Socks and Bags Swap

One of the benefits of belonging to different craft groups is you get to meet people who are proficient in crafts that you’re not! This was the case recently when one of my friends showed me a bag she’d made. I instantly wanted to own it so I asked her the cost and rather than give me a price she suggested a swap: I make her a pair of socks in return for the bag. What a win/win situation 🙂 Have a look at this lovely bag made of leather and tapestry fabric and fully lined.

Jos Bags 09

I love all the little pockets that Jo included inside the bag. It’s so easy to find everything. There’s even a key ring holder that’s attached to the bag so you’ll never lose your keys.

Jos Bags 10

In return I made Jo these Cable Rib Socks using Patons Patonyle 4ply yarn, probably one of my favourite sock yarns.
Jos Socks 01Jos Socks 04
I love the very subtle cable in this pattern. It complements this striped yarn nicely.
Jos Socks 07Jos Socks 11
When Jo published a comment recently on Facebook that she’d just made herself another denim bag and had cut out two more for sale, I immediately jumped in with a comment that I’d like to buy one as the denim bag would do nicely on the weekends. Again, Jo came back with the comment ‘how about another pair of socks?’. So I made another pair for Jo using the Circle Socks which is a free pattern on Ravelry.
Jos Circle Socks 01

This pattern is deceptively easy and the effect is fantastic!!

Jos Circle Socks 04

I noticed on Ravelry that some people had continued the circle pattern down on the top of the foot but I felt that it would be a bit too textured and maybe uncomfortable when wearing shoes or boots for a while so I kept to the pattern which was just plain knitting for the foot.

Jos Circle Socks 05

And this is my gorgeous denim bag made by Jo using recycled denim jeans.

Jos Bags 01

And customised especially for me 🙂 Love that zippered pocket on the outside of the bag.

Jos Bags 02

It also has the keyring holder attached to the bag. Plus the jeans’ pockets have been used on either side of the bag for more storage.

Jos Bags 04

Love the compartments inside and take a look at that gorgeous lining 🙂

Jos Bags 07

Plus a zippered pocket inside.

Jos Bags 08

I was very lucky as this bag came with its own matching purse.

Jos Bags 05

I am amazed at all the beautiful work including the personalised tag on the zip.

Jos Bags 06.JPG

Aren’t these bags just stunning? And they’re one of a kind too! I am very lucky indeed. I also discovered that Jo had kindly given both pairs of socks to family members so I am busily making another pair for Jo to keep for herself as she deserves them!

If you’re interested in Jo’s bags you can contact her via her Facebook page Jo’s Handy Handmade Bags.

And now a quick look at a few bargains I’ve managed to pick up at local Opp Shops. This is becoming quite a habit and is quickly filling my home with all things sheep!

Baa sheep mugSheep ceramic twoSheep PortugalSheep

And lastly some good news to share. I recently entered this competition:

Flock and Needle 1

And I won the major prize!! A project bag stuffed with yarn 🙂

Flock and Needle 2

This a truly wonderful prize and I must thank Alison from Flock and Needle for being so generous 🙂 And if you’re very quick you’ll catch the tail end of the Easter sale where all yarn and project bags are only $25 each!

Flock and Needle prize

My prize arrived on the Thursday before Easter so it was a lovely Easter gift without the calories 🙂

That’s all my news for now. I hope you’ve been doing lots of crafting during the Easter break as I have.

Until next time…

Melanie

More Eco Market Bags

At Knit and Knatter recently I received a number of positive comments about a market bag I’d made quite a while ago.

Large Bag 03I actually use it to store a cushion which I take along with me as the seats are so hard!! This immediately started me thinking about that pattern. As I’m not an expert crocheter this pattern was quite easy for me so I made lots of these bags. I put my thinking cap on and decided to make more and sell them at our Open Day in June next year.

I’d recently bought a bulk lot of Bendigo Woollen Mills’ 4ply cotton on a Facebook destash page.

fb-stashSo out came my crocheting hook and off I went!

market-bag-apricot-01 market-bag-blue-01 market-bag-green-01 market-bag-mauve-01What do you think? I think they came out pretty well. In fact, I got so carried away I went searching for other cottons and acrylics and made these ones.

market-bag-emerald-green-01 market-bag-lime-green-01 market-bag-naturals-multi-01 market-bag-orange-01And then I found some of the original very rustic wool and I’ve made more bags similar to this.

market-bag-jute-blue-yellow-flowers-01And those embellishments!! Thank you so much to my friend Pam for showing me how to use Weave-It looms at our September camp!! I am totally addicted now! These flowers were made using the 2″ and 3″ looms except for the bag above where I used the 3″ and 4″ looms because this bag is much larger and the larger flowers look much better.

