Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Crochet lately

After a couple of down months, crochet-wise, I've been feeling very inspired again. I'm taking a break from big projects, having completed three large blankets recently, and trying my hand at some other things instead. I have several projects in the pipeline (I'm waiting for yarn to be shipped for some of them), including some gifts for upcoming birthdays and even something for around the house. First, I'm making myself a purse, or maybe it's a tote bag. I've been wanting to make a nice bag for myself for several years now, with sturdy handles and a lining, but haven't got around to it until now, when I decided that it's time.

I'm using a pattern called Fair Day Tote (Ravelry link) from a designer named Marji LaFreniere. I've had this pattern in my library for aaaages while I worked on other things but it's always been in the back of my mind. I just love the squares, which have a slightly raised "bobbly" round (the black round in my squares) that kind of pops out of the frame. I'm going to have to block it all after I've got the squares joined; I'm using cotton yarn and it definitely requires some neatening. I'm enjoying making the squares so far. I plan to make them with four different center colors, a total of thirteen squares (I'll repeat one color). I've made my squares in blue and this sort-of honey color so far; all will have the bobbly round in black, with gray outer rounds.

I'm planning to line this bag, and use pre-made bag handles. I'm hoping it will look tidy and ladylike but maybe a tiny bit funky too, one-of-a-kind and crafty-looking. I used to be really into cool bags when I was younger; it was probably my main fashion statement. I had a knack for finding interesting bags at super-cheap prices, often at street markets and fair-trade or head-shop kinds of places. My friends rarely asked to borrow my clothes, but I passed my purses and bags around.

I didn't buy any yarn for this project! That's one of the best feelings, isn't it? I wouldn't call it a "yarn diet," but I've been trying not to buy very much yarn lately. For specific projects that I know I'll use it all up for, yes, but not so much just for stash-building. For this project, I'm using cotton yarn from stash, all of it I Love This Cotton brand. The four colors at left are my center colors, with black and gray at right. I have some fabric already that I will probably use for the lining, a basic calico that is dark charcoal with small, scattered white triangles. I will need to buy bag handles, and will most likely buy them at Jo-Ann, but I have seen nice ones on Etsy, so I'll have to look around. I'm really excited about this bag!

I've come up with a new (to me, anyway) idea for project bags. Maybe this could help you too. For years, I've been saving the cloth sacks that new sets of bed sheets come packaged in (the brand of sheets I normally buy, from Target, always includes these bags). I've been giving them to the GB for storing small things, like doll clothes and accessories. She had amassed quite a collection of them with some extras, which she offered to me. Right away, I thought of using them as small-project bags! They're perfect for this; they have a drawstring, they're sturdy, they're easily washed, and they're very compact. I can throw in my hook and a copy of my pattern, and put the whole bag inside a tote bag when I'm out and about, which has been very handy as we run from here to there attending our summer activities. I have two of these sheet bags and I think they're going to get a lot of use.

I hope you're having a good week! Thank you for your kind words and insightful comments lately. Some of you remarked that I sounded happier, and I'm glad to report that I really am. Life is good and we're having a lovely, busy summer. And guess what! The Santa Fe National Forest has reopened and we'll be able to have our second camping trip after all - with campfires! Blackened hot dogs await me.


  1. It is going to be a great bag. I made a bag once but it stretched a little on wearing and with the weight but I made another one a few years later and went down to a 3mm hook instead of a 4mm hook which I would usually use and it was much better. It made a firmer fabric. gGreat colours Jen. Jo xxx

  2. I think your purse is going to be VERY cute! Great idea for project bags! I was looking at a "cool" one online and (brace yourself) it was $70. I guess I'm way too cheap to be cool. I put my wool in Ziplock bags because . . . moth fear.
    Happy crocheting!

  3. I love that idea of using the Target sheet bags as project bags. I have three or four of them in a drawer at home and I had never thought of using them as project bags. I need to learn to think outside the box! Your new purse/tote bag is wonderful. The pattern is very interesting and I like the colors you chose him to Jennifer. Blessings, Betsy

  4. Love the colours you have chosen for your new project and the pattern is stunning. Looking forward to seeing the end result and your chosen handles. Thrilled to read your are settled and happy.

  5. This bag will be wonderful Jennifer. I at the moment can't stop doing granny squares and some are becoming bigger as blankets for future family and also crochet together colourful large squares with black. You do sound happier and it is good that we have our blogs too, which we can look back on xoxo

  6. The bag looks brilliant, I love the pattern. I am very much a bag person too, I love them. I think it's the promise of packing some things in it and going off on an adventure. A book, a notebook, a pen and a nice bag and I am all set. I shall look forward to seeing yours take shape. Love the project bag idea, sadly bed linen round here seems to come flat-packed in plastic. CJ xx

  7. how wonderful that your sheet sets come in a material bag! ours don't, every things in plastic here; i love bags for my knitting & crochet projects & always on the look out for new ones, i prefer a zipped up long bag (good length for knitting needles) another open style bag is one they call a 'pumpkin bag' it's great for holding larger projects.
    looking forward to seeing your tote bag finished
    thanx for sharing

  8. I make granny squares when I'm not sure what I want to do so have quite a stash. Have been wanting to make a purse in a similar design as what you are doing, but haven't done so yet. You are much better at having a plan and seeing it through. :) Happy Friday!

  9. Beautiful work. Happy summer to you. Greetings.

  10. It's a great idea to make a crochet bag. Your work is lovely!


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