Thursday, 27 December 2012

Cosmo Bag from Amy Butler's Style Stitches

Hello! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I know I certainly did. My son and daughter in law flew over from Canada. I hadn't seen them for 18 months, so we have been happy just to sit around chatting, going for walks (despite the miserable British weather) and inviting family over. It is a Christmas that will last until early January, and I shall have fond memories of for a long time to come.
Today they are visiting friends, having borrowed my car and my wet weather gear, so I'm able to sit quietly, catching up with blogland, and of course I can now share the creativity that I had to be so secret about before Christmas.
My youngest son's girlfriend wanted a knitting bag - bright modern colours were requested, and at my son's request, it had to be BIG, because he said "She has so much knitting stuff! and it's all over the house!" "What's wrong with that? I thought, but prudently said nothing!
I knew just the fabric I was going to use. It is from the
Dan Bennett Wild Garden Collection by Westminster Fabrics . I bought quite a few fabrics from this collection for a quilt a couple of years ago, never got round to making it and then decided that it was too busy for the quilt I originally had it mind, so it has been sitting at the back of a storage unit for quite a while.
I chose the Cosmo bag pattern from Amy Butler's Style Stitches
I hadn't made this particular bag before , but it looked very suitable as a knitting bag, and was certainly big enough, so for a few days I totally ignored the dismal weather outside and immersed myself in bright Wild Garden colour.
Day1: Fabric cut out and fusible lining ironed onto all the pieces (this always takes far longer than I expect)
Day2: Pleats sewn on outside pieces
Solid red bands attached
Handles sewn on
Sides sewn to front and back
It's beginning to look like a bag! A big bag!!
Day 3: Repeat all yesterday's process, but on the lining
I adapted the lining a little. In Amy's pattern there are inside pockets, front and back. Both are the full width of the bag, but are sewn down the centre to create two separate pockets. The front pocket I made as directed in the book. The second pocket I wanted Laura to be able to use to store patterns, and these might be computer print outs or magazines, so the pocket needed to be slightly bigger.
I left it as one single pocket, but I added a metal stud fastener so that it wouldn't gape open each time she put her knitting away. It will be interesting to see if this adaptation works well for her or not.
Day 4: Put the lining and the outer together. Attach a covered button. Stand back and admire!
I was very pleased with the bag. If I was making it again I might make it a tiny bit smaller. I would also think about giving the second pocket a zip closure rather than stud fastener.....perhaps,,,,. I'm not really sure on this one.
This was the first pattern I used from the Style Stitches book. All went well, and in general the instructions were clear and easy to follow. However, I have made bags before and was familiar with the procedures. This pattern was categorised as "easy", which it was if you've made bags before. There are a few diagrams, but the instructions would be so, so much easier for a novice to follow if there were more diagrams, or even better, photos. A picture tells a thousand words, so the adage goes, and it would certainly be true in this case. Most people, I'm sure, would pay a little more for a book, for the extra clarity that the diagrams or photos would give.


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Sssshhhh! Don't tell!

Oh dear! It's been way too quiet on Mack and Mabel over the last couple of weeks or so. It's not that I haven't got anything to show you, it's just that I can't show you yet!
Every year I get some lovely ideas of things to make friends and family for Christmas, but I get those ideas way, way to late!!! Here we are just two weeks away from the big day and I'm sitting surrounded by bits of fabric, just starting out on some crafting adventures that have to be started and finished in a matter of days. To say I'm being over ambitious is grossly underestimating the situation.
I wish I could share them with you, and I will, I'm taking photos, I just can't share them yet incase any of the people they are meant for decide to come for a peek on this blog before Christmas.
I daren't even show you the fabric - it would spoil their surprise.
The other thing I can't show you yet is the new knitting pattern designs I'm working on.
My daughter in law kindly offered to photograph the new designs for me and then we'll edit them together when she visits over Christmas. She lives in Canada so if I was going to send a parcel over to her, I wanted it to be a big parcel!
Mission accomplished! Fed Ex did their bit, and hopefully the weather will be kind in Toronto this weekend so she can get some good photos for me. So, hopefully what this blog has been lacking over the last few weeks, will be more than made up for in the next few!
I am hoping to get a bit of time to make something just for me though - and that's where the top photo of the Rudolph decoration comes in.
I designed a pattern for range of Christmas decorations last year.

There are a total of 7 decorations and they are a great way to use up oddments of yarn.
The pattern can be purchased on CraftsyRavelry or Etsy
The angel's wings and the Rudolph's antlers are made with i-cords.
There is  a photo tutorial in the pattern, if you have never made these before. I can assure you they are incredibly easy!
I am intending to make (Wait for it! Don't laugh at this - I'm being over ambitious again!) a few of these stockings from the pattern
and string them together as bunting to go over the fireplace. They are knit flat on two needles and work up in no time at all!
I guess if I'm going to have any chance of finishing all this lot, I better get off here and get on with it!
I hope your Christmas crafting projects are coming along nicely.
Till next time .........................Julie


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