I have since ordered the 6″, 6″ x 3″ and a loom to use handspun yarn from a supplier here in Queensland. Can’t wait for them to arrive. I can see all sorts of possibilities opening up for me when it comes to Weave-Its. Remember that bag I bought at camp last year?

Weave-It Bag 01Well, now I can make my own if I wish to!

Here’s some close up pictures of those gorgeous flowers. What a difference a contrasting button makes 🙂

market-bag-blue-02 market-bag-emerald-green-02 market-bag-green-02 market-bag-jute-blue-yellow-flowers-02 market-bag-lime-green-02 market-bag-mauve-02 market-bag-naturals-multi-02 market-bag-orange-02They turned out beautifully and I’m so pleased with the end result. I have put these bags up for sale in my Melsnattyknits Facebook page shop and if any sell, I’ll just make more for the Open Day 🙂

Now to some more exciting news; I’m cruising around New Zealand for 14 days again at the end of this month. I enjoyed the cruise so much in April 2015 that I more or less booked on the same cruise straight away but this time one of my neighbours is coming along plus two of my fibre friends and their hubbies. It’s going to be so much fun having company on board. I’ll be packing some crochet and knitting projects to keep me busy on those sea days.

19024610-cute-sheep-jumping-stock-vector-sheep-cartoon-lambI’ll also be spending the day in Wellington with Mary who kindly showed me around last year. She has prepared a lovely itinerary for us which involves all things wool 🙂 Mary is the creator of the New Zealand Spinning Wheels website and has incredible knowledge when it comes to spinning and wheels 🙂

I just love New Zealand and in particular its close proximity to Australia so there’s no such thing as jet lag 🙂

My friends and I have booked a car for when we’re in Tauranga and we’ll visit the Agrodome to check out the sheep show (as I did last year) and all the woolly bits and pieces that are for sale 🙂

Well, that’s all my news for now. I hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend.

Until next time…

Melanie

Improvising

Not long ago I was given quite a few spinning bits and pieces and one of the items was an Ashford lazy kate. It’s in immaculate condition but unfortunately didn’t have any of the brass rods to hold the bobbins.

Free Lazy Kate 03I spoke to a fellow at work who said he’d try to find some brass rods of a similar length but to no avail and then one of my spinning friends came to the rescue and suggested maybe some tent pegs. MMMmmm good thinking Gillian! Last weekend I visited Bunnings and wondered whether I’d manage to get some tents pegs that were small enough. I had measured the diameter of the rods on my other lazy kate with a knitting needle measure and they were 3.5mm. I managed to find some 4mm tent pegs so I took the risk and bought a packet of 10 for only $4.98.

Tent Pegs 01Tent Pegs 02And guess what!!!! They fit perfectly. So now I have another fully functional lazy kate and some spare rods. Thank you Gillian….you always come up with so many great ideas. Aren’t they just a perfect fit?

Free Lazy Kate 02

The spare bobbins from my latest spinning wheel (which I’ll show you very soon) now have a new home.

Free Lazy Kate 01

I’d also like to share with you a couple of recent acquisitions of mine. I picked up this fantastic book after hearing about it when I was in New Zealand and spent the day with Mary in Masterton. The book is called The Loving Stitch by Heather Nicholson.

The Loving StitchThe Loving Stitch is an engaging history of a subject never before explored but familiar to many New Zealanders. Heather Nicholson’s knowledge of knitting and spinning is formidable but she also knows how to tell a good story and has a keen sense of humour. The Loving Stitch presents a chronological account of antipodean knitting, which is also a history of the domestic lives of women, of their resourcefulness, their talent and sociability. She follows the growth of pattern books, the role of knitting for troops in the two world wars, knitting in the Depression and the recent interest in art knitting. She also explores the different items produced by the skilled knitter, from jerseys and guernseys to counterpanes, socks and stockings, and a scarf that stretched right round Parliament Buildings. The book also includes material on spinning and on local wool mills, as well as general good advice drawn from the personal experience of hundreds of knitters and spinners.

