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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Cast On, Frog, Cast On Again, Hide Yarn, Blame Beer

Or, Fun With the French Market Bag

I have been in love with the French Market Bag for months now, but felt that I needed to get a few techniques under my needles before I tried it. I took stock a few weeks ago and realized I was comfy with the techniques needed: Knitting in the round? Check. Knitting on DPNs? Check. M1? Check. Kitchener Stitch? Check. Feeling quite confident, I purchased the yarn, Brown Sheep Co.'s Nature Spun in Victorian Rose, and Lamb's Pride Worsted in Deep Charcoal. You read that last sentence, right? Quite confident? Um, yes, well...

When I went to California two weeks ago, I took the FMB pattern and yarn with me, and while I was there, I bought a set (my first) of Crystal Palace bamboo DPNs. I felt pretty good (read smug) about this purchase and planned to start working on the FMB on the plane ride home to Boston.

I spent a couple of hours at SFO before my plane boarded, and I had two beers while I waited.

Once on board the plane, I pulled out my Crystal Palace DPNs, the pattern, the gorgeous pink yarn, and got ready to astound everyone on board the plane with both my style and mad knitting skills. Did I mention I had had two beers?

Two beers = Marked increase in knitting hubris.

I CO 8 stitches onto 1 DPN and then divided them onto 4 needles. Then I couldn't figure out where to start, or how to hold the needles. I understood why people hate DPNs. Those Crystal Palace needles are the slipperiest stupid things ever.

I frogged the whole thing. Um, yeah, that's right. All 8 stitches. But I tried again. I CO 8 stitches, divided, and then 2 needles slipped out and one of the flight attendants had to help me find a needle that had fallen onto the floor. I was starting to get a little embarrassed. And I was starting to doubt myself.

Let's just say that I frogged again, CO again, and then finally stuffed everything into my bag when I realized that the yarn was starting to fray and I was getting a little red in the face. I vowed not to talk about the FMB again.

Fast forward to last Sunday. I decide to give the FMB another go. In fact, I become convinced that it was a combination of beer, bad lighting, and small turbulent airplanes that caused my FMB upset. I pulled out the yarn, the needles, and got set to try again.

And had the exact same results: CO. Frog. CO. Frog. Get mad. Slap forehead. CO. Swear. Frog. Get red in the face. Shove everything in red plastic tote.

Then I start to think (yes, I said start). I realize that these Crystal Palace needles are pretty to look at, but way too slippery for me or this yarn or both. I need to let go of those needles. So, I start thinking about knitting the bottom of the bag in the same way that the bottom of the Booga and Sophie bags are knit. CO x stitches, knit y rows, pick up z stitches around the perimeter, begin knitting in the round. This is the point where I start to get really scared because figuring this out means doing knit math, and, well, jeez, wouldn't you be getting scared, too? No, Wendy, you don't count. I know you wouldn't be scared. I know you'd enjoy it.

The next logical step? Go back to the pattern, and start the knit math. Get a little pencil, make little notations on it, pretend you can figure it out. Put off doing all that by looking through the pattern one more time. And see, very clearly, that the instructions for the alternate knit the bag base flat version is on page 3 of the pattern. Next next step? Giggle maniacally, slap self, wish for beer, get circular needles, work on the following for three days, take picture and post this:

My (probably) 8th attempt at the FMB

The knit flat instructions were exactly what I was contemplating. CO 50 stitches, St st until piece is 12.5", pick up 50 stitches along each side, and there you go.

I will love this bag very, very much.

I've been home sick all week, and today I really started to get stir crazy. This means I am on the mend, and it also means that I started to feel guilty about not doing anything. So I made these:

Stitch markers!

The carpet in my spare bedroom where I took this picture is not really that strange blue color, I swear.

Well, my knitterly friends, I hope your week is going well. I am going to try and clean something and make dinner before Mike gets home. Stir crazy, I tell ya.


  • At 5:56 PM, Blogger um said…

    i LOVED this story! esp. the part where the flight attendant helped you look for your needle. my cheeks grew red with yours, but i had to chuckle! i'm glad there were alternate instructions. it's funny what happens when you turn the page on a pattern (i did the same thing with gabe's "bolus" sweater, where i was all proud about figuring out the reverse shaping, and it was on the next page. duh . . .)

    i love your stitch markers. where did you get the supplies for them (i.e. what do you use for the actual ring part, and then the part to slip on beads to dangle?) if you don't mind sharing, i'd love to know.

    hope you're feeling better!

  • At 10:19 PM, Blogger knittygirl said…

    You go, girl! I'm glad you didn't let that french market bag get the best of you! It's going to look awesome in those colors!

  • At 4:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    way to go on that fmb. lookin' good! hope you are feeling better.

  • At 7:31 AM, Blogger Knittens said…

    What a great story! Thanks for sharing with us! It may be hard, but try to remember that experiances like these only help us get BETTER at knitting. The more you experiance the "CO, curse, frog" cycle, the stronger you become, I swear.

    I love the stitch markers! I've been wanting to make some of my own as well! However, I dont think my brain works like that. I understand bead, wire, hoop - but I cant make it past that point!

    Glad you're feeling better!!!

  • At 1:40 PM, Blogger Jackie said…

    Hey there - that was a funny, funny story. I'm glad you conquered the obstacles, and were able to, um, well, read the directions :), but still, you got through the whole knit, frog, knit, frog, knit, frog part and didn't toss the pattern out the window before you got a chance to peruse further.

    By the way, thanks for your thoughtful comment on my hot-topic post. I was being a little tongue-in-cheek with my title, and like email, it's difficult to determine 'tone' so I'm sorry if you were taken aback. I think everyone's frustrated with the division this election has caused, and I want to get on with being an American with my fellow Americans (and knitting with my fellow knitters :).

    Wendy and I are trying to arrange some knitting time, are you still interested in meeting up? If you want, you can email me at jaclyncunninghamatyahoodotcom.

    I'm glad you're feeling better - it stinks you were sick for almost a whole week. Yuck!


  • At 2:31 PM, Blogger Bookish Wendy said…

    Dude...math is so coooooollll. ;)

    I'm loving the idea of a french market bag. So cool. I think I may use some of the yarn I picked up on Saturday for that (Lions Brand). You'll have to walk me through it you maniac felter!

  • At 10:25 PM, Blogger ann said…

    I love the part where you say you 'frogged' eight stitches!! We will have to reference some knitting bible to see how many stitches qualify for the verb frogging -- such a funny, good story!

    perhaps a name change is in order -- friggin market bag perhaps?

  • At 2:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Too, too funny....

  • At 7:50 AM, Blogger Princess Papaya said…

    I love the story! It sounds like my first adventure in sock knitting...:) I'm glad you got the bag started though--I've had my eye on it for a while.

  • At 10:49 AM, Blogger Lisa said…

    I hope you're feeling better! Great story! My favorite part was where you were going through all the trouble to figure out an alternate bottom, then found it already written. I could see myself doing that. :) The rose and charcoal look great together!

  • At 4:08 PM, Blogger Jackie said…

    I know, it was hard for me to keep my trap shut during all those emails, but seeing that I only have 2 verified regular readers, I didn't want to spoil the post. You have to admit, it was better that way. :)

    We're actually going to be running amok Downtown - so keep an eye out for the wackos in Ferrigno T-shirts (this year, only the winners of the Race get them) if you're going to be in the area.

    Have a super weekend!



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