Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Diagonal silk bag

While the headles from the loom are de-rusting in a basin of some acetic acid (brilliant for rust btw), I thought I'd show you one of the projects that has been finished recently. Now this one really deserved to be finished a long time ago and has been sitting in the hibernation pile for I think several years, which was silly as once I got started again it was such a quick knit. The only thing that stopped me at the time was the tendancy for the silk yarn to break at thin bits and drop stitches. Trying to find and and fix dropped stitches with such a scrappy yarn repeatedly made me sideline it until I could either think of a way to prevent the problem or gather enough patience to give it another go! So two years later, I had a plan and patience;) and we had a go.

Beautiful yarn though, such lovely rich colours to knit with, lovely. The pattern is from Knitty.com a while ago and is called 'Unbiased' by Stephanie Shiman. You can find it here. It's a simple but effective bag knitted on the bias in four separate pieces, then stitched together and a strap added. It's all done in garter stitch and on 5mm needles, so it knits up very fast indeed.

The original pattern makes a sizeable tote bag with 3 balls of the silk yarn but I couldn't afford three at £25 each at the time so I just got one and decided to scale down the bag a bit:) If you're on Ravelry, you can find all the mods on my project page at tootiefruitie as well.

I had to start a few times to get the right percentage of proportions for my one little silk ball but the bonus is the smaller it is, the less you have to rip back:) I revised the measurement of each of the 4 sections to:

Width = 5” along base which makes the full bag width 10” (with two panels together)

Height = 11” on outside edge

Height where two panels meet in the middle ‘V’ = 7”

I followed the pattern instructions for the assembly but had to make some adaptions for the strap. As it’s a more petite tote, I only used 6 sts for the strap width - ideally binding off each section to the last 3sts (instead of the patterns 5). As this only occurred to me afterwards,  I K2tog at the beginning of each row till I had 6 sts remaining. I quite like this effect though as it looks like the strap is tapering down, so it’s all good.

The strap length was of necessity only as long as the amount of yarn I had left - I used every scrap left to graft the two strap ends together but you could make this as long as you like depending on the amount of yarn left. As it’s such a messy yarn no knots or seams show at all - perfect!

All in all this took me about 3 or 4 evenings watching tv to knit so quicker if you were on a roll:) The yarn was a pain to work with as it was unevenly spun and I kept having to untwist the ply just to get an evenish yarn to knit with. But do be careful not to untwist it too much as the yarn loosens too much and snaps and you have dropped stitches and another knot  - she says feelingly! Saying all that I think the yarn is worth it for the richness and the handle of the silk.

This pattern makes me think about recycling scrap fabrics and spinning them together into nice chunky yarns. It would be really good way to use up all those scraps..... :) Another thing to add to my wish list! Right, I think the headles should be rust free by now so off I go to wash them off and rebuild the loom.


ETA: About the rust - Only use acetic acid if it's not shifting any other way. I started with WD40 and some fine grain sandpaper, when that didn't shift the stubborn bits, I moved onto a brillo pad/wire wool. Only then did I use acetic acid/white vinegar and it has to be washed off with soapy water afterwards as the acetic acid can keep reacting with the metal even after it comes out of the basin.


  1. This turned out very nicely. I too have a single skein of recycled silk--perhaps a little bag.

  2. Really nice. I like all your work!


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