Thursday, 31 May 2012

It's a Bag!

It's really taking shape!  Look!

Here's the back with the pocket on.  I sewed the zip in by hand, but machined the pocket to the back.  *is brave*

I'm not the best pleased with the zip, but it works well, and I'd sewn it on so well that taking it back would have made a big mess.  It's not majorly noticeable.  Call it a handmade quirk...

A nicely put-together corner to make up for it!

Double stitching on the seams for durability.

The lining, all sewn together, and with the ends tidied.

And it fits! Yay!  (What a relief...)

And here's the bag with the lining sewn in.

There's a strap on the front to thread the handles under and fasten the bag.

The corners are tethered to make them fold inwards.

Bag with lining...  (I'm so proud!)

And neat stitching around the flap.  *sighs happily*

Next jobs - 
Measure the length needed for the handles.
Cut the black webbing for the handles.
Crochet the other side for the handles.  I'm thinking black, with coloured stripes.
Join handles to bag, and check that the fastening works.  It may need a press stud to hold it all back.

The light is at the end of the tunnel.

In the meantime, here's the bear I made for my mum's birthday.  She's obsessed by teddies.  There's getting to be increasingly less room for my dad in their flat!  And she had a little operation on her foot recently...

Sunday, 27 May 2012


You can tell spring's finally arrived - I've managed to ditch my opaque black tights!  I was beginning to feel surgically attached to them.  Look - legs!  Pasty white ones, admittedly.

 And the garden has taken off.  Everything's burgeoning (isn't that a lovely word?).  I wish I could take a more close-up picture of this London Pride, because the little spotty design on the individual petals is beautifully intricate.

A cluster of purple alliums around my pink ceanothus bush.  That's going to flower later in the year, but it's nice to see the alliums getting some room.  Ignore the compost bin and the incinerator behind them - I didn't even register them when I took the picture.  That area of the garden needs some serious attention this year.

Gorgeous yellow poppies!  They self-seed.  Well, with a little help.  I scatter the seeds when the seed head ripens, and they just get on with it on their own.  My favourite kind of gardening!

The pulmonarias are in full flower right now too.  They've also seeded themselves, so we might need to consider taking some out before they take over.  Pretty lilac pink flowers - they open as a clear blue and fade to pink.  Lovely leaf patterns too.

Our Japanese Acers.  They don't seem to be at all concerned about their confinement in pots.  They just flourish year after year.  We've had them ten years or so now, and when we see similar trees in garden centres, they cost an absolute fortune!  Maybe Acers are a good investment?

Himself dug a new border yesterday.  He says he can't mow up to the fence and round the little trees.  Fair enough - I told him that when he put the trees in to start with.  Now, though, it's his idea, so it needs sorting out.  (Is not cynical at all).  He's done a nice job, and there are some pretty plants in there - bluebells, marigolds and some I don't know.  It'll be interesting to see what happens there, because it gets baked in summer and freezes in shadow in winter.

A visitor.  Not one of ours - he lives down the road, but pays us frequent visits.  He's a happy cat.

So is this one.  She is one of ours - Hattie.  She has a talent for finding the most inconvenient place to sleep. This is where the lawnmower should have gone back.

And our greenhouse.  It's probably not that visible here until you click for a bigger view, but I've got a bit artistic with the shading on the back wall.  I was taking last year's shading off, but got a bit bored by the time I reached the back, so I started drawing...

And a quick bag update - it's taking shape!  The crochet panels are sewn together and they're getting a border around the top to neaten it.  The lining is all cut out and I'm in the process of sewing in the pocket.  I chickened out and sewed in the zip by hand, but it looks neat.  Pictures soon!

Monday, 21 May 2012

More Progress...

I'm making progress with the Technicolour Dreambag.  Borders have been added to the main panels, and they're ready to stitch together.  Often, I would crochet panels together, but I think I'll stitch these to be sure it's a good fit.  So here they are, all laid out on my ironing board.
The back panel with its spike stitches.

Close-up of the spike stitch.  I really like the way it worked in these colours.

The base of the bag.  Boring black, but no one's going to see it.

The front panel, with its fan stitches.

Close-up of the fan stitches.  They're all worked in the same direction so the front has the tidy side of the stitch on each row.

Side panels.  Everything has been bordered to bring them to matching sizes and firm up the edges.

And I even got onto the lining yesterday!  With patterns!  I usually use the panels themselves as the patterns for the linings, but here I made an actual pattern from some A3 sketching paper so I know all the lining parts are correct.  Right angles and everything!  I cut out all the pieces for that yesterday.

