Summer bag and little sailboats

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As my exams loom closer (ohmygodohmygodohmygod..) I haven’t been sleeping well, so I’ve been crocheting in the wee hours of the morning. These sleepless nights have resulted in a new summer purse. The terrible photo above was taken on a rare day when I stopped studying, got out of yoga pants, and ventured into public.

The bag pattern is a free Ravelry download, Summer Sling Tote. It worked up bigger than I thought it would, which is good. I was worried it would be too small. There is enough room in it for all my essentials plus a book and my laptop’s power cord- perfect!

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The bag took me about a week and a half to crochet and line. According to Ravelry, more experienced crocheters get it done in just a few days. It’s a great first pattern, just double crochet after double crochet with some slip stitches to attach the handle. I had a tough time with gauge on the handle. I kept making my initial chain too tight and it took me three tries before I was happy with the result.

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The completed bag before the lining was inserted

 

Fellow Ravelry-ers (is that a word?) reported having a tough time with the lining, but I didn’t have any problems.

I used some cotton poplin I had left over from a disastrous skirt attempt (I’ll blog about that later…).  I think it’s so cute with the waves and pink sailboats!

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First, I fused the fabric with a mid-weight interfacing. I didn’t want the bag to flop and sag when I wore it. I like the stitch pattern and I want to show it off. I sewed in the lining by hand and was semi-successful matching up the waves at sides of the lining.

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The interfacing did the trick. The bag stays nice and round even with all my stuff in it. Here’s a side view:

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I am pleased as punch with my new summer tote and reactions to it are keeping me entertained. My mother was impressed and is claiming my crochet skills are hereditary (Mom hasn’t crocheted anything in 30 years…). My friends are giving me incredulous looks when I tell them I didn’t buy my bag- I made it. I think a few don’t believe me!

I have a little less than two weeks until my test, so I guess I’ll need another insomnia project… hmmm… What should I make next?

 

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The ‘existential crisis tunic’

Wait… where did May go?!

I started off this month in San Francisco at a conference. I wore me-made on the plane home and did a solid job of wearing me-made items twice a week (I didn’t do a good job of taking photos). I even managed to make four new garments this month: gingham bow blouse, a yoga-style maxi skirt (unblogged), a red sleeveless knit top (unblogged), and the existential crisis tunic (below). I also finished knitting a scarf for my boyfriend

Scarf for my guy

Scarf for my guy (Man Scarf on Ravelry)

and made three little crochet baskets.

crochet basket (Pattern on Raverly)

crochet basket (Pattern on Raverly)

I haven’t blogged much because I have been prepping for my qualifying exams (the super terrifying mutli-day test I have to survive before I can start on my dissertation). By the time I finish studying each day, I need a crafty break, but I have no desire to read or write. As a result, I’ve been ignoring the blog a bit this month. My test is the last week in June and I can’t wait for life to get back to normal. My brain is starting to hurt…

Sewing, knitting, and crocheting have provided me with a respite from all the studying. My latest sewing project was made from this fabric:

wild tribal challis from JoAnn's

wild tribal challis from JoAnn’s

Nope, there is nothing wrong with your computer… it is bright and wild! This is not normally something that would catch my eye. (I’m blaming this purchase on exam stress.) It has a lovely drape, was 50% off the sale price, and is unapologetically loud.

I decided immediately it wanted to be a tunic, so I attempted Simplicity 4149 again.

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I made this pattern once before in a gorgeous shimmery linen, but the garment was a flop.

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The linen was too stiff. It was uncomfortable and made me look like a box. Making matters worse, the first time I washed it, the seam at the ‘V’ in the front of the tunic started to pull away and fray.

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You can’t really tell in this photo, but the bottom of the ‘V’ is fraying on the left side. Gah!

Disaster.

So, this was a second attempt. I worked on it for a little bit each night for about a week. It’s an easy make, but this was my first time working with challis. It’s slippery and has a bit of stretch. I’m sure with some practice this will be no big deal; however, my first few seams were wavy. My seam ripper got a workout. I ended up with this:

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topstitching around the neck in turquoise. It looks wavy here, but really is straight.

Topstitching around the neck in turquoise thread. It looks wavy here, but really is straight.

It’s super comfy. I was bummed that the ‘V’ is a bit too low to wear out in public without a cami underneath, but otherwise, I like the fit- flowing and comfortable. I think it will make a nice cover-up poolside as well as a top for running around on weekends.

I’m particularly proud of the detail I managed at the ‘V.’ I just wish it didn’t get lost in the print:

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I’m calling this my ‘existential crisis tunic’ because I finished it on a day when I was not coping well with exam stress. After throwing myself a pity-party, I decided to channel my freaking out into something productive and finished this tunic.

I’m not sure what I’ll work on next. My sewing production has ground to a halt since finishing this tunic- too much studying to do. After the exams, I have a few days of nothing but sewing and mindless television watching planned. I’m soooo looking forward to it!