How To Knit Beautiful Bags by Sian Brown Book Review with Flower Basket bag pattern

How To Knit Beautiful Bags by Sian Brown Book Review with Flower Basket bag pattern via Underground Crafter - book cover

Have you been wondering how to knit a bag? Bags are great projects to knit because you can start wearing and using them right away, no matter what the season! Today, I’m sharing my review of a book of knit bag designs and techniques. My review also includes an excerpted knitting pattern for the Flower Basket bag and your chance to win a copy of the book, so read on for details!

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. Search Press North America provided with a free review copy of How To Knit Beautiful Bags: 22 Gorgeous Designs by Sian Brown. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.

Book Review

At first glance, How To Knit Beautiful Bags: 22 Gorgeous Designs by Sian Brown seems to be an above average collection of knit bag patterns, but once you dive deep into it, you’ll realize that it is much more! This book is actually a guide to how to knit bags in general, and provides all the information you’ll need to make not just these 22 projects, but ANY knit bag into something beautiful, functional, and durable.

The book opens with a visual Table of Contents with a thumbnail of each of the projects in the book so it’s easy to find a favorite bag pattern again. The book then moves on to an Introduction from Sian where she explains why she loves to knit bags (because they are relatively quick projects where you can try out new techniques). She also explains that each bag in this book is both lined and has pockets. (Spoiler alert: Don’t be intimidated about the lining, because it’s all explained later.)

The next section, Materials and Tools, covers everything you’ll need to knit the bags in this book. Most of the items are standard supplies that most knitters would have available, but Sian also includes a sewing machine (for creating the lining and pockets), wadding (also known as batting in the States), interfacing, and handles.

The next sections include the bag patterns. The patterns are organized into Simple Bags (7 patterns), Summer Bags (4 patterns), Cablework (4 patterns), Evening (3 patterns), and Colourwork (4 patterns). Each pattern includes a short description, the skill level, a list of equipment with needle sizes and yarn listed using both UK and US terminology, measurements (in both metric and US customary units), tension/gauge, and finished size. Each pattern also includes at least one full-page photograph of the bag, usually shown being worn or hung so you can see how it drapes, and 2-4 additional pictures.

In terms of skill level, there are 7 beginner patterns, 1 beginner/intermediate pattern, 11 intermediate patterns, and 3 advanced patterns. The patterns are written in abbreviations, but 5 patterns also include color charts.

Techniques is the final, 20-page section. It includes information about 

  • Gauge/tension, 
  • Colorwork (including stranded/Fair Isle and intarsia), 
  • How to embellish your bag (with written and illustrated tutorials for appliqué; 5 types of embroidery stitches; attaching beads, sequins, and knit flowers; and making pom poms), 
  • Finishing methods (including blocking, weaving in ends, and backstitch and mattress stitch seams), 
  • Fastening your bag (with zippers, buttons, snaps, and magnetic closures), 
  • Adding lining using batting or interfacing (for less bulk), and
  • Making braided cords and attaching handles.

The book concludes with a list of pattern abbreviations, a yarn “translation” chart from UK to US to Australian terms for yarn weights, and a list of the specific yarns listed in each pattern.

Overall, it’s a wonderful reference guide to making your knit bags beautiful, adding lining, and finishing with lovely details. The patterns are a lot of fun, but this is more than just a pattern book. Although the Technique section in How To Knit Beautiful Bags is substantial, it really focuses on the specific techniques for finishing knit bags. There is no “how to knit” information in this book, so it is best suited to intermediate knitters or adventurous advanced beginners. If you’d love to learn how to knit a bag for yourself or to gift or sell, then I highly recommend How To Knit Beautiful Bags!

Flower Basket

Knitting Pattern by Sian Brown 

How To Knit Beautiful Bags by Sian Brown Book Review with Flower Basket bag pattern via Underground Crafter - Flower Basket bag

Published in How To Knit Beautiful Bags: 22 Gorgeous Designs

Text © Sian Brown 2018. Photographs and design © Search Press Ltd 2018. Shared with permission from Search Press North America.

With simple garter stitch handles and top, this design features an attractive, basket-weave pattern for the body of the bag. Topped off with a delicate flower in a complementary colour using lightweight, mohair yarn, add some matching seed beads for a bit of sparkle and shine.

