Oh I am furious! And I'm depressed. Yes you can be both at the same time. Sort of raging around the place while simultaneously trying to hide in a corner with your arms over your head. My lower lip is stuck out so far you could range several pots of strawberry jam on it. Whatever made me think of trying that French Market Bag? Whatever made me think felting was comparatively simple? Oh woe, woe, and B*S*T and D*M*N!
It doesn't help, IT. DOES.NOT.HELP that darling Lene has posted pictures of her second fabulous FMG, even lovelier than the first. With lining AND with embroidered butterflies. It's so lovely that you'd snatch it up in a heartbeat and run off with it. Is she doing this solely and specifically to upset me, wreck my weekend and quite possibly the rest of my life? Possibly not. Now that I force myself to consider rationally, I realise that she has no way of knowing how appallingly my own attempt turned out. But she should have. She should have known that by posting the perfect result, she was condemning SOME of us to everlasting torments of resentment and regret.
I wouldn't mind, but her bag, pre-felting, looked extraordinarily like mine. Here's my hideous UFO:
Now go over and look at hers. Go on, I'll hang around here glowering and muttering under my breath.
See? Almost identical, isn't it? But that, alas, is where they parted company. You saw, I presume, how hers turned out.
Here's my poor little tragedy.
OK, ok, you can stop laughing now. Of course this bag did suffer from refrying, being twice brewed, even bis-cuit, if you're a Francophile. The first time round I used what I thought was a rather handy little kit I discovered in the same shop where I found the tiny sock knitting machine.
I hadn't come across these before (can someone enlighten me as to their common use?) but I immediately thought they'd be rather handy for felting, in that they would be bound to provide some additional friction. I accordingly packed the voluminous knitted balloon into the mesh bag, added the four plastic balls, and shoved it into the wash.
Well, it worked for some bits of the bag. Trouble was, it didn't work evenly or throughout. Because the bag was slightly compressed, parts of it felted together and the bits thereby tucked out of sight and out of mind didn't felt at all, whilst the outer bits most certainly did - and how. I managed to ease most of the stuck sections apart - only had to repair one small bit that got ripped through over-zealous separating - and then there was nothing to do but toss the poor victim back into the next washload. Nothing to lose anyway, that's for sure.
And you have seen the result.
I was kind to it. I hung it up nicely to dry out, and talked consolingly to it. I told it that not everybody was made the same, and it would be loved and cared for just as if it were the prettiest little Finnish embroidered bag. So I lied. What would you have done?
La Princesse Natasha de St. Petersburg (who is so tiny she is almost one of the original sleeve Pekingeses) said she thought it would do very well for those occasions upon which she left her yurt and required a palanquin to convey her to the best shops. But she would like some embroidery upon the outer sides, please. Preferably butterflies.
Et tu Tasha?
Speak to me no more of felting. The iron has entered Celtic Memory's soul. Never again. So much work, so much effort, so much anticipation - for this? No, no, let us close the subject.
This morning a new resolution was adopted. It occurred to me that apart from socks there was a singular absence from my wardrobe of any items of a home knitted nature. And this when I had been knitting for more decades than I care to remember. So where are all the results? (Look in the WIP basket, I hear the shrieks, all right, all right, if you're so clever, how's your own WIP basket doing?)
From now on, it was decided, projects would be selected under the following strict criteria:
One: Will this suit me? (Forget how cute it looks on the model in the magazine, will it suit me?) If there is a shadow of doubt, then forget it.
Two: Can I imagine seven different occasions when I might wear it? Again, if relying on girlish dreams of being invited to the New Year's Eve Ball in Vienna, or for cocktails at Harry's Bar, then forget it. You gotta be able to wear it anywhere, get that?
Three: Is this a key item which has been missing from my wardrobe? Is it the essential I don't have? (Have I ever thought that carefully about anything, let alone what I wear?)
