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

Advertisements

A Crochet Pot and a Knitted Scarf!

I subscribe to a few knitting magazines in Australia and I particularly love it when I come upon patterns that catch my eye and that I actually try. Two patterns from the recent Australian Creative Knitting Magazine resonated with me and those were the Market Bag and Crochet Tubs patterns.

Creative Knitting 02

Creative Knitting 03

I was on a roll over the two week Christmas/New Year break and crocheted 10 of the market bags! I featured two of them here and I will show you the others in future posts.

I also had a go at the Crochet Tub but found that I needed more concentration with that pattern as it was rather a tight/dense structure and of course this is because it needs to stand up and support its sides. Anyway, when the pattern got to the point where it said keep continuing to increase in this fashion (or words to that effect), I realised that I hadn’t actually got the gist of the pattern increases so I decided there and then to start with the sides rather than making the base larger. This is what I ended up with.

Crocheted Pot 01

It’s rather cute don’t you think?

Crocheted Pot 02

It reminds me of the items made from sisal by African women. Even the inside looks nice and neat!

Crocheted Pot 03

I felt it needed something to make it ‘pop’ so I thought about the leaves and flowers I had made whilst experimenting with those I placed on my two market bags.

Crocheted Pot 04

I must say I am really pleased with the results! It brightens up the pot no end!

Hhhmmm what can I use it for?

Crocheted Pot 07

A great little storage container for my crochet hooks. I’m not sure whether I’d make another one as it is quite a tight structure which is a bit hard on the hands. The yarn I used is the same one I used for my two market bags….that very coarse wool that I wound from the cone into lots of balls. It’s perfect for this project as it gives the pot a real rustic look.

One more picture…

Crocheted Pot 08

My second project is an easy scarf that had been languishing for a while. I started it on 16 September and finished it on Christmas Day. Considering it is such an easy pattern that is just knitting in the round, I don’t know why it took me so long.

Chantilly Scarf 01

I’ve called it my Chantilly Scarf after the yarn I used….Moda Vera Chantilly which is a 12ply / bulky, 70% acrylic / 30% milk protein yarn which is now discontinued. I used four balls and 7mm circular needles.

Chantilly Scarf 02

You could also wear it just tied around your neck…

Chantilly Scarf 03

…or just hanging around your neck…

Chantilly Scarf 04

…or even as a gigantic cowl!

Chantilly Scarf 06

The edges are just six rows of K2, P2 ribbing.

Chantilly Scarf 05

This is what the scarf looks like when it’s not being worn. The pattern came from the ball band of the yarn.

Chantilly Scarf 08

I am quite pleased with both these little projects!

Crocheted Pot 07-tile

Today I am off to the first Knit and Knatter gathering for this year. Can’t wait to meet all my yarnie friends to check out their finished projects and to just talk yarn!

Until next time…

Melanie

BTW, On the right hand side of the home page of my blog there are lots of interesting links. I’m not sure when you receive my weekly posts whether you see these links. If not, what you can do is click on the Home button which is at the top left hand side of the page. This will take you to the home page where you can view all the links plus the most recent post. One link also takes you directly to my Ravelry home page.

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

Bambu 7 and Other Knitty Kn-ewes!!

Where do you get your ideas from for knitting garments and what yarn to purchase? I get quite a few of my ideas from what others are buying and knitting as I’m sure a lot of us do. Other people’s ideas inspire and motivate me enormously and I hope maybe my knitting projects and yarn purchases inspire others to have a go.

At a recent Knit and Knatter gathering one of the lovely ladies was knitting a beautiful Victorian lace scarf using Valley Yarns 10/2 Bamboo in a rusty shade. It’s a lovely fine 2ply / lace bamboo yarn. She had bought the bamboo at the Redlands Spinners and Weavers (RS&W) open day held in June this year. The bamboo felt so light and soft and I was immediately smitten. To make matters worse Catherine brought along her scarf to the RS&W Christmas lunch and knitted in between courses so I had even more time to covet the yarn. It’s the perfect yarn to knit a fine and light scarf that you can wear on a summer’s night if it’s a little bit breezy. Isn’t it beautiful?

Victorian Ruby in Rust

A quick search on Ravelry and I was dismayed to see this particular yarn is now discontinued 😦 I contacted Catherine who gave me the details of the supplier who was at the open day. I then emailed BB Yarns in Brisbane to ask whether they still had any supplies of the Bamboo 10/2. The lovely Ursula was also disappointed when Valley Yarns discontinued this bamboo yarn and no she didn’t have any more supplies but had managed to source another bamboo yarn called Bambu 7 made by Silk City Fibers. She offered to send me a sample of all the colours which, of course, I jumped at!

Bambu 7 colours

When I opened the envelope I was immediately in yarn heaven just gazing at all the beautiful solid, bold colours available in this 100% bamboo yarn.

