Prototyping: The Baker St. Bag

I like to do swaps on Ravelry.  This is partially on account of my grabby-hands and deep seeded love of getting things in the mail, but mostly it is because it gives me a great way to test drive new pattern ideas.  Jac and I did a Sherlock swap that ran through April, and this was one of the most spectacular swaps I’ve ever had the privilege of participating in.

I LOVE the Sherlock wall paper.  Love it. Love it. Love it.

I LOVE the Sherlock wall paper. Love it. Love it. Love it.

For my swapee, I designed a bag with the gorgeous Sherlock wall paper motif on it.  The design for this bag has been an arduous process, and the truth is that the one pictured below is very much a prototype.

Baker St. Bag with Sherlock wallpaper motif

There is a lot that I love about it.  Pockets for example.  You just can’t have too many pockets.

Sherlock themed purse with pockets

I thought this would be a great time to talk about the design process a little, since that’s common question in Dr. Daisy Espresso’s mailbox.  I tend to design one element at a time.  So the front and back happened as a separate idea from the sides.  I knew what I wanted for each individual element, but it can be tough to make them all work together.  And for a piece like this, you never really know until you block it:

Blocking on the guest bed.

Blocking on the guest bed.

Then it get’s assembled, lined, zippered, and whatever other finishing is needed to make it really special.  I tend to want to try to rush the finishing, but its so important to take your time!  It’s amazing how much little touches can change a whole piece.  This bag got chrome purse feet, faux leather straps, a zipper, and pocketed lining.  There is plastic mesh in the bottom to help it hold it’s shape and boning on the sides.  I do think I will omit the boning on the final design, which will be a part of our fall line of Literature inspired knitting patterns that Jac and I are hard at work on.

This is what I lined it with.

This is what I lined it with.

For me, a design will go through several iterations before being deemed “fit for public consumption” and I love the prototype process.  At this point I haven’t even decided what fiber I’ll use on the final design (I used a machine washable wool on this one), but making a full prototype helped me work out any kinks in the pattern.  I also like being able to send one of a kind items to my swap partners. :)

~ Megan-Anne
The knitting game is afoot!