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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Secrets Revealed

I received a reminder today (thanks, Patty!) that I haven't yet posted about the Christmas secret. I had a few this year. We'll start with the gift for my sister.

Pattern inspired by one created by Uneek Handbags.
I wanted to make her a purse she could carry every day, but was still suitable for work. I decided on the houndstooth pattern, but in a different style and color. I made more of a bucket-style in brown and white, instead of black and white. The inside is lined in cotton with pockets and it closes with a magnetic snap. I think she likes it.

Next, is the purse I made my Mom. First I made the Midnight Sun hat (in Onyx) found on the Lion Brand website. I made it in Onyx, like the trim on the purse. When it was done, I had a lot of the Onyx Fun Fur leftover and decided she needed a purse too.
This purse is my own design.
Last Christmas I made my Mom purple fingerless gloves trimmed in this fun fur. This year I decided to use more royal purple yarn to make a medium sized bucket bag, trimmed in Onyx Fun Fur. To get this type of ruffle, do a couple of rows of single crochet in the same number of stitches as the bag, then switch to 3 single crochet in each of the stitches. Do this until you have the ruffle you want and/or you run out of fun fur (but be sure to finish the row.) When the bag is felted, the fun fur will not felt. Instead it will create this fun ruffle. Be sure to use a large hook (I believe I used an 'N' for this ruffle) as it makes working with this material much easier. My Mom now has a hat, purse and fingerless gloves that all match!

Last, but certainly not least, is the secret project from the previous post.
Pattern created & sold by the wonderful people at Knot Sew Cute.
An Irish fisherman's sweater-inspired pillow for my Mother-in-Law. I l-o-v-e, LOVE, this pattern. The cable was a little tricky, but once I ripped it out a few times, I got it going in the right direction. It was made with Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool in natural and stuffed with a 16" pillow. Here's the back:

Look at those yummy wooden buttons! I'm very pleased with how this pattern came out and I highly recommend the pattern. In fact, all the patterns from Knot Sew Cute are wonderful and I recommend you look them up on Etsy.

I gave lots of other handmade gifts. Some of these you may have seen on previous posts. Here's a run-down of the rest of the secrets:

Yellow trim tote for my Sister-in-Law.
Felted basketweave purse in currant for my eldest niece.
Sporty orange and brown striped purse for my middle niece.
Philadelphia Eagles team colors purse for my nephew's girlfriend who loves the Eagles (just like me!)
Philadelphia Flyers colors purse for my youngest niece who likes black.

Orange Bobble Bag for my Aunt who loves orange even more than me!

I also made a bunch of striped earflap hats for the men in the family but for some reason forgot to take a picture. Oh well. They came out great & the guys seemed to like them. 

So there it is, the big Christmas reveal. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I've Got a Secret

Christmas secrets, that is. To be fair, at this time of year, we probably all have lots & lots of secrets. There are hundreds in this house alone.

I've been crafting up a storm. Lots of people are getting hand-crafted goodies for Christmas this year. I don't want to ruin any surprises, but I so want to show this one project. It came out so good and I'm so very proud of it. I'm not showing the whole thing. I'm not saying who it's for. I'm not even going to tell you what it is. Just a peek.

That's it! Well, maybe one more.

After the holidays, I'll post a picture of the project and tell you where you can get it, if you would like to try it yourself. It's so worth it!

So, what crafty secrets are you keeping this Christmas?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A rose by any other name...

Flower pins! Just for fun, I made a bunch of these last year. I was practicing crochet-in-the-round and this seemed like a fun project. I can make them pretty quickly, so I made tons. Probably 50 or so pins. On a lark, I brought them to the craft fair. They sold like hot cakes! So I did what any smart person would do. I made more!

I have a whole crop of new flower pins listed in my Etsy shop. All kinds of colors -- some found in nature, some found in my imagination only. These pins are great on a purse, jacket or hat. A unique a fun gift, they're inexpensive enough to keep a few on hand for drop-in guests. They make terrific teacher or Secret Santa gifts. I'm not sure I'll have the time to make more this holiday season, so order early before they're gone!