Notes from Underground Crafter

Equipment

  • Knitting Needles
    • 4.5mm (UK 7, US 7)
  • Materials
    • 4 balls of aran (10-ply/worsted) yarn in mauve (A); 50g/98yd/90m
    • Small amount of 1–3-ply (lace weight) yarn in lilac (B); 25g/218yd/200m
    • 16 lilac seed beads
    • Magnetic closure
    • Lining and wadding/batting: 36 x 29cm (14 x 11.5in)
    • Lining for pocket: 18 x 33cm (7 x 13in)
    • Interfacing for pocket: 15 x 15cm (6 x 6in)
  • Tension (Gauge)
    • 24 sts x 32 rows over 10 x 10cm (4 x 4in) in pattern
  • Finished Size
    • 33 x 26cm (13 x 10.25in) excluding handles

Instructions

Front and Back (Make 2)

  • With yarn A, cast on 63 sts.
  • Row 1: knit.
  • Row 2: purl.
  • Row 3 (RS): k4, *p7, k5, rep from * to last 11 sts, p7, k4.
  • Row 4: p4, *k7, p5, rep from * to last 11 sts, k7, p4.
  • Row 5: knit.
  • Row 6: purl.
  • Row 7: as row 3.
  • Row 8: as row 4.
  • Row 9: knit.
  • Row 10: purl.
  • Row 11: p5, *k5, p7, rep from * to last 10 sts, k5, p5.
  • Row 12: k5, *p5, k7, rep from * to last 10 sts, p5, k5.
  • Row 13: knit.
  • Row 14: purl.
  • Row 15: as row 11.
  • Row 16: as row 12.
  • These 16 rows form the pattern. Repeat three more times, then work rows 1–8 once more.
  • Work 30 rows knit.
  • Cast off.

Handle (Make 2)

  • With yarn A, cast on 8 sts. Knit until handle measures 40cm (15.75in).
  • Cast off.

Flower (Make 5 Petals)

  • Using yarn B held double, cast on 6 sts.
  • Row 1: knit.
  • Row 2: purl.
  • Repeat these 2 rows three more times.
  • Row 9: k2tog, k2, k2tog (4 sts).
  • Row 10: purl.
  • Row 11: k2tog twice (2 sts).
  • Row 12: purl.
  • Row 13: k2tog.
  • Fasten off.

Making Up

  • Press the main pieces of the bag under a damp cloth. Pin the flower petals to one side of the bag with the cast-on edges at the centre and sew in place. Sew the beads in the centre of the flower. With right sides facing, pin and sew the bottom seam using backstitch. Then sew the side seams using mattress stitch. Turn over the top border to half the depth, and slip stitch it in place. Pin and sew the handles to the inside top of the bag. Follow the lining instructions below to make and fit the lining and pocket, and the instructions below to fit the magnetic closure.

Lining

  • Lining is used to neaten the inside of the bags so that you do not see the back of the knitting. It also adds another layer, and gives the inside of the bags a splash of colour and print. Choose your own lining fabrics to personalise your bag.

Lining the bags

  • Cut out the lining fabric and wadding/batting for the main bag, and lining fabric and interfacing for the pocket according to measurements given in each pattern (NB: if the print on the lining does not have a specific direction, cut in one piece and fold it at the centre. If it does, cut it in two pieces and sew them together with the seam at the bottom, keeping the print on the pocket going in the same direction as the lining).
  • Pin the wadding/batting to the lining if it is being used. Fold over to the WS a 1.5cm (5/8 in) seam allowance at the top of one side of the bag and machine stitch in place.
  • Fold the lining fabric for the pocket right sides together and press. It is neater to have the folded edge at the top of the pocket. If using iron-on interfacing, press this on now, with one edge against the fold. Sew one side and the top. Clip corner, turn pocket right side out and press again. Pin and sew the remaining seam.
  • Pin the seam allowance on the open side. Pin and sew the pocket in place around the sides and bottom, a little below the top at the centre.
  • Fit the magnetic closure now if you are adding one.
  • Pin the lining pieces together around the sides and bottom and try inside the bag for fi t, pinning around the top to check. Make sure that it fits well and adjust if needed (it is better for the lining to be slightly smaller than the bag in depth and width to avoid it looking loose).
  • Once the fit is adjusted, sew the side and bottom seams, RS facing.
  • Place the lining inside the bag, referring to the making up instructions, and pin to the knitted piece, then hand sew it in place.

Snap Fasteners 

  • Snap fasteners are a practical way to fasten pieces together and easy to open and close. Choose a sewing thread close to the colour of the knitted pieces, and use a fine sewing needle. Doubling up the thread will make sewing on quicker and more secure. 
How To Knit Beautiful Bags by Sian Brown Book Review with Flower Basket bag pattern via Underground Crafter - snap closure illustration 1
  • Snap fasteners come in two sections: a ball and socket (see above). The ball at the centre of one section presses or snaps tightly into the socket at the centre of the other. 
How To Knit Beautiful Bags by Sian Brown Book Review with Flower Basket bag pattern via Underground Crafter - snap closure illustration 2
  • Decide where the snap fastener is to be placed. Secure the thread at the back of the work. Bring the needle up through one of the holes, around the edge and into the back. Repeat this a few times for each hole until the snap fastener is secure (see above). 
  • For the second half of the fastener, position it to line up with the first half and repeat step 2. 

Giveaway

How To Knit Beautiful Bags by Sian Brown Book Review with Flower Basket bag pattern via Underground Crafter - giveaway

Now that you’ve read my review of How To Knit Beautiful Bags: 22 Gorgeous Designs by Sian Brown and tried the Flower Basket bag pattern, I’m guessing you’re ready to get your hands on the book. Well, the nice folks at Search Press North America have set aside a copy for one lucky winner!

