Thursday, February 07, 2013

It's Starting to Look a Lot Like...

Seen from the right front corner.

The crafter's tote meant to be my Secret Santa gift for my Sister-In-Law is finally shaping up into something resembling the vision I had for it when I began to design it in July.  I'm still working on it into February because I so completely miscalculated how much time and thread it was going to take and ran out of both before Christmas day.

Seen here are the two panels created from eight strips of 11 4x4 inch squares in 11 shades of pastel.  The placement of the colors designed to stair-step.  The idea was to mimic the look of a quilt as my sister-in-law is a quilter and this bag is designed to hold a full sized quilt in progress.  But it can also be a carry-on duffle for all the travel she does.

Each strip sports a different stitch so it becomes a kind of crocheter's sampler.  The stitches in the five strips of the top panel were all new to me.  In fact I learned five more that did not work out before I settled on these 8.

I finally got the last strip gone around with the Mushroom rows that includes the joining loops on Sunday and yesterday I got the five strips of the second panel joined by braiding those loops together.  That's the one seen here draped over the top and hanging down the front.

Seen from the left end.

The other panel, wrapped horizontally around the front and under the front flap is still under construction as I am adding an all Mushroom strip to replace the strip originally intended to be there that I gave up on when I couldn't get the pattern to make a 4x4 inch square.  It kept coming out too short or too tall by a quarter to a third of an inch which would have made it impossible to match up the corners

The mushroom border I'm putting on in it's place started out as a simple chain loop mesh but it was bunching and rippling, an indication the first row had begun with too many loops.  But I could not change that as that first row was part of the row of joining loops created for joining the strips together.

So I had to take out the second and most of a third 44 inch row of loops I'd added and experiment until I figured out a way to decrease the amount of space that first row of loops was creating.  I finally settled on something that I may have invented.  At least I've never seen it anywhere in the dozens of pattern books I've looked at and the many dozens of web pages.

I brought the hook into each loop from behind and twisted it to the left before doing the single crochet into its top. This creates a row looking a lot like a row of cursive e's.  I liked its look so much and found it so fun to do I decided to do the whole strip that way but starting on the second row of e's I decreased the loop to five chains from the six in the first row and decreased the stitch between the tops of the e's from two chains to one.  That finally created a fabric that lay flat.  Now I'm nearly half way to the four inches tall it needs to be.

Seen from the front again but with the flap lifted up to show the  front of the bag.
To display it for the best effect I wrapped it around my own crafter's chest of three drawers with my satchel of thread on top.  I pinned the edges with twist ties where they will eventually be joined once I have the Mobius strip compete so it can join the party.

The dimensions are 20 inches long by 16 inches tall by 12 inches wide.

The twist in the Mobius strip will be where it crosses the top and forms the carry strap.

Seen from the back.
There will be two places where three edges will meet and have their joining loops braided together.  That is the vertical edge where the front panel wrapping around the sides meets the bottom four squares of the back side of the bag.  Seen at the left in the final picture.

The 8 foot long by 12 inch wide Mobius strip--not seen here because it is still only 3 inches--will form the bottom and come up the sides inside the front panel becoming the back side of the side pockets.  I will have to add a row of joining loops on the back of that panel at the front corners--vertical line 3 squares in from each edge--for the Mobius strip to be joined with.

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