Starting Over

Starting Over

So…you know that stocking I had started? The one where I had knit only half of an inch in two hours because the yarn and needles were so small? Well, I just couldn’t take the idea of having to knit on it for forever and then having to make a whole other stocking after I finished it, so I unraveled it. As a knitter, the pain of being forced to realize that a project you are working on is not going the way you’d like and having to admit defeat is like having your heart ripped out! So the decision to frog and start over is never taken lightly.

Because it takes so much time to knit items on needles so small, I realized that I really did need to limit myself to items that were also small, like purses and lace edgings and probably another set of mittens in the future.  However, just in case you’re thinking that I totally pussed out I just want you all to know that for my grand finale I will still be knitting up a Victorian Undervest out of pure silk (I should have saved up enough money to buy the yarn for it by the end of the year).

Anyway, so on to my new, smaller project. I chose to knit up a Money
Bag.  The pattern comes from Interweave Knit’s reissuing of the Weldon’s Practical Knitter series.  The money bag pattern is in the volume one, fourth series book. The best part is that they’ve converted these old patterns into pdfs, and you can simply download them onto your computer.

So tiny!

The Money Bag required the same yarn and needle size as the stockings, so I got busy with my size 0000 needles and looked forward to casting on. Little did I know that the way the bag was constructed, from the bottom up would cause me huge amounts of grief!  The pattern told me to cast 8 stitches onto 3 needles (3 stitches on two needles with 2 on the third needle) and then knit a round before starting in on the increases. I don’t know if any of you have ever tried to do an increase stitch with tiny needles and tiny yarn, but I couldn’t really make out the bit of yarn between stitches to make the increase. Adding to that was the problem of only having 3 stitches on needles that are 8 inches long and slippery because they’re steel. I had to cast on 6 times before I was able to get past the problems of having needles fall out of the stitches or dropping a stitch while trying to increase next to it. I had nearly given up, ready to take the needles and stab something, anything (it’s a good thing my boyfriend was out in the office) but my 6th cast on attempt thankfully turned out stable enough for me to continue.

Then I noticed something. This bag was looking mighty tiny. I wondered if perhaps my gauge was off, and I had picked the wrong needles. I checked my needle size and it was correct. Then I really looked over the pattern, and when I got to the part about how to make the handle I realized that this bag was supposed to be tiny. It says “cast on 8 stitches and knit a strip of 2 inches in length in garter”.  Two inches!  Then I reread the part about adding a ring to the bag. When I had first glanced over the pattern I had thought to myself, “Where am I going to find a ring big enough for this bag?” Well, it turns out that when they say “slip a gilt ring over the top” they really did mean the size of ring that fits onto your finger!

Now, call me stupid, but then I couldn’t figure out why a bag that one would use to carry money in would be so tiny.  I had to really puzzle over this until it finally dawned on me that this was over 200 years ago, and money went a hell of a lot farther back then. At the most, most people would only need to carry a few cents around, and hardly anyone, unless they were super rich would even be using paper money!  So wow. Now I can’t wait to finish making this, and you can see how small it’s going to be by the picture I’ve taken, using a quarter for scale.

It's actually inside out right now.

5 Responses to “Starting Over”

  • Amazing work! It makes me wonder what the size of the coins were that they might be carrying in that bag…

    And I don’t blame you for frogging the stocking. It probably would have driven you crazy and blind. Better luck with this bag!

  • I’ve crocheted those little miser’s bags in silk and yes, the damnable things are pretty tiny! My last one was 2 1/4″ wide. I carry one around in my purse to hold my bus fare since they’re not much good for anything else.

    Have you tried knitting fingerless mitts? Weldon’s has a really pretty pair with a basketweave patt over the palm and scallops on the wrist and they’re great for Spring & Fall weather.

  • No great loss on the stockings, I think. I find this current project a lot more interesting, personally, and it’s less likely to drive our resident knitter insane and thus deprive us of future works!

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