The Fernandina Beach Bag is a summer tote you can crochet yourself. Bright and breezy, it will carry your summer essentials in style.
A solid single crochet base worked in the round is topped by colorful mesh stripes. A bit of fringe adds whimsy—add more or less according to your taste.
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I used Universal Yarn Yashi, a 100% raffia tape. The raffia provides a bit of structure, but you may choose to line the bag with fabric, as well.
The bright colors are perfect for the summer, while the black hides any dirt on the handle and base of the bag.
It’s easy crochet: you’ll use single crochet, double crochet and slip stitch.. There are no seams at all; it’s entirely one piece. Crocheters just beyond the beginner level should find this bag within their ability.
Text instructions and stitch pattern chart are provided, as well as a couple of assembly diagrams to aid in understanding. American crochet terminology is used throughout.
This bag pairs perfectly with my River Heights Shawl. Crochet both and wear the shawl over a little black dress for a perfect ensemble!
Skeins or hanks of yarn must be wound into balls before you can use them. The easiest way to wind a skein of yarn is to use a yarn swift and yarn winder. These tools help you wind the yarn into a center-pull ball that sits nice and flat while you work. Center-pull balls won’t jump down and roll around the floor as you work!
The following instructions assume you have both a swift and a winder. You don’t have to have both, but it does make things easier.
This post contains affiliate links, which may provide a
small income to me but don’t cost you anything extra.
Yarn swifts come in many different styles. Some clamp to a tabletop or counter; some sit on a table. They may be metal or wood. Some open and close like an umbrella, while others have pegs that can be adjusted for the diameter of your yarn hank.
Depending on the type of swift you have, begin by clamping your swift securely onto the tabletop or placing it on a sturdy surface. Make sure there is plenty of room for the swift to rotate without hitting anything. Remember that in the case of an umbrella swift, you’ll be opening it up to a wider diameter once the skein is in place.
If the yarn band is wrapped around the entire skein, pull it off and set it aside. If it is tied to the skein, leave it in place for the moment.
Your yarn came in a gently twisted skein, with one end
tucked inside the other. Untuck that end and allow the skein to untwist into a
circle. There are two or more smaller pieces of yarn tied around the hank to keep
the strands in place. Don’t cut these yet!
Place the circle of yarn onto the swift and adjust the swift
to the desired diameter. The yarn should be held securely but not be stretched
in any way.
Now you can find the yarn ties that hold the skein. Carefully cut one of these ties next to the knot. Release the strand; it probably goes in a figure-8 around the hank. You may have uncovered one or both ends of the yarn skein or you may have simply discovered a shorter piece of yarn. Cut the remaining ties in the same manner. If the yarn label was tied to the skein, it should have been released and removed when you cut the ties.
At this point you should have found both ends of the yarn.
Pull one end gently; it should start to unwind from the swift without much
If you find that it is getting tangled and not unwinding smoothly, stop and make adjustments to the skein. See the video below for more explanation.
How to Use a Ball Winder
Yarn winders do the work of winding the yarn into a
center-pull ball. They clamp onto the table surface and have a center spool
that holds the yarn. You thread the yarn through one or more yarn guides that
place the yarn in the right position to roll onto the spool. Most yarn winders
are hand-cranked, allowing you to control the speed. There are, however,
electric yarn winders on the market.
The brand of yarn winder pictured here is no longer made (as far as I can tell), but there are plenty of similar ones available. Check out the links below for options.
Secure the yarn winder onto the work surface. I’ve found that it’s best to leave about 18-24” [46-61 cm] between the yarn winder and the outer edge of the swift, if you have the space.
Thread the yarn end through the feeder eyes on the winder
and insert it into the slot at the top of the spool. The exact path of the yarn
may vary; check the instructions that came with your yarn winder for specifics.
Begin turning the handle of the yarn winder slowly. The yarn should begin to wrap around the spool. Place your finger on the yarn end for the first couple of rotations to make sure it stays in place. Once you see that the yarn is coming off the swift and onto the spool without a problem, you can increase the cranking speed. Don’t try to go as fast as you possibly can, but aim for a nice steady rhythm. I like to place my hand between the swift and the winder and allow the yarn to run through my fingers. That way, I can stop winding if I feel a knot or unexpected slub in the yarn.
