Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Crocheted Bag

It is very seldom that I suffer from jetlag, but this last trip did catch me a bit. Actually, quite a bit. It is only this past weekend that I started feeling human again and I immediately took advantage of this fact! I have done a little "straightening up" in my Craft Room, changed my storage and pattern filing system, etc. This is an on-going project. Whilst browsing the stores for new storage ideas, I found this gorgeous pair of shoes. Now I am not a "shoe fanatic" like my friend, and purple has never been my color (until recently), but this is a work of art!

On to craftiness! It took me two nights to make this beauty. It is losely based on a pattern I found on the Internet, based on a designer bag that Angelina Jolie was seen wearing on her fashionable shoulder. The handles are my own that I made from faux leather and I still need to add the lining, but I am already using it today.

I used two strings of Elle Wool Boutique (my favorite felting yarn) to make this sturdy bag. My poor hands and arm is aware of this project! The pattern requires many more bobbles, but after the first round of the pattern stitch, I decided to make less. The yarn was far too thick and difficult to work with to do too many of those. But I love the result! And it is a perfect match with one of my tops I recently made, see purple top below.

I forgot to share the rest of the 5 tops I made before my trip. Here are 3 of them. All made from the same pattern in the Bernina Inspiration magazine. Love this style. It is close-fitting but not tight and suitable for both summer and winter with three quarter sleeves.

I am almost done with a lilac crochet bag I am really excited about. The bag is finished, I just need to add the bamboo handles and crochet flower embellishments. I also have lilac fabric I want to make a matching top with. Yesterday I was back on www.sewingpatterns.com looking for new patterns for tops and I found a lovely pattern. Some skirts, tops and more bags are in the pipeline! Hope you all have a great week and I am looking forward to 4 days off work this coming Easter Weekend!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chicago Yarn Shops

As promised, today I want to share the fantastic experience of visiting two local yarn shops in Chicago last week. I did some research before I left on my trip and found a great list on the Windy City Knitting Guild's website, part of the American Knitting Guild. First up was http://www.haveeweanywool.com/ in Elmhurst.
I wish I took pictures because this shop was crammed with amazing stuff! I have never seen so many patterns and magazines in one place. This shop stocks hundreds of back issues of many crochet and knit magazines and have a special back room with patterns. The ladies love making handbags, many of them felted. There were several completed examples hanging around the shop and they were eager to share recently completed projects and WIP's. They stock a great selection of Brown Sheep yarn. I drooled over the most beautiful cashmere yarn I have ever seen, but bravely stuck to my shopping list. Love the little brown paper bag she put my purchases in!
Next up was the greatest experience of all. Juanita took me to Knitche in Downers Grove. Wow! This is a yarn candy store of note. Here is the link with a photo of the shop - http://www.knitche.com/. Love, love, love the personalized bag my shopping was put in! They have a stunning coffee shop and the shop was buzzing, even at 7pm. Friendly, helpful staff and the biggest collection of Cascade Yarns I have ever seen!

I have never seen this fabulous yarn before. This is Cascade 200 bulky (Magnum), which is a 100% Peruvian Highland wool with 123 yards on one skein. It comes in the most gorgeous colors and I purchased this lime green and the lovely bright pink in the background. Not a lot on each skein but I am planning some more of those small crocheted bags I recently made, or maybe a crocheted hat for winter.

My mission was to purchase some dark grey and chocholate brown yarn, and this is what I found. On the left a lovely dark grey yarn by Brown Sheep Company called Lanaloft. This color is called Smoke and one skein has 160 yards of 100% worsted weight wool. On the right is a lovely chocholate brown yarn by Berroco called Peruvia.

There was also a small selection of suede bag handles and I selected this black pair. So soft to the touch. I cannot wait to use these handles on a bag. The shop also boasted a lovely selection of accessories such as knitting needles, buttons, books and magazines, etc. The displays are unbelievable, colorful and inviting you to buy lots. Well worth a visit and first on my list for a future trip!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Been shopping in the USA!

It took me two days to finish packing to return from the USA. I was so scared some of my precious stash would be lost in transit. I had a few minutes of pure panic standing next to the carousel waiting for my large pink suitcase to appear, and finally, it did! I had a great time shopping for stash in Chicago and I am so thankful to my dear friend Juanita for patiently taking me out on two nights to shop at Jo-ann's, Michael's and two local yarn shops. So, I will be sharing my new stash over a few blog posts coming up.
The first shop I always visit when arriving is Hobby Lobby. Above is a picture of some of the yummy cotton fabric I found this year. I cannot wait to start making some bags! The top three prints are all from Brother Sister Design company. The bottom pink and brown print is my favorite and was just $2 a yard! Not sure of the designer of this one.
I also bought these fabulous jersey knit fabrics. Lots of tops coming soon.
A selection of fat quarters I found unable to resist. I can see some stunning bags already!

