More Shameless Plugs (for ridiculously talented friends)

Once again, I am showcasing the work of friends who have been more productive than I have.

glint gear

GlintGear is home to a collection of stunning bags made by my dear friend Celena.  She uses a variety of fabrics including eye-catching vinyls and hand-painted canvas, styled with a touch of classic deco and a whole lot of play.  If I had the funds, I’d just buy out her whole stock, but since I can’t, I’ll just encourage you, dear reader, to go check out her beautiful stuff.


Eleven Three Designs is the outlet for my friend and creating mentor Jason.  His primary focus has been really badass resin fantasy masks, but lately he’s stumbled into the customized unicorn Christmas tree topper business.  Yeah, you read that right.  They’re funky and unexpected and just the thing your home needs for the holidays.  Lucky for you, they’re also available at his Etsy shop.


FrenchAnna is your source for elegant, well-crafted jewelry with a little genuine French flair.  Filigrees, chandeliers, felted, gold, silver, brass, stones, crystals, pearls…  Anna’s work is gorgeous and varied – so varied, in fact, that her unique fiber jewelry has its own home at Magical Whimsical.

Magical Whimsical

The name is absolutely appropriate – I’ve never seen anything quite like the earrings she makes with these felted beads.  They’re big and bold, and weigh next to nothing on your ears.  Eccentric yet practical, just like their designer!

Get to shoppin’!


Happy Mirth Day?

Mother’s Day and Birthday, rolled into one!  Get it?



So I was in the midst of the Great Moving Marathon for both Mother’s Day and my mom’s birthday, and used that as an excuse not was sadly unable to get her anything.  I mean, she’s impossible to shop for anyway, and doesn’t like just stuff, so in a way, I was giving her what she wanted.

(Yes, I am the worst daughter ever.)

Then she came to visit, and asked me – point blank, “Can you make me one of those purses?”

I was so thrilled, I nearly started work right away.  I asked what color she wanted, and pulled out the big box-o-nylon thread.  She pulled out this lovely red and peach variegated.

She noticed I had less than one full spool and expressed concern that I might not have enough to finish the purse, but I assured her that I could always buy more.  After all, who am I to pass up a good excuse for a trip to Hobby Lobby?

Funny story.  I couldn’t buy more.

That’s right.  That nylon thread I spent three months looking for?  Yeah, this was why I needed it.

I didn’t find it.

After a couple dozen unsuccessful trips to every store within 20 miles (and a few very generous expeditions by friends in other cities), I gave up and improvised a match, and I’m pretty sure I like it better:

The main body of the purse is a 4×4 basket weave texture, in a clever mix of two shades of red, off-white, and a ridiculously bright pink variegated I never thought I’d use for anything.  The color pattern actually got slightly complicated.  I had to switch colors every row to get the color variation I was aiming for.  Each row incorporates two threads, and I switched out one color at the end of each row:

Row 1:  Light Red/White
Row 2:  Light Red/Pink
Row 3:  Dark Red/Pink
Row 4:  Dark Red/White

At the end, I had a loose end on every single row that had to be tied off, trimmed, and fused.  Needless to say, finishing the bag was… time consuming.

But now, finally, I can show you a finished product!  Mom’s Red Purse:

This final picture is for Uncle Mike, in loving gratitude for his color commentary while I foolishly tried to finish anything while hanging out with my extended family.

Windmill Bag – now with handles!

Hey, remember that fabulous windmill-pattern bag I made for Dear Roomie last Christmas?  The one made from fabulous hand-dyed wool purchased from the fabulous little yarn shop in my parents’ fabulous little hometown in the NC mountains?  The one that was all done save the handles?  Welllll guess what I finally purchased, 8 months later!

Yes, the amazing little red bag has handles!  I was back in the mountains for the annual Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair a few weeks ago, and nabbed these red leather handles at – you guessed it – the Yummi Yarns shop.  Of course, they had these same handles a year ago when I purchased the yarn, but I foolishly thought I’d be able to find something comparable closer to home.

