Pattern Roundup – Market Bags!!

Well, this is a new feature for me. I am planning to do a minimum of one roundup per week, alongside my regular posts. I personally love roundup posts because I am a pattern junkie, and I love getting a good dose of patterns all at once. I thought with Farmer’s Market season kicking into high gear, as well as Garage Sale season, that crochet bags would be a fun way to integrate the craft with our favorite weekend activities!! Some of these are very well-known patterns, and some are from smaller blogs and designers, and one is the Attic24 bag that I just recently completed, which would make not just a great farmer’s market bag, but also big enough to use as an actual grocery bag – it will easily hold a couple cereal boxes or a half gallon of milk and some canned goods. Super versatile!! Anyway, enjoy, and happy marketing!!

PicMonkey Collage - Market Bag Roundup

1. Market Tote from Darn Good Yarn – I tried to stay away from patterns that require you to go to a site that sells yarn or is a company because I am certainly not an affiliate in any way, but this bag was just way too cute not to link. I love that it’s bulky cotton  – it could be made from old tee shirts or bedsheets torn into yarn strips and that would be awesome. I’m all about upcycling!!

2. Flower Burst Tote from Chocolate Mints in a Jar – This one has been on my project list for a while – I haven’t worked it up, but my mom actually started it and scrapped it because she said it was working up on the smaller side and she wanted something larger at the time. I envisioned this as a cute tote for a tablet or a phablet/sunglasses tote, or an e-reader. I have a very specific and popular color scheme in mind for this one (the cotton is actually sitting out on one of my work tables in my craft room, all ready to go!! If I could just clear out the “must-do” projects from my brain and actually get to it!!) so I’m going to keep mum on my other plans for this one because Murphy’s Law would dictate that I share my idea here and next week I will see them everywhere. But trust, I am making this one soon and I will definitely be sharing when it’s underway 🙂

3. Crocheted Swirling Bag from Knitting Daily – This is a new website for me, so I can’t attest to any other content beyond the pattern page for this bag, but it sure is a gorgeous design and a different take on a normal bag worked in the round. The tighter weave would make for a good garage-sale-ing bag because smaller items wouldn’t poke through or fall out.

4. Farmer’s Market Hexagon Bag aka Grand Ole’ Flag Bag from Jessie at Home – So I love Jessie at Home. I’ll be honest here because this is my space and I don’t feel the need to be totally PC all the time: I am not the overly patriotic type. I do not wear flag tee shirts, I don’t have a flag waving on my property, and I don’t tend to gravitate to events where acting like my country is the greatest thing since sliced bread is the popular thing to do. That being said, Jessie comes up with the most awesome, summer-fun, I’ll say it: PATRIOTIC  projects that I’ve seen so far and I love them. I have several of her red, white, and blue creations in my pattern folder for someday, and I love each and every one of them. They make me want to fire up the grill, pop open a freezing cold beer, and sit on the back deck under the hot sun and dip my feet in the kiddie pool. In other words, perfect for summer.

5. Small String Bag by Gilly Bettney – This is a Ravelry link. It’s free, so I don’t believe you need a Ravelry account to access the pattern, but I’m not sure on that, and if you are not a Rav member and you click here and it doesn’t let you download the pattern, please let me know in the comments and I will replace it with another pattern. I love this bag because of the pocket!! I don’t come across many market bags with a pocket and I love it because you can slip your sunnies or phone into the pocket and it won’t mingle with your produce or other market goodies. Love it!

6. Attic24 Crochet Bag – This is the one I just made that I was on the fence about whether I would like it or not. I DO like it, for the record! It’s another tightly-woven bag and It’s. So. Big. so it would be ideal for the actual grocery store because it will hold larger mass-market boxed or canned items. I did not add the flower embellishments because I’m a sour-puss and I thought it would be too fussy. Instead, I lengthened the straps and tied knots in the ends, and that’s how I hid my attachment stitches. I will add a pic later to demonstrate, but go ahead and add flowers. Add a MILLION flowers. Go for it. Don’t be cranky like me. Because it’s a cute bag and the buttons are adorable.

