Ask Poops, Please

Putting my two cents in.

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Location: Belmont, New Hampshire, United States

Born and bred in a small New England town, I am convinced that I know something about everything, and that my opinion matters. If only to me. Well, you'll see what I mean. And I love to knit, so you'll see what kind of things I'm doing when I should be vacuuming the living room.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Yeah, yeah, yeah...

I know, I'm behind things with the postings and whatnot. But you're getting free Poops, and remember what they say about getting what you pay for.

First, some knitting content before I forget what the hell I've been up to. For starters, the matter of the backpack, or as I've come to think of it, A Tale of Twin Bags That Aren't.

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, I knit and felted a small bag for my BIL's wife. She wanted one just like mine and so I made her one just like mine and she lovedlovedloved it. Total birthday present hit. And as luck would have it, I had plenty of yarn left over to make another whole bag.

So I'm knitting along on SIL's bag and thinking the whole time, "This would make a cute backpack, I think. If I did this and this and this..." So, when the purse was done, I launched into the backpack version making the necessary changes as I went along and lo and behold, it totally worked.

I was PSYCHED, dudes and dudettes. There's nothing like thinking up something in your head and having it come out exactly the way you pictured it. Especially when felting, 'cause man, you just never know what is going to happen in washing machine!

So, utterly pleased with my success, I decided that I should write up the pattern. Now, the construction had changed completely with the backpack-making, so that wasn't a problem, but the stripe pattern is not my own so I thought I'd just make up my own unique pattern and then the whole pattern would be mine! Yay! I bought a big box of all different colors of yarn from Knitpicks and launched into a really cool but simple colorwork pattern. The results prefelted were exactly what I wanted and I could see that it was going to work just as I had forseen.

You see where this is going don't you? I know you're thinking "Poops is thinking too well of herself again. Pride's about to goeth before this fall."

You'd be right.

For you non-knitters that might still be following my narrative (or you knitters who are colorwork/felting virgins) yarn felts the long way. Like, if you were to take a piece of yarn a foot long and toss it in the washer, it would get shorter, not necessarily narrower. When you knit, the yarn still goes predominately in one direction, that is "the long way", so whatever you knit for felting needs to be a lot taller than it does wide, because it's going to shrink in length way more than in width.


Unless you're doing colorwork. In colorwork, strands of yarn are carried along behind your work on the inside of the item. They run the "short way" or width-wise. Basically, those strands are going to shrink and cause the item in question to shrink more in width than in height. You live, you learn. I came out with a very long, very narrow backpack.
(I am aware that the picture posted sideways. I can't make it go t'other way. Tip your head to the left, it's easier...)

It's still pretty cute and I love how the colors came out. And when I described it to Yorkie she said I should call it the Quiver Bag since it is shaped like an quiver for carrying arrows. Which is what you could put in it. Or a couple of baguettes and a bread of wine. So behold, The Quiver Bag, by Poops. (The jury is out on whether or not I'll be offering this pattern or not. I mean, it's a success-from-failure kind of thing, but I just don't know...)

Now see it side by side with the pink stripey one. They started out the EXACT SAME SIZE pre-felted.

Let this be a felting lesson for you. The longer your floats on the back of your colorwork, the more it's going to shrink in width. Make a note.

I had a pantload of colored yarn left, though not enough for another bag, so I decided to apply my newly learned methods of pre-felting guesstimation to mitten making. I long ago perfected my own mitten pattern. I have the numbers for every imaginable size under the sun right up in my noggin. I never use a pattern anymore. So I figured I could adjust my own pattern to make them longer pre-felting and then see what happens. I worked in stripes as to avoid the horizontal stranding issues, and had at it. And I have to say, my first effort was far from horrible.

I embroidered a bare tree on it and stitched on the leaf buttons. I sold them at my last craft fair. Which emboldened me to tweak my pattern a bit where it needed tweaking and perfect it, and I think I've done it. I've got three pair ready for next weekend's back-to-back fairs and they are wicked cute if I do say so myself. One pair is green with embroidered sheep, one is red with embroidered and beaded snowflakes, and the last pair is winter white with jeweled leaves in amber and green. So I may indeed offer up my felted mitten pattern sometime down the road. I will also photograph the mittens in case they sell like a mofo and disappear. Which would be grand.

Finally, I made a couple of baby sweaters that are too cute not to share. The first is some baby alpaca I got at WEBS. The sweater is freakishly soft. Baby soft. Amazing, really.

This last one is from my own handspun and this quilted stitch pattern makes it extra "lofty" and I'm sure quite warm. It got lots of oohs and ahs from the looky-loos, but no takers. *shrugs*
It comes with a hat.

So that's all that's new. In my next installment I will share some new booties, the mittens, and I'm working on a really, truly awesome mitten idea that I CANNOT wait to start on. They're a Christmas gift though, so it may have to wait...

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