When all the yarn is off the swift, stop cranking. Place
your thumbs on the top of the spool and use your other fingers to lift the yarn
off the spool. The center of your yarn ball may collapse and close the hole
where the spool was, but the yarn tail should still be visible.
You are ready to use the yarn! Simply put your lovely new yarn cake on the table and pull the yarn tail from the center.
Watch the video to see me wind yarn using both the small winder pictured in this post and a jumbo winder.
In order to design garments, you must know something about body measurements. Many new knit and crochet designers struggle with understanding body measurements, especially for body types that are different from their own.
This post contains affiliate links, which may provide a small income to be but don’t cost you anything extra.
My colleague Lindsey Stephens realized that this struggle is real, and has written Body Basics, an e-book to help designers understand more about body measurements. See what Lindsey has to say about Body Basics. And if you decide you want to buy it, use coupon code Edie1 for $1 off the purchase price.
What made you decide to write Body Basics?
I initially sat down to write a booklet on grading, or the process of changing one pattern in one size to multiple sizes. The more I thought about it, though, I realized that the reason so many people have difficulty with grading is because they’re missing a fundamental bit of knowledge. They don’t understand all the body measurements that come in to play when designing a garment.
If you understand the body measurements, and how to turn those body measurements into garment measurements, then not only will your designs look better and fit better, but you’ll have a much easier time when you do decide to tackle grading.
Who needs to read Body Basics?
Anyone who wants to design a garment to fit a human body. Especially if you want it to fit a specific human or specific measurements.
In your opinion, what is the #1 mistake that novice designers make when designing garments?
Crossback and Armscye. Those are the two measurements that the majority of beginning designers don’t take into account. Many of them don’t even realize they exist. However, these measurements are critical to a good fit and to determining the silhouette of the garment.
How will understanding the concepts in the book streamline the design process?
This book isn’t about streamlining. It isn’t about doing things faster and quicker. It’s about doing a deep dive to gain the critical knowledge and understanding to do the job well. Once you have that understanding, then yes, you’ll find that not only the quality of your design work will be better but you will be able to do the design math more efficiently.
Why can’t I just design a garment in one size and let my tech editor calculate all the other sizes?
You totally can just hire a tech editor. And you will be better able to judge the tech editor’s quality of work if you know what they’re actually doing. I’m a big fan of doing something yourself at least a couple of times before you farm it out. It makes you a wiser and more knowledgeable buyer and employer.
I personally prefer to do my own grading and then have my tech editor double-check the pattern. Why? Because there are design decisions that have to be made as part of the grading process. Should the cable be the same for all sizes? Should the button band be wider for plus sizes? Is the goal to make the waist shaping happen in 4 distinct locations around the body or just evenly around? There are no right or wrong answers, but deciding these things is part of the process of design.
After I’ve read Body Basics, what should my next step be in learning more about design?
The next step after reading Body Basics is to design a garment based off the new information you’ve learned. That’s why every Body Basics purchase includes my free Schematics Templates pdf. This is an additional pdf of over 40 blank schematics. Use these as a launching point to start your new designs. (Don’t forget to use coupon code Edie1 to get $5 off the purchase price.)
Lindsey Stephens is a near-fearless crafter with a passion for making things. She spends her time crafting 24/6 (no crafting on Shabbos*). Lindsey shares her crafting expertise with her followers, who love her signature wit and humor. Lindsey also works as a technical editor for crochet and knit patterns, as a website manager, and is a mom of two. Read about her latest intrepid crafting adventures on her blog.
*Shabbos, also known as Shabbat: The Jewish Sabbath observed from sundown Friday to nightfall Saturday
What’s special about the Endless Shamrock Garland? Most crocheted shamrock garlands are made up of individual shamrock motifs. This means you have to weave in a lot of ends. But the Endless Shamrock Garland is made without having to cut the yarn!
Make it any length you want. When it’s as long as you please, just weave in two ends and you’re finished!
