WIP - Albem Bag

As posted in the pattern thread, I started with this Albem Calbed Bag. It is not ready yet, but it has to be ready this Saturday as it is a gift and that evening will be the deadline.
It is the first time in a while that I’m following a pattern. That is, a pattern which can be followed to the letter without much thinking of my own. It turns out, I am quite good at not thinking beforehand - but I make up with the thinking during the knitting. I hope this makes sense :teehee:

Take the yarn. The pattern clearly states:
[COLOR=“Blue”]BERROCO ULTRA ALPACA (100 grs), #6285 Oceanic Mix[/COLOR]
So I went to the store. I knew I should be looking for 100yrs yarn, but I liked the colour of the 40grs better - so I figured I could just use 2 strands to knit. The shopping lady did warn me that this would probably not work. For example, the needle size of the 40grs is given to be 2.5 and you can not just take size 5.0 when you use two strands. The rule of thumb is times 1.5 - so size 4 it is. And the pattern gives size 10 (6mm). That is way thicker :oo: But I was set on the colour and left the store with 8 balls of wool (160m each).
Then, and only then I read the description a bit better and realized that the original description already used 2 strands :wall: Whoops… typical…
I decided to just make a gauge as I had taken the wool home with me anyway. I looked at my needles and could not find a 4 or a 5, so 4.5 it was. The number 6 looked way too thick and I figured I should use 3 strands for that thickness - not something I looked forward to. So I tried the [B]cable pattern[/B]

[COLOR=“Blue”][B]CB4[/B]: Sl 2 sts to cn and hold in BACK, k2, then k2 from cn
(Multiple of 10 sts + 4)
[I]Row 1[/I] (RS): K1, * k2, p2, k4, p2, rep from * across, end k3.
[I]Row 2:[/I] K1, k the k sts and p the p sts as they face you to last st, end k1.
[I]Row 3:[/I] K1, * k2, p2, CB4, p2, rep from * across, end k3.
[I]Row 4: [/I] Rep Row 2.[/COLOR]

I was surprised by the description “k the k sts and p the p sts as they face you”, but I figured it out due to the picture. It wasn’t untill 2 days agoo that I realised that I could have understood it immediately had I read this thread. :oops:
This cabled gauge went OK and I found out that 5 cables would give me the width I wanted from the bag. Not quite 8’’ (rather 7’’) but the bag would serve its purpose. I scanned through the pattern to see whether this would become a problem later on, but did not see anything alarming.
So I started to knit for real - with 5 times the cable pattern, so 10 sts more than the 44 sts the original description said. I also made another adjustment. I realised that the original pattern gives a moss stitch on the sides (st 1 and st 44). I have never put a work together with moss stitches on the sides, always “columns” of purl or knits (see f.ex. the book covers). So I figured it might be easier to just go for the same thing here - instead of the moss stitch on the edges I went for 2 purl stitches.

Here’s what I have so far:

What I did so far is:
[COLOR=“Magenta”]Cast on 56 stitches
[I]Row 1[/I] (RS): p2, * k2, p2, k4, p2, rep from * across, end k2, p2.
[I]Row 2:[/I] k the k sts and p the p sts as they face you
[I]Row 3:[/I] p2, * k2, p2, CB4, p2, rep from * across, end k2, p2.
[I]Row 4: [/I] Rep Row 2.[/COLOR]

When you look carefully, you see that there’s a mistake (I think I forgot to knit some stitches) in one of the cable strings (4th swirl upwards, 4th cable towards the right). I decided this will be the back of the bag, as I don’t feel like taking it all apart again. It will not be too noticable, I hope :cool:

That is it for today - I’ll update on my progress tomorrow. I’ve figured out how to decrease (after some headbreakers), but I do not have time to post more right now.

It looks good and that is a gorgeous blue. Reminds me of periwinkles! :slight_smile:

That’s going to be a beautiful bag! I don’t think that stitch is a big deal. I just call those little blips a design feature. :teehee: Good call on not ripping back!

It’s going to be a wonderful bag. The color is divine and the cables look fabulous. Can’t wait to see it all together.

I love the color, I love how you’re working with the pattern, your cables are lovely indeed. Just don’t point out the mistake to anyone and I expect that nobody will ever notice it but you. We might, but only because you told us exactly where it is.

Thank you all for the kind words.

