A spontaneous project

Do you suffer from spontaneous projects?   You know the sort – you have plenty of projects to finish but an idea erupts in your head and you have to run with it and start a spontaneous project.

That happened to me this week, but it was worse than just a spontaneous project.  You see I tidied my stash cupboard, and I had a bag full of yarn to give away.  First stop was knitgroup on Tuesday, and some yarn was gratefully received but there was plenty left.  Second stop was knitgroup on Friday, more yarn was gratefully received and there was still some left.  The next stop should be the charity shop.   But before I go further I should add that my knitgroup are very charitable and anyone receiving yarn from a de-stash pops a donation into the ‘charity purse’, when the purse reaches £50 that money is donated to a charity chosen by one of the knitgroup.  So every stop along the de-stash route is charitable.

Except I didn’t plan to go to the charity shop until next week and on Friday I just looked at the remaining de-stash and well…..the spontaneous project erupted!   It was all because I’d been inspired by a rucksack I’d seen in a magazine, it was made using the V stitch.  I didn’t want a rucksack but I just loved the idea of a V stitch in a bag.   So I used some of my de-stash; a couple of skeins of Rowan Creative Linen became this:

Dolly Drawstring Bag
Dolly Drawstring Bag

I feel a bit guilty, because the remaining de-stash was destined for the charity shop and I’ve probably deprived them of some much needed funds.   So even though it was my yarn, I ended up popping some money in the charity purse!

I’m not writing up the pattern, but it is pretty straightforward – just make a base the size and shape you like and make the sides using V stitch, finish the top any way you like (I made a few rows of dc and added handles by making some slits in the dc section and threading the handles through like a drawstring or dolly bag).

What sort of spontaneous projects have you done recently?

Happy crocheting xx

Lovely surprises

I received something lovely in the post the other day.  Here’s a photo of some of it:

PERFECT PROJECT LABELS
PERFECT PROJECT LABELS

These labels are cheeky and practical.  They are perfect for adding to handmade items, informing the lucky recipient just how to care for their gift and hopefully giving them a smile as they read the cheeky words!

They are supplied by Joanne Scrace (aka Not So Granny), a talented crochet and knitting designer, and she sells them in her Etsy shop here.   A few weeks ago she ran a competition on her facebook page asking what people would write on a care label.   Now I don’t often enter competitions, but I thought this was a great idea – I always worry that preciously-made gifts should be cared for properly, I have been known to produce care sheets for those I make!   So I entered the competition with ‘one of a kind – just like the wearer’.  Lo and behold, Joanne liked it and I won some labels!

There are several cheeky messages to choose from, so I may be going shopping for some more.  I love the one designed for your project bag.  I will be adding mine to my favourite project bag:

Carpet wool bag
Carpet wool bag

This bag was made from a kit by Hookedbydesign given to me for my birthday last year by Karen and Ruth, another lovely surprise.  It is made from carpet wool which is exceedingly sturdy and perfect for a bag.  I lined it with fabric, added some strong hessian tape to the handles (which I encased with crochet) and it is now my most favourite project bag which travels to many a knit group.  Similar kits can be found here.

What would you add your labels to?

Happy knitting and crocheting… and gifting  xxx

 

Spring Lifter CAL final part

This blog post shows you how to finish your bag.  It’s a bit long, but it isn’t difficult.  So please just take the time to read it and then begin the final stage.

First you need to strengthen the top edge of the bag, then you need to add handles.  I did all of this in double crochet (US single crochet).

I am using English crochet terms – check back here if you need reminding what there are.

Here is how I did it:
The diagram below shows one side of the bag.   Start each round at the point indicated by the arrow on this diagram.

granny tote side

The first 2 rounds strengthen the top edge.
Round 1:  Using Yarn D (mine was Pastel Green), work 1 round of double crochet, place 1dc in each tr or 1ch-sp along the edges.  At the top corners of the squares (Points A and B)   put 3 dc into each 2ch-sp and place a stitch marker into the middle of these 3dc.  At the ‘valleys’ work 3dc together.  Join the round with a ss.
Round 2:  work another round of dc, working 1dc into each stitch around.  At point A.   put 2dc into the stitch marked, remove stitch marker and replace into the first of these 2 dcs.  At the valleys, work 3dc together.  At point B, put 2dc into the stitch marked, remove stitch marker and replace into the second of these 2 dcs.  Repeat with points A and B on the second side.
Join the round with a ss, break yarn and fasten off.

Now you’ll make the handles.

