Catherine Wheel bags

bothbagsI do love a nice colourful crochet bag, don’t you? So much fun to make, so useful to have!  I fell in love with this design from Cozy Things blog, and following her instructions I soon figured out how to make one for myself.  And then I made another!

The base is worked as a flat circle of treble crochet (double in US terms); Cozy Things recommends the very wonderful Attic 24 bag tutorial for this, which you can find HERE.bagbottomThe main part of the bag uses Catherine Wheel stitch, worked in rounds rather than rows.  This is a new stitch to me!  I get a real kick out of learning new crochet techniques and this stitch is actually very simple, although the finished result looks quite advanced, doesn’t it?!  I found this great tutorial by The Crochet Crowd, and had it nailed in no time.  springbagI did an out-and-out copy of Cozy Things’ version on my first bag, even down to finishing the top edge with Attic 24’s Bobble Shell Edging.  The handles are 6 rows of double crochet (US single) worked into a chain of 100 stitches.  I did do my own flower design though, with a cute little button in the middle!floweCUThis was a really super-quick make, and I had so much fun doing it that I immediately began another.  I went off camping for a few days last week, and since each bag takes less than 50g of DK in each colour to make, it was a perfect little project to take with me.  One of my favourite holiday pastimes is to lounge around my campsite crocheting in the sun, so my second bag was finished by the time I got back!purplebagoutsideThe sunshine has really distorted the colours here, the middle stripes are actually deep green.  I did a slightly different top edge this time round too, but don’t ask me what stitch I used ‘cos I made it up as I went along whilst sitting in my tent!   The flower went a bit wonky on the second bag but hey ho…overexposedshotI reckon they make quite a groovy pair!

Wishing you all a wheelly (haha!) great week 🙂

2014: Makes and Moments

Ah, it’s that time here in the Blogosphere, when the hols are over, the New Year has arrived, and we look back fondly (or not so!) over our favourite stuff from the past twelve months.  I’m not much of one for making resolutions (apart from resolving to hibernate during January!), but I do enjoy reading the ‘annual reviews’ on people’s blogs so I thought I’d do one of my own, with just my favourite Makes and Moments from each month…

All in all I’d say it was a pretty colourful year!  And despite the ups and downs of my health, I still managed to do a lot of making and get out and about a fair bit, and share a lot of laughs with good friends and family.  And I’ve loved posting here, sharing all the highs and lows of my year’s creative adventures with all of you!

Thank you so much for reading – here’s to a Big Fat Funky 2015! 🙂

 

December Days

The last month of the year has come & gone already!  Don’t know about all of you, but the holidays always seem to be upon me before I’ve really gotten into my December groove, sitting by the fire working on my Purple Waves blanket… then, just when I’m really beginning to get the hang of this whole Visiting/Doing Nothing/Eating a Lot business, it’s all over!  But it’s been a lovely month, full of friends and family and lots of crafty goodness…

…kicking off with manic making in time for the Machynlleth Craft Fair on the first weekend.  Just look at all that funky stuff!  Our stall may not have been the most profitable, but it was definitely one of the most colourful…craftstallside.…I also got to play with my printing block again this month, making a hand-printed lining for my best ever yet crochet bag, which – hurray! – I did finally manage to photograph as I went along, so that much-promised tutorial is underway at last…blockprinting…then things got a bit frantic as I tried to finish making gifts in time for the last Xmas posting date!  These are mini versions of the cute owls I made last year, using Bunny Mummy’s brilliant tutorial (which you can find HERE).  I put little muslin bags of incense inside these and they smell gorgeous…Xmasowls

…and so, finally, the food and pressies were loaded into the car and my friend Ursula (of One Woman Walks Wales fame) and I shared the drive across Wales and on into England to visit our respective folks.  We waved goodbye at the motorway services and normal life ended for a couple of weeks as the holidays began…ursulawaving

...I hope you all had a wonderful end to 2014 and are feeling relaxed and ready for a colourful New Year!   🙂

 

