Monday, October 31, 2011

Tote Tute....

Actually this is a tote HANDLE tute (tutorial). I have used this covered cord handle for several purses/totes such as this one and this one. This handle coupled with 4 crochet covered D-buckles is just the thing for use with chunky crocheted totes that will be carrying around bulky, chunky crochet & knitting supplies.
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Here's what you need;
Yarn of choice, worsted weight
G hook (use smaller than recommended by yarn label to insure a tightly crocheted cover)
(4) D-buckles (circular buckles can also be used)
1 yard 1" (or thickness of choice), cotton piping cord, (found in upholstery or notions section of fabric stores)
Tapestry needle, scotch tape, sharp scissors
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Cotton piping cord
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D buckle, (or you could also use a large jump ring like the ones used for keychains)

Preparing the Cording
Wrap cellophane tape around both ends of the cord, to keep it from fraying. <VLUU L830  / Samsung L830>


Rnd 1: Using small hook chain 6, (or enough to cover your cord without stretching too much as you want good coverage here. Don't worry, if it is a wee bit loose, which will actually make the crocheting easier to do), wrap this chain around cording & join with slip stitch.
Rnd 2: Ch 1, sc in same chain and in ea around.
Following Rnds:  : Continue working in un-joined spiral until desired length is covered.
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Finish off leaving a long tail for sewing.Set aside.

Covering the D Buckles
covering ring
  • Attach yarn to D buckle using a slip stitch.
  • Single crochet around the entire buckle. Push completed stitches together in order to make room for more stitches. You'll want lots of stitches so the metal will not show through. Single crochet  until you can no longer fit the stitches side by side and little or no metal can be seen.
  • push sts together
  • Finish off leaving yarn tail for sewing. Repeat steps for other 3 buckles.
  • 033

Attach buckles to tote by sewing along the top edge using the yarn tail, at evenly spaced intervals. Set aside.

  • Once the desired handle length is achieved, carefully cut the cord flush with the first row of stitches.
  • Likewise cut the cord at the end of the handle flush with the last row completed. Finish off leaving the yarn tail for sewing.
  • Thread the handle through the 4 buckles, match the two ends together, flush with one another. Using the yarn tail carefully sew the ends together using a whip stitch. Knot & trim excess.
  • sew the ends together
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    Now my tote is ready to hold a BUNCH of treats!! Have a safe, fun Halloween y'all!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Goober peas....

I love peanuts as evidenced by this and this and this.

Well my latest pattern is yet another homage to this worthy legume. It's called "Goober Toss" and it's FREE in my Ravelry pattern store. Make a bunch of these and let the games begin. I guarantee that you won't have any allergic reactions to these old goobers.

Monday, October 24, 2011

These FO's are finally coming out of the closet...

You know you've got them. You've tucked them away out of sight so you don't have to be shamefully reminded of their existence as you work on new & exciting projects, (some of which will be destined to become the NEW UFO's of shame and the cycle continues).
In my case, most of these forlorn unfinished and neglected projects are stashed in my reusable grocery bags. Oftentimes I find myself buying more reusable bags when I am at the grocery store so I will have some for, dare I say it, GROCERIES.Yea, right.

This weekend I made a decision to free some of these projects from their hidden shame. The first 2 projects I finished are both crocheted tote bags. I chose these because both of them lacked similar finishing; a sewn fabric lining. Since I needed to set up the machine why not tackle both of them.

Sewing used to be my crafty "drug" of choice but that was so long ago and I'm a bit rusty. Given that consideration , I chose the easier of the two bags to finish first. It is called "Winner's Circle Tote" on my Ravelry project page and was worked during the 2011 Iknitarod group. Knitters are always looking for fun KAL/CAL's, especially those with fun themes. This knit-along/crochet-along was in honor of the 2011 Iditarod in Alaska. We were given several challenges to choose from and I chose to design and finish a project. Obviously had I finished it I wouldn't be talking about it here. Shame, shame!

The Winner's Circle Tote is square so lining it was easy. First of all, I carefully measured the bag & cut the lining to size, allowing a 1/4 " seam allowance. Then I sewed and ironed the side & bottom seams.

Next I checked for fit inside the tote and marked how far I needed to turn down the raw edge at the top, folded the top edge down and ironed it with a hot steam iron.

Then I carefully pinned the lining to the top inside edge of the tote and put it aside to await hand sewing, which is a wonderful thing to do while watching TV.

Completed Winner's Circle Tote
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The 2nd tote was a little more difficult as it is a barrel shape and cutting the round bottom gusset was a wee bit tricky. I could have used the old pushpin, pencil & string method of drawing a perfect circle but I was too lazy to measure the diameter, hunt down the string & stuff and besides the bottom circle looked very close in size to one of my plates.Please note that this could have ended so badly and I had just enough fabric that I had purchased a couple of years ago. Talk about a gamble, but hey it's how I work.
barrel tote 9
The first thing was to measure the fabric for the sides of the lining, allowing for a proper seam allowance, (please refer to the disclaimer in this post before trying any of this). I measured this by simply laying the bag flat &placing the folded fabric on top of it, adding that seam allowance I mentioned. With right sides together, I sewed it up the side.
Steam the seams
Always press your seams as you go!

Iron hem down
Noting the appropriate height measurement for the project I turned down the upper edge twice to form a hem. Then I pressed the hem using a hot steam iron. Ironing kept the folds in place while the hem was machine stitched, no pinning required.

Barrel Tote bottom

With a plate as my templete, I carefully cut the circular bottom gusset out, adding a seam allowance merely be "eyeballing" it. Remember to read the disclaimer before attempting this.