This giveaway is open to readers with mailing addresses in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, or other parts of Europe, except where prohibited by law. Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, July 25, 2019. One winner will be chosen at random from the entries submitted via the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will receive 1 copy of How To Knit Beautiful Bags: 22 Gorgeous Designs, courtesy of Search Press North America. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Round and Round the Crochet Hook by Emily Littlefair Review with Sunny Citrus Cushion Pattern

Sunny Citrus Cushion free crochet pattern by The Loopy Stitch via Underground Crafter - Round and Round the Crochet Hook book cover

Do you love to crochet motifs? Are you looking for some bright projects to welcome spring into your home? Then, you’ll want to check out my review of a crochet pattern book by Emily Littlefair, including the excerpted pattern for the Sunny Citrus Cushion!

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. A free review copy of Round and Round the Crochet Hook: Patterns To Inspire and Admire by Emily Littlefair was provided to me by Tuva Publishing. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.

Book Review

Round and Round the Crochet Hook: Patterns To Inspire and Admire by Emily Littlefair is a delightful collection of 18 projects that are crocheted in the round. The book opens with an introduction from Emily, where she explains that all of the patterns used DMC Natura Just Cotton or DMC Natura XL yarns, and that you can switch a pattern made in the thin yarn to one made with the thick yarn and vice versa to create different looks. (You’ll need to switch your hook size, too, of course.)

Sunny Citrus Cushion free crochet pattern by The Loopy Stitch via Underground Crafter - inner circles of motif

The book moves on to a visual table of contents with lovely pictures of each project. There are 6 pillows, 5 table decorations (placemats, doilies, centerpieces), 3 wall hangings and garlands, 1 blanket, 1 coaster, 1 bag, and 1 rug pattern included. You can see pictures of all of the patterns on the book’s Ravelry page. Each project includes full-page photographs along with a description from Emily. The patterns include measurements, a supply list including the color names and numbers used, and written explanations of any special stitch patterns used. The patterns are written using international stitch symbol charts as well as U.S. crochet abbreviations. A key for the international stitch symbols used is included with each pattern. Some patterns, such as the Winnie’s Wonderland blanket, are made with one continuous motif; others, like Stars in the Night Sky, are made with smaller motifs joined together.

The book ends with a 5-1/2 page Crochet Basics and Techniques chapter, which includes written and illustrated instructions for basic crochet stitches; written instructions for the magic ring and standing stitches; written and illustrated instructions for different ways to insert the hook into the crochet (such as back loop, front loop, third loop, and back ridge of chains); and finishing tips.

The patterns are very pretty, and the bright photography inspires you to pick up your hook. While the patterns do not include a difficulty level and Round and Round the Crochet Hook: Patterns To Inspire and Admire does include helpful tips for beginners, since most of the patterns include special stitches, I would say this book is best suited to advanced beginner or intermediate crocheters who are comfortable with crocheting in the round, changing colors (and weaving in ends), and reading patterns.

Sunny Citrus Cushion

Crochet Pattern by Emily Littlefair

Published in Round and Round the Crochet Hook: Patterns To Inspire and Admire.
Pattern © 2017 Tuva Tekstil ve Yayincilik Ltd. Shared with permission from Tuva Publishing.
Sunny Citrus Cushion free crochet pattern by The Loopy Stitch via Underground Crafter - cushion on chair

Note from Underground Crafter

When I was making the motifs for this cushion, I was constantly reminded of citrus fruits. Yep, in the yellow tones I used, they looked like slices of lemons. I was aiming for the sun, but citrus fruit was close enough. This cushion will add the warmth of the sunny day to any room. As a thought… More of these motifs joined together would make a lovely blanket.

Finished Size

  • To fit 16” (40.5 cm) Pillow Form
  • Each Motif – About 6 3⁄4” (17 cm) square
  • Each 4-Motif Block (excluding Border) – About 13 1⁄4” (34 cm)

Materials

  • DMC Natura Just Cotton
    • Color A – Ble (#83)
    • Color B – Tournesol (#16)
    • Color C – Giroflee (#85) 2 balls
    • Color D – Nacar (#35)
    • Color E – Blue Jeans (#26)
    • Color F – Azur (#56)
    • Color G – Ivory (#02)
  • One ball of each color was used, except for Color C.
  • Hook: Size E-4 (3.50 mm)
  • Scissors & Yarn Needle
  • 16” (40.5 cm) square Pillow Form

Pattern Notes

  1. A Magic Ring can be used instead of the chain ring in Round 1.
  2. All joins are slip stitches, unless otherwise indicated.
  3. All new colors are joined with right side facing, unless otherwise indicated.
  4. Weave in all ends as you go.
  5. Standing stitches can be used to start a round with a new color.
  6. An invisible join can be used at the end of a round to finish a color.

