Sunday, July 15, 2018

Always learning...

You may remember that last week I attempted this snowflake design (which is one of the designs in the set of Christmas Gift Bags) and I wasn't happy with my first attempt:

Edges were all jagged and it appeared that I had made some mistakes.  


So I tried crocheting it in the round, thinking the problem was the back and forth (front and back) crocheting that was creating the uneven edges.  But when I crocheted in the round, I noticed that the design was slanted:

If you can't see the slant, just believe me.  The snowflake is slanting.  To the right.  And the edges are messier still.

Sigh...

Now, I've done crochet colorwork before and I know the edges of the design aren't going to be what anyone would call smooth but I don't recall it looking this messy.  Ella (of Un-Becoming Me) suggested trying this project with a different yarn.  As I thought about that, it occurred to me that in using smooth mercerized cotton thread, the edges of the design (which aren't smooth to begin with) were going to look even more messy contrasted with the fine yarn.

Thank you, Ella!  You got my head in a better place about this project.

Oh, and let's be honest... trying do colorwork with doubled strands of yarn (of each color) was kind of crazy.  That just complicated the whole thing.

So I gave up the double-stranded smooth thread and fished out some sport weight cotton/acrylic yarn I had in my stash, and decided to give the pattern one more try crocheting it as a flat piece of fabric (back and forth) - the way the designer intended:



Oh my...   this is so much better.   It's not that the edges are any smoother, but using a yarn with even just a bit of fluff to it, the ragged edges become part of the homespun design.  I'm not sure if it's possible to get a totally smooth line when crocheting colorwork, (though this article makes me want to try) but for now I think I'll just forgo trying to combine such casual designs with smooth thread.  Thread that is meant to produce a finer finish than the casual design would suggest.

I was so pleased with the results, I'm making all three designs in the set:
The Christmas Tree is, by far, the easiest design. 
I suggest starting with this one.  And then the next two will be a breeze.  


And soon I'll have the reindeer bag finished:

Using Scheepjes Stone Washed sportweight yarn in cotton/acrylic, I intend to make one or two more of these little bags before I call this whole project finished.   At the moment I have a plan to use these bags as part of something Christmas related.  I'm not giving away my secrets just yet, but if I manage to get this larger project done, I'll be sure to post about it when the timing is right to do so.  Probably after Christmas (which will be here before we know it!)

Having had success now, I definitely recommend the pattern.  Look at the designer's projects and follow her lead regarding yarn.  A yarn with a bit of fuzziness, and small amount of variation in the colors will serve this little project well.


~~~~~

While I was cooling my heels a bit between these little bags, I whipped out another market bag:
I'm not even following a pattern at this point.  Once one gets the bottom a good size, it's just a matter of crocheting UP!

I made the body of this bag a little shorter, and the strap not as long as most, the whole while imagining that I may just eventually perfect the humble crocheted market bag.  Stretch is the thing with these bags.  Too large a bag with too much stretch and it's hard to feel confident in its holding power (that, and they're just awkward to carry).  Too small, though, and they don't hold much.   I'm (sort of) feeling the challenge to find the perfect size and stretch quotients for such a bag.  Goodness knows I have enough cotton yarn to make dozens more in my quest for the perfect market bag.  Until I tire of experimenting, that is...  😉

To see what other YOPpers are up to, visit our group on Ravelry.




2018 Yarn Stash-Down:  31.22/100 Skeins




20 comments:

  1. I amso happy Ella was able to help you out. Our YOP folk are great people. One of the reasons I love this group. Your Christmas bags ae quite adorable. Looking forward to seeing what you do with them. You are correct.......Christmas will be here before we know it.

    Your market bag looks pretty spot on for size and stretch. I have some nylon cord I am considering using to make my next market bag. It will never wear out! I made a couple of purses out of it and loved them.

    Have a lovely week.

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    1. Nylon cord sounds like it would be both perfect for such a bag, and very hard to crochet with. But I wonder about that and would like to try it some day. I'd buy some, but part of my motivation in making these bags is to make a dent in my cotton stash. Thank you for your comments, Marsha. :)

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  2. Oh it’s so much better now! Thank goodness Ella gave you the right advice and that you had the patience to start again. All the bags look so cute. I love the reindeer pattern especially. You’ve almost got me into the Christmas crafting mood, which is really saying something considering how hot and humid it is at the moment!

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    1. The reindeer (or stag) design is what drew me to these little bags in the first place. I'm never thinking about Christmas this early, but for some reason it's on my mind... So I'd better take advantage of that while it lasts. :)

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  3. Glad I could be of help. Your bags look so cute, it would have been so sad if you had given up on them. Good idea on perfecting the market bag, I would really love one but the one I made once hung down below my knees when it was full, and that not only looked ridiculous but it was also almost impossible to carry the bag. I've kept it for Ikea shopping sprees, though. ;-)

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    1. I know! These can stretch something silly. I've yet to visit the Ikea that's been built north of Indianapolis. It's an hour drive for me, and I'm not much drawn to the idea of having to walk through the whole store once I get inside (which is what everyone says about this store), but curiosity is going to get me there eventually. I'll have some hip bags to carry out my goodies.

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  4. Hi Becki wow your snow flake bag looks fantastic you got there in the end,you do such beautiful work my friend,i also love your market bag ,well done xx

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  5. Love your little bags, they are so cute. Your market bag is great too, I think the trick is making the hand qay shorter than you think is needed, they stretch a mile when filled.

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    1. I agree. And most patterns make handles on these bag ridiculously long.

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  6. So Adorable! Glad you figured out the problem :)
    Ali @ SimplySummerStreet

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  7. They turned out so cute!!! You are a whiz at problem solving and a great crocheter too!
    I also love the market bag. Your colors are always so pretty. I'm with you on the too large saggy ones....yours looks about right.
    I went to the gift bag site and lo and behold....I have several of her patterns already. Remember the "Happy Hooky" pillow I made? That was one of her free ones I think. She's a great designer. I've seen lots of Christmas/gift bags but those are the sweetest by far!

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    1. I DO remember the HAPPY HOOKY pillow you made. And I remember I loved it. I didn't realize that was from this designer. Cool!

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  8. Amazing how the simple change of yarn made so much difference. Glad you, with Ella's help, figured out the problem. Your market bag looks perfect to me - but I know what you mean about trying to find THE perfect size.

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  9. Switching to the single strand definitely made the difference! Your bags are lovely. And your market bag is lovely. When you figure out the perfect proportions, let us know so I can benefit from all your experimentation, LOL!

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    1. Will do. The problem, of course, is that every bag (or stitch pattern) would have different "perfect" proportions. ;^)

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  10. What a great job on the bags and isn't it amazing how the change of yarn can make such a difference to a project. Your finished bags look very cute. Hope you find the perfect ratio of size to stretch for your market bags Becki.

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