Lalia Flower pattern designed & sold by

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Golden Snitch

A few days ago, one of the craft blogs I follow posted a tutorial on making a Golden Snitch ornament. The tutorial was posted last year on Tiny Apartment Crafts. I decided to give it a try.

5 messed up ornaments later, this one isn't so bad:

Here's a picture of the original as a comparison:

My wings are a different shape and I used glitter paint instead of glitter. I also forgot to buy gold paint to cover the glue spots. All easily mended as I want to try one with glitter.

I also used a Sharpie paint pen to draw on the design. The worked well for me because I'm no artist so I can't paint freehand. I think, however, the next one I make I'll paint over my paint pen markings as I like how the gold paint is darker than the ball, which gives more definition -- like the actual Golden Snitch.

This craft definitely takes time. There are lots of steps & they all need dry time in between. It's a great project to work on while you're doing other things. However, when it's time to glue on the wings, stop what you're doing & give yourself lots of time. You need to hold the wing in place for a while (I held mine at least 10 minutes) before the glue really starts to dry & you can leave it to cure.

Don't let any of this stop you from trying this craft. It's really a lot of fun and the end result is terrific. In a day or so you can have your own Golden Snitch on your Christmas Tree! It would also be a fab gift for the Harry Potter fan in your family. Just be sure to package it very carefully, as it is very fragile.

Let the Christmas crafting begin!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Traditional with a twist

I'm not one to buy the latest trend. Before I started making my own purses, each season I would struggle to find a purse I like. A couple of years ago metallics and studs were in style. I searched for weeks before I found a purse I wanted to carry.

So, when I came upon a pattern to make a houndstooth purse, I jumped on it. It's the ultimate in traditional style. 

Pattern by
This pattern was very easy to work up. While it is a traditional pattern, the purse has a nice modern shape. The author suggests using an old belt to make the buckle, but I couldn't find one so I made a strap out of black wool and felted a buckled on to it. I really like how it came out. Very reminiscent of a belt strap. I finished this purse with a long, black, strap. It can be worn short, as shown, or unstrapped & lengthened. 

When I get some time, I'm going to make this in other colors. Brown & cream is a definite. I'm also thinking about resurrecting some of those preppy color combos from my youth. 

Color suggestions anyone?

Santa's Formalwear

I've been having a lot of fun with the Santa purse pattern I purchased from Etsy. Though my purses have a bit of a different shape, more of a cinched in waist, I absolutely love this pattern!

After making two red purses and getting such great feedback, I decided to make one in another color. I thought an off-white color would give it an old-world Santa feel. Take a look!

Santa wears white! After Labor Day! <gasp>

Now that its done, I'm thinking more like Santa out on the town. Tuxedo-stylin' Santa! This is what Santa would wear, if he was Bing Crosby. 

I love it! I don't think I'm selling it. Instead, I think I'll carry it every day....beginning December 1st. 

Monday, November 21, 2011


The holidays are coming up. What better time for a giveaway?!? "Like" my page on Facebook to be entered to win a custom-designed and handcrafted wristlette!

The wristlette measures 6.5" wide x 4" tall. With a comfortable 4" wrist loop. It is fully lined, in cotton fabric, with a zipper. It fits very comfortably on the wrist and is secure way to carry your cash, cards and ID when holiday shopping. It also makes a lovely gift!

One winner will be randomly selected when the Cherishables page reaches 50 "Likes" in Facebook. Just be one of the 50 who like my Cherishables FB page and you're automatically entered. Follow this blog to FB, search for the "Cherishables" name in FB or follow this link to enter:

I'm happy to mail anywhere in the world, so don't be shy about forwarding this to your international friends. Best of luck & thanks for reading!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WIP - works in progress

When I first started crocheting, I was determined that I would not have any WIPs or works in progress. I would start a project and finish it.

