Refine School is in Session

EXCITING EDIT: You can now buy this pattern on Ravelry!

I’d like you all to meet my most recent creation, Refine School:

Reform school - finished!

The title is a nod to the pattern Old School, the much-larger argyle bag from my book, Picture Perfect Knits.

I bought the yarn for this (the old standby Lamb’s Pride Bulky) thinking I was going to knit an argyle cardigan. But when I knit up a swatch, I realized how bulky the fabric was and realized I had bought the wrong yarn. Then I felted the swatch and I realized it would be perfect for a cute little tote.

So I drew up the pattern two weekends ago and got started.

Butterflies are ready

I had this brilliant idea to measure out butterflies for each diamond, thinking it would save me time later. But soon, I realized my measurements were off, and I just had to start cutting new lengths of yarn halfway through. Oh well. No big deal. I was still able to finish one of the two panels in one day.

Front side, argyle done

I always top-stitch my third color over the argyle, mostly because I prefer to work as few colors as possible while knitting intarsia. Why, you ask? Well, the wrong side can get a little hectic…

Intarsia can be messy

Once you’ve picked your fainted self off the floor and recovered sufficiently, take a couple deep breaths, and then look at the “after” shot of the wrong side:

Intarsia tamed

Not so bad, right? Cleaning up those ends took less than 15 minutes. And once I added the top-stitching:

Argyle Bag - Front is done

The following weekend, I finished the second panel and seamed it all together.

Reform school

I absolutely love the way it felted down. Despite what I thought were careful calculations, the stitches shrunk a lot more vertically than expected. Luckily, this worked in my favor, to create an adorable little tote. Here it is before I found the handles, but you can get an idea of the size thanks to my awesome friend Jen modeling it:

Reform school

And here’s a side view so you can get a sense of the shape:

Reform school

I have to say, I’m really pleased with how this bag turned out. I’m planning on getting this pattern written up and for sale within the week, so keep your eyes peeled!

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