Creative Thursday: Felted Bag

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Just to prove that my first Creative Thursday post wasn’t a one hit wonder here is another project finished.  This is the first thing I have crocheted that isn’t a granny square or a scarf.  Admittedly it is made up of rectangles so there is no shaping required – something I am yet to try.  The strap was entertaining as you crochet a tube going round and round and round, it grew rapidly like a mad snake and entertained the cat immensely.  I am also rather proud of the little flower on the front which I thought was going to be very hard but turned out to be simple.

The biggest dilemma I had was whether the felt the bag.  I had originally been enticed by the pattern in the Art of Crochet because of the prospect of having a go at felting but the wool, Twilleys Freedom, was so pretty and created a wonderful texture that to felt it seemed a pity.  Having recently discovered Ravelry I put my toe in the water and asked for advice.  I was promptly advised that felting would make it stronger and less like to tear so in for a penny in for a pound.  The felting was simple you just pop it on a hot wash with detergent, no conditioner, and include some old rough towels (or someone advised trainers).  I washed the tension square first to see what the effect would be.  It turned out OK so I threw caution to the wind and went for it.

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I have to say that I think the result is great.  The fabric is definitely more solid and you feel it is unlikely to tear.  Sewing it up was simple although it took a few practices before I remembered how to do blanket stitch and I have to say I don’t think my finishing off inside the bag is as good as I would have liked but we live and learn.

Next up is a knitted short-sleeved summer cardigan.  I have my doubts since I haven’t knitted for a year and the last thing I knitted went horribly wrong a lot so I gave up.  Having a pile of wool sitting left over from this project and after yet more advice on Ravelry I found a pattern which looks straightforward and should work for the yarn I have.  My only slight anxiety is that I am used to knitting patterns designed for the wool I am using.  I am assured that I just need to do  tension square and adjust needle sizes and all will be well.  We shall see.  I also suspect that I will decide that I prefer crocheting to knitting.  It is so much easier especially when it goes wrong, no dropped stitches.

I will let you know how the cardigan goes – oh and that yarn is red too.  There seems to be a bit of a theme developing.

Note: Creative Thursday isn’t a meme, it’s just the heading I am using for various non-gardening projects I am doing and posting about – on a Thursday!

Creative Thursday – Skinny Scarf

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I have included the odd post on here about my creative exploits.  Aside from my botanical painting which is definitely on the back burner at the moment, there has been the tiny clothes for my mother’s toy goose, a skirt and more recently a crocheted scarf.

I want to re-discover my creative side. When I was a teenager and when my sons were little I was always knitting and sewing.  In my late teens I used to make my own dresses and skirts often from complex Vogue designer patterns and I had some success but then I met my ex-husband and due to his personality problems my confidence went and I stopped dressmaking and knitting.  When the boys were little, and I was on my own I started making fancy dress outfits for them and even trousers from an old pair of mine.  They were very simplistic but they worked.  I have had knitting projects on the go frequently on and off over the years but last summer the pattern I was attempting just wouldn’t work and I lost my confidence, then the aforementioned skirt didn’t come out as well as I would have liked and I really threw in the towel.

I then decided to learn how to crochet as I thought learning a new skill would  give me a bit of confidence.  I have subscribed to the Art of Crochet and am learning step by step.  I also returned to tapestry work which is easy to do when you are watching television and quite therapeutic but now I want to make the tapestries into cushion covers and my first attempt  was awful.

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The crocheting has given me some confidence and on this post you can see a skinny scarf that I finished a while ago.  The fabric is quite itchy so I think it will be something I wear with a jacket more when I go out but it was good to work through something steadily and build  confidence.  I particularly love the long tassles!

In recent weeks I have been inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee on BBC2.  The thing that encouraged me the most was that the contestants had been chosen from lots of entrants and they were still making mistakes, the type I have made recently.  It showed me not to give up so easily and that practice will help.  I have bought the book which gives a range of projects from cushion covers, curtains to a range of clothes.  The book shows you have to put in a zip and other skills.  I always avoided zips when I was dressmaking before and being self-taught I tended to stick to the simpler buttonholes.  My biggest problem with dressmaking again is the cost and a lack of confidence in what suits me.  When I was younger, I was very slim and seemed to be able to wear anything, this is not the case now.   I have decided to work on some very simple dressmaking/sewing projects first and then maybe try a simple A line skirt to build confidence.

I have enjoyed crocheting the shoulder bag I am working on at the moment and am currently trying to decided whether to follow the instructions fully and felt it in the washing machine or leave the ‘fabric’ as it is – it is rather lovely.  There is something wonderful and satisfying about having made something yourself and I am planning on using this blog to record my journey and the things that inspire me – these posts will be on a Thursday, though I doubt  if  it  will be every Thursday.

A simple thing but mine own

Some of the stalwart readers of this blog will recall a post I wrote about depression and how I was frustrated with a knitting pattern which was adding to my, then, feeling of failure.  Well I came to the conclusion that the pattern was wrong and that I had wasted enough time labouring over it, so the knitting was unravelled and put away with the intention of finding an alternative pattern for the wool some time in the future.

I decided that I needed some new challenges to keep my hands busy in the evening (I have a terrible habit of chewing my fingers when bored!) and a well-timed and much repeated advertisement on the television prompted me to buy the first edition of The Art of Crochet with the plan to teach myself to crochet.  I vaguely remember my mother trying to teach me but she is left-handed and I’m right-handed and I think we admitted defeat.   As I have discovered in recent years I learn better from reading instructions than being shown and indeed I have now taught myself two basic crochet stitches.  Buoyed on by this small achievement I decided to follow the instructions and knit myself a very much-needed scarf.

I am quite chuffed at the result.  It looks home-made but then it is and I think that has a certain charm.  I can now say that I have treble crochet stitch off to a tee given the number of stitches that went into the scarf.  Ridiculously I struggled most with the tassels, this is particularly stupid as there are only two ways to do the tassel but as I did each one I couldn’t remember what to do and the more I thought about it the more confused I got!!

I am now awaiting the next edition so I can learn another stitch and wondering what to crochet next.