That worked really well for a long time -- over 2 years. Of course, my projects were small then and I needed to finish them in order to see any mistakes and fix them with the next project. Then I started crafting for gifts and (keeping fingers crossed) profit. All good intentions went right out the window. 

Now I have WIPs all over the house. Here's the purse I was working on for myself:

Doesn't look much like a purse, does it? It's the body and two side gussets. I still need to make 6 pockets and 4 pocket flaps & straps. Then I need to put it together, felt it, line it and put in a zipper. I was supposed to have this finished by September 1. After all, it's a pumpkin colored purse. I wanted to carry it in the fall. I will be VERY happy if it's ready for next fall. In fact, I vow right now on this little blog, that I will finish this purse. After Christmas. Right now I need to go finish two commissioned purses and a slew of Christmas gifts.....

Let me rephrase. I'll be very happy if I EVER finish this purse. 

So, how big is your WIP pile? 

Monday, November 14, 2011

It's the holiday season....

I can't believe Thanksgiving is next week! Christmas is right around the corner. If I needed any proof, I got it this weekend at the craft fair. It was Christmas Central.

Speaking of, here's a pic of my table at the SGG Fair:
Thanks a million to my sister for taking the picture! 
Next year, two tables! LOL

I made a few sales. Handed out a lot of business cards and got some names & emails to start a mailing list. In all not bad. I have everything listed on Etsy, if anyone is interested. A felted purse makes a wonderful, personal, gift. Unique & one-of-a-kind! 

I also have a bunch of Apple Jackets listed as well. These would make great teacher or co-worker gifts and excellent stocking stuffers! Remember fruit in the stocking? I do! Why not wrap it in a cozy?!?  :-)

Now, to make some turkeys. I kid, I kid....

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


As you know, this Saturday is my very first craft show. I have no idea what to expect. I've shopped many a craft show, but this is my first time on the other side of the table.

I'm probably way over-thinking this, but it's been prep-week all. week. long. I have a list a mile long, but have finally crossed some things off. For instance I know
1. what I'm going to use to display my stuff
2. what I will use as a sign (I actually have a banner!)
3. that I have enough business cards
4. that my bags will look pretty (b/c they have a sticker on them with my logo)

What I don't know
1. do I have enough stock? 
2. will anyone buy anything?
3. has this been a major mistake?

Three unknowns vs. four certainties. I think I'll be okay.

If you're in the area, the show is at St. Greg the Great School in Hamilton from 9-3pm on Saturday, November 12th.  Hope to see you there!

Monday, November 7, 2011

First ever craft fair!

Cherishables will be in Hamilton, NJ this Saturday, November 12th at St. Gregory the Great's annual Fall Craft Fair. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

New month, New look

Today I launch a new look for my website. A lighter, brighter look. What do you think? I love it!

It's busy, busy, busy around here. I'm getting ready for my first craft fair -- coming up next week. They always have great vendors. I've shopped that fair for years and have gotten lots of lovely things. If you're in the area, I hope to see you at St. Greg's in Hamilton on November 12th.

Monday, October 31, 2011

New fabric!!!

The greatest thing happened this weekend. I ran out of fabric and had to buy more. Oh happy day!

I picked up these beauties:

The fabric on the bottom will be used for a black & white hounds tooth purse that still needs to be felted. 

The fabric on the top will be a lining for this purse:

I can't wait!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Smells Like Team Spirit

From top: Philadelphia Flyers, Eagles, & Phillies purses.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love my local professional teams. Flyers, Phillies, Eagles. I love them all. 

A few years ago, merchandisers started getting smart & realized that women (and girls!) are sports fans & they started marketing merchandise towards this demographic. I'll admit I have my fair share of pink baseball caps with the team logo on them. I stop short of buying the handbag with the logo. I don't want to carry a purse with my team's logo on it. I need something a little more...subdued. 

Then I found a really neat pattern. It was a simple row by row, but after a few rows you switch colors to make a stripe. Sew up the sides, add some straps & done!

