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16 April 2015

Spring Lilacs!

I awoke this morning to a sure sign of spring:  the lilac beside the front door is in bloom!  I hustled out between rain showers to get a photo of the blossoms, having learned (in past years) that one good windstorm will strip those pretty purple blossoms right off the bush.

Purple has always been one of my favorite colors, whether it's plum, lilac, lavender, eggplant ... you get the idea!  I just love purple.  (In fact, last March I colored my hair purple.  Long story.)  Our younger daughter loves purple too, although her girls don't seem to have a passion for purple yet.

Younger Daughter also has a passion for purses.  The purse-and-shoe gene must have skipped a generation, because my mother had it and Younger Daughter has it, too -- but not me.  I've already made her a quilted purse, but I decided recently to make her a felted one, too.

I've wanted to try a project with the African Flower Hexagon crochet block.  This pattern got its hooks in me when I saw Heidi Bears' gorgeous African Flower animals on Ravelry.  I haven't screwed my courage to the sticking post yet to try one of those -- except for little birds, my attempts at amigurumi have been only marginally successful -- but  I love looking at them.  (And if you're a lover of playing with string, and haven't been to yet -- GO.  Stock up on snacks, because you'll be there awhile, ooohing and aaahing over all the pretties.)

Heidi offers a free tutorial for the African Flower Hexagon on her blog, so that's where I started.  It's an easy block to learn, and an easy block to love!  By the second or third one, I had the pattern memorized and was happily hooking away.  I also started looking around the Internet for a free purse pattern that uses the African Flower Hexagon, and was delighted to find Gunilla Karlsson's African Flower Purse pattern on her  blog.

I did make some adjustments to Gunilla's pattern.  She uses a chunky/bulky weight yarn, and her bag is not felted.  I knew I wanted to felt my bag, and I was also using my favorite yarn in the world -- Palette by Knitpicks -- which is a fingering weight yarn.  So instead of making 12 hexagons (2 rows of 6), I made 18 (3 rows of 6).  I also shortened the top border because, frankly, I wanted to go work on something else and was ready for this project to be finished.  (Patience has never been a particular virtue of mine.)

For the drawstring, I took all the colors of yarn that appear in the main body of the bag (one strand of each color) and a size K (6.5 mm/UK 3) crochet hook, and made a big fat chain.  I tossed that into the washer at the same time I washed the bag, and voila! I had a felted drawstring.  (The photo above was taken before I finished the knotted end of the drawstring.  I had to get my photo taken between thunderstorms.  It's been a rainy spring here on the farm.)

Long story short, the felting worked great, Younger Daughter loved it, and I've now moved on to making oodles of African Flower hexies -- I decided that the grandkids' bedroom needs matching bedspreads.

The colors of Palette used in this project are:

  • 23724 Sky
  • 24258 Green Tea Heather
  • 24571 Mulberry
  • 24259 Huckleberry Heather
  • 24578 Bluebell

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