Handles
Handles

Round 3:  Join yarn C (mine was Canary yellow) at the point shown in the diagram, work 1dc into each stitch up to and including the first stitch marker at point A, *move stitch marker to next dc along at point A, work 80ch, then miss all stitches between points A and B and work 1dc into stitch marked at point B (these 80ch will form the handle – you may wish to make them longer or shorter, so just check that you are happy with the length before continuing), work 1dc in each stitch down from point B, work 3dc together at the next valley**, work 1dc in each st up to the next point A and repeat the instructions from * to **, finally work 1dc in each st back to the start, join with ss, break yarn and fasten off.

That was the tricky bit – now you will work the top edges of the handles.
Round 4: join yarn B (mine was Sea green), work 1dc in each st around, working 3dc together in the valleys.  Break yarn and fasten off.
Round 5:  Join yarn A (mine was Heath), work 1dc in each st around, working 3dc together in the valleys.  Break yarn and fasten off.
Round 6:  Join yarn D (mine was Pastel green), work 1dc in each st around, working 3dc together in the valleys.  Break yarn and fasten off.

The final stage is to work the inner edges of the handles (the edges between points A and B that you left unworked on round 2) – there are 2 of these and you work both of them the same as follows:
Rejoin Yarn C (canary yellow) to the first stitch marker (the one you moved at point A), work 1 round of dc, placing 1dc in each st or the underside of the (canary yellow) chain of the handle, and working 3dc together in the valley.   Now work 3 more rounds of dc – in yarn B, then yarn A, then yarn D (remember to work 3dc together in the valley).

You may find that you want to add more rows of dc to make the handles larger.  Mine were perfect for my use.

You may wish to personalise your bag, and there are lots of ways you can do this. I made a little flower with a Dorset button in the centre.

Dorset button flower
Dorset button flower

First make a Dorset button – there are some excellent instructions here. I made mine in canary yellow.

Now make a simple flower.  I used this motif pattern:
Foundation ring:  make a 4ch foundation and join into a ring with a ss
Round 1: 2ch (counts as 1htr), 14 htr in ring, join to 2nd ch from start with a ss. (15htr)
Round 2: 4ch (counts as 1dc, 3ch), *1dc in next st, 3ch; repeat from * to last st, 1dc in last st, 1ch, 1htr in 1st ch from start (forming the last 3ch-sp). (15 3ch-sps)
Round 3: 6ch (counts as 1dc, 5ch), *1dc in next 3ch-sp, 5ch; repeat from * to last 3ch-sp, 1dc in last 3ch-sp, 2ch, 1tr in 1st ch from start (forming the last 5ch-sp). (15 5ch-sps)
Round 4: 6ch (counts as 1dc, 5ch), *1dc in next 5ch-sp, 5ch; repeat from * to end of round join to 1st ch from start with a ss.  Break yarn and fasten off.

To construct the flower, make 3 different sized motifs in different colours.
One using the first 2 rounds (I used Heath).
One using the first 3 rounds (I used Pastel green).
One using all 4 rounds (I used Sea green).

Place the motifs on top of each other, place the Dorset button on top of all 3 and sew together.  Then sew to the bag.  And voila – the bag is made!

Zingy spring lifter
Zingy spring lifter

Of course, you could personalise your bag in any way you like, add a lining, lengthen or shorten the handles, add  buttons, flowers – anything!   Whatever you do, please show me what you make on my Ravelry forum.

Happy crocheting xx

Spring Lifter CAL part 1

I’m going to make this CAL relaxed and slow – so you will get 3 weekly instalments and, hopefully, will have plenty of time each week to complete the instalment.

At the end of 3 weeks you should have a lovely bag like this
At the end of 3 weeks you should have a lovely bag like this

Ok – are you ready to start?

You will need 13 Granny Squares each about 15cm/6″ square.  I used a traditional granny square and the pattern I use is written below – but you may use whatever granny pattern you like.  Using my pattern and 4ply cotton yarn and a 3mm hook I ended up with 7 rounds (just a little smaller than 15cm/6”).

If you are using different weight of yarn you may wish to do fewer or more rounds and, of course, you may choose any colour scheme you want.

A quick reminder of my yarn colours: A is Heath (deep purple), B is Sea Green, C is Canary (yellow) and D is Light Pastel Green.

