Several Purse Straps - I-Cords, Knit and Crochet

Purse Straps

From Left to Right

The RED strap is cast on 13 stitches knit then purl each row consecutively until 1/3 longer than the finished strap you desire, for a large tote with 3 1/2" wide finished strap. This finished strap was knit as a part of the Market Bag.

(See Above) The pink/purple yarn is from my blog banner at the top of this blog. This is an extra (3 times the finished length) long single crochet using all three yarns used in the finished bag. I pinned the top of center of each strap to a piece of styrofoam and did a simple macrame' knot all the way down and tied it off, (made two). These are threaded through grommets attached to the bag.

Next a Blue/Brown/Turquoise Tan strap below is also a cast on flat strap using 7 stitches, then felted, sewn to the bag sides.

A small mauve strap with a pendant attached is single crochet - then felted. This is how I attache jewelry, pendants, etc.

A Thick Felted Brown Tweed strap is the i-cord pattern using 4 strands of the yarn used in the bag along with casting on 5 stitches to start with, making it very dense and strong. After felting while still wet this one had to be stretched a lot giving it more strength when it dried ... it will be carrying a computer bag.

The Blue/Brown/Turquoise and Tan i-cord next is an i-cord made with the same yarn as the color scheme 3 cords to the left and the last one on the right. I held two strands together, Retro Patons Classic Wool and Tan, then did the i-cord method with 4 stitches and felted, stretched, etc.

The Mauve/Purple/Pink thick cords side by side are another computer bag that needed a thick strong cord for the weight.

The brighter Pink/Brown/Burgandy combination is the bag in my youtube video at the bottom of this blog.

The last strap is a computer bag, also in one of my youtube videos. It is extra long and is sewn to the bag starting at the sides/bottom to give the entire structure more strength.

Several of these items are listed on http://www.bigsis2.etsy.com/

Others are spoken for and go out the door today!!

Thanks for lookin'!


How to Attach an I-cord to a Knit Handbag

The easiest way to attach an i-cord to a bag is to go down about 1" from the top rim of the bag and in about 2" from the sides and poke a hole in the felted fabric with a metal pointed knitting needle, remove the needle, and use a larger needle in the holes, until the hole is a little smaller around than your i-cord you'll be threading through it. You can attach grommets to the holes for a finished look, or simply thread the i-cord through the holes you've made.

My candy corn bag, on www.BigSis2.etsy.com has grommets in the holes mentioned above

It took 8 grommets because I did a "paper-bag" style fold and pushed the needles through 4 layers of fabric to make the holes on each side.


Step-by-Step Etsy Business

I got onto Etsy.com for the first time last winter. My d-i-l had friends selling and she was buying. I talked my lil' sis into starting a store, and bought a few things myself. About the same time I started making knit felt bags, I started planning for an ETSY store of my own. Ynttt.


I listed 4 bags and a pair of wrist-warmers, and a scarf. Here it is step-by-step.

1. Log on to http://www.etsy.com/

2. Click on "Sell" and "Sign Up to Sell"

3. Set up your profile - you will need a picture to use for your banner.

4. Take pictures and write descriptions of all your items.

5. Once you register all this info. you can start listing your items. They cost 20 cents each. Then you pay 3 1/2 percent of your sale when the item sells.

6. Figure the shipping - be fair and cover your actual costs, boxes, tape, labels, driving to post office, etc.

Any questions? I'd be glad to help, but you'll find it is so-o-o-o easy. IImssm.


Knit Felt Bag Finished (with pictures) You can do this...please send me a picture if you do.

Another bag for my etsy store. www.BigSis2.etsy.com

Another Bag!!

The picture below shows a finished bag on the right and a bag from the same yarn on the left before felting. The bag on the left is the finished bag above.

This is a close up of the retro yarn and off-white knitted rows before felting:

I held two colors of yarn together throughout. Brown, Off white and Patons Classic Wool "Retro" self-striping in blues, browns and tan. I started with the base (just brown and off-white). I cast on 28, slipped the first stitch on each row, knit one row, purl the next for 16 rows. This gives a nice large stitch on each side to pick up stitches along the sides.

A closer look at the bottom of the bag before felting, the brown and off-white base - you really have to TRUST this will work out, not real obvious at this point, but after it felts it shapes really nice.