7. Inga’s Häkelbeutel by Inga Joana Mertens – this is another free Ravelry pattern. It is available in Dutch and English and the download button will go directly to a PDF, so make sure you choose the English version (or Dutch, if that floats your boat, who am I to judge?) This is a beautiful and fun take on a Granny Square bag that uses color for its detail rather than embellishments or a million and one double crochets in little clusters. In other words, a granny square bag I actually like 😉

8. Starling Bag from FutureGirl – Apparently, FutureGirl is kind of a big deal. I didn’t know this, but this bag is a good example of why. Simple, but charming and omg the possibilities for customization and and embellishment, yarn choice, size, are endless. The pattern is available in four languages, and the only drawback to this one is that you will need to enter an email address to access the pattern. She states that she won’t spam you, and entering the email address assures her that bots won’t overwhelm her bandwidth – as crafters, frugal people, and generally cool homies, we should support this practice because it is beneficial for us and keeps those patterns free! I understand if you don’t like this, sometimes I don’t either (depends on my mood and how caffeinated I am on any given day…) but I’ve created a “throwaway” email address that I use just for stuff like this – an email address that I won’t care too much about if I have to scrap. So I can access content without sacrificing my “main” (hell, or my backup or my backup to my backup…yeh…) email address.

Well, I hope you like this new idea for the blog. I love that you all, my very first readers, are here with me while I learn what works and I find my voice on the internet. If there is something you don’t like (or something you DO!!), please don’t hesitate to let me know. I’m not fooling myself that I am the next Moogly or B.Hooked, but I’d like to find a group of smaller bloggers, a closer-knit fam, where we can share ideas, and I’d love to be one of the people bringing fresh ideas to the table!! So please, feedback away, I promise I won’t get my feelings hurt and you would be helping me in a massive way!!

Also, legal note here. All photos are the property of the pattern holders, bloggers, and Ravelry members from which they came. Please do not use any content from this roundup without sourcing the creators. This hurts the community and makes these creative people less willing to share with us. Please give credit where credit is due, do not mass-produce any content from any of these links, and please include a link back to the pattern page should you make any of these bags to sell. Selling is generally accepted on a grass-roots, local market, or charity level, but please contact pattern authors before doing so to ensure you are not in copyright violation. Thank you!!

Yarrrrrn!!

It’s not what you think. Well, it is, but it’s also something else. So a couple weeks back, I saw someone’s tee shirt on Reddit and it had the cutest design on it, so naturally I set out to Google it and find out where it came from. After a couple near-brushes with some spammy mass-clothing websites and some generally shoddy work in general, I came upon an archived sale page on Etsy. The listing was for an iron-on patch, but that is actually better than a tee shirt, because I really only wear tees around the house and with a patch I could display my love of this thing ALL OVER!! Being the internet sleuth I am (ha. ha. hahahaha…ahem), I immediately and impulsively sent the shop owner a message asking if she had ever thought about making more, and if she had I was interested in buying one should that day ever arrive. She answered almost immediately and said she would be happy to make one just for me. Well, of course I was!! I perused the rest of her wares and figured it would run me about $11 plus shipping, so that was okay (She ended up charging me $13.50 plus shipping, which was more than I probably would’ve paid if I had known the price up front, but given that I had already expressed intent to purchase, I didn’t think it would be very cool to quibble…) And it turns out it was totally worth it, because Gerri does incredibly quality work and I am just thrilled with my new (and first!!) patch. So without further ado, I present to you my current favorite thing:

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So yeah, there I am, haha. Forgive that weird monster hand I have, too. Eeeew… All that aside, the patch is the cutest and I 100% recommend Gerri for all of your patchy needs. She’s got a really cute yin-yang cat patch, too, in case you find yourself in need of that in your life – and really, who isn’t in need of a patch like that?

Besides that, I’ve finished my Attic24 bag, FINALLY. I will have a little instagram photo shoot for her later, but I figured I should put together a quality blog post before then since it had been a while. That’s this post, in case there was a mystery as to where this “quality post” is. So far, we’re doin’ good, huh. So upon finishing the Attic24 bag, I decided it was about time to pick up my Mollie Makes hexagon motif blanket again.