WhooHoo! Summer Sunshine Bag

sunnybag1As mentioned in the November round-up last week, I finally finished the Summer Sunshine bag!  I started crocheting this waaaay back during my June glamping trip to the Usk Valley, and it languished on the ‘Project: Stalled‘ shelf for quite some time.  Conversations with other crafters (stand up, P. and Mum!) tell me that sewing everything together at the end is often the HARDEST part of any project so at least I know I’m not alone! 🙂sunnybag3

This is my second bag based on Lucy’s original Attic24 bag pattern, and I love the way it’s turned out.  These bags are easy to crochet, good and sturdy and they hold MASSES of stuff!  As before I made a lining for both the bag and the handles, and I’m particularly proud of my improved handle-attaching technique.  Here’s the first one I ever did:sewstraptobag

and here are my latest ones:sunnybaginnerquite a difference, I think you’ll agree!  Also very chuffed with my double-petalled flowers, making these is just so much fun.  I resisted the urge to smother the entire bag with them:sunnybagflowers1

I have one more of these bags to finish, and I really really will try to take some photos of how to make the linings so I can share a tutorial on that with you sometime soon.

And if you’re thinking that this bag is NEON bright, all I can say is that IT’S EVEN BRIGHTER in real life!!  See, I knew when I picked up that piece of pumpkin-orange fabric in the charity shop years ago that I’d find the perfect use for it one day…sunnybag2

Wishing you all a very bright and colourful weekend!

Project: Stalled!

stalled1Hmm… it seems that my creative life has hit a bit of a ‘summer slump’ at the  moment!

This is my latest sewing project, a second Sweetheart Sundress in lime green with hand-printed borders.  I started working on it almost immediately after the last one, intending to have it finished in time for my camping trip to Glastonbury.  I was going great guns – as you can see from the pics, I even got as far as block printing the straps and bodice – right up until the day before I left, when I hit a few fitting issues and realised there was no way it would be ready to take with me.  When I came back from my hols I was bit poorly for a week and didn’t have much sewing mojo, and now I’m worried the Limeade Dress might well miss this summer entirely!  stalled2Last week I had my brother to stay, and despite my best efforts to crack on with the project that was meant to be a housewarming-anniversary present for him & his partner, I still couldn’t get it finished in time for his visit.  This one has been many months in the making, as I have designed the whole thing myself.  I did manage to finish crocheting all the bits but now have to work out how to put them all together to make… oh you’re going to love this! … CROCHET TURTLE CUSHIONS!  Yep.  Well, they will be.  One day.stalledturtlesBack in June I also began a second Attic24 bag, which I’d intended to put in my friend’s PopUp shop along with the Magic Roundabout bag in July.  Here it is today.  Yes, it does look like an over-sized Rastacap.  No, it doesn’t have any handles yet.  Or a lining (that’s the orange fabric you can see in the background with absolutely no bag-lining-type shapes cut out of it).  And look at all those tails waiting to be sewn in….stalledbeachbagAm I alone?  Is summer just not the season for doing craftsy things indoors?!  I mean, it’s not as though we haven’t had our share of rainy days this last few weeks!  Although there is one thing I started that I reckon another rainy day ought to see me finishing, at least I hope this one’s not too beyond me…stalledfrogsWishing you all a colourful weekend! x

 

Mini-Tutorial: Magic Roundabout Flowers

Lp&flowers1OK, as promised – Zebedee has arrived with the mini-tutorial on how to make your very own Magic Roundabout flowers!

As mentioned previously, the flower itself is from Attic 24, so click here for Lucy’s brilliant tutorial on how to make this.  I used the single-petalled flower for this tutorial, but I’ve had a go with the double-petalled one as well (see the Glastonbury Thorn for evidence!) and it works just as nicely.

