Saturday, January 17, 2009

"I Felt the Earth Move" Handbag

After making my '2 Bizarre 4 the Car' blanket I had several scrap balls of Cleckheaton Vintage Hues leftover, and nearly 2/3 of one complete ball as well. I'd heard that Vintage Hues "felts beautifully... whether you want it to or not."

I received a lovely felted coin purse kit for Christmas, but have been scared to use it. I've never felted before and I didn't want to screw it up. I decided using these scraps would be the perfect opportunity to practice felting, and if it didn't work - oh well - no biggee.

I know items shrink when they felt, I was going on the principle of about 1/2 shrinkage in size. I wanted a small bag to throw a few things in. I ended up getting a little carried away and the bag got a bit larger on me than I'd originally intended. Here's a photo prior to washing/felting. That's a 12 inch ruler below the bag.

Thanks to the wonderful ladies of Crochet Lovers Victoria on Ravelry, I was able to give it a go! One item that was especially helpful was this blog from Laughing Purple Goldfish Designs.

Since I didn't have much to bash around the item in the washing machine, it took four rounds to get all of this puppy to felt.

I am sooooooo happy with the end result! I love the shape, I love the size it ended up being in the end. Even MrElle, who tries his best to be enthusiastic about some of my crocheted items, seemed genuinely impressed with my final result.

Here are some post felting photos. The bag is still wet in these photos (and stuffed with plastic bags so it will retain it's shape while drying). Check out the difference between the first photos (the size of the bag in comparison to the ruler) and the post felting ones.

This was my own improvised design. I'm quite happy with how it came out. A few people have asked me for the pattern, so I'm in the process of putting it to paper (or screen?). Watch this space....


"I Felt the Earth Move" Handbag Crochet Pattern
Copyright January 2009 by Letitia Sherriff
*Although I am happy to offer this pattern to you for free, please do not reprint this pattern or make this pattern for items for sale. Pattern is written in US crochet terminology.

Materials Used
  • Cleckheaton Vintage Hues 50 gram balls (Shade 1268)- 3 balls should be more than sufficient. (If substituting yarn, please be advised it must be 100% animal fibre for it to felt) (ETA: 2-March 2009, I have been advised by someone who made this bag that they used 5 balls of wool, though I am not sure what type/brand they used - FYI).
  • 8.0mm crochet hook

  • Chain 50
  • Starting the second chain from the hook, sc in each chain across and 2sc in the last chain (50 stitches made). Remember to crochet loosely (not too tight) so that the item will felt properly.
  • Continuing along the OTHER side of the chain, sc all the way across and 2sc in the last chain (50 sc made).
  • You are now going to continue crocheting "in the round" making a very elongated oval / rectangle. Do not join or fasten off at the end of a round, just continue working in a spiral. You may wish to use a stitch marker just to keep track of where you are in terms of rounds.
  • At each corner (4 corners total) you will do 2sc into the same stitch. All other stitches will just receive 1sc each. You are currently making the base/bottom of the bag. (Please note, pattern originally called for 3sc in each corner, but found this to be a bit too bulbous).
  • Continue in this manner (2sc in each corner, 1sc in all others) for 10 rounds
  • Now do one round of surface crochet on each stitch of the previous round. (Stitch explanation - surface crochet: If you are doing single crochet and lay the item flat on a table, the "V's" will be facing away from you. When you do the surface crochet, instead of putting the hook through the top of the stitch by the V's, you are actually going around the stitch itself. As you can hopefully see in the photo below, the purple is done laying flat, with the V's facing away, and the yellow is done on the surface, with the V's FACING THE CEILING). Hook in the photo is placed where the next stitch would go.

