Totes, Bags and Drums….

 

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When you first start crocheting the only thing that really gets your attention is crochet hooks, yarn and the pattern of the day. However, as your interest increases you discover there is more tools and then other accessories that will catch your eye. Among the crochet hooks, stitch holders, scissors, and tape measures you will start looking at, you will also find the need for a good bag to carry your projects in.

At first I suggested to people to just use a plastic grocery bag. Why invest money needlessly, waiting until you discover if you you really want to learn the art of crocheting? However, once the decision has been made you might want to begin exploring the different types of bags and their features and what will work for you.

Although I have many yarn bags in my crochet closet, today I am going to share with you the top four I find myself reaching for. Why four you are asking? Well, I always have three projects and three project only going on. My rule is one hard project, two easy ones, and I can not start another one until one of these is finished. This keeps me from having a lot of unfinished projects laying around. Because if you are like me, you have about a hundred projects you want to do! Since I have made this rule, I am seeing a lot more of my projects all the way to the end. The fourth I keep around because it is a clear bag and it allows me to take my crocheting in high security areas such as sporting events, allowing easier entrance.

When shopping for a bag, the first thing you need to decide is what are you looking for. These are the main things I look for in a crochet bag:

First, how easy is it to use the yarn? I do not like to deal unnecessarily with tangled yarn           if I do not need to.
Secondly, am I going to lose my hooks in the bottom of the bag? Is there a pocket, a place to store hooks? (I dislike having to take everything out looking for a hook)
Third, can I store my project when I am not crocheting and safely keep it clean and free from harm?
Lastly, I read reviews. After all, gleaning from others will save me money in the long run. I do not want to waste my time on a bag that will have to be replaced in year.

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My Main Crochet Bag (brought in 1997)
My favorite bag is one I have gotten so long ago, I do not even remember the name of it. But whoever designed it, knew what a crocheter was looking for.

The bag has one large compartment inside, with a side zipper that holds all your hooks. They also added eight outer pockets, six hold yarn and two for extra things, like notions, hook cases, etc.. The yarn pockets have feeds. small metal eyelets, sewn into the green canvas material that allow you to keep your yarn skeins separate while you can also feed one long string into the large center compartment with your present project. This enables me to place everything inside organized and ready to use in a moment. Then the bag zips securely protecting all the yarn until the next time I sit down to pull everything out. It has a shoulder strap for easy carrying. If anybody recognizes this bag, please share the name and company in the comment section as my memory on this matter eludes me, and I would buy another one easily.

These are the main things I like in about this crochet bag. This is the bag that I use always for my class, and for larger projects such as afghans or sweaters. Afghans have always been my passion. I love crocheting them and having them around.

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ArtBin Large Yarn Drum (Birthday gift this pass March)

The next two bags I grab are relatively new ones to my collection, but I am finding myself reaching for them often. The first is the Large ArtBin Yarn Drum in the color periwinkle. It is a 12” diameter x 12.75” high, with two large slits on top so that your yarn can slide through for easy use. The tote can hold up to eight skiens of yarn.

The tote itself is made of a canvas like material, and unless it is full, it will collapse as it empties. I have seen this one on some other web sights and observed that some people crisscross two pieces of card board to keep the bag standing. I tried this for a while, but it did not work for me. So what I did was take six more narrow pieces of card board and taped them together to form a circle and keep the middle of drum completely clutter free. This seems to be the solution for me, you can try both ways and sees what is the perfect fit for you. I have posted a picture of both below.

When you buy this one you will need to decide if you would like to purchase an outer pouch or not. I did, and use it to hold my extra notions. The hook I need for the project and scissors – I keep in an outer attached pouch on the drum itself. (pictured below)

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The yarn drum can be carried two ways: easy grip handle or shoulder strap.

This is perfect for my kits from Annie’s Hook & Needle Club and for projects not requiring more then eight 3 oz skien of yarn.