Free pattern from the web. I have no idea who to credit for this design.
Cute idea, right? When it was done, I made another. This time I tweaked it a little. Added more stripes. I striped the top and added a wider handle.

Apparently I also put it together inside out b/c the stripe is on the other side. 
Then I saw it. With a little more tweaking this purse could be very easily adapted to any set of colors. colors. So, I changed the shape a bit to more of a tapered top, instead of a straight top & got to work.

I matched up my beloved (yes, beloved) Flyers:

It was still baseball season at the time, so the Phillies were next on the list:

Football season was right around the corner, so I search and searched for green yarn to make an Eagles purse:

I had to go retro to match the Eagles. Green is hard. 
There are 4,000 shades of forest green in wool, but not green-green. 

The my family started getting in on the act.
MN Vikings purse made, by request, for my cousin.
Dallas Cowgirls Cowboys purse made for another cousin.
I even made a NJ Devils purse for my sister, but I can't seem to find a picture for it. Eh. It's just the Devils. :-)

I love this idea! I'm able to show my team spirit and still have a fashionable purse to carry around. No team logos or mascots faces. Just the colors. Wearing my heart on my shoulder, as it were. 

It took some work, but I have found yarn to match every single NFL, NHL and MLB team. I'm offering custom made NFL and NHL purses in my Etsy shop. MLB coming soon. (I actually have the yarn match-ups for MLB, I just haven't formatted the swatches, so if you would like an MLB purse, email me and I'll send you the colors.) 

I think these would make fab holiday gifts. I know I would love to receive one (which is why I made 3 for me!) Perfect gift for a girl in college or HS. Just let me know the school colors & I'll find the wool.

I would love it if you visited my shop to take a look. I can make these pretty quick, but sometimes have to order the yarn, so order soon to guarantee holiday delivery. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

How do you like them apples?

I love apples and this is the time of the year to eat them. Lots of them! What I don't like are bruised apples in my lunch sack. Naturally, I needed to make a cover for my apples. That's where the good people at KnotSewCute come in. They have the cutest apple jacket you ever saw!

I bought this pattern about a year ago. I read through it and put it down. It was like a foreign language. Front post this & back post that. Skip stitches and then post around the skipped stitches. My head hurt just reading it! 

A year, and countless items later, I picked up the pattern again -- determined to figure it out. This time I had no problem understanding what to do. What a difference a year makes!
Look at all those pretty, twisty, cables. This one is made from Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool in Oatmeal.

Last year, at this time, I was shaking my head and wondering if I would ever understand enough to make this beautiful pattern. This year, I made my first in a one night! I now have a baker's dozen apple jackets to sell at my very first craft fair (more on that later.)

As always, Kim & Tara at KnotSewCute have taken a simple item and created something wonderful. This is a great pattern and one I highly recommend. Little sweaters for your apples. And no more bruises!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pillow Talk

During my old auction days I bought a box of linens. Who am I kidding? When I used to go to auctions and yard sales, I bought MANY boxes of linens. I had so many linens....suffice it to say, if you need linens don't buy them. Come here. I'll GIVE you some!

Anyway, at one auction I bought a giant box of linens. Yeah, big surprise. Actually, the greatest surprise was buried all the way at the bottom of the box. Under the pretty tablecloths, the not-so-pretty tablecloths, the "what the heck is that?" cotton lining thing, I found a bunch of tea towels. Two of them were calendar towels with very important dates on them. One from my birth year and one from my hubby's. Honestly still can't believe it. Some people search forever for this kind of thing. They pay lots of moolah on eBay. Mine were after thoughts in a box o'linens.

I've kept them all this time thinking I would one day properly stretch them & hang them in my kitchen. They're towels, right? Kitchen towels. What else do you do with kitchen towels? If you're not going to use them, hang them up. In the kitchen.

