Behind the Scenes: Bohemian Handbag

Behind the Scenes: Bohemian Handbag

The Bohemian Handbag won by a very healthy margin in the Lion Brand sponsored Twins Face Off purse design challenge in April. I, Dana, am thrilled that so many people liked it.

Bohemian Handbag Collection

I have a confession to make, this simple handbag was not one of those projects that come to fruition in one sitting. In fact, I talked about it with the ladies in my crochet group, looked at projects online, and visualized a myriad of designs before settling on this basic construction.

There were several types of bags I considered for the challenge.

  • 1st I was contemplating a backpack, something cutesy that a child might wear. I was even calculating how to incorporate a small padded pocket to store a computer tablet.
  • 2nd I decided on a stitch sampler bag with lots of different pieces sewn together almost like a free form project. I even worked up a small swatch with the star stitch (which looked beautiful, by the way)
  • 3rd I began working on a round bag with the spiral that would be on the front and back panel. I envisioned a long shoulder strap and a gusset with a zipper.
  • Bohemian Handbag Crochet PatternFinally, after carefully frogging the previous designs, I settled on a spiral based bag with two skeins of yarn that would chase each other around the bag. I decided to let the color be the main feature of the bag and double crocheted in the round. Once the main shape of the bag was finalized, items like the handle and flower closure quickly took shape.

This entire project makes me chuckle becaues I rarely use a purse. Those rare instances where I do use a purse, it’s generally so small that it only fits my phone, wallet and car keys. That being said, this challenge was quite fun. I enjoyed both the project category and the vibrant Landscapes yarn.

Tips and Tricks: Faux Fur

Working with Faux Fur Yarn

There is no doubt that a little faux fur yarn can add a lot of pizazz to a hand crafted project. And with a little practice, one can learn to crochet or knit with it a little easier.

Tip #1: Crocht Double Stranded

It is nearly impossible to see the stitches when crocheting with faux fur. The furry strands nearly completely hide the stitches. That’s great on a finished product, but not so great when you have to work in those stitches. The problem is not as pronounced when knitting since the stitches are on the needle. If stitches have to be picked up, it will be difficult to find them.

Solution: Crochet with two strands at once, one faux fur and one non-furry yarn. It makes each stitch thicker and a little easier to see. If the non-furry strand is the same color (or nearly the same) as the fur, it almost disappears. The thicker stitches may still be difficult to see, but it is also possible to feel the stitches as you work.

A Furry Sitting

Crocheting with Vanna’s Choice and Fun Fur yarn made finding the stitches in this panda set much easier to find.

Tip #2: Count every row.

Counting the number of stitches at the end of every row or round is generally a good idea, but it is almost critical when using faux fur. It is very easy to drop a stitch or lose  track of a stitch because it can be difficult to see. You might even add a stitch because it’s not always easy to tell if a stitch has been worked in already.

Tiger Striped Scarves Crochet Pattern

Keeping track of the number of stitches per row is crucial to keeping a neat edge in projects like the tiger striped scarves.

Tip #3: There is a Right Side and a Wrong Side.

The little furry strands often get trapped within the stitches as they are worked. When working back and forth in rows, both sides will generally be equally furry. When working in the round, the inside tends to be furrier. For a furrier look, turn the project inside out when appropriate so that the furrier side is out.

A hat can often be turned inside out after it’s finished. Some items may need to be turned inside out before they are sewn together. Just note how furry the sides are before completing the project.

Monkey Hanging in Palm Tree with Banana

The parts of the monkey are turned inside out to keep the furrier side on the outside. A little faux fur on the tree makes the palm tree look more authentic too.

Tip #4: Not all faux fur is equal.

Faux fur comes in varying lengths. The furry strands can be short or long, coarse or smooth. The type of fur can significantly impact the look and feel of the finished product. Projects with the longer strands of fur tend to look fuller and are softer than the shorter stranded fur. The size and nature of the project may determine which fur to use. Generally speaking, the longer stranded fur costs a little more.

Houndstooth Trio

 La Furla from Trendsetter Yarns is long and soft making this houdstooth trio very luxurious.

Tip #5: Notice yardage.

Some faux furs come in small skeins. Generally speaking that means more skeins of fur yarn will be needed than non-furry yarn. Projects with smaller stitches will use more faux fur than larger stitches. For instance, a project  crocheted using single crochet will use more than the same project done in double crochet. Because the faux fur hides stitches anyway, you might want to change the stitch to a taller stitch to save on yarn. The project will get done faster and still look good.

Halloween Trick or Treat Bags

One skein of faux fur will work for small projects like the trick or treat bags.

Vote on Purse Challenge and Giveaway

Vote on Twins Face Off Purse Design Challenge &
Enter Lion Brand Landscapes Yarn Giveaway

It’s up to you to choose, which bag / purse you like better. After you vote below, enter the giveaway for your chance to win the yarn used in this month’s challenge as well as the patterns for both purses.