I was very disappointed with the yarn selection at Hobby Lobby though. Most of the yarn they stock is acrylic and novelty yarns. I only purchased the two skeins above. The brown is from Lion's Wool and is called Fishermen's Wool, a whopping 465 yards on one skein! The pink is from Red Heart, a 100% acrylic but I loved the colour.

The magazine section at Hobby Lobby was very disappointing this year. I only purchased the Crochet Today magazine there. The other two magazines I found at Barnes & Noble.
This is all I purchased at Michael's, a lovely pink needle case for my knitting needles. My friend Juanita had these amazing discount coupons for Jo-ann's and Michael's and I saved so much money using them! I think she got them from the newspaper. Thanks Juanita!
In my next post I will share my experience of visiting a Jo-ann's superstore for the first time as well as visiting two amazing local yarn shops!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Jersey Knit Tops

I promised to take pictures and share the 5 jersey knit tops I made last weekend. I did sort out my camera batteries, but last night I had to put my new tops in the wash to prepare for my trip to Chicago. I am leaving today! And I am not nearly ready yet. I did manager to take pics of two of the tops though. Above is the first one, made from a lovely silk jersey fabric. It slides across your skin, really nice fabric. Crappy picture, but the pattern is a bright yellow and black on a white background.

This is the pattern I used. I did modify the pattern though. I cut the neckline higher and added plain three quarter sleeves instead of the ruffled sleeve. The first top I made, I did make with the ruffled insert in the neckline. Very nice.
The pattern can be found in this issue of the Bernina Inspiration magazine, Spring 2008. This is by far the easiest pattern I have ever used. Just three pattern pieces, excluding the neckline band, and you are done. I made another 4 (yes 4!) of these tops last night. (Whilst I was supposed to be packing my suitcase, I was sewing!) I have now made 8 tops from this pattern. You know me, if I like a pattern, I make a lot of it!

I did make two of these tops too. I forget now the name of the pattern, but I purchased this pattern online from http://www.sewingpatterns.com/. This one is a plain white top and very comfortable. The back has a high V shape too. I just love the look of using my new twin needles! The tops look store-bought with this finishing.

I also decided to quickly line the crocheted cap I recently made with fleece. This makes the cap so nice and warm, perfect for windy Chicago weather.

Lastly, I quickly lined this crocheted bag I recently made with bright yellow fabric from one of my favorite designer, Me and My Sister Studio.

Here it is, all finished. Done in quite a hurry, so not the greatest job! I love this little bag and hoped to still quickly crochet a purple bag in this style to take with me on the trip, but time ran out.

And that is my last post until I get back from my trip. Hope you all have a great weekend. I am looking forward tio shopping at Jo-ann and Hobby Lobby this weekend!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Simple Party Clutch Bag

I had a super-productive sewing weekend! I started knitting a super-easy Mobius-type shawl from a pattern I found on the Jo-anne store website. I am making it in a cerise pink yarn and hope to finish it before I leave for Chicago this week. I also managed to finish sewing my own Simple Party Clutch bag which I showed a sneek peek of in my last post.

I made a few changes to the pattern for mine. One of the changes is that I did not use the very thick interfacing, so my bag is a bit more flexible, but still quite firm. I'll have to get used to the extra work to open the flap to get to my daily essentials. I prefer an open bag with just a magnetic snap, but this is such a cute bag, I will make the effort. I bought this black and white fabric at Hobby-X last year but forgot to look at the designer. I'll update this post later.

I used a purple polka-dot for the lining. I think the purple is stunning with the black and white fabric. Lots of pockets inside for all my essentials to be within easy reach and the handle long enough to wear the bag over my shoulder. I am not fond of clutch type handles. I need my hands free when I shop and do things.

I also made 5 tops this weekend. Yes, FIVE tops! I am so pleased with all of them. Sadly my camera is giving me hassles so after these two photos it refused to co-operate. I think it might be the cheap batteries I bought last week! So I will be off to buy my regular expensive batteries today so I can share pics of my tops with you.

My yellow scarf is also not finished yet. I am so hoping I can finish it in time for my trip but time is getting short now as I leave on Thursday and still have a million things to do. Hope you all have a great week!