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Use the chart to help you understand stitch placement. The pattern uses American crochet terminology. You’ll find a video tutorial at the bottom of this post.
Worsted Weight yarn of your choice Size H-8 / 5 mm crochet hook OR use any yarn size/hook combination you choose
The long garland pictured on the wall was made with a green cable-spun yarn from my stash. The short garland was made with Chic Sheep by Marly Bird in color Polo.
Crossover slip st: Insert hook into stitch indicated, pass chain over working yarn, yarn over and pull through all loops on hook to complete slip stitch.
Each shamrock measures about 2″ / 5 cm wide x 2″ / 5 mm tall. Gauge isn’t crucial in this pattern.
Ch 8. Row 1: *Ch 8, crossover slip st in 4th ch from hook to form a ring, ch 4, (tr, dc, tr, ch 4, slip st) in ring, ch 5; rep from * for desired number of shamrocks, ch 8, turn.
Row 2: Slip st in back bump of 2nd ch from hook and in back bump of next 7 ch, *(tr, dc, tr, ch 4, slip st) in next ring, ch 5, slip st in back bump of 2nd ch from hook and in back bump of next 3 ch, slip st in same ring, ch 4, (tr, dc, tr) in same ring, skip 4 chs from previous row, slip st in back bump of next ch; rep from * across, ending slip st in back bump of last 7 ch. Fasten off.
Thoughts on Crocheters & Knitters Guest Post by Tory Light
I live in the country of Yarn Nation, in the province of Knitting. My primary language is Knit.
Recently I left Knitting Town (my village) and flew across Yarn Nation to Crochet Land for a conference. Not a knitting conference with crochet on the side. No. Knitting. None. Everywhere I looked, crocheters were wielding blunt hooks, not pointy sticks.
And every crocheter was amazingly friendly to me, which was weird, because
many knitters I’ve encountered are only superficially sociable to strangers, if
they acknowledge them at all. By contrast, I made several genuine friends
during that weekend of crochet, thanks in part to the event’s tradition of
providing both a mentor and a buddy to newbies like me.
It got me wondering: Here I was, still inside the borders of Yarn Nation, but clearly this other tribe was not like mine back home. We all live in Yarn Nation, and we all make pretty things.
Are Crocheters all that different from Knitters?
I felt like an Anthropologist leaving a culture of Hunters and entering a culture of Gatherers. Now in the guise of a participant observer doing fieldwork, I perceived at least two distinctly different “ethnic groups” within the overall culture of Yarn Nation. A whole dissertation could grow out of this topic, but I’ll focus just on tool use, a classic way to study civilizations. I’ll also point out some linguistic implications based on the names of our main tools, the knitting needles and the crochet hooks.
Let us leave aside historical differences and differences in the technical characteristics that distinguish crocheted textiles from knitted. Let us also leave aside demographic evidence that participation in crochet (versus knitting) skews more toward crafters with less disposable income, sculptors/artists, African-Americans, males, crafters in rural areas, prison inmates, crafters who can’t or don’t use 100% wool; and so on. (Google Trends search 1/3/19)
Tools That Stab and Tools That Grab
Let’s analyze only one thing—the use of one tool vs. another—to illustrate
possible differences in each tribe’s social values. These differences might be
as obvious as the contrast between tools that stab and tools that grab.
Consider the main tools that we yarn crafters use, and the words and images that we associate with them:
Needles. Or “knitting pins”, as some people still say. They have the same shape as sewing needles and pins, so it takes little imagination to see why they have the same name. If you sew, you know that sewing needles and pins are very sharp.
At least knitting needles won’t draw blood, so in that way they are closer to crochet hooks, but still, they are not allowed in prisons. (Martha Stewart’s famous poncho was crocheted.) Remember when TSA forbade them in your airplane carry-on? On second thought, knitting needles would make great weapons. More than one murder-mystery author has chosen this ploy. And there’s practically a whole arsenal in the hands of someone working with five double-points. Just imagine the potential of a circular needle as a garrote!
Knitting needles are for Hunters.
