Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Atarashii Cosmetic Bag

As I travel a lot to visit my boyfriend, my parents or grandparents, I needed a cosmetic bag for all the necessary things I usually take along. And here it is:

The bag consists of 12 squares made by a technique of Japanese folded patchwork called Atarashii. A big advantage of this method is that if you finish the square, it's complete and you don't need to line it. It's not too difficult to make it, but it needs a bit of patience.

Each finished square consists of a square and a circle. First you need to make a template, which should look like this:

Size of the inner square will be size of the finished square, you can make it in desired measurements. Make one paper template for square and as many circle templates as number of blocks that will be done. 
Cut one square from inner fabric and batting (without seam allowances!) and one circle from outer fabric with 0.5" seam allowance for each block. Pin the circle paper template in the center of each fabric circle, stitch the seam allowance, tighten the thread and iron.

When you finish the ironing, take the paper template carefully out and remove the thread. Pin squares (both fabric and batting) in center of circles according to the scheme and bend the circle around square (with seam allowance hidden inside).

Now everything is prepared for sewing. Starting in a corner, sew all the layers together. Seams are shown on the picture below:

Finished squares can be sewn together with small stitches to create e.g. coasters, potholders, any bags or anything you can imagine.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fancy Flowerpot Cover

This weekend I resolved two problems at once - how to reuse plastic bags and how to decorate flowerpots for outside use. All I needed was a couple of bags and a big crochet hook. And I think it looks just fine...

A few months ago I saw somewhere bags, wallets and baskets that were made out of plastic bags or VHS tapes. It's an interesting idea, but I don't long for a plastic handbag. But now I found a way how to try crocheting from plastic bags.

I used a plastic box that packed meat is sold in as a case where flowers are placed in.

Then I needed some plastic bags of various colors. I recommend to use thinner ones, so you can make more flexible "yarn", which is easier to crochet with. To prepare the "yarn" (I don't know how to call it alternatively), simply smooth the bag, fold it to quater and cut 1" stripes.  

You will get separate stripes (circles respectively), which need to be joined to create a long thread.

Joining of stripes is very simple. Just slip one loop (green one) through the second loop (red one), slip the opposite end of the green stripe through the loop of green stripe and draw down. You get a connection that can be disconnected any time and it's invisible in the finished work.

With hook 10 (N/P) I made a chain as long as the circumference of the box was, joined with slip stitch to make a circle and made couple of rounds of single crochets. Then I just put it on the plastic box and the cover for flowerpots was finished.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mesh Bag

I remember when I was a child my granny was used to carry groceries in a mesh bag. It was very popular and functional bag. Recently they seem to appear more and more often just like other kinds of shopping bags that can be reused. As I don't like plastic bags too much I decided to make one.

I searched through Ravelry database and chose Farmer's Market Bag. The pattern is free to download, you can find it here (registration required). I was thinking about the proper yarn. It should be strong enough to hold couple of kilograms. My mom advised me to use Chemlonka. It's a "forgotten" yarn made out of 100% polypropylene, which used to be very favorite in 70's and 80's.

The bag is made according to the pattern mentioned above but with different handles. I made 5 rounds of half-double crochets (HDC) and then I divided stitches as follows: 17 HDC, CH 26, skip 26 stitches, 34 HDC, CH 26, skip 26 sts, 17 HDC. In next round I made 1 HDC in each HDC and chain around. And then I made another 4 rows of HDCs.

I think I fell in love with crocheting of bags :-) I'm already working on next one, which will be made out of granny-squares.