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ArtBin Yarn Drum Mini (brought March 13, 2017)
This third bag I am using more then I thought I would. It is an ArtBin Mini Yarn Drum also in periwinkle. I wanted them to match just in case I sat them on my living room floor by my crochet chair.

The Mini is only 5.8 x 5.8 x 9.5 inches and is the cutest tote I own. I use this one for smaller projects that require only one skien and for my projects requiring thread.  If you enjoy working with thread you would love this bag, as it is the perfect size to hold one ball of thread and the project without all the wasted room you find in the larger bags.   It is pretty much a smaller replica of the larger version with the exception of the outer pouch. It does have an option to buy an attached pouch but does not come with an outer pocket on the front.

I love this one when I am going on bicycle rides, and visiting people when I do not feel as comfortable carrying a larger bag around. It is small and fits easily into my bicycle basket and is easy to reach for and crochet as I visit with my friend, or if my hubby and I decide to stop and take a break during riding.

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NFL & PGA Stadium Security Approved Tote Bag

A few months back our church went to an Ice Hogs hockey game and to my surprise I could only carry in a clear bag. No purses, no bags of any sort are allowed in unless you could see through them. I am not really a big sports fan, so I enjoying taking along a simple project to help me spend time with my hubby but also it would be more enjoyable for me. This is when I decided to secure an approved bag, so I would have one on hand.

I choose this one from Amazon, it had good reviews and a zipper so I would not lose any smaller items. The bags is 12” X 12“ X 6” and is approved to be used where regulations require clear bags such as NFL football games, events, parks, and college stadiums.

The tote itself can be carried by two smaller handles or has a 30-60 inch adjustable strap for comfortable over the use shoulder carrying if you prefer. I do not use this bag as often as the other three, and am discovering that in our ever changing world it is a good one to have on hand. In-between stadium visits, I use it to store the yarn for my upcoming project. The see through tote is a great motivation to encourage me finish my current project and is handy because everything I need for my next smaller project will be in once place.

Spoiler: This is the bag I will be giving away in my next post…be sure to look for how you can receive one FREE.

Although I have several totes in my crochet closet, and I do occasionally use others, these are the main totes I have found useful durning my crocheting journeys. They are many yarn bags, totes and drums to chose from. As you try different ones, you will discover what works for you and what does not. But what ever bag you decide on, you will discover in some ways it is just as important as the type of hooks you have chosen.

Are these any of the bags you like to use, and if so, what is your thoughts on them? If not, What are those totes you love to use? And lastly, What are you looking for in a crochet bag?

Until next time, keep those hooks flying.

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Annie’s Hook & Needle Club – Kit 54 – Keep Me Warm Set.

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Slowly I am crocheting my way through the kits that I have gotten behind in. The July kit that arrived in the mail from “Annie’s Hook & Needle Club” was the “Keep Me Warm Set”. It is a fall hat and fingerless Mitts pattern ablazed with summer colors. I really am enjoying making items like this for those fall walks and our bike rides.

The kit came with two skeins of rainbow light weight variegated yarn weighing about 452 ounces. You will need a tapestry needle and then you will have a choice of either an H or a G Hook depending on the desired size of the hat and mitts.

All Annie’s Hook & Needle Club kits come with two sets of patterns, one for crocheting and one for knitting. With my love of crocheting, I always lean toward those patterns.

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This kit came with an easy pattern that could be quickly done with, by any person with limited crocheting skill. It was a very well written pattern, which contains simple increasing, and a working knowledge of the single crochet and double crochets. These are also great items to crochet if you are wanting a little more experience with working in rounds. One suggestion I would like to make is that use a stitch marker to help visually mark the beginning of each round, otherwise it might get a little confusing as to where a rounds ends or begins.

The hat was so enjoyable and simple to crochet that I crocheted two additional ones in smaller sizes by using smaller hooks, for two of my grand daughters in Tennessee. Praise the Lord I live in this time era, with FaceTime I will get to see the expressions on their faces when they open them.

With all of this in mind, I am rating this kit a 9, losing only one point for coming in unmarked labels.