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This is actually one of the first projects I started when I picked up the crochet hook again and I think it will be absolutely lovely when it’s finished. The pattern is from the Mollie Makes Crochet book (Amazon link, but not affiliated!!), and while I can’t share the pattern here, there are SO MANY free hexie patterns out there that it would not be difficult to come up with one to emulate it. Here’s a Ravelry search I did in about 15 seconds – you have to be a Ravelry member to see the link, but at this point if you are even a casual fiber artist and don’t have a Ravelry account, I don’t know if we can be friends anymore (That’s how valuable Rav is – if they ever release a mobile app, I’m done for. Cooked.) Anyway, it’s a super simple pattern and like I said, I started it when I was a born-again noob, but now that I have a couple months under my belt (yeh, I know, still a noob compared to some of the vets, but a haaaylll of a lot more experience than I did before!) I have found myself speeding along these little things. I am having trouble, though, because clearly my tension was alllllll over the place the last time I touched these and doing it now it is like 2 different people are completing this project. Sigh… I’m hoping blocking will solve some of the problems, because I’m about 37 hexies in and there is no way in Care-a-lot that I am starting over. The Mollie Makes throw is about 224 hexagons, but since I am making this as a throw for our queen-sized bed, I measured it out be about 330 hexagons, and almost 40 half-hexies for the border. Here are a couple pics of the yarn I’m using (Lion Brand Wool-Ease) and another shot of all the hexagons playing nice together, plus a couple that are in the middle of completion.

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It’s funny, I was so damn tired of working on these hexagons when I put them down to do other stuff, and now I have a renewed vigor for them. I’m excited to spend a couple solid weeks on these and see what kind of dent I can put in that big ole’ number up there.

And finally, I will leave you with the bane of the mister’s existence these days. The wisteria has gotten to the point that he absolutely dreads every year:

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Flower snow!!!!!!! I won’t lie, I find it annoying as well, and part of my plans this weekend include banishing all the spent blooms to the yard waste bin, to be carted to the curb by a tired (and hopefully sun-drenched) me on Sunday evening. But the glory and gorgeousness of this decades-old shrub far outweighs the nuisance it creates when it is finished with its blooms. Until next time, I hope the weather is as favorable wherever you are as it has been here. It never fails to amaze me how I don’t ever really get tired of our weather. It’s varied and of course I complain, but I do love it, especially at spring and fall. I’ll leave you with the view I have on the rare occasions that I have to sit on the deck with an iced coffee and my yarn…

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Life is Exhausting (and a peek into a few things I’m working on, and a few things I’ve learned recently…)

I try not to complain overly much. Life is hard, everyone has difficulties, and the argument is surely true that if everyone tossed their problems into a big pile, we’d each of us look around at what other people have to deal with and hurriedly grab our problems right back. So with this perspective floating around my head every day, several times a day, I feel confident saying: Life. Is. Hard. Someday I may write about exactly why this has been the worst 8 months of my entire life, but I am very cautiously hopeful that we are at the beginning of the other side of “the event” and that things from this point forward may resume more normalcy. That being said, I mentioned last time I blogged that I never did have the best timing for doing things, starting this blog included, so I’ve been lax about posting. But I think about posting all the time, because I’m still very interested in doing this. So that brings us to this post today. Here are a few little things I’ve either learned, enjoyed, or am working on in the craft world, and I will close things up with a particularly gorgeous picture of my backyard at dusk last evening, because I strung twinkly fairy lights all around and it has brought me so much joy to sit out in the chilly Northwest evenings near the oil heater and watch the wisteria play off the lights.

We’ll touch first on that Attic24 stripey bag I’m still plugging away on. I had asked around Reddit a while back (Plug: If you’re on Reddit and you crochet, /r/crochet is one of my favorite places to hang out and see what other people are doing. They’re restructuring too and cracking down on spam posts, so it tends to be quality – at least in my opinon.) – Anyway, I asked around Reddit a while back how to make my starting double crochets look better when working with color changes in the round, and a user pointed me to the all-mighty Tamara from Moogly and her standing double crochet tutorial. Basically, instead of starting the round by joining your new color at the top of the color below when working stripes, and having your tails at the bottom of your new color, you do a funny little take on a double crochet where the tails end up at the top. Not only does the standing DC work almost invisibly into your piece, but crocheting over your tails becomes lickity-split fast. Here’s the video tutorial for those interested:

And here’s the written post if that’s more your jam: Standing Double Crochet by Tamara from Moogly

It’s seriously been a game-changer for me.