And yes, it is a wonderful colour - but not the same as in the pictures :oops: I am really bad at photography - f.ex. I had to make 21 pictures to get the ones above, the other 19 were blurry :wall: I really have no clue how to get the right colour… I do wish there was yarn in this colour though, I would buy it in a heartbeat.
The yarn I use is[COLOR=“Blue”][COLOR=“Magenta”] YASMINA (KL 1182)[/COLOR][/COLOR] and it is [COLOR=“DarkOrchid”]a deep purple colour[/COLOR] (deeper than the text coulour) in real life. In the next photo’s you might see that, as they were taken on different times during the day and give a different outcome :eyes:

I took Antaras’ advice and made a lifeline before I started to decrease.

A bit blurry, but I hope it shows what I was doing: just sewing the rainbow-yarn through the hoops while knitting along.

Here is the end result:

I really like the roundness in the picture of the Albem Bag on the patter - so I decided not to decrease in one row but over more rows. I tried some different things, as you can see in the Pattern Central thread and had decided on decreasing the 6 outer stitches to 2 by ssk and k2tog. Then 2 rows later (decreasing only on the WS) I decreased again by k3tog or sssk, whichever looked better. I’m not quite sure what I did in the end, but I somehow managed to make it look not too shabby and then I had to bind off while the pattern was screaming for another twist in the cables. :think: So I thought “whatever, I have a lifeline - lets go crazy” and I just continued the pattern and the twists whilst binding off. I had never done that before, but it worked out quite well even if I say so myself:

Of course, I did make some mistakes but I managed to go back and fix those - no need for the lifeline, yet :woohoo:

Yeah… that’s what the binding off looked like at some point. I have no clue where my head was at. I guess I was so focussed on getting the twists right that I just forgot to bind off some stitches :wall: :rofl:

So, that is that for the front. Now I just had to do the same for the back - only without the binding off part. And so I did, but then I started thinking… If I would fix the strap to the sides of the front and back, I had to follow the rounds edges. That was the idea: to make the bag a bit round. But this would leave just a small opening, and a narrow one as the sides would be sewn in. I had not thought about that before, but it suddenly struck me. One solution would be to only sew the strap vertically and make special “side straps” to go round the edges - just to cover them up, not to be part of the “bearing strap”. Can you follow? :stuck_out_tongue: But even then the bag opening would be narrow.
So after I had decreased like this on the back, I decided against it and went back to the lifeline situation :happydance: I was so happy I had the lifeline - it worked like a charm :cool:

So I was back to following the pattern for the back-piece, instead of stubbornly insisting on round edges… I do really wonder about the picture that goes with the pattern though… how does it get that round?!?

[COLOR=“Blue”]To be continued[/COLOR]

It’s such a beautiful color! The cables and patterning show up sooooo well! Can’t wait to see it all complete!

Thank you :slight_smile: I can’t wait either :wink:

So where was I… Ah, back to the pattern for the back:
[COLOR=“Blue”]Knit the next row, decreasing 8 sts across – 36 sts. Knit 1 row more.[/COLOR]
That seems doable: just knit. But then what happens to the cable pattern? :think: Wouldn’t it be nice to continue that pattern for a bit - like the front piece, where I also decreased while keeping the pattern? And so I did something different than the descriptions said - again. :rofl:
I need to decrease 10 stitches in a pattern with 5 cables, 6 knitted columns and 12 purled columns. I already played a bit with this in my tries, so I knew it would be least visible in the purls. Leaving the outmost purled columns alone, there would be exactly 10x2 purls to be decreased to 10x1 :cool: Wonderful when the math is this easy :cheering:
So for the back piece I followed the pattern for 3 more rows, as the front piece went on for 4, and decreased the purls in the 4th (where the front piece was bound off). This worked like a charm.

Now I had to go on to the flap. But I couldn’t just knit a row now, I had to figure out a way to neatly transition. For this would happen if I did not:

It is not a very clear photo (:oops: sorry), but what I try to show is how it looks now I’ve knitted the purls next to the knitted columns into a knit. I hope that makes sense :wink: You still see a purl here, because this was done before I decided the back should be decreased differently (so this one was still with decreases on the edges).

