“Bodie” is the first design I’ve made from Martin Storey’s lovely Rowan book Nordic knits. Being Nordic themed I had romantically imagined that Bodie was a town on a remote Scottish island but the only reference I’ve been able to find is of a ghost town in California.

Bodie is a stranded colourwork tote bag and I knit it using the exact same yarn as in the pattern, Rowan Felted Tweed DK in green “Pine” and gold “Gilt”. There are four stranded panels for the four sides with a plain green base and handles. It was only after I’d finished the panels that I realised it would have been so much simpler to knit the sides in the round – Rowan patterns seem always to be knit in pieces, even when it makes no sense.


It was also only after finishing the second main side panel that I realised I had cast on ten fewer stitches than I should have and I didn’t notice because the pattern repeat still worked out. Drat. Also, something else I realised too late, instead of ripping it out and starting over, I really should have just added the missing 10 stitches to one of the sides. Double drat.

Still, it was good practice and gave me a chance to try purling stranded colourwork, which is not something I’d be rushing to do again if I could avoid it, but I can do it in a pinch.


My Ravelry notes show that I started at the end of August and had finished knitting all the pieces – except for the handles – by the end of September. I found some wadding for the lining at a local craft store but there was no decent fabric to be had anywhere so I ended up buying a metre of vintage fabric from an Etsy seller in Ukraine. I think they go really nicely together.

The handles are knit in long strips with slip stitches to mark the edges. The idea is to sew ribbon on the wrong side along the slip stitches and then close the seam, but my first attempt was a complete failure. The pattern states to use 25 mm “Petersham ribbon” which I can only think is a mistake because that measurement doesn’t work out at all, and I tried a second time with 38 mm ribbon which lined up perfectly.


There was one heart stopping moment when I was stitching the handles to the bag. I realised that I’d sewn them too close to the edge so I rather too carelessly went to rip out the stitches to try again and only then noticed that I’d accidentally snipped a couple of the garter edge stitches. Yikes! I repaired the damage from the reverse side and wove over the garter ridges on the front to camouflage the mistake – I can only find the mistake if I look very closely, thank goodness. Phew!


I sewed the wadding and lining to the knit fabric using the sewing machine and it was surprisingly easy. The garter edging puckered just a little, but that settled down with a light steam blocking. Who knows, I might even attempt a zipper.



3 responses to “Bodie

  1. I don’t know if this definition fits the bag, but here it is:

    The bag looks great! I can’t believe you had the patience for colorwork in purl.

    I had to look up “wadding.” I think we say “batting” in the U.S.

  2. This is absolutely stunning. I’ve done purled stranded knitting just once — and I couldn’t figure out how to maintain the color dominance I wanted. Yours is perfect! Love the combination of sewing and knitting. That vintage lining fabric is really cool!

  3. It really turned out to be so lovely. You are always tempting me to begin a new project! Now I think I need a new bag!!!

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