Special Stitches

  • Join With Single Crochet (join with sc): With slip knot on hook, insert hook into stitch or space indicated and pull up a loop (2 loops on hook). Yarn over and pull through both loops on hook (first single crochet made).
  • Double Treble (dtr): Yarn over hook three times, insert hook in stitch or space indicated and draw up a loop (five loops on hook). [Yarn over and pull yarn through two loops on hook] 4 times, until only one loop remains on hook.
  • Back Post Treble Crochet (BPtr): Yarn over hook twice, insert hook from back to front to back around post of indicated stitch, yarn over and draw up loop, [yarn over and pull through 2 loops] three times (treble crochet made).

Cushion Cover

Motif (Make 8)

  • ROUND 1: (Right Side) Using Color A, ch 5, join with sl st to first ch to form ring; ch 4 (counts as first tr, now and throughout), tr in ring, ch 2, [2 tr in ring, ch 2] 7 times; join to first tr (4th ch of beg ch-4). (16 tr & 8 ch-2 sps) Fasten off Color A.
  • ROUND 2: Using Color B, join with sc (see Special Stitches) to sp between any 2 adjacent tr-sts, [skip next tr, 5 dc in next ch-2 sp, skip next tr, sc in sp between tr-sts] around, omitting last sc on final repeat; join to first sc. (8 sc & 8 shells) Fasten off Color B.
  • ROUND 3: Join Color C with sl st to any sc, ch 5 (counts as first dc & ch 2), [skip next 2 dc, sc in next (center) dc, ch 2, skip next 2 dc, dc in next sc] around, omitting last dc on final repeat; join to first dc (3rd ch of beg ch-5). (8 dc, 8 sc & 16 ch-2 sps)
  • ROUND 4: Ch 1, [4 sc in next ch-2 sp] around; join to first sc. (64 sc) Fasten off Color C.
  • ROUND 5: Join Color B with sl st to first sc, ch 3 (counts as rst dc, now and throughout), [dc in next sc] around; join to first dc (3rd ch of beg ch-3). (64 dc) Fasten off Color B.
  • ROUND 6: Using Color D, join with sc to first dc, [sc in next dc] around; join to first sc. (64 sc) Fasten off Color D.
  • ROUND 7: Join Color E with sl st to first dc, ch 5 (counts as first dtr), dtr (see Special Stitches) in same st, *2 tr in next sc, tr in next sc, dc in each of next 4 sc, hdc in each of next 2 sc, dc in each of next 4 sc, tr in next sc, 2 tr in next sc, 2 dtr in next sc, ch 2**, 2 dtr in next sc; rep from * around, ending at ** on final repeat; join to first dtr (5th ch of beg ch-5). (20 sts between each ch-2 corner – 4 dtr, 6 tr, 8 dc, 2 hdc) Fasten off Color E.
  • ROUND 8: Join Color F with sl st to any corner ch-2 sp, ch 2, (2 hdc, ch 2, 2 hdc) in same sp, *hdc in next dtr, sc in each of next 18 sts, hdc in next dtr**, (2 hdc, ch 2, 2 hdc) in next corner ch-2 sp; rep from * around, ending at ** on final repeat; join to first hdc. (24 sts between each ch-2 corner – 6 hdc & 18 sc) Fasten off Color F.
  • ROUND 9: Join Color G with sl st to any corner ch-2 sp, ch 3, (dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in same sp, dc in each of next 24 sts, [(2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in next ch-2 sp, dc in each of next 24 sts] around; join to first dc (3rd ch of beg ch-3) (112 dc & 4 ch-2 sps – 28 dc between corners) Fasten off Color G.
Sunny Citrus Cushion free crochet pattern by The Loopy Stitch via Underground Crafter - international stitch symbol chart for pattern

Assembly of Motifs – Use photo as guide

Horizontal Seam

  • Holding 2 motifs with right sides facing (wrong sides together), matching shaping and stitches, working through both thicknesses, using Color G, join with sc to corner sp, sc in same sp, working in back loops of stitches only on both motifs, *sc in each of next 28 dc, 2 sc in corner ch-2 sp*, pick up next 2 motifs and work 2 sc in corner sp; rep from * to * once. (4 motifs joined across 2 sides) Fasten off Color G.

Vertical Seam

  • Using same 4 motifs, repeat Horizontal Seam to create a block of 4 motifs – 2 motifs wide by 2 motifs long.
  • Repeat Horizontal and Vertical Seams on remaining 4 Motifs, ending up with 2 blocks of 4 motifs each.
Sunny Citrus Cushion free crochet pattern by The Loopy Stitch via Underground Crafter - cushion flat lay