Hooks. A hook is used to pull something toward you. A shepherd’s crook, the catchy part of a tune, advertising—all are hooks of one kind or another. Hooks—as in hook and eye—connect two parts of a garment. Hooks—as in coat hooks—are a handy support, keeping your belongings clean and off the ground. I’ll bet you yourself use a crochet hook if for no other reason than to catch a dropped stitch and help it back up.
Crochet hooks are for Gatherers.
There’s visual symbolism going on, too: Hooks are curved. A curve is soft.
From our species’ earliest days, humans have associated curves with comfort and
safety. Starting with our mothers’ bodies when we were babies, to environmental
features such as rolling hills and rivers, curves signify security. Conversely,
humans associate pointed objects with danger and fear. Claws, thorns, jagged
mountains—you get the idea.
Make a Friend; There’s Room for All
So, fellow Knitters, I know that when you attend events with your friends
and do not want to socialize with strangers, you do not intend to appear
cliquish. When you snub those who do not work with pure wool, you do not intend
to appear superior. But sometimes you come across in negative ways. Your tool
of choice literally is the more aggressive one. Maybe it plays a role in the
way you interact with other people.
And that’s OK: The world needs both Hunters and Gatherers.
But here’s the thing: we are not servants to our tools. We can rise above the primitive sticks in our hands. The next time you see a Crocheter or even another Knitter, take time to get acquainted. Make a new friend. As some of Yarn Nation’s wise “bistitchual” Elders like Edie Eckman, Rick Mondragon, and Myra Wood have shown us, it is possible to thrive in both cultures.
Heading home to Knitting Town after my inspiring visit to Crochet Land, I realized that there is another Yarn Nation village I must explore sometime. It’s in the “flyover” region between Knitting and Crochet. I’m curious about that tribe of crafters. You know who I mean: Tunisian, anyone?
The opinions expressed above are those of guest blogger Tory Light.
I started knitting as a child; I post on Ravelry; I’ve been published in a few pattern magazines. I also have my Craft Yarn Council certification as a knitting teacher, so if you were once a beginner (and who wasn’t?), maybe you’ve had a class with me. I go to at least one big knitting event per year, soaking up as much education as I can. Basically, I am very familiar with those two pointy sticks—my street creds, if you will.
Tory’s Crochet Land conference is more commonly known as Chain Link, the Crochet Guild of America’s annual conference. Although that conference is crochet-centric, you can find crochet and other Yarn Nation crafts at other conferences around the country.
As this post is published, I’m winging my way to California for Stitches West, a conference where all types of fiber arts are welcome. Check out my Workshop Schedule for upcoming venues where I’ll be teaching both crocheting and knitting.
Storey Publishing provided a copy of Knitting Modular Shawls, Wraps and Stoles for my review. The opinions expressed here are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
Melissa Leapman’s Knitting Modular Shawls, Wraps and Stoles is a book I’ve been eagerly anticipating. For one thing, it has stitch patterns (whoo hooo!). For another, it explains how to design stuff. Both of those make it a Big Win in my opinion.
Imagine being able to knit an infinite variety of beautiful shawls with just some basic knowledge. You would start with just a few stitches, then increase on right-side rows to create a triangle. The placement of the increases would change the arrangement of the triangles and thus the shape of the shawl.
You could change up stitch patterns and choose from a variety of borders. You could choose your favorite yarn in any weight, and know that you’d be creating a lovely wrap.
The book serves as a sort of recipe book for shawls. Melissa explains the logic behind the construction of various shapes shapes, and provides a stitch dictionary full of stitch patterns to be used in their creation. Each stitch pattern includes both written and charted instructions.
If you don’t feel like working that hard (although really it’s not that hard at all), you can just knit one of the lovely designs from the patterns Melissa designed.
There are big ones and little ones and lacy ones and solid ones and triangular ones and … You get the idea.
So let’s see: We have shawls that everyone in every size can wear, and you can knit them with whatever yarn you want in whatever size you want, and you can choose the stitch pattern and make it entirely your own. Really, what’s not to love?
The Giveaway has ended. Congratulations to Barbara R, the lucky winner!