Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Manos Bag Update

So there I was, listening to the Yarn Harlot (which I promise I'll talk about soon), and blithely knitting away on the long, plain stockinette section of the bag. And then I started to wonder exactly how long that long, plain section should be. But of course I didn’t wonder enough to stop knitting until I could check some figures. So: although my conjectural calculations (more about which, below) were that the body of the bag should be about 12.5” before fulling, what I now have is 14”. Sure, I could have ripped back—especially once I remembered that I’d been planning to put in holes for the straps before I got to the top edge. But I really dislike ripping out perfectly good knitting, and it’s not like I was that sure about the 12.5” anyway, so I left it.

I did, however, go back and put in the buttonholes by dropping stitches down at the right spots, thusly: As I knit the next round, every time I got to a buttonhole point, I dropped two stitches off the left needle and raveled them back 4 rows. Then I put the two (live, 4-rows-ago) stitches back on the left needle, and with the right needle, used the raveled float to knit the 2 stitches together and then form a yarnover. This takes slightly less yarn than knitting the stitches individually would have, so technically I’d have a little extra slack left, but in work this loose it really doesn’t matter. Then I re-knit the three rows above the buttonhole, being careful to use the floats in order. Here's a picture of the afterthought eyelets. Just to the left of center, you can also see the ridge of slipped stitches for the crease.

There are 8 buttonholes in this puppy, two in each of the four sides. It’s doubtful whether I saved myself any time by working the fix this way, as opposed to ripping out the four rows. But boy, I hate to rip my knitting.

So here’s where we stand to date: rather than try to establish a percentage by which the fabric will shrink, I came up with my cast-on number and stitch counts by thinking about the felted gauge of the project, and then knitting loosely. In other words, I’m confident that I can make Manos full down to a gauge of 4 sts per inch, since that’s what it gets in “normal” knitting. So for a 12” width, I want 48 sts—but instead of the usual stockinette gauge on #9s, I’m on #11s, getting about 3 sts per inch.

Length is trickier, because I don’t have much idea how many rows per inch I’ve gotten on fulled Manos before, and my experience is that my stockinette shrinks more in length (height) than in width. I consulted a couple patterns and found that 20% shrinkage in length seems a pretty common assumption, so I had planned on 12.5” from base of bag to edge border in order to yield a depth of 10”. The garter-stitch border at the top adds almost another 2” right now, though it should shrink down even more than the stockinette. (Shouldn’t it? I mean, garter stitch gets more rows per inch than stockinette every other day, right?)

The bag is currently 16” wide, almost 7” deep, and a total of 16” high. I couldn't find any #11 dpns, so here's a reminder that you can make i-cord on a circular needle if you have to:

I’m committed to doing the straps next (before the pockets) because otherwise I’m afraid I’ll never get around to them.


Suzanne said...

Don't forget that Stephanie pointed out that you had blue fingers at the end of her talk!

Lisa M. said...

Indeed--add #116 to the list of Manos colors that are likely to transfer color to hands, needles, or the occasional unsuspecting couch. (Other suspects are navy and black.)

Thorough rinsing during blocking or the first washing--or in this case, the felting process itself--should take care of it.