Adding a Crochet Motif to a Favorite Bag Pattern

I often crochet different motifs when I find interesting free patterns on the internet so I can see what they look like, how difficult they are, and to try them out for future projects.  I recently came across a motif I really liked and I thought the sample I had made would look nice inserted into some sort of cloth handbag.  I did some searches for instructions for doing this, but didn’t come up with much.  The instructions are probably out there, but sometimes it can be hard to know the right words to use for searching for that sort of thing.  I’ve been thinking about the best way to go about this for the past couple of weeks and came up with the following method (which I am writing out here for myself as much as anyone, since I don’t always remember quite how I worked something out).

I started by choosing a pattern to use as a beginning place.  I have made several different versions of the 241 Tote bag from Noodlehead.  Because I like the shape and size of that bag, I decided to use that as my starting place.  The front panel is made from a pattern piece that is cut on the fold, so I drew both halves to have one flat piece to work with.  I also measured my motif (a free pattern from here) and made a paper template that was just the tiniest bit bigger and decided on placement on my flat pattern piece:

I decided I like it placed on the diagonal best, so I cut that area out of my flat pattern:

I then cut out the pattern piece from my outer fabric, interfacing as called for in the pattern and a piece of thin muslin. I traced the cut-out square directly onto the muslin, which would become my facing:

I pinned everything together really well (outer fabric, face up, with the muslin on top) and stitched directly on the line I had drawn:

I then cut out the center section of the square, clipping to the corners:

Then, I pulled the muslin facing fabric through the square to the back:

I then pressed this well and top-stitched on the right side to hold everything in place:

I then hand-sewed the motif into the opening:

I then added a backing layer, using the same outer fabric I had chosen for the bag. I zigzagged all around the outer edge so I could easily treat this as one piece while I followed the instructions to construct the rest of the bag:

I did choose to leave off any outer pockets, but I added them to the inside lining,  I discovered that in this pattern it works really well to use the outer pocket pieces inside the lining.  I chose to zigzag a little piece of elastic to gather the inside pocket a bit- it works really well to hold things like my phone, lip balm, etc:

I can’t wait to use this bag- I always like it when a project ends up working out at least a little bit like I imagined it  would :).

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January Hat and Mittens

When I started making this set, there was snow, freezing rain, and ice.  As I finished them up, that was gone.  Yesterday it was back to the low 60’s, not really hat and mittens weather.  I’m pretty sure that we will still have at least one more blast of winter that will allow me to wear them.  If not, I’m all ready for next year…

Some details about these:

Both are made of Chroma yarn from Knitpicks.  I had never used it before and love the softness, the slight fuzziness, and the patterning of the colors.  This colorway is called U-pick, which I think is either discontinued or will be shortly.  There are still lots of other great colorways, but I liked this one because I thought it would go with both my purple coat and my brown one.  I used worsted weight for the mittens and fingering weight for the hat.

I made the mittens first:

These are from a really basic, simple pattern that I’ve had forever from Cottage Creations (they don’t  have a website, but  a lot of yarn stores seem to sell them- I love and have used many of their patterns).  These are from their “Projects for Community Knitting” booklet.  The ribbed cuff continues up into the thumb and they were really easy and are very comfortable to wear.

I then moved on to the hat:

I fell in love with this hat when I first saw it.  It is from Tangled, a web magazine dedicated to those who like to both knit and crochet.  Some of their patterns are for sale, and others like this one for the Tessellations Hat are free.  They always have a lot of fun designs.  I found this one through their blog, which can be found here or from their main web page.

I absolutely loved crocheting this.  I adore granny squares and double crocheting is my very favorite thing to do- there is a rhythm to it that isn’t there for me in any other stitch.  It may be weird to have a favorite stitch, but there it is.  I also love the way this pattern takes advantage of the slow color changes in the yarn.   Sewing it up was even fun and it was quicker to make than I thought it would be.  It’s probably sort of an eccentric hat, too, which I also like :).

 

Crocheted Heart Pattern

Valentine’s Day is next month, and I’ve been scanning the internet for patterns for crocheted hearts.  I’ve found lots of them, but never quite what I was looking for.  Some were too big or too frilly or had instructions that made no sense to me or were otherwise not quite what I was looking for.  I found a new one a couple of days ago that looked promising, but the pattern had errors in it, and being sort of new to this crochet thing, I sometimes know enough to tell when something’s wrong, but not always enough to know how to fix it.  I worked at trying to fix the pattern, and ended up creating my own, combining a few ideas I’d seen and making something new.  It’s possible that this combination has been made before, but I haven’t seen it, so I’m offering it here. I’m writing it up two ways:  first, just the quick instructions, and second, with pictures that show the steps in case I’m not clear.  Hopefully that will be helpful to newer crocheters (okay, me!), who often wish there was a picture to explain the steps that aren’t intuitively understood.

