pencil party bag

Bags: Party Bag

Instead of sewing a new bag in my series of bags for you, I ended up sewing party bags for my daughters arty party. Sorry, but family just has to come first.

The plastic party bags just didn’t cut it for me and as I love my screen printing I decided that I would give all the party goers a pencil bag with pencil, eraser and lolly. I fell in love with the pencil stencil, so you can expect to see it again. Here an impression. Let me know if you would like me to do a blog on screen printing.

bag handles

Bags: Call out for Patterns

bags, bags, bags...To all you lovely crafty, inspiring people out there. So far I have given you 2 free patterns for bags that can be used with my bag handles or you can adapt them for your own handles. No. 1 a knitted bag and No. 2 a felted free form bag.  I have at least two more patterns to share, but before I do that I would love to hear from you.

Do you have a unique technique that you think would be awesome to use with my bag handles? Do you work with unusual materials that could make a wonderful bagbag handles into unique bags with my bag handles? Do you have a unique idea for a bag with my bag handles? Does any of this resonates then write me an email with a short outline of the idea and some photo’s of the technique. My address:

I hope to hear from you. If I select your bag, you will receive a pair of my bag handles for free and after you have made the bag and send me the results with the pattern, you will be featured on my blog, Facebook page and Instagram. Exposure to over 350 new people. Next week a new bag….

felted bag

Felted Bag: part 3

cross stitch attachementOkay when I started this bag, I was very unsure of  I was going to finish the bag. The urge of making this bag was bigger then, me being totally prepared. And yet I am really pleased with the end result. The asymmetrical look works for felt I think. The stitches make it playful, but there is always a critic. My eldest daughter said, “that bag looks old, mama” Oh well, we can’t please everybody. What did I do:


  • needle
  • crochet thread
  • iron-on hemming band
  • felt
  • insert bag with handles

Once the handles are attached to the crochet part of the insert bag, fold the felt around and figure out what way you like the felt to drape around best. Now I embroidered on the felt first with a cross stitch, but I am wondering if it would be easier to first “glue” the bag together with the hemming band.

finished felted bagThe top cross stitch should pick up a bit of the hem. and not go through and through, so you do not have white stitches at the top. At the bottom you do not have a choice. Hope you like it too. If you have another solution let me know.

felted bag

Felted Bag

Why do I like felt? I think it is magical that just through rubbing fibres together you can create something strong enough to carry, to hold something else. By no means am I an expert and I totally rely on the organic piece that presents itself, but if you love the surprise this is something you have to try.

Remember the bag handles I make? (You can buy them here) Well I found they go very well with the organic form of the handmade felt.

This pattern is very free form and more a description of what I did to come to the final result. This is because as I said I am not a felting expert and can only give you an indication as to how you can get the size of felt I got the first time. I promise you the pictures I took of my second attempt that you see here are an indication of the technique and haven’t lead to a piece of felt I can use for a bag. A bit of trial and error going on. My mitigating circumstances with attempt 2; my youngest daughter was home and the wind decided to play along. Yes as it was going to be a messy process with the youngest helping, I was working outside.

materials for feltingHere is what I did to create the felt.

  • felting wool (when you live in Australia, Daiso has very affordable felting packages)
  • bubble wrap big enough for the piece you want to make
  • warm water
  • dishwashing soap

Have plenty of space that can get wet, as it is a very wet process. Lay out your bubble wrap and start to pull the strands of felting wool apart in to nice thin strands. Lay them next to each other (I have used more then one colour). When you have cover a piece as big as you think you need, start layering in the opposite direction. Meaning if you first put them down horizontal, now start layering them vertical. Then again horizontal, vertical, etc. I guess 5 layers is the minimum.

When you feel you have enough layers, take your warm soapy water and sprinkle it over the top. With your hand tap the fibres together. Keep adding water and keep tapping. Now everything is very wet and starting to fuse you can start rubbing in circles. Turn the piece around and rub the back as well. The felting process is starting to happen. To agitate thehome made felt fibres properly roll the piece into the bubble wrap and roll over and over. Open up the bubble wrap and roll it over the other side. Keep on doing this until you feel the felting has taken full effect. The piece will look smaller then what you started with.

If you are happy with the felting process, take the felt to a tap and rinse the soapy water out with cold water. Then your felt has to dry. Isn’t it beautiful.

Next week the insert and how to attach the handles.

knitted bag finished

Knitted bag finished

My apologies for not finishing the bag last week. I had a good reason as due to my daughters hospital visit I hadn’t had the time to finish it, even though it is a simple project. Family first.

materialsI must say as soon as I saw the combination of the plaid with the white wool I fell in love and I still think it is a beautiful combination. My handmade handles really get complimented by the colours and I can see me use this bag on national holidays in lots of countries as an expression of proud.


  • needle
  • thread
  • pins
  • scissors
  • sewing machine (optional)
  • bag parts
What is still to be done. We folded the two bags inside of each other. Now we have to hand stitch them together with a little slip stitch.

Remember the two separate pieces, they are going to hold the handles and the bag together. Find the middle of the strip and the middle of one side of the inside of the bag and pin them together (see picture). When you have a sewing machine you can sew it in with that, otherwise hand stich the piece in. Repeat on the other side.

