Feeling pretty low today so I thought I’d cheer myself up by going through the fabric I purchased at the weekend – there’s more than I remember buying.

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The best bit is sorting through and working otu what I’m going to make with it. I have lots of ideas – and will hopefully have chance to bring them to life in the next few days.

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Today’s the day that my bags should be in the Etsy showcase.

Have a look and see if you can spot any of the bags I’ve blogged about – including the one I made last night (first photo below). If you like them ‘heart’ them and feel free to leave a comment here.

Which is your favorite?

Loving Hands have new Winter Challenges – Lou, the founder, has made a miraculous recovery from her accident in the Summer and is back on board with the following challenges:

Here you go then – you have all been ever so patient waiting to hear about the new challenges – this challenge will run from now right through to New Year so it is definitely Winter Knitting :0)

While I was ill we had loads of emails and two of them gave me the inspiration for two of our challenges.

The first one came from Alice a student at Bristol University. She is a member of the Kenyan Orphans society charity group and is going over with a large group of fellow students to help out. She requested 300 teddies with their bags to take with them to give to the orphans as a way of ‘breaking the ice’ and helping the kids to trust them. I thought this was a lovely idea – we have 10 bears to start this challenge off already so just 290 bears and 300 bags to go!

The other email was from a church group who are helping a community in Zambia – they are looking for blankets of all sizes for an Aids Hospice, School and Orphanage – apparently there is a great shortage of bedding and the temperatures can drop so low at nights. It would be great to be able to send them 200 blankets to help out their charitable quest :0)

We have also decided to help out the Sailor’s Society again this year and are looking for 300 hats to send them to help the sailors keep warm – as we are now almost 300 in number this should be simple :0)

Specially for our stitchers we have a challenge just for you – we are looking for 100 pairs of pyjamas or nightdresses for Linda McDonald’s orphans – I believe Suzanne will still have some of the packs of fabric and patterns available for this challenge as we didn’t get any made last time round. Thought you would like a special challenge for yourselves this time. Obviously we will still need the teddy bags as well if you want something quick and easy to do :0)

Needless to say if none of these challenges appeal we still need all our usual things so feel free to continue with warm clothing for all ages for Blythswood or Linda McDonald or if you like fiddly things then toys for the orphanages or knitted boobs might fit the bill.

Hope you are happy with these challenges – keep up the great work team – you are all stars :0)

If you’d like to join the group – either as a knitter, crocheter or a stitcher – drop by to the website http://www.lovinghands.org.uk and send Lou your details. There’s a lively forum of other members to keep you motivated too.

My first handbag is in the Etsy shop.

It’s a lot more like the bag I fell in love with during the Summer and is a lot bigger than the one I made last week. It was a shame to put it up for sale but I need cash to feed my new addiction – and buy zips and clasps and things. I have remembered to make a pattern this time so hope to make the same design with all the lovely material I have in my stash at the moment.

It’s been a while since I wrote about my stitching. I’ve been searching the Internet for bag making patterns after my attempts at making a big bag.

I found one on this great site.

I used the free pattern for the Hobo Bag to make this.

It’s a bit small for me so I’m going to give it to my aunt for her Birthday next month.

Have you heard of Ravelry.com?  I’d be very surprised if you haven’t as everyone’s been whispering about it for months.

It’s an online knit and crochet community which works as a personal organiser for your projects, stash, needles, books and patterns. You can link up with other ravelry users in the many forum groups. It was started in 2007 by Jessica and Casey Forbes in Boston, USA and has an international following – over 190,000 users at the last count.

To join you need to sign up for an invitation – which takes around 4 days to land in your inbox – this is so that they can control the amount of people who join each day and so they can answer any queries from new members quickly.

It is also totally free!

There is an abundance of free patterns on there (plus ones that you can buy) and lots of ‘big names’ in the knitwear design world are there. If you like the look of a pattern you’ve got in a book or a magazine – chances are you can find it on ravelry and see how other people’s experiences of knitting the pattern were – and it satisfies my nosiness to see what my online friends have been knitting. You can link your completed items to your blog posts and have your blog showing on your profile page (though only one at the moment – I have 3 4). I’ve still not explored ravelry to it’s full potential but I will get around to it.  You can find me here.

Now I just need to find somewhere to satisfy the stitcher in me 🙂

A friend of mine has a pre-schooler AND twin toddlers. Which means she has a lot of stuff to carry around. During the summer we went on a visit to a local park and I fell in love with her bag. It was a big bag with a generous wide strap and a tie closure. I asked where she got it and she said a friend had made it for her.

Having just had success with my ‘Swag bag’ I thought – yes you guessed it – ‘I could do that’. I tried to sketch the bag from memory. There was no join at the top of the bag to the straps as they were all cut out of one piece of fabric with a hole in the middle for the shoulder and arm – so only the back and the front were sewn together in one continuous seam. However I wanted the bag to be lined and so had joins at the straps for the lining – stitched into the main bag for strength – and the rest was one piece. In the end the lining was slightly too big for the bag so the stitching is very obvious but hopefully I will learn from that.

inside bag

inside bag

big bag

big bag

Rather than a tie fastening I thought that the material I chose would suit a button fastening much better and I’m quite proud of the result. My one problem is that I didn’t put a pocket in so I will need to add a purse type pocket to put all those essentials – like my phone and my lip gloss – in so they don’t get lost in the bag. It is great for carrying a change of clothes for my son (and some fruit, and a drink, and his cars, and a book, and another drink …).

I didn’t have the foresight to make a ‘pattern’ so I will need to attempt another one soon whilst I can still remember how I did it.