Are you looking forward to sporting your new hats this fall and winter? Fall is my favorite time of the year, with the cool nights and colorful trees. I am already looking forward to wearing my crocheted hats and getting out my shawls as my hubby and I enjoy our evening constitutional’s.

**FYI: Will be announcing an upcoming Give Away Promotion next week, so keep an eye out for it.**

Until next week, keep those hooks flying.

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Homemade Christmas

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After a quick family gathering of brainstorming, we all decided on giving homemade gifts for the grandchildren. I know from experience that homemade gifts are special for several reasons. Besides the fact that they are fun to make, they are original and the one of a kind gifts that they will grow up to cherish and possiblyl becoming a part of our family heirlooms.

After the excitement of the huddle wore off and reality begin to set in. To be honest, with seven grandchildren, my first thought was I wished we would have talked earlier in the year. Would I have enough time? After surfing the internet for patterns and idea’s for projects for children my initial apprehension subsided, and my confidence began to return. After deciding on the patterns, and looking at the work involved it was becoming more feasible and foreseeable to complete all the projects in time.

I always try to make gifts that were of high quality and within my skill level. After all, making home made gifts is not the time to crochet above my ability or to give something that you yourself would be embarrassed to admit to making. Obviously I want the children to be excited about the gift, and enjoy long hours of playing with it.

So after the the smoke had cleared, my daughter and I had thought that stuffed animals, or in some cases families of stuffed animals, would be welled received. The only exception being our oldest grandson, who requested lots and lots of books.

On the other side of the country, my son suggested a stuffed animal for his youngest, and several Star War characters for his oldest.

Now, after this morning I know without a doubt that this is is the direction that God wants me go. An old crochet student contacted me out of the blue and asked me to crochet one of the exact same animal patterns I had picked out for my youngest granddaughter!! She is buying the pattern, the material and paying me enough to buy the patterns needed for the my grandchildren projects. It was perfect timing and a nudge in the right direction. A heavenly approval it seems, doesn’t it.

Word of advice:
When either I am cooking, baking or crocheting gifts, the rule I like to like live by is -not to give anything to others that I would not like to receive myself. Do not ever pass on low quality projects or food on to someone else, just to get rid of it.

Have you thought about Christmas yet? The next five months will be gone before you know it.

As for myself, in addition to my Annie’s kits, I will be crocheting animals this year.

Until next time, keep those hooks flying.

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Annie’s Hook & Needle Club – Kit 49 – Uptown Tote

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When I first opened my 49th kit from Annie’s Hook & Needle Club I have to admit that my first response was that of one of the utterly disappointment. The pattern itself was cute, stylish and one might even say practical. The problem was that it resembled the 19th kit (Classic Tote) (Kit 19: Classic Tote Review) so closely that I felt as if I was crocheting an old patterns vs. a new one.

The Uptown tote kit came with two skiens of yarn, one pink and the other black, a total of about 315 yards of yarn. As with the Classic Tote kit I needed to use an F hook and a tapestry needle.

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Although there was some variations, the pattern was similar to the first tote I did. It was clear to read and easy to follow. I have already crocheted several of the first ones, so I know I like the pattern enough to crochet it again.

The yarn used in the kit was Caron Simply Soft which I always enjoy working with.

I am really not reviewing this kit as fully as the others, because I felt I have already done so. If you crochet this kit, you might want to read the review for the Classic Tote, as I had a few suggestions to help make the crocheting process more enjoyable.

I am rating this kit a 6 – I think the lowest score to date. Mostly because of the unoriginality of the pattern. There are so many kits I have seen on the internet that I have patiently been waiting to receive over the last four years. The Uptown Tote kit that I received in April, made me feel cheated, and like I wasted my money.

I am sharing the pictures of some of the kits that I have found on the internet that I am looking forward to finding in my mail box.

What are some of the kits you are looking forward to sinking your hook into?

Until next time, keep those hooks flying.