To start picking up stitches finish with the wrong side, and using the right needles go into each of your 8 extra large stitches and pull the yarn through leaving it on the right needles. This should be done on a circular needle at this point, and with the smallest length cord as possible, as it gets tight going around the corner. See http://www.knithelp.com/ to get instructions on picking up stitches. Start knitting in the round by marking the corner where picked up stitches and the original knitting meet.
After knitting a round or two - this is coming up from the base, change to the "Retro" self striping. You will need to make the bag 3 times as high as the base is in depth. The base is 10" long and 4" deep, then you want to make the height (before felting) 16" as it will shrink (felt) down to 2/3 it's original height. the piece will felt down to 3/4 it's original width. So the 10" base will become about 7 1/2" to 8".

This sounds a little complicated, but there are many steps in here that http://www.knithelp.com/ coveres. If you are new to knitting open this pattern and open another tab to Knit Help dot Com and watch those videos as you go. To finish do an i-cord cast off - this makes the top of the bag a little more sturdy, and the cast-off is a lot more even - looks like you finished it with purpose. The strap can be as wide as the side, or smaller. I cast-on 5 with size 13 needles holding two strands of yarn together. Then knit and purl each consecutive row until the piece was 1/3 longer than the finished size I desired.

Any questions please comment.

I felted this piece by putting it in a pillow case, tying it shut, dropping it in a small load of very hot, slightly soapy water, and washing it in a top load washer for about 8 minutes.
I think this one actually took me about 6 hours total. These really are EZ4U to do, trust me, and so relaxing.


Knit an I-Cord Strap or Making a Purse Handle

I found this link to a step by step knit an I-cord. This is my most popular hit to my blog. The i-cord is the finishing touch to handmade purses, or computer bags. Once it is felted and attached it is as strong as rope, but matches the finished piece.


Kevlar Helmet Liners for our Troops

This is a great idea ...


make a helmet liner for our troops. The pattern looks pretty strait forward.

Does Sarah Palin Knit?

I was just wondering if Sarah Palin knits, or sews or crochets. I'll bet she has no spare time right now, but I think she probably has the skills.

Sarah Palin was introduced as the most popular Governor in the USA today on a news show ... hmmm who made her so popular? THE MEDIA!!

Well I'm just curious, and will be doing some research. She's gotta have some hobbies!!



There is something strange about having nothing on my needles.

Today, I spent the day with lil' sis, we went to open knitting class, but didn't join in as there were already plenty of people around the table. We walked around and talked to each knitter in action, and touched so many yarns ... We did a little cafe for lunch and a little coffee shop for some conversation and knitting techniques ... then we called Big Sis 1 ... and caught up on her incredibly tough life. She is at her husbands side as he recovers from Chemo and Radiation for Pancreatic Cancer...he's progressing and actually has some good days, but right now they are on vacation in Florida, hotel on the beach, and he is in too much pain to enjoy - plus he's on a liquid diet because of a new problem caused from the Chemo and Radiation. He's been in the emergency room - on vacation!!

I'm aching for her and him. My arms are heavy, my joints ache, I get so worried about how she is going to handle this, I want so bad to have the biggest invisible hand in the world that will reach inside my sweet brother-in-law and pull this sickness and pain from him, then I remember who I am, Who's I am, I am a child of the Creator, the maker of heaven and earth...HE IS IN CONTROL. He knows how much our Norman is loved, He MADE him!! Norman is the gentlest caring Christian man I've known - he is patient, kind, caring, loving and very sick. This complicates my brain cells, but inside my spirit I know that everyone dies, EVERYONE!!

So with that in mind, I'm searching those brain cells trying to find a way to help with encouraging words, making myself have as normal a day as possible, trying to coax my sister to take care of herself and reminding her that Norman is number one in her NEW NORMAL.


I just felted another knit bag - computer sleeve!

The computer sleeve I just finished I started on Monday. It's finished size is 14" wide and 11" tall with a "brown bag" style fold, like my candy corn autumn bag listed on Etsy.com. It will have grommets and an i-cord strap. It is spoken for though!!

Setting Goals with my Knitting

I set a goal back in April to have an etsy store by October. I really wanted to open the store with 8 items, just a personal goal, but I ended up giving away so many items. I only have 6 to start with. A scarf, a pair of wrist warmers, 3 purses and a computer sleeve.

So for reaching my own personal goal:

Thank you, thank you ...



This is a close up of the felted computer bag in "Retro" self-striping yarn, the pattern is made in this one by holding two strands of the same yarn together, I often had to re-match the striping colors to keep the pattern going, but it gave the bag a Southwest effect. This one is currently on sale at my ETSY store at http://www.bigsis2.etsy.com/

The pattern in this one made it's own tweed look as I held Plymouth burgandy together with Patons Denim Meryl throughout the work, it is a notebook bag I gave to our d-i-l before her trip to India.