I thought a bit, and then :figureditout: I just had to use the cable-technique to branch the purled columns outward. And so I did:

Now one “knit the knits” row back and I could start with the flap-pattern. :cool: I couldn’t follow this to the letter either, as I had 46 stitches to start with, instead of 36 - but I already fixed this in the “try outs”. The pattern has a repeat of 8 stitches and I added a stitch to either border. So the knitting of the flap went quite smoothly :knitting:

So, this is what I got:

But then I tried to “flip the flap” to see how it would look:

I think that is a bit short. I like bags where the flap stays put even without the button… It needs some more overlap… But that is something to do when I have the time. Right now the clock is ticking and I still need to make a strap. :shifty:

[COLOR=“Blue”]To be continued[/COLOR]

For the strap, the pattern says:
[COLOR=“Blue”]With smaller straight needles, using 2 strands of yarn held tog, cast on 9 sts.
[I]Row 1 (RS): [/I] K1, * p1, k1, rep from * across.
[I]Row 2: [/I] P1, * k1, p1, rep from * across. Rep these 2 rows until piece measures 50”, end on WS.
Bind off in ribbing.[/COLOR]

I read this quite fast and thought "oh, that’s easy - that is the moss stitch: alternate a purl and a knit. That is probably because the edge of the front and back piece have a moss stitch, and this way it will be easier to sew them together. But I have a purl on the edges, so maybe I should also have a purl on the edges of my strap…"
Plus, 9 stitches is a bit small so lets make that 11 - I’m gonna make the flap a bit longer anyway.

So I put on 11 stitches and started knitting a moss stitch with purl-columns on the edges. After 5 rows I looked again at the description and realized something was wrong. :?? If it had been moss stitch, they could just tell me to do the same row over and over and over and … :doh: It isn’t moss stitch, it is a 1x1 ribbing - a rib stitch! That makes much more sense…
So I took it all apart again and started anew.

It took me quite a while to get it this long :knitting:

The pattern says the strap should be 50’’, so I placed a pin at every 10’’ and just waited till I could put in the 5th pin :slight_smile:

I think 50’’ will be enough, since the bag is a bit smaller than the pattern describes so the strap might be a bit longer. And longer is good :cool: But to be honest, I have no clue how long the original is - you can’t really see on the picture where the bag will hang on the body… I hope it is around the hips… We’ll see.

This is what I have now:

Next will be the elongination of the flap
[COLOR=“Blue”]To be continued[/COLOR]

The elongination was just a continuation of the pattern. I can not exactly recall what went differently where, but I think I could do it again - Not really by looking at the pattern, but rather by looking at the cables and what to do to make them go in a certain direction :cool: I feel very experienced now :rotfl:

It is one inch longer now:

And that’s it - time to sew it all together…
[COLOR=“Blue”]To be continued[/COLOR]

BTW It is well past the due date now (and not quite finished :oops:). I have given the present on Saturday night - just the knitting and sewing together was done - accompanied with a poem (as is the custom) about how I wanted to confer with the recipient about certain details of the bag :p. She pretended to fall for it, but of course my sister knows that I just missed my deadline. She made hers, I got the cutest hat :cool:.

However, I am not so far in this thread yet, as I want to make a record of all that I’ve done - so anybody else who makes this bag will know what to watch out for. I hope…
And I still think the picture is deceiving :grrr:

Though I said in my last post that I wanted to walk through all of the steps slowly, I am not sure how to finish this up :oops:

I sewed the knitted parts together the same way I always do: quite tight and with about one row of stitches drawn to the “inside”. Maybe it is more clear in the picture:

The seam is on the inside and there will be a lining, so it just has to look good on the outside :stuck_out_tongue:

Though I pinned it all out, I somehow managed to have 9cm on the one side and 11cm on the other :wall:

And as I sewed very tight and with some intermediate stitches to keep it all together, I was not willing to undo it all and just left it this way :cool: Not so much of a perfectionist, I guess…

As for the pinning, you’d think this would work:

I tried to keep the “columns and cables” of the front in line with the ones on the back piece. I think this worked out OK in the end.

Going around the corner:

I disaproved of this, as it just did not look right on the outside:

The purled part is too wide…

So I made the seam a bit bigger and this looked better:

One side

As you see, I left the lifeline in there - it was quite handy to use that as a reference :cheering:

More sewing on the sides:

Finished (this part at least :wink: )

[COLOR=“Blue”]Then the lining[/COLOR]
I am no hero with the sewing machine, and it did not really help that this one started to smoke like crazy. :help: I opened up the motor, but couldn’t find anything wrong so I just left it for another day and that seemed to do the trick :???: Apparently, sewing machines can start to smoke after you haven’t used them for a while - all due to the dust… :oo:

Here is the “puzzle” of the lining before sewing it all together:

It has a little inside pocket with a zipper - that was quite a challange!

The seams were all quite wide… the fabric itself is a bit stiff, so in the end it all turned out a bit “bulky”. I guess using the bag will fix that problem… I hope :slight_smile: I did not want to make smaller seams as the fabric needed to be seamed first - it falls apart on the edges quite easily.