Giveaway ends April 20, 2015 at midnight.

Vote on 2 Purses using Lion brand Landscapes Yarn

Left: Flower Power Satchel     Right: Bohemian Handbag

Here are some close-ups of the bags. You can see larger photos in the shop.

Bohemian Handbag Collection

Flower Power Satchel Collection

Now it’s up to you. Your vote is anonymous, so you can vote with confidence.

Vote

Which handbag design do you like better?

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Lion Brand  Landscapes Yarn Giveaway

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Behind the Scenes: Granny Heart Clutch

Would you rather keep your hooks and supplies in a plastic sandwich baggie, or in a crocheted granny heart clutch?

For the longest time I used a zippered plastic bag. It was actually quite convenient. It could be rolled up and put in my crochet bag or sit beside me as I worked. But I had to use the gallon size bag and it seemed slightly bulky.

A Owl Bean Bag Deb Blanket

After making a few heart granny squares for the Granny’s Tree of Love afghan for the Owl Set (pictured above), I decided to try to make a little clutch. I decided to make a bright and colorful one first. Lion Brand’s Vanna’s Choice has many lovely colors and made a delightful clutch. I lined it so I could keep my hooks and supplies in it.

This clutch appeared in Love of Crochet magazine. The editor suggest monochromatic colors and this grey and black version was created (pictured below in Knit Picks Shine).

Perfect purse for crochet hooks

I put a couple of magnetic clasps on it to keep my items safe inside. It has quickly become one of my favorite projects. It is beautiful and practical.

Learn more about the Heart Centered Granny Square Clutch.

Heart Centered Granny Square Clutch

Heart Centered Granny Square Clutch

Heart Granny Square Clutch

Crochet a heart centered granny square clutch for your crochet hooks and accessories!

Crochet More 2014 CoverThis adorable little bag first appeared in Love of Crochet summer issue Crochet More 2014. We have the rights back to this pattern and have added this design to our shop.

For the magazine, Deborah crocheted the Heart Centered Granny Square Clutch in Knit Picks Shine yarn in greys and black. The prototype was crocheted in bright colors using Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice yarn (see photos in the shop). The is a quick and easy weekend project and would be a great stash buster.

Perfect purse for crochet hooks

Deborah uses this to store all her crochet tools. She added magnetic snaps to keep the front flap securely in place. It’s keeps her crochet hooks and tools securely inside and the little hands of her toddler out. The clutch is also small and portable for when Deborah wants to work on her crochet projects on the go.

Heart Centered Granny Square Clutch – Available in the Store

The crochet pattern includes lots of photos, written instructions, checkboxes to mark your progress and more.

Available in the Store

Learn more about the Heart Centered Granny Square Clutch and see color photos in the shop.

Hiking Buddy Crochet Pattern

Hiking Buddy (a.k.a. Perfect Purse) Crochet Pattern

Hiking Buddy Mini Purse Crochet Pattern

Remember the Perfect Purse from the Winter 2012 Love of Crochet magazine? If you missed that issue, then we have good news for you. You can get the pattern here!

We designed this mini purse as a hiking buddy…one that’s just large enough to stow your smart phone, ID and car keys. Your personal items will stay nice and secure with this beautiful flower button closure.

Crochet it with a strap and it’s a purse. Attach the belt loop and you can wear it at your hip. Oh, and there’s a chapstick holder, too!

Pattern Includes:

  • Purse
  • Flower Button
  • Shoulder Strap
  • Belt Loop
  • Chapstick Holder

Available in the Store

Learn more about the Hiking Buddy. It’s available now in the store.

 

Lil Pumpkin Halloween Outfit Crochet Pattern

Lil’ Pumpkin Halloween Outfit Crochet Pattern – Pumpkin Hats, Pants and Trick or Treat Bag

Dress up your Lil’ Pumpkin this fall in this adorable pumpkin set. It’s perfect for cool fall weather and special occasions like Thanksgiving, Harvest Parties, Halloween and trips to the pumpkin patch!

Lil-Pumpkin-looking-at-pumpkin

We’ve got the whole family covered with pants for babies and hats for everyone in the family. The bag is one size fits all…perfect for trick or treating.

Pumpkin Pattern Includes:

  • Pumpkin Hats: 6 sizes (newborn to men)
  • Pumpkin Pants: 3 sizes (up to 24 mos)
  • Pumpkin Bag: One size fits all – trick or treat size

pumpkin outfit

Skill Level: Intermediate

Stitches Used: Chain, Slip Stitch, Single Crochet, Half Double Crochet, Double Crochet, Treble Crochet, No Chain Foundation Single Crochet, No Chain Foundation Double Crochet

Lil-Pumpkin-wth-VineTechniques Used: Crochet in Rows, Crochet in the Round, Crochet in Back Loop, Increase, Decrease

Crochet this design for a fun photo prop or as a cute outfit for taking the Lil’ Pumpkin to a party.

The pattern is available in the store! Learn more about the Lil Pumpkin crochet pattern.

