Chickadee blue and brown knitted bag
Whiplash topic: Yarn

>> Monday, May 15, 2006

It started out so well... I decided to try out the Whiplash competition and create something for the topic "yarn" over the weekend. I had the best materials - light blue wool yarn, brown wool, a dark brown fabric with white floral pattern and wool for crewel embroidery. I even realized I could finally use the big round wooden button I had lying around and a bit of the brown grosgrain stitch ribbon. Of course I knew I didn't want to just make something with yarn, but really be inspired by yarn and use it to knit and embroider and felt.

I started by knitting up the two squares making them as big as I could while using all of the 100 grams I had in each colour. I had to unravel halfway through to change the proportions. But that was the easy part. I washed the squares in hot water to felt a tiny bit and then blocked them so they wouldn't curl up so much.
After that I started the embroidery - my inspiration was a chickadee I had seen on a shirt at Goodwill. The shirt was a big baggy ugly sweatshirt so I didn't want it, but I loved the colours in the bird illustration. I tend to "draw" the design with a neutral colour, then fill in the colours using satin stitch and chain stitch for the wing in this case. I love the finished bird embroidery on a berry branch!
The embroidery and the colour scheme were the best part, but things went down hill a bit when it came to assembling everything. I originally tried to make the strap with just the floral fabric but it looked floppy and awkward, plus I wasn't sure how to put in the lining and if that would be enough to keep the knitted sides in place. I undid all this and went to bed. That was Sunday night and the rules say to submit the project by Monday!I revised the construction, by adding interfacing on the lining, then stitching it to the new strap/sides/bottom (which was one big loop). I used cordoruy for the strap with floral lining. The inside also has a pocket and was handstitched to the sides before adding the knitted layers. Please note that I was even reduced to basting!!! Something I am usually never patient enough to do.
Then I handstitched the knitting on and added a ribbon loop for the clasp, with the brown wooden button. This is the finished bag - it's quite large, 10.5" x 16".
Here's a close-up picture of the lining. The fabric is from a thrifted curtain, which I unhemmed, washed and (eek!) ironed.
And of the brown wooden ball button:
In the end I'm a little bit disappointed - it didn't quite turn out the way I imagined it would. I do love the embroidery though. So I'm going to add the link to Whip up now and go to bed!!


Anonymous,  May 16, 2006  

oh claire!! it is absolutely perfect!! that little chickadee is just adorable!! hopefully you won't feel so frustrated in the morning when you realize what a great thing you've acomplished.

two rabbits May 16, 2006  

the bird embroidery is so wonderful! and the colors of the whole bag are beautiful together. i love it.

devinemom May 16, 2006  

wonderful work on the bird the embroidery work looks great.

Anonymous,  May 16, 2006  

I think it turned out quite well, love the fabric and the little birdie. so smile you did good!

aija May 16, 2006  

I love the embroidery, such a great job!!

Anonymous,  May 16, 2006  

A very beautiful bag!! :D

julie May 16, 2006  

I think it turned out beautiful!!!

Anonymous,  May 16, 2006  

Well, i think it's fabulous! I love the bird.

astridpersons May 16, 2006  

as always: beautiful. You have such a nice colour pallet and great combination of motifs: retro and modern at the same time!

Natalie May 16, 2006  

like everyone else, I think it's marvelous, good job!

Claire Louise Milne May 16, 2006  

Thanks everyone I really appreciate the comments!

Anonymous,  May 16, 2006  

I like it....the bag turned out and will be a great bag to use. Your going to get lots of comments when you use it. Keep up the good work.

ruby-crowned kinglette May 16, 2006  

i love it - it is hard to go wrong when you are working with chickadees!

Anonymous,  May 16, 2006  

I can't imagine why you're disappointed...this is completely adorable & darling and so, so cute! :)


Anonymous,  May 16, 2006  

It may not be how you imagined, but I never imagined it at all...and it's lovely.

dear snapshot May 16, 2006  

Very nice! The embroidery is lovely and really makes the piece. I admire your patience - I'd never make it through a project with so much detailing on a whiplash-style timeframe.

Anonymous,  May 16, 2006  

It's beautiful Claire! I love your color choices.

Sooz May 16, 2006  


I did some knitting in exactly the same colours this weekend! It must've been an 'earthy' time!

(mine was too long and too unfinished to enter though!)

Megan May 17, 2006  

That's such a sweet bag, you're so clever.

Anonymous,  May 17, 2006  

NO WAY should you be disappointed!!!! That is the most charming and lovely bag I think I've ever seen. It is incredible--the chickadee, the color scheme, the lining fabric, and the shape of the bag, and the button--oh my! I'm in love.

Emily May 17, 2006  

Lovely! So sweet and charming.

Anonymous,  May 17, 2006  

Oh you are way too hard on yourself!!! The bag is wonderful - and I love, love, love the bird! Beautiful.

Berber May 17, 2006  

I think the bag is beautiful!!
I hope you win!

Toni May 18, 2006  

That bag is beautiful! The brown floral and the tiny bird--so perfect. I really love it!

molly | May 18, 2006  

oh my is this ever inspired! i love it! fantastic! perfect!....

Anonymous,  May 19, 2006  

you make THE most lovely things - that's why i love stopping by your site. :)

Anonymous,  May 25, 2006  

Wow. This is a stunning bag. The colors are beautiful and the hand embroidery is the perfect finish. I'm loving how you use your knitted creations in bags. Very inspiring.

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