Heather Nicholson, formerly a schoolteacher, has impressive skills in embroidery, dyeing, spinning and knitting. She has taught both knitting and embroidery, is a member of several textile craft guilds and is the author of Knitter’s Know-How (1988). Her extensive research into the history of knitting was supported by Creative New Zealand and by the 1993 Suffrage Trust.

I am going to relish reading this book!

My other purchase was this cute little tote bag that I managed to pick up on Ebay for only $8.80. It’s come in very handy carrying magazines to and from work.

Black sheep tote bag

I’m pleased to report that Autumn has finally hit Brisbane. We’re experiencing beautiful crisp mornings and gorgeous sunny cloudless days. This weekend I managed to get some spinning and plying done plus of course I had a wonderful afternoon with my Knit and Knatter friends yesterday. I can’t believe how quickly that time goes by. We have so much fun! I’ve actually registered us for the World Wide Knit in Public Day on Saturday, 13 June.

Will you be knitting in public on that day?

That’s my news for the time being.

Until next time…

Melanie

A Nifty Little Drawstring Bag

Every Christmas I ask my son to buy me the same present year after year. I think he’s secretly pleased as I even tell him where it’s being sold so he doesn’t have to do much thinking. It’s the yearly knitting calendar which I absolutely adore.

2015 CalendarIt’s exciting (well for me anyway 🙂 ) to turn to a new pattern every couple of days to see what will take my fancy.

This is one pattern that appealed to me straight away. A very simple knit called the Country Drawstring Bag.

Drawstring Brownn 01The pattern calls for DK yarn using two strands and 3.75mm needles. I used this Moda Vera Instinctive yarn which is quite a thick DK 100% acrylic yarn. For a bag I’d rather use acrylic as it’s cheaper and will be able to stand up to all the wear and tear (and washing).

Moda Vera Instinctive 01I actually ran out of yarn when I was making the handles so I’ve used some black yarn instead.

Drawstring Brownn 03The perplexing thing is I’m 100% positive I have more of this yarn but do you think I could find it in my stash? No, I couldn’t!! So when I eventually come across it, I’ll just unpick that black part of the I-cord and redo it using the correct yarn. I don’t really think it detracts from the bag though.

My hands got quite achy while making this bag as I was using size 5mm needles and with the two strands of yarn it was a bit of a battle at times but I persevered and I now have quite a large drawstring project bag.

It has a nice sized base to sit on.

Drawstring Brownn 04Once there are too many stitches on the dpns you change to circular needles. There were a maximum of 128 sts on the needles.

It is really sturdy and I am very happy with the completed bag.

The pattern writer is AnnVG on Ravelry so if you really want the pattern you could contact her.

Drawstring Brownn 05I’ve already started on another bag which will be made from another 100% acrylic DK in a colourway called ‘Autumn’. I’m using size 4.5mm needles as the yarn is not as thick as the Instinctive yarn. I’ll show it to you as soon as it’s finished.

Drawstring Brownn 02Drawstring Brownn 06

The great thing about this bag pattern is that tension really doesn’t matter and you could use any size yarn and needles and the result will be a different sized bag.

Until next time…

Melanie

A Rave of Rovings

I love the English language, love reading and love words. In particular, I love collective nouns; you know, those strange words that describe a group of things: a parliament of owls, a host of sparrows, a murder of crows, an exaltation of larks, a muster of peacocks, a route of wolves, a skulk of foxes and so on.

I’ve even thought of a few of my own: a click of knitters, a hook of crocheters plus this one….a rave of rovings, which is the perfect segue to my latest post!

Yesterday at my place it was like waiting for Father Christmas to arrive as I knew there would be a delivery of a large number of rovings that I’d just ordered. Thanks to online parcel tracking I was expecting them to arrive any minute….the wonders of the internet!

As the buzzer went in my townhouse, I rushed to unlock the door and took possession of a huge parcel!

I immediately unpacked the rovings and started photographing them straight away so I could share all the fibre goodness with you. Here they are in all their colourful gloriousness……..

Anemone 01

Anemone…beautiful shades of purply blue and yellow…

Anemone 02

Apple Fresh 01

Apple Fresh….scrummy shades of greens…

Apple Fresh 02

Froggie 01

Froggie….shades of green, aqua and mustard…

Froggie 02

Great Barrier Reef 01

Great Barrier Reef…vibrant shades of the sea…

Great Barrier Reef 02

Peacock 01

Peacock…rich colours of purple and aqua…

Peacock 02

Desert 01

Desert…my favourite shades of sand, yellow and orange…

Desert 02

Grass 01

Grass….the rich green colour of a luscious lawn…

Grass 02

Natural White 01

Natural White…these two rovings are to use as practise spinning on the spinning wheels I don’t use as much. I would hate to ‘waste’ a hand-dyed roving just for practise.