Block Border

  • ROUND 1: With right side of one Block facing, join Color A with sl st to any outer corner ch-2 sp, ch 2, (2 hdc, ch 2, 2 hdc) in same sp, *hdc in each of next 28 dc, hdc in each of next 2 ch-2 sps (at seam), hdc in each of next 28 dc**, (2 hdc, ch 2, 2 hdc) in next corner ch-2 sp; join to first hdc; rep from * around, ending at ** on final repeat; join to rst hdc. (248 hdc & 4 ch-2 corners – 62 hdc between corners) Fasten off Color A.
  • ROUND 2: Join Color B with sl st to any corner ch-2 sp, (2 hdc, ch 2, 2 hdc) in same sp, *hdc in each of next 2 hdc, BPtr (see Special Stitches) in each of next 58 hdc, hdc in each of next 2 hdc**, (2 hdc, ch 2, 2 hdc) in next corner ch-2 sp; rep from * around, ending at ** on final repeat. (32 hdc, 232 tr & 4 corner ch-2 sps – 66 sts between corners) Fasten off Color B.
  • ROUND 3: Join Color C with sl st to any corner ch-2 sp, ch 4, (tr, ch 2, 2 tr) in same sp, tr in each of next 66 sts, [(2 tr, ch 2, 2 tr) in next corner ch-2 sp, tr in each of next 66 sts] around; join to first tr (4th ch of beg ch-4). (280 tr & 4 corner ch-2 sps – 70 tr between corners) Fasten off Color C.
  • Repeat Block Border on second Block of Motifs.
Sunny Citrus Cushion free crochet pattern by The Loopy Stitch via Underground Crafter - motifs joined

Assembly of Cushion Cover – Use photo as guide

  • Holding the two complete Blocks with right sides facing (wrong sides together), matching shaping and stitches, working through both thicknesses, using Color C, join with sc to any corner ch-2 sp, 3 sc in same sp, working in back loops of stitches only on both blocks, *sc in each of next 70 tr, 4 sc in next corner ch-2 sp; rep from * twice more, insert Pillow form, sc in each of remaining 70 tr; join to first sc. (296 sc – 74 sc across each side) Fasten off Color C.

Find more crochet books from Tuva Publishing on Amazon!

Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker

Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter | Embroidery sampler pillow against quilted background

Practice simple embroidery stitches while creating a boho stitch sampler in an abstract, modernist style. Use a Cricut Maker with a free cut file to mark and cut this faux hoop art pillow. It makes a great decoration or quick gift, too.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. This post is sponsored by Cricut, but all opinions and thoughts are my own. My sewing machine sponsor is Baby Lock. Additional materials for this post were generously provided by Fairfield World and Taunton Press.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter | Embroidery sampler pillow against wood background

Ever since I got a Cricut Maker last year, I have been on a little bit of a sewing spree. As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts about the Cricut Maker Rotary Blade (here and here), the Maker has been my dream machine. I love the ease of cutting fabric (even into complicated shapes like an adorable bear softie) without a stabilizer with materials that are included in the Maker box (that is, the Rotary Blade and the FabricGrip Mat). Using the Washable Fabric Pen makes it easy to mark up your fabric with sewing lines for attaching pieces, or to create embroidery lines.

Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter | Embroidery sampler pillow against bedspread with embroidered pillow

Since adding the Maker to their machine line up, Cricut has really stepped up their game by offering lots of projects for sewists in Cricut Design Space. Like, seriously, hundreds. They’ve also started carrying fabric in their online shop, including designer samplers, genuine leather (in addition to faux leather), quilt panels (in case the patchwork part of quilting isn’t so much your thing), felt, and even pre-cut fabric (if you want to jump right into sewing with less cutting).

Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter | Cricut Sewing Kit in box

And, of course, once you start carrying fabric and catering to sewists, you need to add tools, right? For this project, I used the Cricut Sewing Kit, which includes a set of fabric shears, thread snips (which are perfect for embroidery, too), seam ripper, thimble, measuring tape (because I know personally I can never have enough of these!), and pins with a pin cushion. If the Cricut has inspired you to do quilting, you may also want to consider the Rotary Cutting Kit.

Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter | Cricut Sewing Kit out of box

Let me back it up a bit to tell you more about today’s project. A while back, Taunton sent me a review copy of Boho Embroidery: Modern Projects from Traditional Stitches by Nichole Vogelsinger. I have always loved hand embroidery since childhood, but I never really had the patience for the detailed projects that were popular then. Once I got old enough to have the patience, my eyesight wasn’t good enough for the detailed work that complex embroidery projects required. Boho Embroidery inspired me to take more of a freeform approach to embroidery, and that’s where I got the idea for this sampler pillow. I don’t have lots of wall space, so while hoop art is, in theory, awesome, there’s no real place to hang it in my apartment. A pillow seemed more practical so I decided to make a faux hoop using my Cricut Maker! I didn’t have to worry about making drawing a perfect hoop circle because the Cricut can do that for me.

Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter | Supplies for embroidery

My sampler is very simple. I used the Washable Fabric Pen to make the circle for the hoop outline and then I freeformed a variety of stitches (which are labeled below). If you’d like to have a more structured sampler, you can add more embroidery lines with the Washable Fabric Pen to your cut file by choosing Customize before you cut.

Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow

Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter

Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter | Embroidery sampler pillow against quilted background

I created a simple, pieced pillow using fabric from a Cricut Riley Blake quilt kit. The centerpiece of the pillow is a faux hoop art circle featuring an abstract, modernist embroidery sampler.

Finished Size

  • Approximately 7” (18 cm) before stuffing.

Tools

Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter | Cricut Maker with supplies

Materials

Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter | Cricut Sewing Kit out of box

Instructions

Mark and Cut Your Fabric

  • Press your fabric with your EasyPress 2 with EasyPress Mat, or iron with other heat-safe surface.
  • Open the Boho Stitch Sampler cut file in Design Space.
  • Select Customize to add additional embroidery lines if desired. Click on Make It to start your project. Place the fabric on the mat, install the Washable Fabric Pen, and then follow the instructions for cutting.
  • Remove your fabric from the mat. Use the fabric shears to cut away the unused fabric to save for a future project.

Create Your Embroidery Sampler

  • Place your marked piece of fabric into the embroidery hoop, using the circle as a guide for the hoop.
Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter | Fabric on top of embroidery hoop
  • If you’re using your Cricut BrightPad, plug it in and turn it on. Adjust the illumination level based on your embroidery floss and fabric colors, and the ambient lighting in your room.
  • Create your sampler using your chosen colors of embroidery floss and your favorite embroidery stitches. Use your thimble if necessary and trim threads after knotting on back with the thread snips.
Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter | Sampled stitches in progress
Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter | Embroidery sampler removed from hoop
  • After you finish doing the sampler stitches inside of the hoop, remove your fabric from the hoop and use your EasyPress 2 or iron to press it flat. Then work the back stitch around the marked circle to create your faux hoop.

Assemble the Pillow

  • Once your sampler piece is completed, trim down the fabric with your hoop art to measure 5” (13 cm) square, with the faux hoop centered in the middle.
  • Pin the short fabric rectangles to the sides of this square.
Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter | Pinned front of pillow with pin cushion, scissors, and measuring tape
  • Sew the rectangles in place using a 1/4″ seam.
Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter | Pillow being sewn on Baby Lock Jubilant machine
  • With your EasyPress 2 or iron, press the seams towards the darker fabric.
Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter | First panels sewn to pillow top
  • Pin the longer rectangles to the sides of the fabric piece.
  • Sew the rectangles in place using a 1/4″ seam.
Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter | Pinned fabric on front of pillow
  • With your EasyPress 2 or iron, press the seams towards the darker fabric.
Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter | Pieced front of pillow
  • Position the square piece of fabric on top of the seamed piece of fabric with the right sides facing.
Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter | Backing fabric
  • Sew both pieces together using a 1/2″ seam and leaving approximately 3” (7.5 cm) open.
  • With your fabric shears, cut the triangle out on each seamed corner as shown in the picture.
Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter | Pillow inside out
  • Pull the right side of the pillow out through the 3” (7.5 cm) opening.
Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter | Unstuffed pillow turned right side out
Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter | partially stuffed pillow
  • With thread and needle, fold over the seams of the opening and hand sew closed.
Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter | Pillow next to bag of Poly-Fil

Enjoy your pillow!

Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow with Cricut Maker Tutorial by Underground Crafter | Embroidery sampler pillow against faux fur background

The Boho Stitch Sampler Pillow is also featured on AllFreeSewing.com. Sign up for their free newsletter to get free patterns sent to you daily!

Book Review: Learn How to English Paper Piece by Carolina Moore

Learn How to English Paper Piece by Carolina Moore book review on Underground Crafter - book cover

Are you looking for an on-the-go sewing project? Do you want to expand your sewing skills? When you’re learning a new technique, do you like step-by-step instructions? Then, you’ll love the latest book from Carolina Moore! Check out today’s post for my review, along with a chance to win a copy of the book and a starter kit of supplies.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. A free review copy of Learn How to English Paper Piece by Carolina Moore was provided to me by Nancy’s Notions. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.

Book Review

Learn How to English Paper Piece: 10 Start-to-Finish English Paper Piecing Projects and the Techniques to Make Them! is the latest book by Carolina Moore. You may know Carolina as the blogger behind 30 Minute Crafts and Always Expect Moore, or as the co-author of Hot Glue Hacks and Crafts, which I reviewed here. I’m happy to say that I know Carolina in real life, and she’s a woman after my own heart. In addition to all of her creative talents, she’s also smart, assertive, and fun!

Now, that’s fascinating, you’re thinking, but what about the book? Let me tell you a bit about Learn How to English Paper Piece. It starts with an introduction to English paper piecing (also known as EPP), a hand-sewing technique to make shaped pieces for patchwork, applique, and quilting projects. As the name suggests, there is paper involved! The paper backing is removable but provides a structure so that sewists of all skill levels can make shapes like hexagons without learning complicated machine-sewing techniques.