Slip the strip on to the handle. Fold a bit of the strip in for a seam and pin it to the outside of the bag. Now sew it together and re peat on the other side. Your incredibly cute bag is finished. Enjoy!finished knitted bag
insert to knitted bag

Knitted Bag Continued

Hope you had a great time knitting your moss stitch, aaaaaaahhhhhh. Just found out that the Dutch gerstekorrel is a seed stitch in some countries and in others a moss stitch. Whatever you name it, it will be lovely for this little bag.  I love the seed stitch, it feels lush and sumptuous to me and with the right wool it is nice and soft. sewing the lining

As for the strength of a big stitch knitted clutch size bag I am a bit dubious, so I have made a lining of a fabric. For a fabric hoarder like me it is not very hard to find a fitting cotton fabric for the chosen wool. When I see a fabric in an op-shop that I really like I will buy it even though I am not always sure where I am going to use it. This checkered fabric I have had for at least two years, but as soon as I saw the white wool it was clear for me that this should be the insert. Now if you are not a fabric hoarder, I would have a look at your local quilt store. They often have affordable colourful quarts, that are perfect for a little project like this.

How to continue your bag making;

Measure your knitted rectangle, it will be approximately 26 x 32 cm. That is the size of mine, but as everybody has a different hand in knitting, one a bit tighter then the other, the size might vary a little. From your fabric you cut a piece of the same size. Both pieces need to be folded in half over the short side, which will make your bag approx. 26 x 16 cm. You also need to cut two length of fabric to be able to adhere your handles to the bag. If you plan to purchase mine then these piece will measure 19 x 8 cm, if you have your own handles you will have to measure the amount of fabric needed yourself.

With a sewing machine or by hand if you have none close the short sides of the fabric. Now you have a pouch. Iron out the seams for neatness and iron about 1cm of fabric over at the top. Secure with pins if you feel it is necessary and sew around to fasten. The last bit of machine sewing this week is, to sew about 1 cm on the short sides of the attachment pieces, on either side.

As for the knitted pouch, you will need either a big needle to accommodate your thick wool, or you need thinner wool in the same colour to close the sides. Closing a side on a knitted object, I have bee taught, happens on the right side of the “fabric”. Once the thread is attached (or you work with the left piece of starting or ending of the work), you pick up one stitch on one side of the seem and one stitch on the other side. Continue and pull tight or perhaps I should say straight. This results in the neatest edge. At the end insert two pouches togetherpush the needle to the inside of the bag and finish it of so the thread does not go anywhere. Do this on both sides.

Now you can push the sown pouch into the knitted pouch. Give yourself a tap on the shoulder, well done. We will attach the handles next week.

You can order my handles through my Etsy store renateandtheanthouse

knitted bag

Knitted Bag

After I made my own screen printed bag with papermache handles that I introduced to you knitted baglast week (link here), I did have the feeling I wanted to do more with it. I thus made more handles, not knowing why. The handles lay around for a while. Then for another project I was left with some chunky yarn. How the two ended up on the same shelf, I am not quite sure, but the combination appealed to me. I made a knitted bag with fabric lining and showed it in one of the knitting Facebook groups I am a member of and got very positive feedback. As it is a simple pattern I thought it to be a great one to start with.

Don’t get me wrong, we will take it step by step. This week we will do the knitting part and at the end I will put all the instruction on a pdf for you to print.


  • knitting needles no.10
  • yarn
  • scissors

cast onFirst you cast on 22 stitches. Now for the total novices casting on means you are going to make the loops that you are going to knit. You can find lots of video tutorials on YouTube. Once my cold is over and my daughters will let me I might have ago at a YouTube channel myself, but at the moment I will refer you. The reason I don’t give you a specific film is, there are several ways of doing it and you have to find the way that suits you.

The stitch I have used is called a moss stitch. It is simple as you alternate a knit and a purl and on the return pen you alternate the stitches. Here is it is pattern language:

Moss stitchTake of the first stitch, then repeat 1 knit, 1 purl to the end of the needle. On the return take of your first stitch, then repeat 1 purl, 1 knit (hope I am doing this right as it is the first time I am writing something like this out.)

The reason to take of the first stitch and not knit it is so that the side of your knitting becomes more neat.

You repeat this for 42 needles and then you cast of i.e. you knit two stitches and pull the first one over the second one and of the needle. Then you knit another stitch and pull the second one over the third one of the needle, until you are left with one stitch on your needle. Then you cut your thread, not too short and pull it through your last stitch and pull it tight. Make insert fabricsure it goes through the stitch otherwise you can start knitting all over again.

First part of your bag is done. Congratulations, you get to pick some great accompanying fabric for next weeks insert. The picture shows mine…


Explaining about bags

Now for something completely different.

my bagAs I said I am a maker and I want you to tag along with me (so please give me your feedback). That is why most of the activities on Activity Book for Adults are straight away accessible and doable, because if they aren’t you and I will procrastinate. I love the blogs about all the beautiful pins people have pinned, but they have never done anything with them. Here you can print your page a draw or sticky tape at least twice a week. For the other activities you might have to rummage around the house a bit more, but usually you should be able to find it or get the ingredients at the supermarket.

This day will be for the more adventures under us. I will attempt  to provide you with patterns for bags. Why? will you ask.

handmade handles by renate and the ant houseWell I have made a bag for my own use. Every time I go out with it I get compliments. People apparently love my bag and especially my handles. I have looked into making these bags for a living and found that they were becoming to expensive. But I would like to give you the opportunity to make your own. I will offer my handles in my Etsy shop, but the patterns I develop will be free and will be suitable for other handles as well.

Next week I will take you on my first bag journey. It will be a knitted bag on no.10 needles and 1 boll of yarn. You will also need some fabric to line the bag. So this one is to be continued…..