I don’t know about you but when I’m buying something online I hate the fact I have to add on the postage costs as well. Of course, I don’t expect the seller to pay for the postage (although in some cases they do….Yarn Glorious Yarn in Brisbane) so my aim is to order as much as possible that will fit in a particular postage satchel so that the price per item is still quite reasonable. Makes sense doesn’t it?

Each 100g cone of the Bambu 7 cost AU$12.85 and Ursula said she could comfortably fit 10 cones into a postage satchel which would cost AU$13.40. I, of course, could not just pick one colour out of all those scrumptious shades so I thought ‘what the heck!’ and I bought 10 cones which made the postage only an additional $1.34 for each cone. How economical am I? By spending money, I am actually saving it!!! I’m sure you must agree with me 🙂

On Friday before I left for work I heard the comforting and familiar sound of a parcel being placed near my front door 🙂 I’m not sure whether I’ve told you this before or not but my local parcel delivery man is so used to dropping off parcels at my home that every time I see him as I walk to work he always waves to me from his van. In fact, on a couple of occasions he’s actually pulled over his van on the side of the road and handed me my parcel! That tells me I’m buying too much online!!! But it doesn’t seem to stop me 🙂

Anyway, I digress….back to the story. I quickly ran to the front door, picked up the parcel, took it into my kitchen and gingerly opened it with a pair of scissors. I was met by this wonderful array of rainbow coloured spools of Bambu 7 goodness in shades of rust, fawn, orange, red, mauve, yellow, forest green, mid green, denim blue and bottle green. Sheer bliss!! I didn’t want to go to work. I wanted to start a new project straight away but I’m still waiting for the book Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby that I’ve just ordered from The Book Depository to arrive which means….another parcel delivery!!!!!!!!

Victorian lace today

Are you ready to see these glorious Bambu 7 colours? Here they are in all their colourful glory!!!!!!!!

Bambu 7 01

Bambu 7 02

Bambu 7 03

Talking about The Book Depository….occasionally I’ll visit the website, enter a word and wait to see what books pop up. I did that recently by entering the word ‘sock’ and waited to see what would appear. There were lots and lots of books as you can imagine but this one caught my eye. It’s called Sock Yarn Studio by Carol J Sulcoski and it’s full of patterns using sock yarn. There are no sock patterns; only patterns for other items but using sock yarn. The book arrived last week. It’s a gorgeous book and I’m so glad I bought it. I happened to have just walked out my front gate on the way to work when the parcel delivery van arrived so I stood and waited as he got out of the van with a number of parcels in his hands. “Anything for me”, I said. Of course there was!!

Sock yarn studio

BTW I have also ordered Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s (aka The Yarn Harlot) latest book called The Amazing Thing about the Way it Goes which is due to be released in March/April 2014. Her books are always a rollicking read.

The amazing thing

I’ve also just received my December 2013 issue of the Australian Creative Knitting Magazine so I have lots of yarnie reading to do over the Christmas break. Creative Knitting is distributed four times a year as is Australian Knitting Magazine and Yarn Magazine….all Aussie magazines I subscribe to. I also subscribe to Ply Magazine and Spin-Off Magazine, both USA magazines.

Creative Knitting 01

And I rather fancy these two crochet patterns…

Creative Knitting 02

Creative Knitting 03

The picture I am painting here for you is a house full of yarn, knitting books and knitting magazines!! I love being surrounded by all this yarnie goodness. It’s so good for the soul don’t you think?

Stop the Press!! I was ready to send out this post this morning when I opened my front door and lo and behold there were two parcels waiting for me!!! It’s not often we have mail and parcel deliveries on a Saturday but generally the weekend before Christmas is an exception. The two parcels were my book Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby….it’s huge and there are so many beautiful lace shawl and scarf patterns; and the interlocking foam floor tiles which are technically for children to use as a play mat or a giant puzzle but for me they’ll be used to block my knitting. In fact, I’ve already got a cowl outside blocking in the sun.

Puzzle Mat for Blocking

And to finish off I want to show you the lovely teapot, milk jug, sugar bowl and two cups and saucers I bought from the monthly charity stall that is held where I live and which I always visit on my way to work.  I couldn’t resist it. The set is made in England.

Tea Set 01

Can’t wait to try out the tea pot this weekend.

Tea Set 02

Aren’t those cups so dainty and delicate?

Tea Set 03

The creamer / milk jug…

Tea Set 04

The sugar bowl…

Tea Set 05

Yikes, I’ve just realised I’ve started amassing a small collection of tea pots without realising it. I’ll have to nip that in the bud before I become obsessed with collecting tea pots!

Tea Pots 01

I knitted all the tea cosies too!

Tea Pots 02

And even a miniature set that I bought in Singapore a few years ago…

Tea Pots 03

Have a fantastic yarnie and crafty weekend in the lead up to Christmas Day!

Until next time…

Melanie