Barrel tote gusset all cut out using plate for template


Placing right sides together, pin the gusset to the rest of the lining and carefully machine stitch.

Clip those seams!
Clip the seams around the circle.

sewing lining in
Inserted the seamed & pressed liner in the tote with wrong sides together. Pinned and hand sewed using my fasvorite stitch of choice, (I prefer using a blind stitch).

All done!
lining all done

barrel tote 3

Time for pool side cocktails...
barrel tote 2

Some of my Basic Sewing Tips:
Disclaimer:  Please note that I have ruined many wonderful pieces of fabric by trying to cut corners, knowing full well that I should be doing things by the book. Proceed with caution & take any of my time saving sewing advice at your own peril. I will be heartbroken if you ruin that beautiful, last piece of one-of-a-kind fabric.

Always, always iron your seams as you go, using a HOT steam iron. This keeps the work neat and helps cut down on pinning and I tend to be a fast or maybe lazy crafter and a nicely pressed seam will hold itself in place, especially if you are using a stiff fabric such as cotton or cotton blends.

Along the same vein, ALWAYS clip seams as needed, especially if the piece is curved as in the gusset of my barrel shaped tote & at sharp corners.

Get a magnetic pin holder. No more pins all over the floor but if they do fall off somehow, you can use the holder to pick them up again.

By all means, if you do mess up your sewing, don't get angry and lose your temper...this is a sure way to finish ruining a once wonderful piece of fabric. Believe me when I tell you that angry & seam rippers do not mix well. Walk away from it for a bit and knit something, it calms the nerves.

Happy sewing/knitting/crocheting & crafting y'all!

Friday, October 21, 2011


Did you ever take your Mom's lipstick and eyeliner to draw an instant puppet on your hand? Simple and so much fun. Well here's another quick knit idea utilizing mate-less gloves & yarn scraps, designed to look like those "hand puppets" we goofed around with in our childhood. mouthy mitt3
All you have to do to animate this puppet is put the glove on, make a fist with your thumb tucked inside of the fist and start jibber jabbering. So much fun. Really! mouthy mitt
Add other embellishments such as hair made of feathers? yarn? Embroider some eyebrows perhaps. Better yet, let the "kids" customize it for one-of-a-kind cuteness.

Check out this Free pattern in my Ravelry shop!

Make time to play everyday!!
TGIF y'all!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Releases....

I've been sporadic in my posting. Lots of family business going on, but it's all good. Consequently I have several FO's and some releases to talk about.

First up are my Red Heart design releases. In addition to the Huggable Penguin I talked about last time, I have a small, ornament-sized penguin worked in Red Heart Soft. The colors are really nice in this line.

penguin 2


Next up is a knit version of the (crocheted) Pomp-a-poodle  I designed last year. The Red Heart editors named her Dominique. I like it. She is worked in Red Heart Super Saver and Pomp-a-doodle.
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Now I have a quick, fun knit to share called "Tippees".. It's a finger puppet pattern with a twist as I have sewn the finger puppets to the fingers of an orphaned glove. This helps the puppets to fit better over varying sizes of fingers and provides an opportunity to use that lonely glove.

These puppets could be used in conjunction with bedtime stories or for teachers working with young children. I love puppets of all types! They can be whatever you want them to be and children really relate to them.
Tippees Closeup 2
They are knit in Stitch Nation Washable Ewe by Debbie Stoller & Red Heart. I ADORE this yarn!! The colors are AWESOME but I suspected that they would be with Debbie Stoller at the design helm. Frankly I love all of her Stitch Nation yarn as they are brightly colored, without being garish. Oh and word has it that she is coming out with a painted-look, varigated in the Full O'Sheep line. I can't wait!!

Tippees 3

The other glove puppet pictured is called "Mouthy". She also uses an orphaned glove and is modeled after the  puppets we used to draw on our hands using our mother's eyeliner and lipstick. Both designs are super simple & super quick using mere scraps of yarn, but both have loads of imaginative play value. I will be releasing this pattern in the next few days, on Ravelry, so please stay tuned.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I have an FO and a new release...

I've been inconsistent with my posting of late but that is because I have been engaged in different projects, ones that aren't fiber or craft related and frankly aren't very interesting. But now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, for the time being anyway, I am back and have an FO to share.

My Friday FO is a silk scarf done in Tilli Tomas Pure & Simple. The pattern is a favorite of mine called "One Row Lace Scarf" by Turvid.  It is fun, easy to follow and fast as it calls for using a much larger than recommended needle. In this case I used a US 10 1/2/ 6.5 mm.

Just need to weave a couple of ends and block it and it's good to go.

Oh and if you are looking to begin your Christmas crocheting I have a new pattern released on the Red Heart website called Huggable Penguin. She is about 14" tall and has removable outerwear and is worked in Red Heart Super Saver using a 4.25mm /US G-6 crochet hook for the body & 5.5 mm/ US I-9 hook for the hat and scarf.

TGIF y'all! Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Out for a test drive....

Malabrigo lace weight yarn in a most perfect blue colorway....CHECK!
A favorite stitch dictionary type book, ("200 Stitch Pattern s for Baby Blankets" by Jan Eaton).....CHECK!
Brand new Addi Swing 2.5 mm crochet hook, (ergonomic hook given to me by my pal Maven of FIBER P*RN)....CHECK!
Lady, start your engine....
in the works
Successful test run.
stitch pattern

Incidentally, I LOVE this new hook, it's AWESOME!! Other than the obvious ergonomics, I just love how they are (brightly) color coded AND they have super large size labels...perfect for eyes that just aren't what they used to be. I may just have to get a set of these. They will be my orthopedic crochet hooks. Thanks again Maven!! You are AWESOME!