  • Working into this surface crochet that you just did (like it is a regular stitch now), you will do 1sc into each stitch. You are now working up the sides of the bag.
  • Continuing in a spiral, do 12 more rounds of sc - 1 sc in each stitch.
  • #*For the next round, do a sc in each of the next 8 stitches, then sc2tog to decrease* continue from * to * for two rounds. Then do one round of sc in each stitch. # Repeat from # to # two more times.
  • Now you are going to be decreasing only at the short sides of the bag. Although the bag is technically more of an oval than a rectangle, if you think of it as a rectangle the "ends" of the bag are the short sides.
  • #*sc all along the long sides of the bag. When you get to the short end you are going to do 2 sc, sc2tog. Do this three times on the side of the bag. Now continue along the other long side of the bag all in sc. When you get to the other short end, do the same as you did on the other side (sc, sc, sc2tog, sc, sc, sc2tog, sc, sc, sc2tog). * Repeat from * to * one more time. Now do one round of just sc#. Repeat from # to # two more times.
  • Do one final round of all sc, ending on the short side of the bag. Do NOT fasten off.
  • You are now going to start the handle. SC over 10 stitches, making sure they are centred over the short end of the bag. Ch-1 and turn. *SC once into each of the previous 10 scs. Ch-1 and turn. * Repeat from * to * another 48 times (or more depending on how long you would like the handle to be).
  • Now sc the handle to the other short end of the bag to attach the handle. (Don't worry, this will "disappear" when the bag is felted.) Fasten off! Your done!
  • Now you are ready to felt it, baby!

January Block-a-Month

I am participating in a crochet-along (CAL) through a Ravelry group. The idea is that you make one 12 inch square per month and end up with 12 at the end of the year. Each month, two different patterns are posted and you pick the one you'd like to do.

Seeing 12 squares would only make a 3' x 4' blanket - which isn't of too much use to me - I've decided to do both blocks each month. That's 24 squares by the end of the year instead, which will make a nice sized 4' x 6' blanket instead... much more useful.

Here's the first of my two squares for January from a pattern called Esther.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sock it to me baby!

I have to admit, I never really got the whole sock obsession thing with knitters and crocheters. I guess I had two 'areas of resistance' with the whole thing (or maybe three).

First - Having lived through the 80's, when all socks HAD to match the rest of your outfit, I've now gone to the other extreme. I have white socks and I have black socks. That's it. Not even any navy blue. Nothing.

Second - I guess, I just had trouble getting my head around paying somewhere in the neighbourhood of at least $5 for some sock yarn, when I could just go to Target (or similar) and buy a perfectly good pair of socks for less than that - and I didn't have to do any work.

Third - although technically speaking a blanket, or a scarf, or a hat could last for years or even generations, socks really have a limited lifespan.

On the other hand though, I can see some appeal to them. They are small and portable, can be worked up quit quickly, can be easily adjustable for odd sized feet, and can be made in so many varieties of colours and fibres - absorbent cotton to warm wool.

So as they say, don't knock it till you try it. With all the sock fuss, I figured maybe there is something to it that I'm just missing out on. Sooooo, I am now in the process of attempting my first pair of crocheted sock. I'm about halfway through the first sock (which I think I am making a little too large). I really love the colourful yarn I am using - so they will be fun when they are finished. I'm coming up to the tricky part, so we'll see how it goes from here.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Possum: 'Raspberry Beret,' 'There's a Possum on My Head!' and "Neckwarmer'

For Christmas this year (er, well, 2008 anyway) I made my Dad's wife Cathy a beret style hat with the red possum/merino/silk wool I picked up on my trip to New Zealand. I LUUURRVVEEE how soft this wool is. And I just love the uniqueness of the the possum fur! I picked out this lovely shade of red for Cathy as I thought it would look very nice with her colouring and very pretty against her gorgeous snow white hair.

Cathy has thanked me on the phone for her hat, and it sounds like she likes it. I forgot to ask her if it fits though! Fingers crossed...

For my Dad, I made two items. The first was the "I've Got a Possum on My Head" hat/beanie - which was just an improvised design. I also made him a neckwarmer in griddle stitch. I made the neckwarmer large enough to be able to slip over his head without fussing with buttons, and to have the alternate use of being used as earwarmers. (I made both of his items in the natural colour as I thought it was the most blokey of the lot).

Saturday, January 3, 2009

"2 Bizarre 4 the Car" Blanket is finished!

I began work on this blanket/rug for my car back in early November. With all the holiday "craziness" I've had to put it aside for quite awhile. Now that Christmas is finished I had some time to get back to it. My goal was to finish it by the end of the week. Check!

I was intending to make the joins very noticeable with a SC-join, but either I wasn't doing something right or it just looked funny. In the end I whipstitched them together and added two rounds of SC for the edging.