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Annie’s Hook & Needle Club-Kit 52 – Checkerboard Place Mates

 

The 52nd kit I received from Annie’s Hook & Needle club is the Checkerboard Place Mates. I was excited about this particular kit since I was wanting to make place mats for my dining room table. Upon opening the package, I knew this would be perfect for our table.

First of all, the kit came with approximately 300 yards of light weight cotton yarn of each white and red. My dinning room is painted blue and so the colors would match perfectly. Secondly I really love the look of post stitches. The kit furnished enough yarn for two placemats.  And as usually a pattern for either crochet or knit.

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For this project all I need was my H hook and a tapestry needle and a working knowledge of the chain stitch (The Chain Stitch), the single crochet (The Single Crochet) and the long double crochet (Long Double Crochet ). All of which I have tutorials for if you are unfamiliar with any or all of them. The pattern is marked at an “easy” level, making it ideal for a beginner or as in my case, a relaxing project for a couple of free afternoons. I normally listen a movie or listen to an audio book.  Today I popped in Signed, Sealed and Deliver – Higher Ground movie to watch while crocheting my “easy” projects

After I made a hot cup of Twinning french vanilla chai I gave the first six rows my full attention to make sure I counted correctly, but after that it was a repeat pattern. The pattern itself was very clear to understand and easy to follow. I had no trouble executing the desired pattern for the placemats. It is an enjoyable project which was completed in two afternoon’s.

The yarn was a made of cotton, which will make it more suitable for a placemat, as the cleanup will be more manageable. The yarn itself was delightful to crochet with, except when you are coming to the end of the skien, I would caution you to watch for easy tangling at this point.

To summarize, Easy to follow pattern, great yarn and a pattern I would enjoy working again. I am rating this kit a 9, losing one point for the yarn coming in unmarked labels. Which will make this kit like so many from Annie’s Hook & Needle club, impossible to repurchase for future projects. I personally would love to buy some of this yarn for some crochet dishcloths. However, as it is, I am going to enjoy my placemat’s.

Until next time, keep those hooks flying.

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Deadlines – we all have them

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Crocheting on a deadline always brings to mind the children’s book “The Little Engine that Could”  – as the dead line approaches I am going up the mountain saying I think I can – I think I can – Praying that  I will make my deadline and will be saying I knew I could – I knew I could – – – this time next week.

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Just a thought…..

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If you are still undecided and at a loss figuring out how to participate in National Crochet Month, I might have a suggestion for you. Before I started blogging I had a blank journal that I would add pictures to and some pertinent information that I called my Crochet Journal. Remember that this was back in the dark ages, before internet and the availability of the many types of journals and templates so easily accessible today.

After placing a picture of a project or useful article on the page, I would fill in the following information:

Where I found the pattern.
If it was a gift who I might give it to,
the washing instructions of the yarn.
Any personal observations I had about working the pattern for future reference.
The hook, especially if I used a different one then what the pattern called for.
The yarn I used.

It was not fancy in any ways, but it did help me remember the projects I had worked over the years. When I started my blog I kinda of got away from it and blogging replaced my Crochet Journal. In a lot of ways it helped to prepare me for blogging, by writing down my feelings and thoughts on each project.

This could be a small investment simply by buying a blank journal at Walmart, or a larger investment by purchasing a journal designed for cataloging crocheting projects. Nowadays they have many templates on the internet for downloading that could be placed in a 3 ring binder. Although I have not personally checked out the usability of this app, I did find one in the iTunes Store for a digital journal of your projects that you could keep on your iPad or iPhone. (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/crochet-journal/id866600896?mt=8) I would caution anyone who uses the digital road to make sure of the dependability of how the information is stored.

Which ever path you decide, consider this month to start a journal. If not for your self, how about as a keepsake that could be passed down to your grandchildren children as part of your family legacy? Think about it as you look lovingly on them, is there one there who will carry on the crochet torch? As I am aging, I am realizing how important it is to inspire and influence the next the generation to keep this art form alive.

Until next week, keep those hooks flying.

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