[COLOR=“Blue”]To be continued - that will be the last one, I promise :mrgreen: [/COLOR]

Very interesting. So from what I can tell, the straps wrap all the way around the purse? Is that right?

Sorry to hear about the smoking sewing machine! Mine will probably start smoking, too, if ever I use it again. Maybe it’s time to oil that baby!??!

I can’t wait to seeing the finished purse! It’s looking good so far (and you can’t tell the 3 cm difference either, so no worries there)!

Yes, the strap goes all the way around. That’s why I think the given 50inches in the pattern might be too little - the bag is quite above the hips now and not really suited to put around the head, just around the shoulder. If I ever were to make this again, I’d definitely go for a longer strap.
As for the sewing machine, dusting might do you more good if you want to prevent it from smoking. Oiling it might be a good idea for the overal performance though :wink:

I hope to upload the “finished” pictures tonight.

I’ve never had a sewing machine smoke, that must have been off putting!

When I use fabrics that fray like crazy, I use a zig zag stitch and overcast the edges. Even a straight stitch near the edge helps a lot.

Yes, I also used a zigzag :slight_smile: And 2 times a straight stitch - but this means the seams are about 1 cm (and a bit stiff).

Before I sew in the lining, I made the tassels. According to the description, this was the way to make them:
[COLOR=“Magenta”]Cut one 8” long strand of yarn and one 12” long strand of yarn. Wrap yarn multiple times around a 3” long piece of cardboard. Cut the lower end to free wrapped strands. Tie the center of strands with 8” long strand. Fold strands in half over tie and wrap 12” long strand around all strands 1” down from top. Tie and draw ends into center of tassel. With crochet hook, join single strand of yarn in top of first tassel, make a chain 18” long, join in top of second tassel. Fasten off. Repeat with third and fourth tassels. Tie one chain around each side of strap as in photo. [/COLOR]
I did do the part with the cardboard (40 times) and the 12’’ strand. But instead of the 8’’ strand to tie the center of the strands together, I used the crochet chain. I did the crocheting with 2 pieces of yarn, just like the knitting, so I could easily tie the ends around the strands without using any difficult knots :cool:

That is where I tie the strands together with an end of the crochet chain. I already took them all of the cardboard, which makes it a bit hard to stay at the center but otherwise the cardboard was really in the way.

Finished product:

As for sewing in the lining, this should have been very straightforward, but of course I managed to mess it up:

See how the seams of the bag don’t add up with the seams of the lining? I don’t know how it happened, but it just happened :?? I know that I could take it apart again - but I just could not be bothered. Especially when my sister did not notice it until I pointed it out… Not sure how she could have missed that…

I connected the lining to the bag in the lower corners, around the zipper and on all the outer edges. I am not sure what to call the stitch I used… just basic hand sewing I guess… A bit of a zigzag.

A look inside:

Then there still was the buttonloop to fix on. I had already put on a button when the knitting was done - just really fast to show my sister what it would look like when I gave her the bag. Of course I forgot to put the button on properly before I put in the lining. So now I just keep my fingers crossed that my first little knot will hold that button in place :stuck_out_tongue:
The description said to do this:
[COLOR=“Magenta”]With crochet hook, join single strand of yarn in WS of flap edging 3/4” to the left of center. Make a chain 1 1/2” long, then join in WS of flap edging 3/4” to the right of center forming buttonloop. [/COLOR]
And that is what I did, only not exactly 1 1/2’’ but rather as long as seemed necessary for the button. I also thought the crochet chain did not look quite right, so I added a row of single crochet around it all.



And when you close the bag it looks like this:

A really small flap, isn’t it? I am not crazy about the narrowness of the flap - it leaves holes at the sides… If I would make it again I would not decrease the stitches for the flap - I would increase them even more than I did now! :knitting:

Here is the end result:

Back and open:

I do am happy with the end result, but I have to stress again:
It is misleading.

PS I did not crochet the seams of the bag. I am not that sure of my crocheting skills, though I did learn a lot the past month - and I did not think it necessary. Maybe if you sew it together differently, without inward seams, it will look better indeed.

You’ve had your trials and tribulations with this bag, but it looks terrific. If your sister is silly enough to decide she doesn’t like it, I’d take it! That’ll never happen. Your sister is much loved and lucky!

Kudos to you for a beautiful bag!

It is possible to re-do a cable without frogging the whole piece. Two summers ago I re-did 32 inches of one cable on an afghan I was making for a charity auction. Could not tell after it was done.


Grand, that’s good to know. But as long as I do not manage to do so with “regular” knitting I won’t even dare to try cable :wink: Maybe one day, when I have enough experience.