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Christmas Sewing

Underneath the purple rain


Did I mention that my Sister-in-law likes purple? Just a little bit? Just a tiny touch?

She likes purple. Things that come in purple tend to meet with approval. She is also a most enthusiastic recipient of knitwear, hence the mittens, and that’s why, when I went digging in the stash before Christmas and found a skein of Jitterbug that spoke of purple I knew it was meant for her.

I wanted a pattern that wasn’t too complicated to overshadow the colours of the Jitterbug, but wasn’t just another plain pair of socks and rooting about on Ravelry I found the Anastasia Socks.

And here they are:
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The Jitterbug colour is Florentina (incidentally it’s the same as the silk Tao in one of my hats, and on both occasions, H picked out the colour, it’s a pity it’s just too far on the girly side for him) and the socks are knit toe up which helps to use as much of the Jitterbug as possible, it not being overly generous in the yardage.

I knit the swirls going in opposite directions as suggested in the pattern but I changed the ribbing at the top. If you start ribbing at the point where the spiral is about to start, work (k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p2, k2, p2, k2, p2) x 4; the single ribbing should line up with the purl stitches over the yarn overs and it gives a nice flow from the leg to the ribbing.

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In purple, more is more, is more, is more, and purple socks and mittens require just a little more purple!

Back in August when H and I went to the Quilt festival at the NEC we found some wonderful batik prints and panels from the African Fabric Shop, including two elephants on a lilac background and a deep royal purple covered with littler elephants. It is not uncharacteristic of my tendencies towards prevarication that I waited until yesterday to turn the fabric into the intended bag. My story is that I needed to go shopping for the handles and I’m sticking to it.

The pattern as such was rather made up on the fly, governed entirely by how much fabric I had, and I used most of it. I started with half a yard of backing fabric and the two panels that were about 8″x6.5″.

I cut two 12 1/2 inch squares from the background fabric to be the lining and then played around with the offcuts to make borders for the elephant panels:

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One has short stubby side borders (2.5″x6.5″) and then long thinner top and bottom borders (12.5″ x 2″ and 12.5″ x 4.5″) and the other has short top and bottom borders and long thin side borders. It’s whatever works while making sure that the elephants all stay facing upwards.

The two outer panels turned out to be more like 12″x12 1/2″ so I trimmed the lining panels to fit and then sewed up the sides and bottom of each ‘set’.

For the gusset I lined up the seam on the base with the side seam which gives a triangular ‘pinch’ on the corner, then I marked an inch in from the corner and sewed across it. It makes the bag sit a bit more easily.

The handles are a massive amount of purple spotty ribbon – for each handle I sewed two lengths together, wrong sides facing, down each edge to make it nice and strong and spotty both sides but it would work equally well with just one length of ribbon.

To make the whole thing into a bag I put the lining bag inside the panel bag, folded the raw top edges to the wrong side in between the two layers and pinned it together. The handles simply tuck in between the two layers as well and the whole thing is kept together with two rounds of top stitching (using a walking foot to stop it puckering).December 138

Magic – and the best thing is that it’s totally reversible:

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Sizewize it wouldn’t fit an entire A4 book, and it hangs to hip height, but it would fit a small to medium sized knitting project, or as the case may be:
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A pair of mittens and

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A pair of socks!

I might have to see what other fabric is lying around in the stash!