Well, they've been in my linen closet for years. Never did stretch them. Not hung up. Then today -- this post on Craft Gossip:

This is a MUCH better idea than hanging up the towels. File this under "Duh, why didn't I think to do that?" I mean, I've made pillows from linen tablecloths, why not from a towel? DUH!!!

I am so making these. I can't wait to go through my stash. Or better yet. Buy new fabric! (I love new fabric!!!) I'm going to get some trims and make fancy little throw pillows for my bed. How cute will that be? Our birth years on our bed? Awww...I'll post pictures when they're done.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


This is a very exciting time for me. A little over a week ago, I made my first sale! Two team colors purses in Minnesota Vikings colors. What's even more exciting is learning that one will be a gift. To think that someone thinks enough of my work to gift it, is beyond words. I couldn't be more proud!

Last night I had another first. I had my first sale on Etsy! I'm so happy I could about burst. It's a custom job, which I'm going to get right back to finishing. I feel so very, very blessed right now! Just had to share....

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Life is full of surprises. Some good, some not so good. Yesterday was full of good surprises. 

My husband & I were out shopping (on Labor Day, of all days) when he surprised me by bringing me in front of a bank of sewing machines & telling me to pick one. Any one! I was floored. 

You see, I have a sewing machine. Two in fact. Very simple, servicable sewing machines. I'm not even close to an expert, so I never figured I needed a fancy machine. Don't get me wrong, I've looked at them. I coveted them from afar, but I knew the machine I use was good for my purposes. Because, let's face facts, pretty much all I do is make curtains & purse linings.

My husband, bless his sweet heart!, is of a very different opinion. He figures since I'm trying to turn my passion, and hobby, into a business -- I need better tools. Over the past few months I've received a new iron (which is so much more awesome than it sounds!) and now this new sewing machine. Want to see her? 
Singer Model 2010
Isn't she gorgeous? 200+ fancy stitches built into the machine. So much, there are three little cheat sheets that pull out to give you the stitch numbers. Automatic threader. Buttons to raise & lower the needle. A button for reverse (no lever to hold down.) It even has a start/stop button. You can sew without a pedal! Who ever heard of such a thing? And she's so quiet. I could sew during the wee hours of the night and no one would hear me. I absolutely love this machine & very highly recommend it. She's a bit expensive, like only the best ladies are -- but she's totally worth it! What a great surprise!

The surprises continued on today. I was going through a box of fabric remnants when I found another box marked "sewing." What could possibly be in this box? I don't remember ever seeing it before, let alone putting stuff in it & labeling the box. I opened the box to find an absolute treasure! Look at all this stuff:

Fabric! Where did that toile come from? I can't wait to use it to line a purse. 

Another measuring tape! This is so great. Now I have one in my yarn basket & one in my sewing room. No need to carry the tape around or, as is more likely for me, forget to bring it until I absolutely need it. 

More pins! Can't ever have enough and these are the long pins with the large heads. My favorite!

My old fabric scissors. These belonged to my Grandmother who is over 90, and doesn't sew any more. She gave these to me years ago when she & I were talking about how "things aren't made as well as they used to be." I was complaining that I couldn't find good scissors and she gave me hers. They may not look like much, but they are still sharp and since I only use them for fabric, the cut like a hot knife through butter. I thought I lost them and now they're found!

Don't you just love surprises?!?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Same Pattern - Different Yarn - Two Beautiful Purses

I posted earlier about how enamored I am of this purse pattern, pictured below, offered by Rachels Crochet on Etsy

I've made two so far. A grey one and one in pink & orange. I know what you're thinking. Pink & orange?!? You should've seen the look on my Mom's face when I told her my plan. She has excellent taste so, normally, that look would stop me -- but I knew it would be beautiful. And it is!
The point of this post, however, is to talk about the end result when using different yarn. The grey purse was made using Patons Classic Wool in two shades of grey. The pink purse was made using Patons Roving. Both are 100% wool. For both purses, I held one strand of yarn.

