Pattern: my design
Yarn: Peruvian Collection Highland Wool, <1 ball Navy, <1 ball red
Needles: US 5 straight or circular
Finished Dimensions: 7" x 5"
Gauge: 4.5 stitches / inch on US 5 needles
Notions: 1 7" zipper (or appropriate size for your bag), small amount of plastic liner material (could use cut-up shower curtain liner), needle & matching thread
My Mom's handwriting is beautiful (and large - her signature on a check takes up half the paper), so I decided to try a knitted gift that would incorporate it like this signature bag I saw on Craftster.
The great thing about bags is that dimensions don't matter too much. Yours will vary depending on the size of your yarn and your chart. Here's what to do:
(1) Solicit handwriting from the recipient in thick marker (if it's a surprise, reassure them that you won't be defrauding anyone!)
(2) Scan handwriting sample and run through knitpro freeware charting application. You'll have to play around with the image size until you get the number of stitches on the chart you're seeking. I used this:
I had to crop out the rest of Mom's signature, because the letters were too narrow to chart well. It became this:
(3) Complete front panel according to chart. You could also knit one long piece for front and back panels, to avoid having to sew the bottom seam.
Here's my front panel. Baby's first colorwork:
I'm not thrilled with the colorwork, but I started over like three times and couldn't bear to do it again to fix the bumpy spots. I don't know whether it's possible to get a smooth edge at this gauge on a letter so curvy. If it is, I'm too lazy to figure out how (sorry Mom!).
(4) Knit a matching back panel in a solid color.
(5) Sew panels together at the bottom seam.
(6) Cut a piece of plastic slightly narrower than knitted piece, and about 2" longer.
(7) Sew in zipper. Sewing in zippers is mucho tricky, and I couldn't adequately explain it. Try this tutorial. The only difference is that you'll be sewing an extra lining layer on top of the zipper fabric. Basically you'll make a zipper sandwich, on either side of the bag, then sew it all together.
(8) Now that you've sewn in both sides of the zipper, you can sew together the sides of the plastic piece to form an inner bag.
Here's the inside of Mom's bag:
(9) Seam sides of knitted piece as usual. Stuff in any loose threads or yarn ends (yay! no need to perform the hated task of weaving in ends).
(10) Deliver to impressed recipient, who should be thrilled to see her name in