Back in February, I attended the book launch party of Nienke Landman. She presented her book Mooi van Draad. Her book contains several knitting and crochet patterns where she plays with colour and texture by using several materials or combining different techniques. You can read about the book party here.
Immediately, I had one favourite pattern that I put on top of my to-do list (which somehow remains long…). It’s the pattern for her Floral Book Tote (Bloemige Boekentas in Dutch). I really like the simple structure of the tote which is made special by using a crochet stitch that gives a lot of texture. The embroidery is, of course, the finishing touch.
Nienke uses this embroidery style a lot. For instance on cardigans or on gloves. She gives workshops where you can learn how to do this. I attended one of these workshops and made these gloves. The gloves are shop-bought, the embroidery is made by me following a pattern by Nienke.
As soon as the book was available, various versions of the book tote made their appearance and I started to think about the colours I would like to use for it. I decided to use a dark green for the bag itself and various green/yellow/red tones for the flowers on the front. There was a nice piece of yellow fabric in my stash that I used for the lining. You will find all details on the yarns that I have used on the Ravelry project page.
I started by making the front of the bag (enjoying a cup of Chinese green tea…)
And soon I could move on to the backside, which is just plain double crochet stitches.
Ready! The texture of the arrows on the front is really nice!
Look at it!
On to the embroidery part. I am really happy with the colours that I picked for that. They are a great match with the green of the tote.
As a guide, I have put yarn scraps onto the pattern of the colours that I’ll be using for the embroidery.
The trick here is that you use a water-soluble material on which you draw the design that you want to stitch on your work.
Then you do all your stitches, making sure not to spill a drop of some sort of liquid (let’s say tea…) onto this fabric because it will dissolve immediately!
And done (I have even woven in the ends here already). At this stage you put the part with the water-soluble material in a bowl of warm water and the magic happens: the material dissolves and you have a perfect piece of embroidery.
Lovely yarn scraps!
After the front and back of the tote are put together, the handles are sewn onto the bag. I had some male assistance here… the Mr drilled holes into the leather so that I could sew them onto the bag.
The final step is to add the lining. I have made a simple bag of the fabric which had to go into the crochet bag. At first, I thought about sewing it in by hand but I changed my mind and used the machine to do it for me. I just don’t have the patience to do something like this really neatly by hand.
Okay… just one last finishing touch… a leather label with my name on it! Isn’t that cute! I ordered the label, as well as the bag handles, at De Haakfabriek. They doe custom-made labels in various sizes and colours. (And the ship internationally!)
So, here it is… My Floral Book Tote!
I have used it several times when running small errands. It is perfect for that because it is not too big and not too small. Just right.
All project details can be found here!