Patons Classic Wool is a worsted weight yarn (weight #4.) While Patons Roving is a bulky yarn (weight #5.) The picture below shows the two different types of yarn (but in different colors, because I haven't replenished my grey or pink yet.)
Classic Wool on the left and Roving on the right. See the difference?
Since they are different weights, I used different hooks for each purse. I used an I hook for the grey purse and moved up to a J for the pink. 

If you've ever used Classic Wool, you'll know it feels a little scratchy -- as wool can do. Once it is washed, however, it becomes so soft. Depending on where you stop in the felting process, you can keep the soft feel or let the item felt a bit more to shrink the item and make it stiffer. The grey was the first I made with this pattern, so I opted to stop when the purse was a certain size. I was less concerned about stiffness. 

As a result the grey purse is soooo soft! I honestly had to put the finished purse away because I kept touching it. The trade off for all that softness is the grey purse does not hold the pleat as well as I would have liked. To help it along, I put a couple of stitches in the pleat to hold it together. I think it looks fantastic! A lovely shape, nice pleat and a soft as a kitten purse?! Yes please!

The pink purse, which was made with Roving, I love for a whole different set of reasons. The roving, which is bulkier, felted down to more of a material feel. It's not as soft as it was in the wrapper, but look at how it holds its shape! You can see the difference in the pictures below.

See the difference?
The pink purse feels more like you would expect a felted purse to feel. It has a lovely texture to it and it feels substantial. The grey purse feels soft and cuddly and makes me want to put it in my lap and pet it all the live long day.

I don't like one more than the other. They're just different. 

I will continue to make this purse and I will make it with both types of yarn. I may try to felt a little longer with the Classic Wool or, perhaps, use two strands to bulk it up a bit. I will also make others in the same fashion as the grey & revel in the softness. 

What is your experience felting? Do some brands felt differently than others? Do you like one "type" of felt more than the others? I would be interested to hear your experiences.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Shades of Grey

I've been in a crafting frenzy lately. I was recently accepted to my very first craft fair, at St. Gregory the Great in Hamilton, NJ, and I really need to beef up the stash of goods. I have some slippers, hats and purses. But I need more!

I found this wonderful pattern on Etsy -- where else! -- and knew I would have to make this bag. 
This is the Casual Girl Purse created by Rachels Crochet.
This bag was a real pleasure to make. The pattern calls for this to be made in two colors but it can easily be made in one color as well. The bag is completely assembled before felting, so the stitches very nicely "melt" into each other. It is a really lovely purse, with a retro feel.

This bag was made with two shades of grey from the Patons Classic Wool line. It is so soft, I'm half tempted to stuff the bag, sew it shut & use it for a pillow!

I'm offering this purse for sale in my Etsy shop. I'm also happy to make the purse in any other color combo. Just let me know what you fancy and I'll have a purse done for you in 1-2 weeks.

The Felted Tote - skill set

If you're following along as I attempt The Felted Tote written by Little Projects:
you may be wondering what skills you need to make this tote. You will need basic crochet skills like: making a chain, fastening off and weaving in ends. All the components of the bag, including the handles (if you don't purchase pre-made handles like the ones shown) are made using a half double crochet (hdc) stitch. If you don't know how to make a hdc, you'll find good tutorials on You Tube.

This bag is constructed in pieces, so no crocheting in the round. You will need to be able to sew the pieces together using yarn and a large-eye, blunt-end needle. We will also be felting the bag. If you haven't used this technique yet, I would recommend buying an extra skein of yarn, in the type you wish to use for the tote. Make a few gauge swatches & felt them according to the directions in the pattern. Be sure to measure the swatch before & after felting and time the process, so you'll know how long to felt your bag for the yarn you selected. Since felting is more of an art than a science, it's always a good idea to felt a swatch when using yarn that is new to you. Remember, you'll need 100% wool and a washing machine to felt this bag.

The pattern will include all a list of materials and felting instructions. If this technique is new to you, please don't let that prevent you from trying. I dove right into felting after learning to crochet. Personally, I love the look of a felted piece and found the technique easy to learn. I hope you'll crochet along!