ABBREVIATIONS
The pattern is written in English crochet terms.
St = stitch
Ch = chain
Tr = treble (US dc)
Ss = slip stitch
Sp = space
Ch-sp =chain space

7 round granny square
7 round granny square

Foundation:  Using Yarn A, make a 4ch foundation ch and join into a ring with a ss
Round 1: 5ch (counts as 1tr, 2ch), (3tr, 2ch) 3 times into the ring, 2tr into the ring, join to 3rd st of starting 5ch with a ss.
Round 2: ss into 2ch-sp, (note for this and each subsequent round: this ss is to position the start of the round in the right place) 5ch (counts as 1tr, 2ch), (3tr, 1ch) into the same 2ch-sp, (3tr, 2ch, 3tr, 1ch) into each of the next three 2ch-sps, 2tr into the first 2ch-sp, join to 3rd st of starting 5ch with a ss. Break yarn and fasten off.
Round 3: Using Yarn B, ss into 2ch-sp, 5ch (counts as 1tr, 2ch), (3tr, 1ch) into the same 2ch-sp, *(3tr, 1ch) into the next 1ch-sp, (3tr, 2ch, 3tr, 1ch) into the next 2ch-sp; repeat from * another 2 times (3tr, 1ch) into the next 1ch-sp, 2tr into the first 2ch-sp, join to 3rd st of starting 5ch with a ss.
Round 4: ss into 2ch-sp, 5ch (counts as 1tr, 2ch), (3tr, 1ch) into the same 2ch-sp, *(3tr, 1ch) into each of the next two 1ch-sps, (3tr, 2ch, 3tr, 1ch) into the next 2ch-sp; repeat from * another 2 times (3tr, 1ch) into each of the next two 1ch-sps, 2tr in the first 2ch-sp, join to 3rd st of starting 5ch with a ss. Break yarn and fasten off.
Round 5: Using Yarn C, ss into 2ch-sp, 5ch (counts as 1tr, 2ch), (3tr, 1ch) into the same 2ch-sp, *(3tr, 1ch) into each of the next three 1ch-sps, (3tr, 2ch, 3tr, 1ch) into the next 2ch-sp; repeat from * another 2 times (3tr, 1ch) into each of the next three 1ch-sps, 2tr into the 1st 2ch-sp, join to 3rd st of starting 5ch with a ss.
Round 6: ss into 2ch-sp, 5ch (counts as 1tr, 2ch), (3tr, 1ch) into the same 2ch-sp, *(3tr, 1ch) into each of the next four 1ch-sps, (3tr, 2ch, 3tr, 1ch) into the next 2ch-sp; repeat from * another 2 times (3tr, 1ch) into each of the next four 1ch-sps, 2tr into the 1st 2ch-sp, join to 3rd st of starting 5ch with a ss.  Break yarn and fasten off.
Round 7: Using Yarn D, ss into 2ch-sp, 5ch (counts as 1tr, 2ch), (3tr, 1ch) into the same 2ch-sp, *(3tr, 1ch) into each of the next five 1ch-sps, (3tr, 2ch, 3tr, 1ch) into the next 2ch-sp; repeat from * another 2 times (3tr, 1ch) into each of the next five 1ch-sps, 2tr into the 1st 2ch-sp, join to 3rd st of starting 5ch with a ss. Break yarn and fasten off, leaving a long tail of about 3m for sewing or crocheting together later.

Tune in for the next stage, which I’ll publish in a week.

I have a discussion thread on my Ravelry Group here.   Please join in and share your progress.

Happy crocheting xx

My Spring Lifter!

Here is what I have been making this week:

Zingy spring lifter
Zingy spring lifter

It is in zingy colours and is lifting my mood, making me think of Spring even though we are still in Winter here in the UK.  I have seen similar bags but never attempted to design one like this before, it was easier than I imagined it would be!  So I thought you might like me to share how I made this with you.

I will be posting 3 blogs on the ‘how to’.

If you want to join in you may wish to start gathering your equipment now.

I made my ‘spring lifter’ in a 4ply/fingering weight cotton in a chosen colour scheme.  However this can be made in any yarn weight and would be a fabulous stash buster.  Remember if you use a different yarn weight you should use a suitable hook size.

So here is what I used:

YARN
Scheepjes Cotton 8, 50g/170m/186yds per ball.  I used 4 colours:
A – 1 ball of Heath (721) – a deep purple
B – 1 ball of Sea Green (723)
C – 2 balls of Canary (714) but I used only about 5m/yd of the second ball
D – 1 ball of Light Pastel Green (663)

HOOK
3mm crochet hook (US D/3)

OTHER
4 lockable stitch markers
Tapestry needle for sewing ends
Ring for Dorset button (optional) for the centre of my simple flower.

Start gathering your equipment and I’ll post part 1 of the ‘how to’ tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I have started a discussion on my Ravelry forum here, if you want to join in this CAL please join in the discussion too.  I’d love to see what you make.

Happy crocheting xx