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

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My Relationship With Yarn Clearance Sales

I have a love/hate relationship with the words ‘Yarn Clearance Sale’. I love seeing the words as they immediately get my blood flowing and my excitement rises at the thought of what new yarns I can purchase. I hate the fact that I’m going to deplete my bank balance even more with yarn that I probably don’t need but I must have it. Sound familiar? Do you feel like this too? Sounds like we’re all suffering from the insatiable need to own more yarn than we could ever use in a lifetime which is a perfect segue to my next few pictures. I’m going to show you just a couple (okay maybe a few more than a couple) of photos of some more yummy yarn.

Now officially the following two lots of yarn weren’t purchased during a sale. They’re both from Zen Yarn Garden and because I’ve been buying two skeins in each of the ART WALK Series, I really can’t break the cycle can I?

The seventh offering in Zen Yarn Garden’s new ART WALK Series features a painting by Andy Warhol entitled “Blue and Pink Shoe“. Written on the painting is “you can lead a shoe to water, but you can’t make it drink.” Perhaps that is true but we like to think that a gorgeous shoe painting has been successful in inspiring Zen Yarn Garden’s dyer to pick up the dyes and create a beautiful colourway!

Andy Warhol’s pioneering Pop Art defined a decade and a culture, distinguishing him as one of the most influential, creative and prolific artists of the 20th century. Originally the most sought-after commercial artist in New York, Warhol (1923 – 1987) is most known for his multiple images of Campbell’s Soup cans, Coke bottles, dollar bills and celebrities, which exalted the beauty within ordinary objects and familiar images. Working out of a studio called The Factory, he invented the silk screening process which enabled him to mass produce a single image in his signature style. Warhol was also a talented filmmaker, music producer, commercial illustrator, author and magazine publisher. [quoted from Art.com]

Zen Yarn Garden Pink and Blue Shoe 1

The yarn is Serenity Silk Single which is a 4ply / fingering 75% merino / 15% cashmere / 10% silk yarn. This is the picture of the yarn from Zen Yarn Garden’s website.

Zen Garden Blue and Pink Shoe 03

And of course, a picture of Andy Warhol’s Blue and Pink Shoe.

Zen Garden Blue and Pink Shoe 04

Another little treasure that Zen Yarn Garden released a month or so ago is the absolutely gorgeous Pumpkin Pie Spice which is dyed on Serenity 20 a 70% merino / 20% cashmere /10% nylon 4ply / fingering yarn. When I first received the email from Zen Yarn Garden with the pictures of this yarn I instantly knew I had to have it so I contacted Sue at Yarn Glorious Yarn, who is the only Australian distributor, and she ordered some in. Thanks Sue!

Zen Yarn Garden Pumpkin Pie Spice 04

This is the photo that came in the email. Could you have resisted it?

Zen Yarn Garden Pumpkin Pie Spice 01

Now onto my delicious yarn clearance sale items which came from Yarn Glorious Yarn in Brisbane.

The Fibre Company Canopy Fingering which is a 50% alpaca / 30% merino / 20% bamboo light fingering / 3ply yarn. This colourway is Kingfisher. I bought four skeins of each of the next two colourways. There were AU$8.50 each.

The Fibre Co Canopy 4ply Kingfisher 02

This colourway is Yerba Mate.

The Fibre Co Canopy 4ply Yerba Mate 02

And this colourway is Blue Quandons. I bought the last two skeins.

The Fibre Co Canopy 4ply Blue Quandons 01

The Fibre Company Road to China which is a 65% alpaca / 15% silk / 10% Camel / 10% Cashmere Aran / 10ply yarn. The colourway is Autumn Jasper. This yarn is so incredibly soft and sumptuous. It cost AU$8.00 for each skein.

The Fibre Co Road to China WW Autumn Jasper 02

The following yarns were purchased from Spotlight. I had gone out to pick up some handmade soaps from my favourite handmade soap maker Vivianne-K and I thought ‘why not just drop into Spotlight for a quick look’. Big mistake!!! But look at the prices!

Five balls of Cleckheaton Country which is an 8ply 100% wool. Colourway is Blue Skies and they were AU$2.10 each.

Cleckheaton Country Blue 01

Six balls of Cleckheaton Country which is an 8ply 100% wool. Colourway is Lipstick and they were AU$2.10 each.

Cleckheaton Country Red 01

Five balls of Cleckheaton Country Naturals which is an 8ply 85% pure wool / 10% acrylic / 5% viscose. Colourway is Forest and they were AU$2.10 each.

Cleckheaton Country Naturals Green 01

Ten balls of Moda Vera Pure Wool Printed which is an 8ply 100% pure wool. Colourway is brown/charcoal and they were AU$1.20 each. I realised when I arrived home that I’d only been charged for one ball and not 10. The checkout girl waved the scanner over one ball and then forget to hit x 10 on the till. Maybe that’s because she was overwhelmed by all the wool on the counter.

Moda Vera Pure Wool Brown-Charcoal

Two balls of Moda Vera Kendra which is a 12ply / bulky 70% acrylic / 20% wool / 10% nylon. Colourway is Yellow and they were AU$3.59 each. This yarn will make nice strong market bags.

Moda Vera Kendra Yellow 01

Four balls of Moda Vera Kendra which is a 12ply / bulky 70% acrylic / 20% wool / 10% nylon. Colourway is Green and they were AU$3.59 each.

Moda Vera Kendra Green 01

Six balls of Moda Vera Chiquita which is a 44% acrylic / 36% sequins / 20% wool. Colourway is Cream and they were AU$1.20 each.

Moda Vera Chiquita Cream 01

Six balls of Moda Vera Chiquita which is a 44% acrylic / 36% sequins / 20% wool. Colourway is Purple and they were AU$1.20 each.

Moda Vera Chiquita Purple 01

Five balls of Moda Vera Taylor which is a 5ply / sport 56% polyester / 44% wool. Colourway is Brown and they were AU$1.80 each. I’m thinking of making the Glitz at the Ritz shawl with this yarn. What do you think?

Moda Vera Taylor 01

Nine balls of Moda Vera Gelato which is a 4ply / fingering 50% acrylic / 50% cotton. Colourway is Green and they were AU$1.79 each.

Moda Vera Gelato Green 01

And finally, the following yarns came from the Lincraft sale which was offering 40% storewide. I’m using these yarns to make crocheted market bags.

Nine balls of Lincraft Cosy which is an 8ply 100% wool. Colourway is Xmas. They were AU$3.59 each.

Lincraft Cosy Red Green White

Three balls of Lincraft Cosy which is an 8ply 100% wool. Colourway is Naturals. They were AU$3.59 each.

Lincraft Cosy Blue Brown Cream

And three balls of Lincraft Double Knitting which is an 8ply 100% acrylic. Colourway is Apricot. They were AU$2.09 each.

Lincraft DK

You’ll be pleased to know that I have already used some of the yarn and will feature these projects in future posts.

And so we come to the end of another yarnful year. I hope you’ve enjoyed my posts showing you all my knitted projects as well as the odd one or two yarn purchases. I also hope I’ve inspired you to knit some of the projects. One of my readers did contact me as she had made the In Threes Cardigan which I showed you here. She emailed me photos and the cardigan was beautiful!

I’ve posted approximately 115 stories since November last year; I didn’t realise I could talk write so much!

Have a safe New Year’s Eve and a healthy, happy 2014 full of yarnie goodness! Until next year…

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