For a long time I have wanted a little bag to hold my little spinning tools. It needs to be something that will stay with my wheel. I am incredibly good at misplacing things, especially small items. Enter the Ditty Bag.
What is a Ditty Bag? Traditionally it was a small bag that sailors kept their sewing supplies in. My husband knows of it as a small bag for shaving supplies (he is a shaving enthusiast). I set out to make a spinning Ditty Bag and thought I'd share what I learned. It would be a lovely little evening bag (silk yarn and beads?!?) or a cute bag for a child.
Click on any image to see a larger version.
All three bags are based on a 60 stitch tube. You can mix and match the bases and top edges. Or add a pattern stitch. I used sock yarn leftovers. They could be made with multiple yarns (stripes!) or handspun. I am resisting the urge to make more and try these ideas myself!
The picot edge is a version I have not seen elsewhere. I was without my usual tools (again, I really need these bags to keep me organized!), so I improvised and was delightfully satisfied with the result. No provisional cast on required.
At the bottom of this pattern and in the sidebar you will find links to pdf versions of the pattern, the picot edge tutorial, and a tutorial for making the cords. The pattern includes the tutorials. The picot edge and cord tutorials are also offered separately. No need to print off paper you don't want or need. ;-)
Yellow Ditty Bag: 100 yards of Tactile Superwash Merino fingering weight in the Meyer Lemon colorway.
Purple Ditty Bag: 100 yards of Tactile Superwash Merino sport weight in the Eggplant colorway.
Red Ditty Bag: 100 yards of Tactile Superwash Merino sport weight in the Pomegranate colorway.
5 double pointed needles in size 1 US (2.25 mm) for fingering weight or size 3 US (3.25 mm) for sport weight.
Blunt needle to sew in ends.
Yellow Ditty Bag: full height is 6.25 inches tall (16 cm), 5 inches for the pouch area (13 cm), and 4 inches in diameter (10 cm).
Purple Ditty Bag: full height is 6.75 inches tall (17 cm), 5.5 inches for the pouch area (14 cm), and 5 inches in diameter (13 cm).
Red Ditty Bag: full height is 6.25 inches tall (16 cm), 4.5 inches for the pouch area (11.5 cm), and 5 inches in diameter (13 cm).
It is more important to get a fairly tight knit, like you would use for sock knitting, than to get a particular gauge. Gauge doesn't really matter, but here is the gauge I got:
Fingering weight: 30 sts x 44 rows over 4 inches (10 cm)
Sport weight: 24 sts x 36 rows over 4 inches (10 cm)
k - knit
k2tog - knit 2 stitches together
p - purl
p2tog - purl 2 stitches together
ssk - slip as if to knit, slip a second stitch as if to knit, place back on left needle and knit together.
st(s) - stitch(es)
yo - yarnover
The cast on edge may look a bit wonky. Don't worry about it, it won't be seen when you are done. This picture makes it look like the two yarns ends will be at the same end of the needle. This is not the case.
Row 1: knit, turn work.
Row 2: knit all but the last stitch. Divide sts onto three needles and shift the unworked st to the first needle. You will be joining to work in the round. Be sure there isn't a twist in the join.
Round 3: k2tog (the unworked stitch and the first st on the first needle), knit to the end of the round. (60 sts)
Rounds 4 - 7: knit
Round 8: * k2tog, yo *
Rounds 9 - 15: knit.
I find it easiest to start on 3 needles for a round or two and then shift to 4 needles (my preference).
Here is how it will look after you’ve knit a few rounds past the picot round.
Now you'll knit together the live sts with the cast on edge. The e-loop cast on edge has a series of loops in between the sts. There should be 60 loops (between the 61 sts cast on).
Join Round (Round 16): Pick up the first loop to the left of the join and place it on the needle. Knit together the first st and the picked up loop. Repeat this process. Each live st will be knit together with a picked up loop.
It may help to pick up loops on a smaller needle (if you have one). I pick up 10 or so at a time. It will get very awkward if you try to pick them all up in the beginning. (Yes, that is paint on my fingers!)
Rounds 17-20: knit
Note: in the eyelet picture you can see a tail of yarn. It is the cast on end. I tuck it between needles to mark the beginning of the round. The picot edge makes it very hard to tell where the beginning is. You can also use a safety pin type stitch marker, but, if you are like me and don't have a ditty bag yet, you may not know where they are.
Knit all rounds until the bag measures at least 3.5 inches. As pictured, the completed yellow bag measures 3.5 inches before the base shaping.
I used a modified star toe.
Swirl Base Round 1: * k10, k2tog * (55 sts)
Swirl Base Round 2: knit
Swirl Base Round 3: * k9, k2tog * (50 sts)
Swirl Base Round 4: knit
Swirl Base Round 5: * k8, k2tog * (45 sts)
Swirl Base Round 6: knit
Swirl Base Round 7: * k7, k2tog * (40 sts)
Swirl Base Round 8: knit
Swirl Base Round 9: * k6, k2tog * (35 sts)
Swirl Base Round 10: knit
Swirl Base Round 11: * k5, k2tog * (30 sts)
Swirl Base Round 12: knit
Swirl Base Round 13: * k4, k2tog * (25 sts)
Swirl Base Round 14: * k3, k2tog * (20 sts)
Swirl Base Round 15: * k2, k2tog * (15 sts)
Swirl Base Round 16: * k1, k2tog * (10 sts)
Swirl Base Round 17: * k2tog * (5 sts)
Cut the yarn to have a 7-8 inch tail. With the blunt needle run the tail through the remaining loops twice. Pull tight. Weave in ends. Remember that the picot edge is essentially a folded hem with holes. If you just run the yarn inside the edge, it may poke out of the picots. I run it inside the edge trying to catch a few threads on the inside.