I designed this one on MS Paint software before actually knitting the bag - the tweed effect of the brown is from Patons tweed chestnut color. The Yellow, Green and Orange were also two strands held together for a dramatic effect with the tweed in between as an accent - reminds me of racing stripes, but the finished project was one of my youtube specials on knitting and felting.

When I made this denim bag I was so impressed with the thickness of the finished project, yet it allowed the pattern to still be displayed. The grommet fit perfectly and the i-cord was 3 strands of Patons Denim Meryl instead of two held together throughout the body of the piece.
This piece is a large tote bag that was done in Patons SWS (Soy Wool Stripe) and it had very subtle stripes. Each of these ended up being gifts with the exception of the soutwest inspired which is listed on my Etsy store.

The picture does not give this one justice - it is awesome! Iimssm!


I Have An Etsy Store!!

I've added my Etsy store to my blog. See it to the right of each post!!

I've had several people look at my items already, and I'm featuring one bag on the front page of SHOWCASE under the catgory: bags and purses today only. When you get to the showcase, use the MAIN drop down list to go to bags and purses.

My store name is my Etsy name: BigSis2


search for seller username:


click on the link above to go to my store
or use the store promo on the right


I've made 16 bags since April

I've given away 7 bags and 4 of my 9 that remain are currently spoken for. Starting my etsy store has been tough because when I show one to a friend it either becomes an instant gift or I get an order for one in a specific style or color. I'm learning so much...

NO COMPLAINTS HERE!! It's all great experience and I'm learning what people like, and I love giving them away as much as making them so-o-o-o ...

My goal in knitting these bags is to document the process, write the pattern, and get the pattern listed on-line to sell for a minimum fee, to GET PEOPLE KNITTING. The next step is KITS

I read today in Vogue Knitting http://www.vogueknitting.com/ that entertainers are knitting backstage to relax before their performance, people are picking up knitting projects to auction for charity, teens are knitting creating unique designs ... knitting is becoming a trend, I'm hoping to kick mine up a notch with my felting designs ... my new goal - GET PUBLISHED!!

Anyway, I posted the knit foo-foo bag last week, where I mixed yarns - see:


This is the finished bag:

and a close up of the closure.

Starting an Etsy Business


I'm closer than ever to posting my knit & felt items on etsy.

This is a collection of my projects, a sampling of several items I've completed. The patterns are to follow.

I'm collecting knitter's woes - complaints about patterns, what's missing, etc.

My patterns will assume a few things - They'll be relatively simple assuming the knitter can knit and purl and pick up stitches and slip them, as all of those can be found on-line, through my blog or by a simple search, with pictures. I'll add that link to my pattern also. My favorite how-to page is:

It's the learn to knit page on Patons yarns web page: http://www.patonsyarns.com/

They have great pictures, pretty simple. Casting on is probably the hardest part, then picking up stitches after making the base of one of my "lunch sack style" bags is a challenge, using circular needles was my hurdle, and simply starting over takes a lot of laying down pride!! Hate wasting time to start over.


I Didn't Knit Today - I'm headed home!

I stepped into the pantry looking for oatmeal, and came out about 2 1/2 hours later, with every shelf washed and all of the small boxes of brown sugar in the same canister. I found a tall urn to use for all the plastic grocery bags, and put all the paper goods on the same shelf with the plastic cups. I bagged like snacks together and threw out dated opened bags.

The strange odor was a rotting onion ... it was a subtle odor, we had searched for it, but until I emptied the bag of onions into a wire basket for display, it was illusive.

I found several BBQ sauces, various sizes and brands ... I'm getting to know my sister's favorite foods, her daily schedule and her sweet family and friends. How precious to know she has so many people that care enough to be there for her and Norman through this trying time.

They've lived in this house 5 years now and they still have empty cabinets and drawers, hm-m-m-m we've filled every nook and cranny (where did that saying come from?) in our house, even though I sell stuff on eBay every little break I get, we still bring in more than we send out or throw out or carry out of the house.

OK I'm rambling, but I'm pretty well convinced no one reads this anyway. Maybe it will encourage someone some day. SISTERS ROCK. All these years, 41, I've been married and away from my sisters, yet, we are willing to drop everything in crisis and everytime we're together we don't have to spend time catching up or getting to know each other, we just drop into a relationship and go forward. 3 Knitting Sisters was my way of linking us together, encouraging them both to start knitting, accomplish some projects and sharing the progress...the accomplishments came, and the sharing continues ... not a lot of knitting going on, but I'm honed my skills and learned to be a better sister.