Thread and needles:  I used #10 crochet cotton with a Boye#8 (1.5mm) steel hook and #5 crochet cotton with a Boye #5(1.90 mm) steel hook.  I’m sure lots of other combinations would be fine, too.

Gauge isn’t really important here.

Abbreviations:

ch= chain

sl st= slip stitch

dc= double crochet

tr= treble crochet

sp= space

To begin, ch5 and join with a sl st to make a ring (or make an adjustable ring).

Row 1:  Ch3( counts as 1st dc), 2dc into ring, ch2. (3dc, ch2) into ring 3 more times.  Join with a sl st to top of beginning ch3. (12 dc, 4 ch2 spaces)

Row 2:  Sl st in next 2 stitches and into ch2 sp. Ch3(counts as 1st dc), 2dc, ch2, 3dc in ch2 sp, ch2.  *Skip next 3 dc and 3dc, ch2, 3dc in next ch2 sp, ch2.* Repeat from * to* 2 more times.  Join with a sl st to beginning ch3.  (24 dc, 8 ch2 spaces)

Row 3:  Sl st in next 2 stitches and into ch2 sp.  *Ch1. Tr into next ch2 sp (center of the square).  Ch1.  (tr, ch1) 6 more times in same ch2 space.  Join with a sl st in next ch2 space.*  Half of  curved part of heart is now completed.  Repeat from *to* to make 2nd heart curve.  Fasten, weave in ends and block if you want to.

And now, with pictures ( I know a few of them are blurry, but hopefully they are clear enough to get the idea across):

At the end of row 1:

Beginning of Row 2- how it should look when stitches are slipped over to next chain 2 space:

End of row 2:

Beginning of Row 3, showing stitches slipped to next chain 2 space:

Next step in Row 3- One chain made, first treble crochet made in next chain 2 space:

Row 3, showing first 7 treble crochets:

Row 3, showing slip stitch into next chain 2 space:

Row 3, beginning the second half of the heart curve:

Finished, showing the final slip stitch in next chain 2 space:

All ends woven in, blocked and pretty!

These are a little smaller than 2 inches square in #10 cotton and just over 2 inches in #5 cotton. These are very quick and I plan on making a bunch more of them to use in some Valentine projects.  Hopefully, my explanations are clear enough that other people can use them, too!

Crochet Ornaments

Now that I’ve sort of figured out how to crochet, I’ve been enjoying working on little projects.  This time of year, for me that means ornaments.  They are fun and perfect for the short attention span I’ve had lately.  Here’s a picture of several of them, with more detailed descriptions below:

This group was made using patterns from the Leisure Arts Big Book of Thread Ornaments to Crochet:

These are from Edie Eckman’s book, Beyond-the-Square Crochet Motifs.  This book isn’t about making ornaments, but I love how they’ve turned out as ornaments when made with crochet thread.  I like all of these better than the ones from the ornament book:

This one is a  favorite of mine  and I’ve made a few of them:

It’s from the e-book, Crafty Tree Trimmings, which is available until the end of December here:

http://shop.craftypod.com/trimmings

Part of the proceeds go to Project Linus and the other ornament patterns are great, too.  This is the only crochet pattern, so check it out even if crochet isn’t your thing.

Learning to Crochet

A few weeks ago, as I was googling and looking for something else, I came across the blog,  Resurrection Fern.  It’s a beautiful blog, and I found myself especially interested in the crochet-covered rocks which are frequently featured there.  I think this is the post that first got my attention: Resurrection Fern Stones .

After viewing this, I decided that I needed to make some of those rocks.  This meant trying again to learn to crochet, something I’ve attempted unsuccessfully several times.  I’ve managed to learn enough to put a simple edging on something I knit, but I’ve never made any further progress.  I set to work with a couple of books I have and a few free instructions from the internet and crocheted and unraveled several projects.  As I started actually getting the hang of it a little bit, I heard that Margaret Oomen of the Resurrection Fern blog had patterns for three of her rocks in the September/October  2009 Issue of Crochet Today magazine.  I was able to find it at my local Hastings.  Here’s a photo for anyone looking for it:

(And an aside- as much as I’ve always liked lacy crochet things, this cover sums up what I DON’T like about crochet.  Apologies to anyone who likes it, but I just don’t get things like crocheted fake clocks.   Of course, my son thinks my crocheted rocks are a little crazy, so I obviously can’t really judge:). )

I started in on the three patterns in the magazine and made them in this order:

I then bought the smaller size crochet hook that the patterns actually called for and made this one again- I think my crocheting had improved here, too:

For my next project, I made a small doily from a book I already had, MaryJane’s Stitching Room by MaryJane Butters.

I have always loved lace doilies and often buy them at garage sales, and I’m happy that I can make my own now.

And that’s the sum total of all of my finished crochet projects to date.  I’m sure I’ll be doing quite a bit more, but I won’t be making any crocheted clocks :).