The Pasta Challenge

The Pasta Challenge

A small group of us meet regularly to chat, sip coffee and crochet or knit. At one of our meetings we got a crazy idea to have a Pasta Challenge. We wanted to see who could come up with the best  hand crafted project that incorporated pasta!

The rules for the challenge weren’t well defined…so the projects varied greatly. No winner was selected this go around…but there will be more quirky and crazy challenges ahead.

Unfortunately, I was unable to get a collective photo of them all…so here is the reveal, one item at a time:

Glitzy Necklace, by Alice

pasta and yarn necklace

This glittery piece includes spray painted noodles! That little detail may not show up well in the photo…but it did have sparkle in person. Some noodles are painted gold and some with glitter making this one glitzy necklace.

Colorful Jar Cozy, by Deborah

Pasta Cozy

This mason jar cozy illustrates two ways to attach “beads” to a crochet project. The little pasta is attached using a beaded crochet technique. The elbow noodles are attached with thread and needle. A vivid example of how to attach beads.

Adorned Purse, by Lorien

adorned purse

Pasta adorns this cloth purse with large painted elements and in the little details, too. It’s difficult to see in these photos, but there are small star shaped pastas lining the opening of the purse and in the center of the flowers.

Beaded Broomstick and Shell Bag, by Dana

broomstick and shell beaded crochet

This bag illustrates beaded crochet with three different crochet stitches including: broomstick lace, shell stitch and single crochet. This bag was created with two handle pieces, two broomstick lace panels and joined with a round base.

The challenge was unusual, but a lot of fun. Stay tuned for the next wacky challenge coming soon!

Cell Phone External Battery Pack Bag

Cell Phone External Battery Pack Bag

battery pack bag

Recording video on your phone? You’ll need a cell phone external battery pack because video will drain your power fast. We’ve created a great little bag to stow your battery that can clip to your belt loop, backpack or a tripod.

We’ve dressed up the bag with a “Hangout” appliqué that doubles as a business card holder. “Hangout’s” are a free video conferencing feature of Google Plus. As of today you can video conference with up to 10 people at once. Pretty sweet!

Cell Phone External Battery Pack Bag  – Crochet Pattern

bag on tripodI designed this external battery pack bag for my husband to take on business trips where he might do a lot of recording on his cell phone. I didn’t have black yarn…so used blue for the bag. Probably not the best choice since many people associate blue with Facebook!

Skill Level: Easy

Stitches Used: Chain, Slip Stitch, Single Crochet, Half Double Crochet, Double Crochet, Treble Crochet

Techniques Used: Crochet in Rows and in the Round. Increase and Decrease

Size: 3 ½” wide x 1” deep x 4” tall

Get the Pattern

The external battery pack bag pattern is available on the Free Crochet Patterns page or in the Store.

FREE Patterns

FREE Sachet Bag Crochet Pattern

sachet bagsFREE Sachet Bag Crochet  Pattern – Such Adorable Bags

Make your own Sachet Bags with this FREE Crochet Pattern and see what all the fuss is about. Why the new craze for sachet bags? Are they really all that special? Many people use them as soap savers. Do they really save on soap? Seeing is believing. Download the free pattern and see for yourself.

sachet iPod cozySoap isn’t the only thing these draw string bags are good for. They make great gift card holders! You can also use these as pouches for storing electrical devices such as an iPod and cell phones. These mini bags are most notably recognized as potpourri sachets and scented sachets or as wedding favors and bridal shower favors. These make great gift wrapping for smaller gifts like chocolates and jewelry. You’ll be so delighted with your sachet, you’ll come up with a lot of little uses for it.

FREE Sachet Bag Crochet Pattern – The Details

crown edgingYour sachet bags will vary in size depending on the size hook you use. We used hook E with Red Heart Eco-Cotton yarn and our bags measure 2 3/4 inches x 6 inches.

Skill level: Easy

This bag is crocheted using the filet stitch (dc, ch 1 skip a st). It’s topped with a beautiful crown edge and tightens with a cord draw string. It’s simple yet elegant.

The pattern includes detailed written instructions (for the bag, crown edge and drawstring). It has lots of photos, materials list, gauge info, check box to mark your progress and more.

 

FREE Crochet Patterns

Free Patterns Page: Download the pattern from the FREE Crochet Patterns page.
Store: Add the Filet Sachet with Crown Edge Pattern Free to your cart in the Store.

FREE Sachet Bag Crochet Pattern – There’s More!

Caution: Sachet bags are addicting to make. We made one sachet and couldn’t stop. In our case, one bag led to seven! Here is a small sampling of them.

Crochet Soap Saver Collection

Blog: See all seven of the bags on our Crochet Soap Saver Collection blog post
Store: Also available in the store at Crochet Sachet Soap Saver Collection.

This set has a nice blend of both feminine and masculine designs. Check out the bonus Mary Jane style Wash Mitt. It’s perfect for liquid soap users!