With these criteria in mind, I sat down to work out what I tended to look for most frequently, and what came up, surprisingly enough, was some sort of lightweight sweater that could be pulled on first thing in the morning and worn all day if elegance was not demanded. It would have to have:
a) A wide loose neck for ease of pulling on. Struggles at an early hour are aggravating.
b) Pockets - can't survive without them. (And why designers think women don't need pockets I can never understand. In trousers particularly. Men, yes, they get lots of them, but women - zilch. OK, so we have handbags, but handbags aren't always a good idea - like in the red light district of Ulan Bator, for example.)
c) Extreme washability - with three dogs, that's a given. Even if they only get one cuddle each per day, plus one snatching up out of a fight/food bowl row/toy confrontation, that's quite a lot of doggy smell, not to mention hair.
Looked as though what I needed was some sort of smock thing. Except that smocks are too darn twee, and also act like strait-jackets when you wriggle into them. Impossible to get out of. So I'm designing my own Celtic Memory gansey-smock-thingy.
Here's the back. I made it in that nice denim cotton slub which Peg used for her lovely top, but I wanted quick gratification so I used it double on a 6.5mm Colonial Rosewood circular (the make of needle isn't relevant, I know, but it's so nice to work with, so smooth and warm in the hands, that I thought I'd mention it). Went a bit mad with patterning on the yoke, in the Guernsey style (sort of warming up for another attack on Starmore sometime soon, when I can get someone courageous enough to knit along with me on Eriskay). There will be slits at the side, in true gansey style, and the front will have a slit in the yoke. I might put on a squared collar to add to the smock look. The idea is that this will be the most useful and used item in my wardrobe, able to withstand muddy doglets, gardening, cooking, and constant laundering. More to come on this one!
(Yes, I realise it's a new project. But I'm using stash, and it's an essential for my wardrobe. Who knows the provisos and exceptions on New Projects as laid down in the Kashmir Knitting Summit? Angeluna? Dez? Isn't there an entry about 'essential items without which the knitter cannot survive'? Or something?)
Somebody (was it you, Pacalaga?) raised a doubtful query as to whether I was really knitting Pomatomus at the Arctic Circle. Shame upon you, Pacalaga (I know perfectly well it was you, I was just being tactful up there, and giving you time to own up). Here, you doubting Thomasina, is proof positive that the lovely Pomatomus is indeed on the needles.
This really is a beautiful pattern. Mad about it. Want to make more and more and more pairs. This pattern is to me what Monkey apparently is to everybody else.
And just to show I do wear my FOs:
here are the Mad Bluebell Dance seen only this morning, while wearer was knitting on the denim smock thingy and simultaneously meting out Sophy's daily dose of wuv. I love this Bluebell colourway from Silkwood - got it from Gill at the Woolly Workshop.
To clear the head, and remove any - any - memory of felting, took Sophy out for a walk this afternoon, near Inchigeelagh, a few miles from home. We parked the car and walked down a grassy lane towards the ford across the river.
They're very atmospheric, these old fords. You can almost hear the creaking of carts and the splash of hooves and shouts of the carters urging their teams across the swiftly flowing water.
It's a surprise ford too, this one near Inchigeelagh, because when you get right down to the bank -
- you discover that there is a castle on the other side.
A tower house, to be more accurate: this is Ballynacarriga, or 'the settlement on the high rock', which is a fairly accurate description.
Actually there is a footbridge across the river, which is just as well, since it is quite deep at this point.
The lane on the other side, where the trees meet overhead, and last year's leaves lie undisturbed on the ground, is peaceful with a car a rare occurrence. Perfect for wandering with a small dog and a free mind.
You get nice views of Ballynacarriga from this side too
and there are gates to lean on and meadows to gaze at. Perfect for unwinding.
(and for forgetting felting disasters.)
Will you STOP remembering that? Banish it from your mind. NOW!
(Maybe if I asked Lene for advice?)
No! Nobody must know of this disgrace!
(Oh. OK. Right so.)
(All the same, though...)