I actually re-felted the purse in the upper left corner of this picture

I "re-felted" the bag because it was still a loose knit, only partially felted. It's really nice and solid now. I put it in a pillowcase and went through a hot wash cycle...I left the stone on the purse and the straps are woven through grommets, so I left the strap on also...it re-felted just fine and looks amazing.
OK this was my first draft of my Knitting and Felting Pattern book. My idea is to make it a file that can be downloaded. This is actually a collage of 3 of my first purses.
I plan on doing a knitting and felting pattern book that has 3 styles, a small purse, a market tote and a computer sleeve.
Along with the pattern I would like to put together purse kits to sell at craft shows and specialty shops...future plans!! All of my bags are a detailed version of the pattern on the right top of this blog.


All About Sisters - Norman's New Normal

This has been quite a week.

I'm at my sister's house. We've cleaned the refrigerator, organized the laundry room, vacuumed, mopped, knit, crocheted, watched old movies, knit, crocheted, cleaned, packed away a months worth of meat into the freezer, did I mention knitting?

We are together making life a little simpler and assessing her next few months, waiting for some test results for her hubbie, Norman, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last December ('07).

He has had so many BAD days lately, severe pain, that he is undergoing another invasive test on Friday, and will get the results then. My sister is in the FROZEN mental state, fear can grip us like a tightening rope, even when we're trusting the Lord, each little bit of information can give the rope of fear another jerk, and blind us from enjoying the moment.

We have laughed, cried, hugged, reasoned, thrown out reason, had near accidents waiting on the drug store manager to open the public bathroom, stopped for drive-through cokes, sat at the dinner table together, sipped coffee in our nightgowns, and stayed up till weird hours of the night I haven't seen since women's overnighters years ago.

I've hooked up with some of my nieces, and great nieces and nephews. Some I'd never met...soo adorable - her grandkiddos.

But most of all it really isn't all about SISTERS. Right now it is ALL ABOUT NORMAN and NORMAN'S NEW NORMAL!!

The new normal hits when our day-to-day life smacks into an invisible wall called dsappointment. It's not really that simple but whether its Katrina, Gustov, tornado, fire, divorce, an accident or terminal illness, whatever stops us in our tracks and causes us to pause and reassess our day-to-day life, that's the new normal.

I've come to the conclusion that the new normal is a new day. Each day is exactly what we make of it, in the areas that we have control, and the outside influences (or inside our body controling factors) are the day's challenge, our reaction to the task at hand is what makes us who we are, who people recognize - our true character.

Norman is a true man of God. He trusts God for a healing, while he rests on a complete understanding that every man dies eventually, but his untimely diagnosis, even though it interupted his retirement plans, caused hm to cancel many events on the calendar, and has stressed my sis to the limit, he stands firm that GOD IS IN CONTROL. When he is in a lot of pain he is tempted to fear, but is so thankful for the last 10 months since the diagnosis, and thankful for family.

Know what - I want to be as gracious as my Norman if i ever suffer the way he has, his suffering has made him a powerful witness of God's love and grace.

Yep, we really are 3 knitting sisters. We just don't get to knit together like this very often, and I am a blessed woman!! (I finished another bag tonight!!)


This is Patons Denim and Yarn Bee Soft Delight

I used two colors of Soft Delight to emulated some stripes, and held each strand with the denim (2 strands of yarn throughout the piece). It is a very loose piece,looks like a giant sock cap right now, but once I felt this bag it will be about a 9" by 11". It is around 13" high and 11" wide right now.

I used the pattern to the right for a purse, cast on 28 instead of 26, knit and purl the base, then picked up all my stitches all the way around (the sl st at the beginning of each row makes it easier to pick up and knit the smaller ends of the base. Then simply knit on a circular needle as high as you want to make the bag a little taller than it's width be sure to knit 1/3 taller than you want the final piece.
Knit an i-cord strap:


Combining Yarns for Felting Knit Bags or Market Bags

I found a web page that talks a great deal about combining yarns for special effects before felting. I'm currently using Patons' Classic Wool and Yarn Bee Soft Delight, I haven't felted the piece yet, but it is certainly pretty to work with so far. I'm wanting to add a third "Fur" yarn to the trim that will not felt, hope it turns out ok.

Check out these instructions and sign up for my updates, I'll be posting the finished pictures.