The other thing I’m working on these days is a new Crochet-Along (CAL) from Laura over at HappyBerry Crochet – It’s a Road Playmat, like the roll-out carpets you find at Ikea for toy cars!! I was excited about this for a couple reasons. First, it’s a CAL that hadn’t started yet, and I am a new-enough crocheter that a lot of the CALs I like had already begun. There’s not really anything wrong with that, but the time commitment required to “catch up” to everyone is quite daunting. But this!! This I could start with everyone else!! And the other reason is that my kiddo is a lovely mix of girly-girl and tomboy, and she happens to LOVE her Hot Wheels. I asked her dad and my other half if he thought she would like one, and he said he thought she would have fun with it. Of course, then I had to go and think about my nephew who just turned 2 and would LOVE one, so now I’m making twice the squares. But it’ll be worth it in the end, as Laura has plans for expansion squares and all sorts of add-ons. Here are a few pics from her site and a link to the first YouTube tutorial for the CAL (I’ll be doing another standalone post on this CAL, so consider this a preview!!):

The first set of squares for the Road Playmat CAL from HappyBerry

Here’s this week’s set – it’s a 5 week CAL with add-ons to follow, so if you start now, you’ll still be at the beginning!!

Here’s the YouTube Tutorial for the first week – she’s thorough and precise, so they won’t be short videos, but there is no question about anything if you follow along.

And finally, she is hosting a new Facebook group for her CALs – I won’t bother linking it here because it’s a closed group and you will get an error if you follow a link and you’re not signed into Facebook, but if you search ” HappyBerry Crochet-a-longs (CALs)” you should find it – you  can then request to join and she will add you. It’s a great place to show off your progress and talk about the CAL and Laura is super interactive with the community there, too!! (more on that in my next post…)

And lastly on my short list of interesting happenings lately, I have a new coffee toy and I am over the moon (and caffeinated enough to be over the moon, too!!) about it: The Toddy T2N Cold Brew System (Amazon link, but I’m not an affiliate, so this is all unpaid love, ha.) This was originally loaned to us by the Mister’s co-worker because he likes to tell people how I am a completely caffeinated person and would be a total bear without copious amounts of coffee running through my bloodstream at any given moment and she thought I might like to try this. So I did, and I LOVE it, and he came home mid-last week with the news that his co-worker had gifted this to us because she had owned it for several years and only used it once. SCORE!! It’s fairly straighforward to operate, the replacement filters are cheap as are the plugs should you need a new one, and the resulting product is EXCELLENT if you follow proportions properly. That gadget is why my Insta feed is quickly filling up with pictures of delicious, lightly sweetened coldbrew coffee in mason jars. DE-lish!!

Well, I’ve written a short novel here, so I will stop now. But I WILL leave you with my gorgeous back patio area and the promise that my next post will be less all over the place, and a lot sooner than ten days from the date of this one. IMG_20150503_205725

The Attic24 Bag

Acccck, piece of the yard stuck to it, I thought I got it all... Double crochet, double crochet, double crochet...

double crochet, double crochet, double crochet

I’ve been trying to write this dang post for 2 days now. In hindsight, it probably was not the best idea for me to start a blog and a slew of new social media accounts during one of the most stressful and chaotic periods of my life, but I never was very good at planning. Or waiting, once I decided I wanted something. So here we are. Actually, I’ve been thinking about this little space and all I want it to be almost as much as I think about crochet. Which is a lot. Like… Constantly. So I figure that’s a good thing because it means that I really want to have a place where I write and can just dump out all the things I like and love to do.

Getting some Sun!!

Getting some Sun!!

That said, my current work in progress is the Attic24 stripey bag that everyone loves so much. I’m making it from cotton for a couple reasons. Or a few, if you want. For one, it’s a pretty bag and I kept going back to it in my folder of about eleventy million saved links for crochet so that must be a sign that I really want to make it. Secondly, I am so very lucky to have a life partner who supports my new addiction hobby and gave me a go pass to buy a metric ton of Sugar’n Cream cotton during the recent Michaels $.97 sale. Seriously. So. Much. Yarn. (approximately 37 skeins, but who’s counting?) So the supplies were certainly handy. And finally, cotton doesn’t stretch and it’s washable so it’s good for a bag that would get a lot of use. I’m not to the point where I am selling my wares yet (that’ll be coming someday!) so everything I make is either gifted to someone or put to use by yours truly and I decided I’d like a big ole’ colorful bag to cart around this spring and summer. Which is great!!! (Can you hear the implied “But…” in there?!?! Good.)

