Saving the Planet One Bag at a Time

Earlier this year American Yarns, a Melbourne online yarn shop, contacted me to see whether I’d like to trial some of the their yarns. I jumped at the opportunity and decided to select a favourite cotton of mine, Lily Sugar ‘n Cream which comes in lovely solids, stripes and ombres.

I asked for some bright colours and was sent these gorgeous ones: Mod Green, Sunshine and Dazzle Blue.

Lily Sugar n Cream Mod Green-tile

I had in mind to crochet my favourite market bag. In fact, it’s the only pattern I ever use as I’m not a prolific crocheter: knitting is more my thing. I’ve made lots of these bags and used a pattern I found in an Australian knitting magazine which, unfortunately, is no longer in production.

Creative Knitting 02

I love this pattern as it makes a decent size bag which can hold quite a bit. Lily Sugar ‘n Cream is an ideal cotton to use as it’s a strong 8-10ply 100% cotton and is machine washable. I used a size 5mm hook.

Sponsored Market Bag 08

These colours really pop!! No one will miss you when you’re carrying this market bag 🙂

The base is nice and firm and strong.

Sponsored Market Bag 07

Now that single use plastic bags have been banned in Queensland (and no doubt in other places around the world), the traditional crocheted ‘string’/market bag is becoming very popular.

Sponsored Market Bag 04

There’s nearly 1,000 free patterns for knitted and crocheted market bags on Ravelry. These bags make fantastic usable gifts and there’s nothing better than a handmade gift.

Pop on over to American Yarns‘ website, check out their Lily Sugar ‘n Cream cottons as well as their other great yarns and support an Aussie small  business!

Until next time…

 

 

Melanie

 

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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

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