Purple Ditty Bag:
Work as shown above for the yellow bag. Join the picot edge and work three rounds and then the eyelet round. Knit all rounds until the bag measures at least 3.5 inches. As pictured it measures 4.25 inches before the base.
Round 1: purl
Round 2 & 3: knit
Round 4: * k4, k2tog * (50 sts)
Round 5: knit
Round 6: * k3, k2tog * (40 sts)
Round 7 & 8: knit
Round 9: * k2, k2tog * (30 sts)
Round 10: knit
Round 11: * k1, k2tog * (20 sts)
Round 12 & 13: knit
Round 14: * k2tog * (10 sts)
Round 15: * k2tog * (5 sts)
Red Ditty Bag
Cast on 121 sts, turn work
Row 1: knit, turn work
Row 2: knit all but the last st. Divide sts onto 3 double pointed needles. Join, being sure to not twist. Move the unworked st to the first needle.
Round 3: k2tog (knits together the unworked st and the first st for a stronger join), knit to the end. (120 sts)
Rounds 4 - 9: knit
Round 10: * k2, k2tog * (90 sts)
Round 11: knit
Round 12: * k1, k2tog * (60 sts)
Round 13 & 14: knit
Round 15: k1, * k2tog, yo twice, ssk, k2 *, end last repeat with k1. (eyelet round)
Round 16 & 17: knit
The Purl Stripe pattern picture is shown in black & white so the pattern is more visible.
Knit until bag measures at least 3.5 inches from the eyelet round. The bag as shown is 3.75 inches from the eyelet round to the base.
Purl Ridge Disk Base:
Round 1: purl
Round 2 & 3: knit
Round 4: * p4, p2tog * (50 sts)
Round 5 & 6: knit
Round 7: * p3, p2tog * (40 sts)
Round 8 & 9: knit
Round 10: * p2, p2tog * (30 sts)
Round 11 & 12: knit
Round 13: * p1, p2tog * (20 sts)
Round 14 & 15: knit
Round 16: * p2tog * (10 sts)
Round 17: knit
Round 18: * k2tog * (5 sts)
The minimum finished length of cord I recommend for using one of these bags on a wheel is 30 inches. The longest cord at 46 inches is shown here is on the purple bag. It is long enough to put the bag around my neck. Make the cord as long as you wish to suit your use.
The cord is made by twisting 4 lengths of yarn, folding it in half, and then letting them twist (ply). If you want a 30 inch cord you need to start with 2.5 times that length = 75 inches. That is not 75 inches of yarn folded into 4ths. It is 4 times 75 inches.
First you'll wind a butterfly. This will allow the free end of lengths of yarn to untwist as you add twist to the starting end. Doesn't make sense does it? Bear with me. Starting about 24 inches from one end, wind the remainder around your fingers. This is the start of the butterfly.
Wind the end around the butterfly and secure the end by looping it under the previous wrap. Pull tight. When you need more length for twisting you can just pull it out of the butterfly without having to refasten anything. So very handy!
Pinch the starting end firmly. Start twisting the yarn counterclockwise (letting the butterfly end be free to untwist). I say clockwise because that is the direction that most yarn was last plied in. Twisting the same direction as the last plying keeps it from untwisting and generally makes a more attractive cord. A minor distinction and it won't be a crime if you twist clockwise.
Keep your fingers just a few inches apart. It is easier to twist short segments than to twist the entire length at once. When that length is fully twisted move down and twist some more. I either have someone very patient hold the starting end or I clench it in my teeth. Be sure to not let go of this end or you will lose all of your twisting efforts. You also need to keep it under tension or it will start to kink up.
How much twist is enough? It should be almost to the point where it kinks no matter how much tension you put it under. You can always test it by letting a short length fold in half. It should be tightly plied. The picture shows the test ply section with the twisted, but not plied section above and the free end hanging down.
Continue until the entire length is twisted. Fold in half placing the starting and ending ends together. Let go of the remainder. It will ply in a swirling frenzy and probably not look like a cord at all. No worries. Tie the starting and ending ends together so they won't untwist. Beginning at the knot end, pull out the unwanted twistiness bit by bit. With your fingers pull and smooth it into an even cord.
Weave the cord in and out of the eyelet holes and tie a bow. You are done with your bag!
Here they are in their natural habitat.
A center-pull ball of sock yarn will fit inside a sport weight Ditty Bag. Hang the bag over your wrist and you have socks on the go! If you make it taller, the whole project will fit inside.
This photo session got me to dust off my wheels. They look so inviting it must be time to spin!
Errata3/29/2009: edited to change purls and p2tog on the disk base (purple bag). There shouldn't be any purl stitches after the purl row that indicates the start of the base.