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Felted Tote - Part 1

Tote Body & Sides

This tote is constructed in pieces which are sewn together with the same wool yarn before felting. The felting process not only shapes the bag, but helps the pieces stay together to make this:

Pattern by Little Projects.

To begin, first we need to select yarn. Since this is a felted tote we will need yarn that is 100% wool. The pattern calls for 5 skeins of Patons Classic Wool. You can use any wool you like, just make sure you buy enough. Here's a tip if you want to substitute yarn. In general, you can substitute as long as you buy yarn of the same weight. 

For instance, this pattern calls for Patons Classic Wool which is a worsted, medium weight yarn. When looking at comparable yarns, look for the recommended yarn's weight symbol. Patons Wool is weight class 4:

Look for a yarn with the same weight class then you'll know your project will come out, roughly, the same size as the original. Next, don't look at the ounces called for in the pattern. They won't mean much when looking at a different brand of yarn. Instead, look for the yards used. Some patterns will say the number of yards. At the very least, the pattern will call for the number of skeins. Use that information to figure how much yardage is needed and then compare that will the yards for the yarn you're looking at to figure how many skeins you will need.

For instance, one skein of Patons Classic Wool (solid color) is 223 yards. The pattern calls for 5 skeins, which is 1,115 yards. Let's say you fall in love with a color of Lion Brand Wool. One skein (solid color) is 158 yards. Therefore, you will need 7 skeins of the Lion Wool to complete this project. You would need 8 skeins if you picked a LB self-striping wool, as each skein has 143 yards. Be sure to check the lot numbers so that all your yarn will match. Another tip is to over buy. If you're not sure if you need 7 or 8 skeins of yarn, buy 8 and return the one you don't use or use the left-over yarn for a smaller project (or make a purse that has random stripes of all different colors!)

Okay, we have our yarn picked out and we have enough skeins from one lot number. Let's start!

I'm following along with the pattern, so I made one body & two sides:

As you can see, I didn't go with green -- though I love the shade of green used on the original. I wanted an orange tote for fall, so I selected Patons Classic Wool in Pumpkin (product #77605.)

What you're seeing here is the body folded over on itself. It's actually twice as long as this picture. On the top are the two pieces for the sides. I've marked the right sides (RS) of each with a stitch marker because you want the right sides (as in correct side, not right vs left) facing out & I want to be sure I can identify the right side facing out. If you don't weave in your ends as you go (like I do) you can also tell the right side by the beginning tail. When you start your chain you will have a tail. When you have the right side up the tail will be in the lower left corner. Since I weave in my ends as I go (b/c I hate weaving in ends and when I have the tote constructed I'm going to want to felt right away & NOT weave in lots of ends -- I just know me) I mark the right side of each piece. 

Now that the body & sides are completed, I will be moving on to the pockets -- which will be the subject of Part 2.

The Felted Tote - Introduction

For over a year, I've looked at this pattern from Little Projects on Etsy:
Isn't it lovely? Lots of pockets of felted goodness. For a year I drooled and then passed over the pattern because I thought it would be too far above my skill level. Two weeks ago, and 40+ constructed purses later, I decided I had to try to make this tote and I purchased the pattern. 

The pattern calls for 5 skeins of Patons 100% wool. That's 1,115 yards. Since I couldn't find enough wool, in a color I liked, in any local store I had to order the wool online. My yarn came on Friday -- right before Irene threatened to keep me housebound all weekend. This is the story of the construction of a purse I've been waiting a year to make. 

If you can make a half double crochet (hdc) you can make this purse too. It's all straight pieces that are pieced together before felting. I used to shy away from piecing because I'm not great at hand sewing. Let me tell you, felting helps to cover a world of mistakes, so don't let the piecing keep you from making this tote. 

I hope you'll follow along as I attempt to make a tote that is even half as lovely as the original. If you would like to crochet along, you can purchase a copy of the pattern on Etsy from Little Projects.