The only section I haven't completely finished yet is the front flap, because I wanted to measure it up against the front panel to make sure it's in a correct proportion - a little bit narrower, but not too much so.  That's under way at the moment.

Next steps - finish the front flap's border and cut out the lining for it.  
Make the pocket for the back of the lining.
Sew together the crochet panels.
Sew together the lining.
Pray that they fit!
Start work on the strap.

The pocket for the back panel is going to be a large one with a zip.  I've been thinking that through - the best way to add it and make it all neat.  Hand sew or machine sew?  I often hand sew things, because I can't always be bothered to get the machine out, clear the kitchen table, set it all up, etc, for something that's sometimes quite a small project.  This time, I probably will, so that it's neat, especially on the front part of the zip where it's going to show.  I'm also planning to do double stitching around the seams of the bag, to give it strength, so machine stitching is probably best.  

Okay, time to get on with my day.  Time to deal with all the little (extensive) patches of grey that mysteriously appear in my hair.  Then work, then crochet!  (The important part of the day.)


Saturday, 12 May 2012

It's coming along...

The front flap and the front panel of what I'm starting to think of as the Technicolour Dreambag are finished, and now here are the side panels!  I'm not terribly good at 'random', but I had a go.  Even so, there's a suspicious rainbow area on the left panel.  These panels will have a black border to neaten them and help them join with the other panels.  I'll do that when all the panels are finished, so I'll know they're well matched in size.

The only trouble with doing anything this colourful (and it is the only trouble - I love the colours), is that there are so many ends to sew in!  This heap came just from the side panels.
Even the debris is colourful!

Here are the panels I've done so far, laid out.  Some of them will need borders.  (It looks rather like a weird little robot.  Is it just me?)

Here is the final panel, as far as it's got.  The spike stitch is very effective in these colours.

This is the effect that I'm aiming for.  Random again.  That's really what's giving me the most trouble - trying not to make patterns from the colours.  I'm such a neatnik!

Next step, after finishing this panel - borders to match up all the panels, then measure up for the lining.  More news on the Technicolour Dreambag soon!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Jewel Colours Bag - design and progress

I've finally put my thoughts about this bag down on paper.  My designs always go like that - I mull them over for ages, and even start making before I draw it out.  The advantage is that by that time, I've usually ironed out any problems, so re-designing isn't necessary.

Here's the inspiration.  A ridiculously expensive bag.
Different stitches on each panel, but all standard stitches, and easy to do.  The handle would be the only bit that would be impossible for me to do like that, so I designed a completely different handle.
Do excuse the standard of my drawing.  There's a reason I'm a crocheter and not an artist!  The idea here is that there will be one big loop of a strap that goes under the main bag to support it, comes up at each side, and slips under a loop on the front flap to secure the bag closed.  There will be a matching loop on the back, for symmetry's sake.  The strap will be crocheted in black, with a black webbing strap sewn onto it, so that it won't stretch, like crocheted straps do.

The strap is the only thing I haven't measured yet.  Here's a plan of the different segments with measurements.  I like to work on graph paper for my patterns.  It gives me a good idea of scale.  I'm afraid I still think in inches, though.  When I was at school, the system was just changing over, and I never really got the hang of either system. 

And here are the sections I've done so far.
The granny squares for the front flap.  Displayed on my faded old ironing board - I find it works really well to lay things out on.  

And sewn together to form the flap.  There will be a framing row or two in black to make it all neat.

A close-up of the front panel.  I'm doing it in a fan stitch, working a front row each time.  If I'm changing colour each row, I reasoned, there's no reason why I should have to turn over at the end of the rows.  The fronts of the rows look much neater and more even than the backs, so I chose to work it like this.

And progress so far!  The colours balance really well together, probably better than they look here.  It's bright and cheerful, and I can't wait to get on with it.  I really resent having to leave it to go to work!

There will be a lining for it.  I have a length of black cotton drill for it, a strong fabric often used for coats.  I'm going to take extreme care over the lining and the pockets on it.  Sewing is something I can do, but it's not my greatest skill.  Concentration will be needed, especially when it comes to zips.

Watch this space for further updates as I complete and start more panels.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

More yarnbombing!

I just love this! When the post said that someone had made a cosy for a rock, I was picturing a little, doorstop kind of rock. Oh no. This is much more ambitious. Its at Houghton College, somewhere in the US.