Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Looking for some advice - can you help?

Hello all you lovely people out there, how are you all today?  It has been a wonderfully sunny day here and, although I have been at work for most of it, somehow it doesn't seem so bad when you look out the window and see the blue sky.  It is still sunny and I am sitting here with the doors open onto the little patio we have, although the weather forecasters say that a change is on the way so I should enjoy it all while I can.  I hope you are all enjoying some good weather and are in fine health.
Now as you know I have been following Lovely Lucy's Jolly Chunky Bag pattern and I must say that it has been so easy to do, even for me as a novice.  I have really enjoyed doing it and it all came together quite nicely.  I have now reached the stage to do the handles and fix on the cute little buttons which came with the pack.  I cannot wait to get started on the pretty flowers.  The bag is destined for a good friend of mine but I want it to be right and I am thinking that this one may have to be the dry run but I will see what you all think about it.
As you can see below, I have loads of yarn left over so can easily do another one.  The problem I have is that I think my tension is wrong as the bag seems to be a little on the larger size.
I tried the 'standing up' test as Lucy did but hers does look a very neat little model as mine resembles the type of bag you might carry the potatoes home in!  What do you think?  Now lovely Readers this is where I need your expert advice.  I want to line it with some pretty fabric so will have to work out how to do this in the neatest way I can..........also I am not sure that the crochet handles will be substantial enough for this big beast.  I am hovering between fabric handles which match the lining or putting on some leather type ones which might give it more structure.  There lay the two problems and I would love to hear from you all about how I could line it properly and what handles would be best to use.  At the worst I can finish it and use it myself and then make a smaller one for my friend or give her this one if it turns out ok.  Any ideas or advice very gratefully received.  Oh, and the other thing would be should I go down one or two sizes with my hook to be able to crochet a neater bag?  Questions, questions, questions, hope you can help Folks. 
Now I don't know about you but I have always loved the vintage Laura Ashley.  I fell in love with her fabrics and dresses in the 1980s/1990s.  They were quite expensive but I saved up to buy a couple of dresses and felt the bees knees in them, just wish I had kept hold of them now as they would be lovely to have.  I can vividly remember the patchwork squares and hexagons coming out in her shops and fell in love with them.  I couldn't afford many of them at the time as they were £5.00 each but I did get some and you might remember that I started to make them up and then forgot about them.
Now when I was mooching around Ebay last week I came across a lovely shop Folks, do have a look for yourself.  Alison from Farmhouse Traditions is the most lovely seller I have ever been in contact with.  She is so friendly and helpful and has all these gorgeous Laura Ashley packs ready to be sewn up into something fab.  Yellow has never been my favourite colour but I have always loved Laura Ashley's yellows for some reason, they always seemed so fresh and lovely.  I have a dozen ideas floating around for these beauties and no doubt will be calling on Alison in the very near future.  Do you like them?  I think they are irresistible.
It is such a small world as Alison and I found out that we are both in similar vocations and I realised today when my gorgeous packs arrived that she lives in glorious Cornwall in the town where I applied for my first nursing post many years ago.  I fell in love with the place as Cornwall was always the place I was going to live.  We have visited Cornwall for every holiday when I was growing up and I never tired of going there - I loved it because it was full of countryside and seaside, a perfect combination for me.  I got the post and my husband as was then always got a job in the town but it was a difficult time to uproot the boys and we had to decide, very sadly not to go.  I always regretted it and I know the boys did later on.  I wonder what would have happened if we had moved?  Do you ever think that Folks, we take one fork in the road which takes us to one place, but what if we had taken the other road.............all very mysterious.  I feel that I have made a new friend in Alison and hopefully we will keep in touch.  Do call in to see her Folks, her shop is just lovely. 
Now let's have a few ideas of how I can use up these fabulous pieces - I am thinking of a cushion or maybe a bag for myself (I usually make things to give as gifts) or a couple of small quilts for the Peeps to use with their dollies?  What do you think?  You always come up with such great ideas.
Here is the sweet note I received from Alison - a big thank you for being so helpful.
Finally Lovelies I have to go soon to get back to my marking - yes it is still here waiting for me........have a look at my special bag which I got from my Peeps. I never thought I would be so pleased to have a bag with Grandma on.......but I love it and have been carrying my crochet around in it.  Thank you Peeps, my bag is adorable.
Lovely Friends I am still catching up with all your news and do apologise for being so slow in doing this.  Hopefully the marking will calm down soon and I will have more time, meanwhile have a wonderful evening/day depending on where you all are.  Sending you all the biggest of hugs and loves.  Please leave a message if you able as I do love to hear from you all.  Dorothy :-)xxxxxxxxx


