.

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Here is another that is called “Grandma’s favorite dishcloth,” which is so true, as my grandmother really did have these kind of dishcloths!

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However, these each took me about 2.5 hours to complete. I don’t know about you, but I’m impatient. I wanted to find a pattern I could make in an hour or less.

This waffle patterned dishcloth by Love2Knit (who I found on Ravelry) worked up in just a tad over an hour this morning. I did one that followed the pattern exactly (yellow) but then did another where I added a garter stitch border (red) which I like better.

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For these dishcloths, I used a US size 6 knitting needles and Lily’s sugar and cream cotton yarn.

I’m working on writing up how I added the border, because I messed it up originally. (What can I say? I’m new at this!) I will post the pattern separately.

But in the meantime, what are you waiting for? Hop online, find a project, and start knitting! 🙂

What tangled webs we weave… Errm, Knit

December has arrived in a flurry of unexpected events. Well, really just one unexpected event: I lost my job of five years due to corporate restructuring, and now have found myself with a lot of time on my hands.

Oh, I know what you all are going to say : “Everything happens for a reason.” “If you’re honest with yourself, you weren’t too crazy about your job anyway.” “You were working toward a career change anyhow.” “This is a blessing.” Yes, I know all that. But knowing all that doesn’t change the fact a) it’s still unexpected, which b) makes it really scary, and c) means that I now have a ton of time with which to sit in my house and ponder life’s big questions, which is really uncomfortable for me.

See, I don’t know if you’ve picked up on this by now, loyal readers that you are to my recently not updated blog, but I like to be busy. (Okay, that’s an understatement. Those of you who know me in “real life” are probably laughing your butts off right now.) I have to have somewhere to go, something to do, somewhere to be, someone to save, projects to finish (key emphasis on the plural there) and an all-around hugely packed schedule that has me out of my house and to work, school, student teaching, private lesson teaching and the gym for about 18-20 hours in a day. I’m not kidding. This has been my life for the past eight years or so.

And then… Bam. Gone. I lost my job. The semester of graduate school finished. Private lessons are done until February. And I am left with a lot of time on my hands.

I have discovered through all this that I don’t know how to rest. I feel lazy and unproductive and, if I’m truly honest, pretty darn bad for myself because I’m now unemployed (and single with two cats for company and 128 days away from turning 30… But that’s another blog post entirely).

So. I’ve spent two weeks trying to figure out what I’m going to do, and in the meantime, I decided to keep my hands busy.

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Ok, that’s a lie, too. I developed a freakish and insane obsession with knitting. (Incidentally, yes, that is my Instagram username on the photo. Feel free to follow me!)

I have known how to knit, in theory, for about 15 years, but was never very good at it due to lack of practice. Well, now I have a ton of time to practice, and I’m taking advantage of it.

I started with scarves. Which then became cabled scarves. Which then became braided scarves, which turned into hats, which turned into loom-knitted socks… And by about that time, I realized I might have a problem.

I am running out of unsuspecting family members and friends upon which to foist my holiday hand-knitted handiwork.

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So, what’s a poor depressed unemployed artist to do? Get over herself and knit for charity.

I have discovered (through the power of Google) that there are a ton of charities out there that accept knit donations: charities for children, chemo patients, and soldiers, just to name a few. So this girl is gonna pick herself up by her yarn skeins and do some good in the world… Knit one purl two at a time.

Do you have any favorite crafting charities or stories? Please share them in the comments!

Edit: My apologies for the poor quality photos. I’m updating from my phone and apparently I haven’t got the hang of it yet. They will be fixed in the future!