Monday, September 6, 2010

Instant Inspiration

In my last post I mentioned that I find winding wool to be, among other thing, inspiring. Mostly because  it allows me to use previously unavailable yarn :) Among the recently wound balls were 6 skeins of bulky yarn that I had dyed a couple of summers ago. They were among a bunch of skeins (see bottom photo in my last post) that I dyed that summer using natural dyes- and most of them stayed in skein form for a long time after... Why? Sometimes I really like looking at the skeins. They took an awful lot of work, these skeins, so maybe there's a bit of losing the point of dyeing them & just wanting to appreciate them as they are. After two years, though, it's time!!!

Before I talk about making the bag, a little background on how they were dyed. The yarn I used was KnitPicks Wool of the Andes bulky weight, which has 137 yards per 100 gm. Although I won't go into the techniques for naturally dyeing the yarn (except to say that in most cases it took at least 2 times in a boiling pot to get the dyes onto the wool), the dyes I used were as follows: red- brazilwood, orange- brazilwood 2nd bath, gold- onion skins, green- yarrow+indigo, blue- indigo, & purple- brazilwood+indigo.

Yesterday right before dinner, with those newly-wound skeins on my mind, I looked online at Lucy's crocheted bag pattern, swatched a bit to find the best hook for this wool & project, & got started. I ended-up choosing a US size I/9 (5.50 mm) needle, to make a fabric that's not too loose, but not so stiff that it stands up like a basket, either. I worked the increase rounds just as she did, but since it's bulky yarn, & I wanted enough yarn left over to make a strap & embellishments, I only worked half as many increase rounds as Lucy did. As there were 6 colours, I worked the stripes in sets of 6, arranged in rainbow order- I am nearly addicted to rainbows & rainbow order, to the point that I tend to arrange our one set of rainbow-coloured dishes in rainbow order when they come out of the dishwasher. Go fig.

The entire bag is just 4 repeats of the 6-stripe pattern, with the final purple stripe as the decorative, shell-stitch edge. One technique I learned from using Lucy's pattern was to slip stitch into the first double crochet in each round (after joining the last round with a slip stitch to the top of the chain 3), which eliminates the jog that happens when you change colours, & which also makes the beginning of the rounds spiral up the bag in a barely detectible way. Some things I changed were: I crocheted over the tails from changing colours for the first few inches of every round, leaving ~2" at the end to work back in (in the opposite direction). This took some time off the final weaving-in of ends. I also made a different strap, & since the bag was narrower, I decided that one long strap would suit my tote-lifestyle better. I sewed the strap into the inside of the bag, too, instead of the outside.

For flower decoration, I went to Suzann Thompson's "Crochet Bouquet" & used the "Topsy Turvy #2" flowers. I had a lot of fun with the placement of the flowers & stems, & choosing fun buttons from the stash :) The bag was done by 2:00 this afternoon, so it took less than a day of crochet (with plenty of time for sleep & meals :)

I am looking forward to using my new tote- perhaps to carry yet another craft project...?


  1. FABULOUS!!!!!!!!
    Love the flowers you made, so cute!

  2. Thanks so much for checking this out, Lucy! I'm glad you like it :)