Natural White 02

Kangaroo Paw 01

Kangaroo Paw…the ubiquitous Western Australia flower…

Kangaroo Paw 02

Rainbow # 2 01

Rainbow # 2..a vibrant mix of bright colours…

Rainbow # 2 02

Red Gum 01

And finally, Red Gum…my favourite autumn shades…

Red Gum 02

Aren’t they spectacularly beautiful colours? I just want to spin them all at once!!

If you’re wondering where I found these rovings, I’ll let you know. I stumbled upon this Aussie supplier when I was surfing the net. Julie Duke from Melbourne, Victoria runs an Etsy shop called Jumbuck Julie and she sells soooo many different hand-dyed rovings that you’ll have a hard time trying to make up your mind which ones to buy as I did!

My main criteria when purchasing online is to get quality, value and maximise postage. A large Australia Post expandable tough bag held these 22 rovings and cost only $15.20 postage which means each roving cost just under 70c postage.

The rovings are 100g each, 100% merino and 22 micron and cost $11.50 each except for the natural white which cost $7.50 each.

Now I just need to start spinning and to plan what to knit with each one!!!

We are so lucky here in Australia to have access to so many fine yarn and fibre artisans.

Now, for something totally different, I just wanted to show you this cute little sheep bag that I bought from Spotlight for just over $11. One of my friends from my spinning group showed it to me so of course I had to have one (or two) for myself. They are so soft and cuddly!

Sheep Bag 01

They’ll come in handy for small projects or just to hang around…

Sheep Bag 02

This one is hanging on one of my spinning wheels…

Sheep Bag 04

Very cute and whimsical don’t you think?

Until next time…

Melanie

 

A Bag Blitz and a Plethora of Pansies!

Over the Christmas and New Year break I went beserk and crocheted about 10 market bags! I probably have the pattern etched in my brain now. Remember me telling you about the Market Bag pattern I found in the Australian Creative Knitting magazine?

Creative Knitting 02

I’ve made three of these ones in a very coarse wool that I featured in an earlier blog.

Large Bag 03

I have since made three bags in this yarn…

Coral Bag 01

Coral Bag 02

which is a Lincraft Double Knitting 8ply acrylic. This yarn is extremely light so these little market bags weigh hardly anything so they can be slipped into your bag when you go shopping. I have given one to my Mum.

Lincraft DK

The bags are crocheted in a spiral from the bottom.

Coral Bag 04

The handles are quite cleverly crocheted to make them quite sturdy.

Coral Bag 06

An unusual combination of colours which caught my eye.

Coral Bag 03

I have made one of these bags in this yarn as the bag used a lot more yarn than I anticipated.

Kendra Market Bag 01

Some of my stash being used as a ‘prop’.

Kendra Market Bag 09

Again, the start is from the middle of the base and the crocheting is carried out in a spiral.

Kendra Market Bag 05

The handle and top of the bag is finished really neatly.

Kendra Market Bag 04

The yarn I used is Moda Vera Kendra which is a 12ply / bulky, 70% acrylic / 20% wool / 10% nylon. I used a 5.5mm crochet hook. I’d purchased four balls of the green and the last two balls of yellow hoping that I could get at least two bags made, however, one bag took nearly four balls to complete!

Moda Vera Kendra Green 01

This is a lovely sturdy market bag which can tolerate a bit more weight. I love it! As one of my friends mentioned, the straps and the top edge look like they could easily be adapted to make a woman’s singlet top.

Kendra Market Bag 03

Kendra Market Bag 06

I loved crocheting these bags as they were quick to do and once the pattern was reinforced in my head I was keen to make more…..which I did! I couldn’t show you all the bags as some will be presents throughout the year and I don’t want to give the secret away!

Before I sign off I want to show you some of the pages of this absolutely stunning book I bought at last week’s Lifeline Bookfest in Brisbane. It’s called Pansies and I just could not resist buying it as pansies are probably one of my favourite little flowers. Even though they don’t have a perfume they have the most beautiful colours and to me they look like the ‘smiling faces of nature’. I hope you enjoy these pictures….there are a few!