Carolina’s introduction explains that EPP is portable, which makes it ideal for crafters like me who are always on-the-go. She also explains that you can make projects that combine multiple shapes, as long as the sides are the same length. This may seem obvious, but often times when you start a new technique, the “common sense” stuff isn’t all that obvious! The book then moves on to provide an overview of the tools you would use for EPP. Since the fabric needs to be basted to the paper, Carolina shares two basting methods. She also provides written instructions with photos to explain stitching methods for both hexagons and diamonds.

The book then moves on to the projects. I love that Carolina has included projects of different sizes and with different ratios of English paper piecing to machine sewing. Each project includes a list of supplies and written instructions with numerous progress pictures. There is also a large (generally full-page) photograph of each finished project shown in use with measurements. My favorite projects in the book are the Dream Catchers, which look like an amazing way to use up fabric scraps while getting near instant project gratification…

Learn How to English Paper Piece by Carolina Moore book review on Underground Crafter - Dream Catchers

the Diamond Tote, which is just sooooo pretty…

Learn How to English Paper Piece by Carolina Moore book review on Underground Crafter - Diamond Tote

and the Hexi Placemats, which would make a great gift.

Learn How to English Paper Piece by Carolina Moore book review on Underground Crafter - Hexi Placemats

Other projects include a pillow, two pouches, coasters, a mason jar cozy, a pillowcase dress, and a quilt.

Learn How to English Paper Piece by Carolina Moore book review on Underground Crafter - project list

Although the book does have lots of photographs and helpful instructions, it isn’t there to teach you how to sew or how to use your sewing machine. All of the projects in the book are finished with machine sewing and it’s assumed that readers know the basics. The book is compact but it’s also affordably priced at $9.99. I reviewed a PDF version of the book, but it’s available as a softcover exclusively on Nancy’s Notions here.

I will mention that while the book makes it seem completely attainable to do your own English paper piecing projects, the idea of cutting out lots of precise little hexagons and diamonds is a bit daunting. Of course, if you have a Cricut or another cutting machine, you can use that to cut out each piece. But, you’ll be glad to know that Nancy’s Notions also sells a Learn How to English Paper Piece Starter Set that includes the book along with 400 pre-cut hexagons (in two different sizes), fabric glue for basting, scissors, starch, and thread.

I recommend Learn How to English Paper Piece: 10 Start-to-Finish English Paper Piecing Projects and the Techniques to Make Them! for any sewist that is looking to expand skills, find project inspiration, or sew while on-the-go.

Would you like to find out more about the book? Check out the rest of the posts on the Learn How to English Paper Piece blog tour.

Giveaway

Now that you’ve read my review of Learn How to English Paper Piece: 10 Start-to-Finish English Paper Piecing Projects and the Techniques to Make Them! by Carolina Moore, I’m guessing you’re ready to get your hands on the book. Well, the nice folks at Nancy’s Notions have set aside a Learn How to English Paper Piece Starter Set for one lucky winner!
This giveaway is happening on Instagram and you can find all the details about how to enter in the embedded post below (or here, if it isn’t loading). Enter by midnight Eastern on Saturday, February 9, 2019. Good luck!

View this post on Instagram

Do you EPP? Do you want to learn how? … If you answered “YES!” to either of those questions, then I have the perfect giveaway for you! To celebrate the launch of my new book “Learn How to English Paper Piece” that has been published with @NancysNotions, we’re giving away everything you need to learn how to English Paper Piece (my book and all the items pictured)! To enter to win, make sure you are following each of the accounts listed below, then leave a comment. A comment on each account is an individual entry. For additional entries, you can leave a second comment on each account with a different quilty friend who might want to win! Winner will be selected Saturday, February 9th at Midnight, EST and has 24 hours after being contacted to respond. Good Luck! @craftmoore @poweredbyquilting @twomakerchicks @homecraftsbyali @phatquarters @snowydaysquilting @charmedlifequilting @swoodsonsays @linda_bratten .. .. Per Instagram rules, this promotion is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm that they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s terms of use. #quilt #epp #englishpaperpiecing #giveaway #quilter #handsewing #isew #ilovetosew

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Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit by Sachiyo Ishii Book Review with Gingerbread Man Pattern

Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit by Sachiyo Ishii - book review with Gingerbread Man pattern excerpt on Underground Crafter | coverAre you on the hunt for cute, little Christmas gifts and ornaments to knit? Then you’ll want to check out my review of a knitting pattern collection by Sachiyo Ishii, along with an excerpted pattern for the adorable amigurumi Gingerbread Man!

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. A free review copy of Twenty to Knit: Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit by Sachiyo Ishii was provided to me by Search Press North America. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.

Book Review

Twenty to Knit: Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit by Sachiyo Ishii is a knitting pattern collection of 20 adorable little projects that measure from 2.25” (5.5 cm) through 7” (18 cm) in length. Sachiyo opens the book with an introduction where she shares her delight in making little Christmas toys for decoration and gifting. She mentions that the toys can easily be adjusted in size by using thicker or thinner yarns with appropriately sized needles. The samples in this book are primarily made in DK/light worsted/8-ply yarn (#3 or light yarn in the U.S.).