So, now you have your six-petalled flower, you will be working into the BACK of this.  Begin by pulling up a loop through the back of the ‘missed’ stitch from round one of your flower (the blue round on mine)flowertute0This is a bit hard to show – here’s how it looks from the front, so hopefully you can see where you’re going!flowertute1Ch1, 1sc into this spaceflowertute2Now you will be working into the back of the sc you made between each ch3 loop on round 2 of your flower (mauve on mine).  These might be a bit tight so you may need to wiggle your hook around here until you can pick up two strands to work intoflowertute3Work 3dc (UK tr), ch3, 3dc into this stitchflowertute4

1sc into the next ‘missed’ stitch from round oneflowertute5

and continue round until you have six funky pointed leaves!  Join with a sl-st into your initial ch1flowertute6 Fasten off, and WHOOHOO!  Time to go decorate your roundabout!

Lp&flowers3x

The Magic Roundabout Bag

LpcoverAh… Dougal, Florence, Zebedee and Dylan… what child of the 70s doesn’t have a soft spot for these guys?? – My brother and I loved The Magic Roundabout when we were growing up, and this was one of our favourite records.  (And we loved it again on DVD as grown-ups, once we discovered all the satirical undertones and references we hadn’t picked up on as children!

So when I came to crochet this lovely roundy-round bag by Drops Design I couldn’t help but think of it as The Magic Roundabout Bag, and chose my colour scheme accordingly!bagfront1

It’s a very straightforward pattern, worked in double crochet (UK treble), that comes together in no time.  In my continuing experiment to find yarns I’m not allergic to, I used a lovely smooshy Superwash wool by Cascade, that comes in some gorgeous bright colours.  A little bit itchy on my hands, but nothing worse to report – hurrah!

I did find the instructions for the edging around the top of the bag a little unclear, so I went off on my own somewhat there, but it seems to have turned out OK.peekinside

I really wanted to make this bag a bit special, so not only did I line it with some mauve poplin, I also added a crochet-embellished button and made a crochet-trimmed ‘Secret Pocket’ to go inside.  Want to peek??secretpocket1

Yep, I got totally carried away with this one!  But I love adding all these little details, it’s what making things by hand is all about for me.  Plus it gave me a chance to practice doing some block-printing with the little block I got at the World Textile Day show.

And of course, since this is the Magic Roundabout Bag, I couldn’t resist adding some Magic Roundabout flowers as embellishments!Lp&flowers3

OK, so if I was purist I would have added perhaps a button or bead in the centre, but I wanted them to match the details of the bag so I just did a little embroidered bit in the middle.  bagside1

The flowers are basically the first part of the Attic24 double-petalled flower with the pointed ‘leaves’ worked out of the back.  They’re very simple to do, but I’ll avoid turning this into a mega-post and put a tutorial for them up separately I think!baghanging1So, what do you think – one for Florence, or more suited to Ermintrude?! 🙂

Aloha from the balcony

Well hello out there in Blogland!  I’ve been on a bit of a blog sabbatical for the last few weeks, as ‘Life Events’ and a trip to visit my folks took over for a while.

windowboxBut don’t think I’ve been creatively idle!  The sun has been shining, and I’ve been getting my balcony ‘garden’ set for summer.  Out with the dead daffs (except for the bunch in the window box!) and wilted wallflowers, in with geraniums, calendulas and petunias.  I love these easy-going, brightly-flowered plants that just keep on going all summer long.  In fact one of my calendulas from last year survived the winter and is just about to flower again, what a Star of a plant!

MrsPotterAlso found time to make this dinky version of the Cute Crochet owls.  I put a little scented bag inside and it’s now hanging from the rear-view mirror in my car, making me smile every day!

And finally, here’s a sneak preview of my Attic 24 Bag, mentioned in the last post: finishedbag1

I am SO pleased with this!  I made it up using leftover Stylecraft & other bits of acrylic DK and it came out a bit stretchy, so I made a lining for it using a pre-loved old pillowcase.  I’m busy putting together a tutorial to show you how to make a lining.  (Hopefully it won’t take me a month to put it up this time!)

Meanwhile, I’m itching to get busy with Lucy’s Yarndale Mandala wheels – can’t wait to have a go at these!  Anyone else out there succumbing to Mandala Madness??Attic24mandala

  Have a lovely stitchin’, hookin’, colourful weekend!