Knitting and Felting Made Simple

There seems to be a problem with blogger.com I was going to upload a picture of my first pattern book, but I cannot upload the picture --- I'll keep trying.

Anywho - I'm planning a 3 step knit and felt bag. 3 Steps, 3 Supplies in 3 Patterns - COOL!!

It is nearly done.

Pictures forthcoming.


All Is Well - Prayer and What's On Your Knitting Needles?

Pray for the world. The financial crisis is an opportunity to hear from God ... our divine providence is from him. He who made us is able to KEEP us! I'm so saddened when I hear that people give up in times of financial crisis.

Today when I was helping my 4 Grandsons with their school work our 21 month old Granddaugter was playing with a little Dora doll I brought for just this "boring" moment.

I set the doll on the edge of the table where a few boys were doing their work. The Dora doll said, with my help of course, "Aven, need you." Aven came running stood at the edge of the table scrunched up her little body, tucked in her little arms, got a very serious look on her face and said, "Need you, Dora," scooped up the doll, rested it on her shoulder, patted her back and walked away saying, "It's OK Dora, it's OK."

All is well.

With all that is going on in the economy, worldwide, and in your neighborhood and mine, there seems also to be a strange peace. I'm reminded that if I stay close to my heavenly Father, who created me, my world and everything in it, then I will have a peace that passes all understanding.

Now, what does this have to do with knitting? Hm-m-m. I actually have a few things on my needles, an experimental leg warmer, still designing some size 21 months fancy ones, and another BAG. This time I'm using Patons Classic Wool, held two strands at a time with size 15 needles, I'm going to try making a very big loose bag to felt, it will be another denim one, but shaped more like a brown paper grocery bag when completed (not that big of course).

For me, a few minutes of knitting, seeing an item coming together, participating in "creation" in the smallest way, helps me calm my worries even if it is just for a few minutes.

Today I hope to teach my 8 year old grandson how to finger-knit. He said he'd love to learn to knit because he loves to learn new things - AND THAT BOY SOAKS IT UP!!



Knitting Now - Knit Along - My Aching Wrist

NO THIS ISN'T ME it's a kid (google image) silly.

I found out that I have is RSI.


I have absolutely nothing on my needles right now.

It's a combination of doing so much typing recently documenting an 8 hour Board meeting for a wonderful cause where I serve as Secretary; spending lots of time with the grandkids while our d-i-l is visiting her sister in India (time with g-kids is better than knitting any day!!), and the BIG delay, my right hand, my knitting hand, my throttle hand (from riding my motorcycle) is in a lot of pain these days, strained I believe.

So-o-o-o, I finished my sister's vest, finished a market bag, and a purse, did a small swatch in sock yarn for some lovely fingerless gloves for a lovely granddaughter, and now I'm wearing a pain patch on my wrist to get the thing healed up.

I have a market bag and 3 purses in the queue for gift orders for Christmas, this must be healed soon. Today is a day of rest - 'cause I'm going to be with the grandkids ... they are such a joy. We rode 200 miles yesterday in the cold (43 degrees) and I believe being tense aggravated the tendons.

I have a craft show with lil' sis next weekend...gotta get some stuff done here. I'd like to do a display of some of my patterns with a few purses on the display. I'm hoping to encourage more people to PICK UP THE NEEDLES AND GET KNITTIN'


Weight Loss - that same 25 pounds.

Well, you ask how my first Weight Watcher's meeting went?

I was on the phone with someone important until 5:20 PM and back on the phone till 5:40, sign-in was 5:45 for new attendees ... so I didn't go, 'cause I hadn't even started making dinner for the hubbie,
and I hate going by myself,
and I get jitters anytime I start something new like this,
and I guess I just wasn't ready.

Do I still eat light? Some.
Am I gaining weekly? I don't think so.
Am I going to Weight Watchers some day? Maybe.
Do I already know the program? I should by now, I've lost the same 20-25 pounds probably at least 20 times in my life, some of those on Weight Watchers - I just get off the program and some crisis comes into my life, and I'm right back into the chocolate, etc.

I'm going to give it the Ole' college try again and approach weight loss with what I already know.
Track what I eat.

Here's today tracker: 1/3 of a protein bar, 1 cup of Ramen noodles, and one Gatorade, and it's 2:34 PM. (oops, forgot to count the fat-free creamer in my coffee!!

My word to the hopefuls: Knit more, eat less chocolate - unless you're using chocolate colored yarn!

You can buy this poster.