Lesson learned, handles acquired.  The bag is complete!

…now I just have to get it to Dear Roomie, who is no longer actually my roomie.

On the eleventh day of Christmas…

A couple of years ago I made a messenger bag from No. 18 nylon thread.  I’ve carried it to work every day since, and it hasn’t shown a bit of wear or stretch.  When the apocalypse comes, it will just be the cockroaches and my bag left wandering the earth.

Sadly, working with the stuff probably took a year off my hands.  The hardiness of the thread also means it won’t stretch the way most yarn does, so it took a lot of force to work every stitch.  By the time I finished the bag, I was having trouble typing.

I swore I’d never work with the stuff again.

Recently, for reasons I can’t quite explain, I decided to give it one more shot.  I bought up three spools and made myself a satchel.

I shall call it… the Crazy Bag.

I needed a good carry-around bag that is slightly less massive than the messenger bag.  Since I was already ad-libbing, I took the opportunity to finally work out the zig-zag pattern that had eluded me for the last two years.

The best part is, I can still move all my fingers!

Merry Christmas to me!

On the eighth day of Christmas…

This one isn’t technically done yet, but I am so thrilled with it, I just have to post it early.

Many moons ago, Dear Roommie spotted this crochet magazine on a rack at Joann’s.

She bought it and begged me to make her the “Windmill Bag” on the cover.  I said I would.

While I was at the craft fair over the summer, I stopped into the local yarn-vana and picked up two balls of a really stunning hand-spun and dyed wool blend, and a cashmere merino silk aran blend in a complementary color.  My plan was to make a smaller version of the bag as her Christmas present.

Naturally, I had to show her the yarn immediately upon my return in August, but I didn’t get the bag (sans handles) finished until tonight.

Because I was working with such a small amount of yarn, I obviously had to scale down the pattern.  It’s actually very easy – just four long rectangular pieces joined together at their ends with the sides sewn up.  To scale down, I just made the panels with fewer stitches across and fewer rows long.

The only part left is the handles.  When carried, it should look most like this:

I do not have a reaction yet, since Dear Roommie will not be able to see this in person until I get back to Texas late tomorrow.  I promise updates when the bag is actually completed.

On Purple Purses

I have been in need for some time of a bag that finds the happy medium between my wallet-and-phone-only clutch and my over-sized messenger bag. I had such a bag once, but the straps have all but disintegrated.

Thus, last week I created this:

I am immensely pleased with myself.

It is purple.  It is adorable.  And I shall call it… “Penny.”
(Obviously, I was catching up on The Big Bang Theory while I worked on it, and I created an association, as happens when multitasking.)

The buttons really make it, but I have to give credit for that selection to my dear roommate.

There is not much to the design.

-two strands of no. 2 nylon thread (in this case, purple and black for the body, black and black for the strap)
-size E hook

Make a solid panel about 9″ x 15″ (big enough to hold my 8.5″ x 5.5″ sketchbook, obviously).

The first and last 3-4 inches are just alternating rows of single, half-double, and double crochet. The middle is the “Allover Color Blending” texture (minus the contrasting color for blending) from Helen Jordan’s Textured Crochet.  Each row is 2dc followed by a front-post quadruple treble stitch, repeated to the end of the row.

Once the desired length is achieved, sc two rows of border all the way around. On the first pass, make two button holes at the “top” end; ch 2, skip 2, resume sc across. After the second pass, stitch up the sides using a slip stitch on the inside. Sew buttons onto front and side.

The strap is five long rows:
(row 1) chain desired length
(row 2) sc across
(row 3) dc across (loose enough for buttons!)
(row 4) sc across
(row 5) sc across
Use a slip stitch to connect the end of the strap to the top side of the bag, then sc a border around the whole strap one more time.

Button the loose end of the strap down the side, et voila! Purple bag!