Monday, August 30, 2010

Easy Zipper Pouches

Before I talk about these little pouches, I have to confess something. I adore containers of any sort. It borders on obsession... I have the hardest time throwing out any sort of box or bag, although recently the promise of recycling has made it easier to part with the less lovely items. My very patient family is well aware of this... eccentricity (?) of mine, and they do their best to work around the various collections (tins, bottles, boxes, bags, totes, pouches...). The bonus to this is that I don't mind giving my treasures away, usually as gift wrapping. So if you're at the party, you'll always know the gift I brought because it's a recycled bag from Japan with lovely flowers (& illegible to most, but very decorative kanji of the store's name) on it :) Whew- good to get that off my chest!

These little pouches were a summer brainstorm. I learned last year, while working in Carol Norton's "Tapestry Crochet" book (picked up years before, but since I wasn't crocheting, I hadn't done anything with it), that putting a zipper into crochet fabric isn't all that bad. I sewed it in by hand, of course, & it went along very quickly, nicely, & invisibly. A big help were applique pins (which are not even an inch long) because they hold the zipper in without getting in the way of sewing (very much).

After this zipper experience, a couple of ideas occurred to me- wouldn't it be even easier to sew the zipper in if the pouch wasn't already a pouch (not sewn together yet), & wouldn't it be neat to make pouches from crocheted motifs? Of course the motifs would have to be
relatively hole-less (not lacy) or the contents would fall out. So I looked in my motif books & found this one (# 90 in Edie Eckman's "Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs" - a book I use all the time, because it has charts, & because it's organised very nicely). It's designed to be knit with 2 colours, like the orange & red one (made with KnitPicks Comfy fingering, 75% cotton & 25% acrylic yarn), but if you look closely it does give a jog when you change colours. I don't really mind this, but I thought it would be fun to try it in a variegated yarn (this one is Noro sock wool), too. I used a "c" hook (2.75 mm) to get a tight fabric without making it like cardboard.

The motifs, both made in fingering-weight yarn, are about 4" square, I just kept crocheting the motif until it fit the 4" zippers, the smallest I could find. I made two motifs for each pouch (of course) & the other side of the Noro one is grey & blue, due to the yarn's long colour changes.

The main excitement of sewing the zipper in is to match the sides properly when you sew each one to the zipper. I sewed the zipper tape to the wrong side of each motif, then put the pouch wrong sides together (just as you see them in the picture) & used the tails from the motifs (cut ~ 18" long) to sew the motifs together invisibly into the last round of crochet. If I had put them right sides together to sew them, they would have lost their "motif-ness" & I wanted them to look just as they had when I finished crocheting them.

I like the way they turned out. They are a good size & the fabric works well as a pouch. I gave the orange/red one to Sis, my new mother-in-law, & the other one is in my purse, keeping things under control. It took me maybe 3-4 evenings to finish each pouch, so it's a good gift project, especially with fun yarns & colours :) I hope to experiment with other shapes & fibres next.

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