Mixed Bag

I didn’t have enough fabric for a single cut bag, so piecing together rabbits on repeat and adding rivets to outter pockets (that if it could’ve, should’ve been moved a ¼” to the right), that incorporated selvage is the cutest bit ever though. ♡

(The outter canvas fabric is Wildwood Fable from Rifle Paper Co. and inside is a creamy organic cotton canvas from Cloud 9 Fabrics.)

Most bags get stuffed with my favorite junk: pens, notebooks, zip pouches and crochet. The thing is, I always obsessively sew in custom pocket arrangements specifically to hold these things ..obviously for occasional use only.

When I first taught myself to crochet, I almost exclusively made household stuff like dishcloths, washcloths, potholders and scrubbies, they were perfect for practicing stitch patterns and new techniques and even if they were wonky, they were still useful. Somewhere along the way I started seeing really cute patterns that used crochet charts and at first I was so confused by them, but after learning the symbols and constantly referring back to the reference charts on their meanings, they have become my absolute favorite way to work a crochet pattern. If possible I completely forgo the wordy written paragraph rows and rounds and head straight for the charts. The best part is charts are universal, so even if a pattern is written in a different language, if it’s also charted you will be able to make it!

(Way back when, I found this Ravelry group so helpful in understanding Japanese knitting and crochet charts.)

Soft scrubbers ♡ gosh, I missed you.. I think the last batch I made was in 2011, well I’m back at it, 4 pineapples in and feeling like I could keep going forever. Assorted cottons from stash. ♡

This cutie is charted, it’s motif 35-37 from the booklet: Highlights from Magic Scrubber Part 2 魔法のタワシ 総集編 by Boutique-sha (ブティック社)

Oh look, a tiny slightly translucent bowtied bunny made in my usual chocolate rabbit style, I keep falling back in love with all my old favorite things to make. ♡

wool & wax

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Technically not wool or wax, but Rifle Paper Co. Amalfi canvas from Cotton & Steel.

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Made into a Wool & Wax Tote (another noodlehead pattern :) this project was also featured in the second issue of Making, Fauna.

I made a few modifications, the first one was to work it all out of the same fabric, no contrast bottom. For some reason every contrast bottom I tried reminded me of commercial tote bags, conference tote bags, promotional tote bags ..ew.. this was going to be my everyday carry and the fabric a gift, so I wanted it to be extra special. (Heavy weight toffee colored canvas was used as a interfacing/lining two-in-one)

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 I also changed the handles and added a patch (exactly like my making backpack). The original pattern has you sandwich straps between the lining and outter prior to sewing, and I did try that first, but again it really toted it up and pulled hard on the top edge puckering the shape. I did however slip in little fabric loops and silver rectangle rings at each side, just in case at some point I want to clip on cute charm dangles or hook on a key strap.

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My handles were sewn on after all layers of the bag were finished, working through all layers so as to not put extra strain on only the outter layer when carrying.

Tip: To have the stitches disappear when sewing on after thought handles, use top thread to match handles and bobbin thread to match lining!

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Sometimes I like to sling my bags, so I opted for a matching adjustable strap. Utilizing those side loops, but leaving enough room to clip on my cute stuffs!

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I really loved the oversized divided pocket on the front, so I did the same thing on the back, never enough pockets! Rivit front/back detail to help secure the thick layers and prevent it from ripping out when I over stuff these sweet pockets! I added simple slip pockets to the lining, putting them down low around the inside base, because the outter pockets fall roughly 3″ short of the bottom of the bag and I didn’t want them doubling up on eachother creating overlapping inner/outter pocket bulge. (Because I’m gonna stuff them!)

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 Just enough little bits leftover to make a small matching Petal Pouch (again another noodlehead pattern, and this pattern was also featured in an issue of Making, issue one Flora).

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Added a little washable paper zip pull to match the patch.

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I like to take the time to hand finish the fine details, on this, it was blind stitching the lining opening, it’s the kind of a peaceful wind down I need at the end of every project, the last little drag out to something I thoroughly enjoyed making.

I thought about fussy cutting the hell out if this, and having seamless pattern matching at every intersection, but this fabric was too pretty to waste and I am trying to be more chill about being perfect. Ginger beer helps keep me chill, real beer helps Jason :)

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Close up view of washable paper. It’s this really interesting material that off the bolt is stiff like thick stock paper, but becomes soft and supple like leather the more you crumple, crinkle and wrinkle it. You can get completely wet and even wash & dry it, without it falling apart (I can’t even rip it!) It comes it quite a few colors and is easily ironed or sewn into anything you can imagine. I want to make a bag out of it at some point, like an indestructible brown paper bag tote!

note to self:

Normally when I have prized cuts, I squirrel them away (like most of my prized things) but recently, I’ve been trying to use more of what I love everyday, for everyday things. A little while ago I made some crazy beautiful bias tape, just because.

Why is it when something feels super special, ultra lux, limited edition or in short supply, we tend to triple wrap it and hold onto it tight as hell, afraid to use it, scuff it, break it, love it? When really, in doing that, we aren’t getting ANY joy from having it, so why even have it!?! I don’t often find myself thinking ” Wow,  I really love that, it feels good knowing that I appreciate it so much so that I never take it out look at it, wear it or hold it”. In fact it’s usually the opposite for me, most things hidden away are forgotten or creep out as a guilty thought every now and then ..kinda sad.

It was actually pretty freeing to use that special Rifle Paper fat quarter for something that at the time seemed wasteful and unworthy of its specialness.

..and then I go one step further, and actually use the super special bias tape, made from the super special piece of fabric to make a super special Stowe Bag and pouch!

Granted I had made two other Stowe Bags out of “less special” fabric before I made this one, just to make sure the sewing kinks were worked out ..haha I can’t help it, I know I would have beat myself up, if I f’d up the bag with the super special fabric! Gads would you look at that logo, even the Rifle Paper edge selvages are too pretty!

oh and then I go and find a little local quilt shop who sells the super special fabric, so I triple treated myself, cut into it straight away and blew my own mind!