Sherlock Holmes Pipe and Hypodermic Bag

The best things in life come out of simple necessity: I needed a new handbag and I was in the mood for a Sherlock Holmes project. The not-so-simple part was I ended up designing a knitting pattern virtually from scratch.

Centering the project around Sherlock’s two favorite vices was sort of dark whimsy. Most of the knitting patterns I found online for Sherlock involved either the hat, the Inverness cape, the pipe or, occasionally, the magnifying glass (or just the scarves from the BBC, Granada and Russian series — but that’s another story). None of them involved the hypodermic he kept in his Moroccan case (near the cocaine bottle in the top drawer of the desk) which I’ve always found oddly beautiful and every bit as essential to his character.

The bag was done with US 5 bamboo needles and medium worsted acrylic yarn. I knitted both front and back panels in stockinette stitch, switching to garter stitch when I got to the pipe and hypodermic patterns — so the objects wouldn’t curl in and come out misshaped. For the pattern itself, I found the images I wanted from a couple Google searches and used Photoshop CS3 to make a compilation image of what I precisely wanted. I then uploaded the image to KnitPro and created a couple templates to work from.

I’d never lined a knit bag before, but I really wanted to in this case — partly for the challenge of it, partly for the sake of my pens and smaller items.

The brown and gold fabric I picked for the lining is polyester. I found it in the remnants bin at JoAnn’s Fabrics. It reminded me of the paisley dressing gowns I’d seen in a lot of Victorian-era photographs and I thought it would match well with the other colors I picked. I cut two square pieces to match the front and back panels (leaving the bottom of the purse — or gusset — unlined), leaving 2″ of extra material at each side, to have room to fold the material down and seam it. I turned the bag inside out and sewed each square of lining along the already seamed front and back panels of the bag. For the back panel/front flap part, I left enough room so that the edges still rolled toward the middle while maintaining the bag’s shape.

I ended up knitting the gusset and the strap separately because I initially thought I was going to incorporate a pair of square D-rings into the piece but ultimately couldn’t find any that fit to my liking. I finally knitted 23″ of garter stitch for the gusset, 40″ for the strap, just enough that it could stretch and the bag would still sit comfortably at my hip.

I’ve had this particular button for almost a year. It’s a lightweight metal one I found in the parking lot at Midway Airport here in Chicago, likely lost from the front of some poor woman’s coat. I always liked the crest on the front and I thought it would look great with this piece. After I finished knitting both panels, I sewed the button on approx. one and a half inches from the bottom of the front panel.

I’ve been told the “i” in I-cord stands for “idiot” — which is what I felt like when I realized making one called for double-pointed needles, which I *don’t* have. The best solution I came up with was just to use the materials I did have: I cast on 20 stitches and knitted two rows before binding off. I stitched it inside the border of the front flap, so the loop would turn up and hook around the button.

This was the longest project I’ve worked on yet, with many stops and starts over a week and a half. All in all, I’m very pleased with how it turned out!

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~ by blackmoodcraft on May 30, 2011.

One Response to “Sherlock Holmes Pipe and Hypodermic Bag”

  1. […] 2 to be posted later this week. In the meantime, here’s Bertie and Jeeves chilling out in my Sherlock bag! (Wodehouse was a fan of the Sherlock stories, references them frequently in his work and actually […]

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