But. While I do love the colors I chose, I do not know if it’s totally a fit for me. Which is a predicament. I had just come off making two baymax amigurumi, one about 3.5″ tall and one almost 9″ tall. In other words, a LOT of white yarn. So when I picked my bag colors, I think I was all “COLORFUL ALL THE THINGS!!” and I may have been hasty in that decision. Don’t get me wrong, I do love it and I’m definitely going to finish it and I may even end up using it if I fall back into love with it. But so far, I don’t know. I AM enjoying the use of color and I am enjoying the process because once you’re through the increasing for the base, it’s just double crochet, double crochet, double crochet. So it’s nice and mindless for those evenings when your 4 year old is finally asleep and you get to watch what YOU want to watch instead of My Little Pony or Strawberry Shortcake (if I have to listen to Cherry Jam sing about how she wakes up every day full of sparkles and unicorn magic one more time, I am going to chuck the iPad into oncoming traffic…what? Me? I’m fiiiiiine…) Whew. Anyway, it’s a good pattern, and even if I don’t end up with this one, I will make another one in a different color pallette because I like the concept, I’m just not 100% on my execution of it yet.

So that’s the dilemma that I’ve been trying to write about since Tuesday. I finally have a day off today where I am not responsible for getting anyone else to any appointments or running errands for anyone to make sure they have what they need, so my first order was getting this blog post out. The second is a trip to Trader Joe’s for pizza dough and bubbly water with a side trip to a local hoity-toity market because they always have Japanese maple saplings for $20 around this time of year and my maple decided to die on me randomly last year. I’m not over the trauma of it so I’m replacing it with another one out of sheer spite. Ha. Hopefully they have them in already, but I might be a couple weeks early on that so we’ll see.

Well, there’s a nice meaty post for you. I’ve already got an idea for the next post that includes said pizza dough, ham, cheese, and the convenience of a freezer meal that you can grab’n’go, but there might be a couple other posts in there before that. Depends on how motivated I am to get my process pics in order (hint: I love taking pictures but I’m horrible at editing and organizing them. Ask the mister, who just recently had to partition my hard drive again to make room for all my saved pictures… Yeah…)

Anyway, I’ll leave you with one more picture of the “Bag Undecided” and until later…and yay it’s almost Friday!!

Relaxing in the grass. It's almost technicolor out in the sun.

Relaxing in the grass. It’s almost technicolor out in the sun.

Hello!!

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An insane amount of yardwork happened at our house yesterday, and my shoulders are screaming with the reminder of how much shoveling I did to clear out the last of winter’s offerings that had fallen from the trees into careless piles around the yard. The coolest thing I discovered yesterday was that my mother’s day fuchsia from last year is re-sprouting, and after some careful trimming of old branches and clearing away dried leaves, the happy little sprouts are reaching high for the sun and warmth we’ve had lately. So cute, aren’t they? Well, I’m off to a memorial this afternoon and then hopefully home to watch my kiddo galavant in the yard while I crochet some more stripes onto my latest project. I’ll share that a little later, along with my thoughts on the project so far. Hint: undecided. Until then!!

A Quick Introduction

I’ve always thought the idea of an “intro” post is a little silly, sort of like being in school and having to go around the room and say our name, age, and something interesting about ourselves. Because my main goal is to captivate you with my prose, let me start out by saying that I don’t believe I am particularly interesting, so I always struggled with that part. I ended up saying something about my dog, or my family lineage, and after I got out of school, my child and exciting life as a stay at home mom. For me, it *is* an exciting life, but I am not so self-absorbed to think that it’s incredibly exciting to anyone else. Wow, I really did a great job of giving you a reason to keep coming back to my blog, huh? Really though, this is my way of sharing with the world the things that are important to me, and minus my child and our day-to-day life, that includes recipes, reading, gardening and the outdoors, and perhaps most prominently, coffee and crochet. I do hope you’ll stay a while, or decide to come back at some point when I have more content available for you to enjoy. But if you decide to move on, I won’t be offended. I will still be here, writing, creating, cooking, staring at flowers early in the morning when it’s cool and quiet, and trying my best to be a good mom and partner to my other half.

Oh, and my name is Meg. See? I told you I was bad at this introduction thing. I will leave you with two things I found interesting enough to capture with the camera this week: My first amigurumi, Baymax. And a flowering tree that resides outside our local library and public park. Until next time (which will be very soon, since I am trying to fill out my humble spot here as quickly as possible!!)

Spring Flowers

My first foray into amigurumi. I did not use a pattern,and he now resides on my other half's desk at work.

My first foray into amigurumi. I did not use a pattern,and he now resides on my other half’s desk at work.