Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Ok, there's crochet too!

I have a thing about bags. In particular crochet bags made out of 100% worsted weight cotton. I prefer cotton because it's strong, doesn't stretch, and it's washable. I prefer crochet because it's strong, doesn't stretch, and looks so darn neat and tidy. And I love the texture and that worsted weight works up fairly quickly. I crochet tightly so I always use a hook one size larger than whatever is called for in my instructions. My favorite place to browse for new bag patterns is Crochet Pattern Central.

My latest fancy is the Bands of Beads Totebag. The pattern is provided free, but it's also part of a larger collection in the booklet Trendsetting Totes from the American School of Needlework. I bought a cone of ecru Peaches n' Cream and a bag of pearly copper mix pony beads and got going. In the meantime, I placed an order at Knitting Warehouse for the leaflet, cuz I can't get me enough of crocheted bags. I also bought some cotton for sweaters for my two boys, but that will be a future post.

Round and round I go. Beads look great, crocheting looks great...yippee! On to the lining. I've crocheted a lot of bags, but I've never lined them because in a lot of instances, crochet bags are strong enough that they don't need it. I had some great basic fabric (like Dockers pants fabric) on hand so I cut the pieces per the pattern directions. It was a 15x29" rectangle sewed into a tube and a 19 1/2" diameter circle for the bottom. The 19 1/2" circle seemed huge, but I forged ahead.

Next the directions said to ease the rectangle to fit around the circle. There would be no easing about it - I had to make actual tucks and pleats to get the circle to fit. Every instinct in my gut told me this was not going to work out, but I ignored my gut (never smart) and continued on.

Even though it looked funny, I went ahead and hand stitched the lining inside the bag. I got done and felt wonderful...that is, until I put my hand inside to straighten out the lining. No good! That huge circle of tucked and pleated fabric was puddled in the bottom of the bag. There was no option other than to remove the lining completely and do it again.

By this time, I'd received my Trendsetting Totes book in the mail and I thought for sure there would be different lining dimensions in the book. Nope. After looking at my keyboard, though, I'm conviced that it's a typo. Since the 0 is right next to the 9, I'm certain the diameter was mistyped and it should be 10 1/2". I recut the rectangle and used a dinner plate as a template for the circle. Re-seamed, re-pressed, and re-sewed, the lining now looks wonderful and fits perfectly. Like it? I love it! It is quite huge though and needs some pockets inside. That's next.

The rest of the book is fantastic and I'm already almost done with another bag. I should really be finishing my brother's blanket, but I have so much cotton lying around and now so many bags to make! Plus I always like to take a little break and trade crafts every now and then. I love them both!

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