  1. Your Lucy bag looks lovely! I wouldn't worry about the size - looks fine to me. I find crochet bags do benefit from being lined with fabric - kind of keeps them from getting saggy. I think I'd make the lining by starting with a circle of fabric for the base and sewing a rectangle of fabric that you've previously joined into a tube shape along the circumference for the sides. You can gather it a bit if you want. I've found crocheted handles work fine but are better lined with fabric too and when you attach to the bag, just stitch a nice square shape with a criss cross in the middle with the sewing machine at the base of each handle onto the top edge of the bag. You can cover up the stitching with flowers and buttons! Makes it pretty strong. If you want the bag to come out smaller and with a closer texture to the fabric I'd go down a hook size or even 2 sizes but this version looks lovely to me! Much too good for potatoes! By the way I too love vintage Laura Ashley fabrics -keep wishing I'd kept my 80s dresses and skirts but sadly I didn't. Lovely to find your blog and "meet" you! Elizabeth x

  2. Your bag is great and the stitches seem to be the same size as in the other photo. I'm not sure going down a hook size would make it firm up. Bearing in mind that I am more experienced at knitting, if I went down a size in knitting needles I would expect a fabric that is thinner but not necessarily stronger. It might be even more floppy. I think you will be happier once you have lined it.

  3. Thank you for sharing my hexagon packs -your photos are great! It is so lovely to meet such a lovely, like-minded craft enthusiast-your projects are beautiful. You already have some lovely Laura Ashley hexagons, I recognise 'Kate' such a pretty design, which I made my daughter a cot bumper from 20 years ago! xx

  4. You're still busy busy dear Dorothy! Elizabeth has given you similar advice to what I'd give re your lovely bag, and although I used a smaller hook when I crocheted a bag some time ago, and lined it, the thing did go 'soft' on me! Perhaps a firm type of fabric for the lining may be a help - I used a normal cotton which, although very pretty, didn't give much support! I'm sure you'll work it out m'dear, you always do! Take good care of yourself, lots of love my friend, Joy xoxo

  5. Your bag looks gorgeous!! I don't think lining it will necessarily keep it rigid for you, unless you use some very sturdy fabric. But I really wouldn't worry about that, because lining it with some soft cotton will still make for a beautiful soft bag. I would definitely line the crocheted handles with fabric, and I think this would be easier to attach to the bag rather than leather handles. I see Elizabeth has given some excellent clear instructions on how to accomplish this. I too only knit, so couldn't help with the sizing issue. I love all your hexies! Yellow and blue are one of my favourite colour combinations. Since you make a lot of things as gifts, I think you should use these hexies to make something just for you ... especially since you've expressed how much you like Laura Ashley ;) Your little peeps have found the perfect bag for you ... so sweet. Enjoy the rest of your evening Dorothy. Wendy x

  6. I've made this bag too. I love yours x

  7. Hello dear Dorothy
    I think your bag looks super, I am the opposite with tension and always do it too tight!
    I agree with Elizabeth about the lining, that's just how I would go about it.

    Oh. My I am so with you on Laura Ashely, I had a couple of adored dresses too and loved their fabric patches so much, the patterns and colours were second to none ..... I have a little stash of them safely stashed away until inspiration strikes!
    Good luck with that marking!
    love Jooles x x x

  8. I would have said much the same about your bag as the first comment - sorry forgot who it was now! I am sure that you will work it out and that it will be beautiful, the colours are so lovely and it will be very pretty filled with balls of yarn for your latest projects - not potatoes please Dorothy!! Hope that you enjoy your quilting, the pieces are lovely and I recognise some of those fabrics - how scary is that!! xx

  9. Your bag looks great, the bigger the better! No advice for the handle or lining far to advanced for me but I would love to see what fabric you decide on. I've taken a look at that site, it's brilliant, unfortunately I've spent all my allotted pocket money for this month (lots of wooly bargains!) but I will be buying next time.

  10. Oh I love your crochet bag! It's lovely, a good size for keeping all your yarn in. I love your grandmas are good bag too...I have one of those although mine says nurses are good!
    Marianne x

  11. Your crochet bag is gorgeous, Dorothy! I love the colours and it looks such a nice generous size! I am having a crochet crush at the moment too :)
    Wishing you a happy weekend.
    Helen xox

  12. I love the bag, crochet is something I just haven't mastered. I would use a fabric lining, turn the top edge of the fabric over twice and machine it to give a nice hem and then just stitch it in by using a slip stitch or ladder stitch (the ladder stitch is a lot neater) to the top edge of the bag. I would use fabric handles to match the lining. Thank you so much for the info on the hexagon shop, I love EPP and it has been a passion for a few years. I would start with a simple flower pincushion if you haven't done it before. My favourite thing to make is a hexagon bag using the design in the Cath Kidston book called Sew, I have made 7 of these bags now mainly as gifts.

  13. I love your crochet bag Dorothy, it's lovely and that size seems a lot better for me. I struggle with a small bag. Those wee hexagons look fun, can't wait to see what you make.