Knitting machines, owlie bags and Nokia themes.

First, I'd like to apologise to anyone whose comment has been deleted - I've had some fun with spam recently but the new field in the comment section seems to have sorted that out now, so comment away! :)

A few years ago I picked up a bag at a jumble sale. It was a garish green and pink monstrosity that clashed with every item of clothing in the known universe, but I'm pretty sure I've used that bag more than any other I own. Colours notwithstanding, it is the perfect size and shape for me - a messenger bag small enough not to get in the way, but large enough to fit books and my little netbook inside, with cute elasticated pockets at the side which are the perfect size for a phone or a pot of bubble mixture. Folks, I love that bag more than I will ever love a woman, but the damn thing's falling apart. The fabric is disintegrating like so many broken dreams. What's a crafter to do in that situation? Why, make a new one, of course!

So here's my prototype version of The Comfy Bag. I made a rough pattern by tracing around the original (which I can't bear to disassemble) and put it together with pillowcase fabric, then lugged it around Sheffield for a week by way of product testing. It needs some tweaking, and I need to learn how to use a sewing machine properly, but I think I'm well on the way to resurrecting and (dare I say it?) improving my old favourite.

More stuff, my new knitting machine and some web design on the inside... Continue reading Knitting machines, owlie bags and Nokia themes.


Which sock are you on?

I ended up having a reasonably creative afternoon today, after being pretty staid (and sleepy) all week. General messing around with ribbon (see that cute little bow?), wire and acrylic paints. I've never used anything other than watercolours or poster paints before, so this is an interesting (and blobby) new medium for me. I like its versatility and its ability to cover stuff up, it's great for altering plastic and metal things that otherwise would be useful but unpretty.

For example, this is what I shall for the sake of argument call my "uterus tin", which contains things that I generally like to keep conveniently by my bed. I think it came from a charity shop, and it used to have a logo on the top left corner, but no more! The pink is acrylic paint and the black is shoddily-applied permanent marker (I will be going over the baskets in paint, they look completely awful in reality). Okay, I'm incredibly narcissistic about my drawing style but I really like these little heart balloons, not least because they bring together my love of buoyant aircraft with some appropriately red and suggestively-shaped imagery. Also - aww, can you see the little polka-dots? Awwww.

I would at this point like to share with you a song that was written by a completely wonderful young woman of my aquaintance named Iona (otherwise known as my future bride).

"Which Sock Are You On?" - to be sung to the tune of "Which Side are you on?"

Come all you good knitters
Good news to you I'll tell
Of how to knit a sock
Which inside the other dwells

Which sock are you on?
Which sock are you on?

My mother was a knitter
and i'm a knitter's girl
I'll keep on my knitting
til every stitch is purled

They say in Knitting Counties
there are no neutral men
You'll either use the magic loop
or knit on DPNs

Oh knitters can you stand it?
Oh tell me what you do,
will you knit just one sock
or are you knitting two?

We would have the most adorable revolutionary knitted children together.

Now, onto the wire issue (and by "issue", I pretty much mean "thing I made") - necklaces are pretty! And they get tangled together if you put them in a box, I have found through extensive research. So, I think to myself, what could stop this awful chain of events? Why, hooks of course! And so I got some wire and some sparkly beads and made some hooks. And lo, it was good, if somewhat difficult to photograph. I'm really happy with how this came out, since the hooks are quite nice to look at and they show off my jewellery, which is also rather nice to look at.

Speaking of nice to look at... somebody wonderful (she is one E away from Astride) made me the moon on a stick for Christmas, which is where this whole mad wire idea came from.

I know the nicest people. The book I am reading (which was leant to me by someone who definitely comes under the category of "nicest people") is called "Bad Science" and it is by this guy, who you may recognise from the Guardian.  It's basically a nonsense shredder - a very approachably written critique of health fads, with an excitable attitude towards the scientific method which I find very appealing. I'm only up to the bit about homeopathy so far because for some reason my employers don't like me reading when I'm supposed to be doing things. I should talk to my union.


Crime-fighting garter stitch mitts.

So, I made some gloves. They're pretty much an incredibly simple riff on Ysolda's Garter Stitch Mitts, with a bit of lace and a couple of buttons. This picture was chosen mainly to illustrate that I have an awesome hat. Seriously. I am now contractually obligated to fight crime because of it.

It is that awesome.

Right, yeah, the gloves. I actually started them as a present for a male friend of mine - then I thought "hey, these would look great with some lace!" and they became a present for, well, me. So I can fight crime with them.

Apologies for the bad photo; turns out it's really difficult to take a picture of your own hands. Who knew?
These were a quick, easy but still interesting knit, and quite comfy to wear. They keep your fingers and thumb free to fight crime. However, I think there isn't quite enough short row shaping, leaving the wrists too loose. Continue reading Crime-fighting garter stitch mitts.