The book moves on to Knitting Know-How, which includes information about yarn, needles, and other tools; sewing pieces together; and basic knitting and embroidery stitches used in the projects. This section also includes a list of knitting abbreviations.

The next section is the patterns. Each pattern includes a materials list with yarns listed by color and meterage/yardage. The patterns do not listed a needle; however, in Knitting Know-How, the author mentions that all the samples are made with U.S. Size 2 (2.75 mm/U.K. Size 12) double pointed needles unless otherwise mentioned. Each pattern includes instructions for each piece written in pattern abbreviations and a “To make up” section with assembly instructions. The patterns also include a full page picture and at least one additional, smaller detail picture.

Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit assumes that you have knowledge of knitting basics, though there is some guidance on terminology (like the differences between garter and stockinette stitches) provided in the Knitting Know-How section. The book is small – at about the size of a folded piece of letter paper, it’s very portable. Like the other books in this series, it’s designed to make it easy to knit on the go. If you’re an advanced beginner or intermediate knitter and enjoy knitting toys and especially Christmas projects, you will find many cute projects included.


Gingerbread Man

Knitting Pattern by Sachiyo Ishii

Published in Twenty to Knit: Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit

Text © 2018 Sachiyo Ishii. Photographs and design  © 2018 Search Press Ltd. Shared with permission from Search Press North America.

Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit by Sachiyo Ishii - book review with Gingerbread Man pattern excerpt on Underground Crafter | Gingerbread Man ornament as gift wrapNotes from Underground Crafter:

  • This pattern uses pattern abbreviations. The Craft Yarn Council has a full list of abbreviations here.
  • The sample was made using U.S. Size 2 (2.75 mm/U.K. Size 12) double pointed needles. Gauge is not important for this pattern, but stitches should be small so that stuffing doesn’t show through.
  • This pattern uses k2tog as the decrease. Purl SoHo has a helpful video tutorial for this stitch here.
  • You can find helpful video tutorials for the embroidery stitches (chain stitch, backstitch, and French knot) used in this pattern at the end of this blog post.

Materials:

  • 10g of DK (light worsted/8-ply) yarn in brown (A) and small amounts of red (C) and lime green (D)
  • Small amounts of 4-ply (fingering) yarn in white (B)
  • Stuffing
  • Hemp cord for hanging loop

Additional Equipment:

  • A stitch holder or a spare needle

Size:

  • 8cm (3in) tall

Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit by Sachiyo Ishii - book review with Gingerbread Man pattern excerpt on Underground Crafter | Gingerbread Man ornament on white backgroundInstructions:

Front panel, first leg

  • Using yarn A, cast on 7 sts.
  • Rows 1-5: beginning with a p WS row, work 5 rows in st st.
  • Break yarn, place sts on a holder.

Second leg

  • Work as for first leg but do not break yarn.
  • Row 6 (joining row): K7, then k across held 7 sts of first leg(14 sts).
  • Rows 7-15: beg with a p WS row, work 9 rows in st st.
  • Row 16: cast on 5 sts, k to end (19 sts).
  • Row 17: cast on 5 sts, p to end (24 sts).
  • Rows 18-23: beginning with a k RS row, work 6 rows in stst.
  • Row 24: cast off 7 sts, k to end (17 sts).
  • Row 25: cast off 7 sts, p to end (10 sts).
  • Row 26: cast on 5 sts, k to end (15 sts).
  • Row 27: cast on 5 sts, p to end (20 sts).
  • Rows 28-33: beginning with a k RS row, work 6 rows in st st.
  • Row 34: (k2, k2tog) to end (15 sts).
  • Row 35: (p1, p2tog) to end (10 sts).
  • Break yarn, thread through all sts and pull tightly. Fasten off.

Back panel

  • Work as given for Front panel to row 15.
  • Row 16: k to end.
  • Row 17: cast on 5 sts, p to end (19 sts).
  • Row 18: cast on 5 sts, k to end (24 sts).
  • Rows 19-24: beginning with a p WS row, work 6 rows in st st.
  • Cast off.

To make up

  • With fastened-off yarn end of Front panel, sew the back seam of the head down to the neck. Sew all side seams and lightly stuff. Using yarn B, embroider chain stitches on the front panel at the hands and feet, and make backstitches for the mouth. Using two strands of yarn C held together, work a French knot for each eye. Using yarn C, French knot three buttons on the body. Using yarn D, embroider a bow tie at the neck with long horizontal backstitches, gathered with a short vertical stitch. Attach hanging loop if desired.

Giveaway

Now that you’ve read my review of Twenty to Knit: Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit by Sachiyo Ishii and tried the Gingerbread Man pattern, you may be ready to get your hands on the book. Well, the nice folks at Search Press North America have set aside a copy for one lucky winner!

This giveaway is open to readers with mailing addresses in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, or other parts of Europe, except where prohibited by law. Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Friday, December 7, 2018. One winner will be chosen at random from the entries submitted via the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will receive 1 copy of Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit, courtesy of Search Press North America. Good luck!

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