Pansies 01

Pansies 02

Pansies 03

Pansies 04

Pansies 05

Pansies 06

Don’t these ones look like they’re made from velvet?

Pansies 07

Pansies 08

Pansies 09

Pansies 10

Nature’s smiling faces…

Pansies 11

Pansies 12

Beautiful colours…

Pansies 13

Pansies 14

I’m sure you all have smiles on your faces now don’t you? Aren’t they just gorgeous?

I’m off to meet my wonderful friends at Knit and Knatter tomorrow. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend full of crafty goodness.

Until next time…

Melanie

To Market….To Market….

As you have by now gathered, most of my projects are knitted items. I do like to crochet as it’s faster than knitting but I’m not as good at reading crochet patterns as I am at reading a knitting pattern. For a while now I’ve been wanting to crochet a traditional looking eco market string bag; I’ve searched the internet for patterns, printed off a few but once I start reading them all the instructions just start swimming in front of my eyes and I give up!

A while ago I attempted this crocheted market bag called the Everyday Market Bag. The reason why I thought I’d give it a go was because it said it was easy! The instructions were very detailed to the point they were confusing. Here’s a direct link to them. What do you think?

I had completed about six inches when I gave up as I was so confused. I checked on Ravelry and obviously I wasn’t the only one. The general consensus was that the pattern was very poorly written. One Raveller even rewrote the pattern in easier pattern language but that still didn’t give me enough incentive to keep going so I put it aside.

So last week the latest copy of Australian Creative Knitting Magazine arrives in my letter box and lo and behold there’s a crocheted market bag pattern in it..

Creative Knitting 02

I read the pattern and actually thought I’d be able to make it!!! So I gathered some of that rather coarse wool that I wound into lots of balls a while ago.

Cone Wool 03

It’s the perfect wool for a market bag as it looks just like jute….very rustic. So I sat down a few days ago with the wool, my crochet hook and the pattern and this is what I produced…

Large left Small right 01

Yup that’s right….I actually crocheted two bags. The smaller one on the right was my first one. I used a size 5 hook for the body and size 4 for the handles. I also misinterpreted how to finish off the handles and just made up my own version which works well. The larger bag on the left was crocheted using only a size 5 hook and including one extra repeat. This time I read the pattern instruction for the final row of the handles over and over again until it sank in. In fact, I read it out loud a few times….my neighbours must think I’m losing the plot!

They look great and I’m really pleased with them but how about adding some leaves…

Leaves 01

and maybe some flowers….

Flowers 01

The pattern for the leaves is from the book The Complete Photo Guide to Knitting by Margaret Hubert. I borrowed it from the local library. The pattern for the flowers is from the Pansy Motif by Carol Schoenfelder and can be found free on Ravelry. Needless to say, I can now make the leaves and flowers in my sleep after knitting 16 leaves and crocheting eight flowers!! But I think it was worth the effort don’t you?

Large Bag 03

Oh and of course there’s a button in the middle of each flower.

Large Bag 04

I just can’t stop looking at them as I’m so pleased with the result.

Large Bag 05

This will definitely be my ‘go to’ pattern for a crocheted market bag.

Two Bags 04

The flowers and leaves really make the bags ‘pop’. The yarn I used for the flowers is just a cheap acrylic from Lincraft called Double Knitting and it’s an 8ply yarn. I bought it ages ago as I was quite taken with the colours (so glad I did). The yarn used for the leaves is Sullivans Coton-A which is a 60% cotton / 40% acrylic yarn. It’s a 5ply / sport weight and the recommended needle size is 5 but I used a 3.25mm for the leaves to try and make them quite dense.

Lincraft Double Knitting

Sullivans Cotton-A Green 03

Now for a few close up pics of the flowers and leaves.

Finished leaves flowers 01

Finished leaves flowers 05

Finished leaves flowers 06

And one more. I’m feeling quite chuffed and proud of myself 🙂

Finished leaves flowers 07

I love it when a project works out beyond my expectations especially when I’m using a craft that is not my number one craft.

Two Bags 06

So that’s how I spent the couple of days before Christmas and part of Christmas Day…crocheting two market bags from the perfect yarn! And of course, I made lunch and spent it with my favourite (and only) son!

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas Day spent with either family or friends and I hope you also managed to fit in a bit of knitting or crocheting too.

Until next time…

Melanie