Bodie is a stranded colourwork tote bag by Martin Storey from the Rowan book Nordic knits. It’s a gorgeous book featuring mostly patterns for accessories with some beautiful colour combinations, and this may be the first time I have ever knit a pattern using the suggested yarn and the suggested colours: Rowan Felted Tweed DK in “Pine” and “Gilt”. These colours remind me of the gilded screens with painted pine trees at Nijo Palace in Kyoto.

I hesitate to call the patterns in Nordic knits Fair Isle because, like all Rowan stranded colourwork patterns, they’re knit flat and I’d always thought that traditional Fair Isle was knit in the round. Knitting in the round would certainly be easier. It seems that most British stranded colourwork patterns are knit flat, and Australian patterns seem to follow their lead. For Bodie you knit the two colourwork side panels, then join together with a flat band in green “Pine” for the bottom, sides and handle, before lining the bag with a stitched fabric insert.

I’ve gotten the two handed stranding technique down reasonably okay when knitting but purling is a pain. I could do it, but the position of my left hand always seemed to be getting in the way when working with both hands so in the end I worked out a variation of thumb knitting for my left hand when purling, using a description of the technique from June Hemmons Hiatt’s The Principles of knitting.

When I cast on a couple of weeks back I’d thought this was going to be a long-term project but got one side done in a week so then got bold and cast on for the second panel right away. I thought I’d got the second side panel done yesterday but it was only when I got to the very end, reducing for the garter rows at the top, that I noticed I had completely messed up the stitch count for the second panel. I got the first panel right, casting on 107 stitches, but only cast on 97 for the second one, and I hadn’t noticed because the pattern repeat still looked correct. Oh good grief.


The second panel is now ripped out completely and I’ve started over today, having very carefully checked that I have 107 stitches and 21 pattern repeats this time.

I’m juggling a couple of other projects… my Snawheid hat is back on the go now that my new needle has arrived in the post after I snapped the first one. This is a lovely design, proper Fair Isle knit in the round using Jamieson & Smith jumper weight yarn in a lovely greeny-grey-blue and white. 

And my Thwaite cardigan has been languishing somewhat, which is ridiculous really because it’s almost done. I’m just knitting the button bands and then I can join it all together. I really should get cracking so I can wear it, we’ve had glimpses of warmer Spring weather and our almond tree is in bloom which is always the first sign that Spring is almost here.

I also need to get these projects finished because I have become ridiculously excited by the My Favourite Things scarf knitalong that Martine from iMake is hosting and I’m not going to start on that until I’ve cleared the decks at least a little bit!


3 responses to “Bodie

  1. Gorgeous!

  2. Those colors are so gorgeous together. Is the backmost panel in the photo blocked already? It looks so smooth. When I knit stranded square motifs, my work always looks a bit pucker-y before blocking. Sorry you had to rip it out — but look at how much more stranded knitting you get to do!

    • Thanks Steven! And yes, the backmost panel is blocked and looks much neater. This is a good practice project for stranded knitting as sizing isn’t too crucial, although it blocked out to the right size in the end so I’ll feel more confident now about starting on a sweater or vest. This pattern is so annoying though, I’d thought that the side panels were plain but they’re also in the stranded pattern so I really could have knit the whole thing in the round. I’m now knitting the plain base and then the straps and after that I’ll have to go shopping for a fabric lining. Wayne did some sewing classes last year so I’ll be calling upon his expertise!

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