Thursday, January 24, 2008

Farmers Market Bag Pattern

It is really frigid outside today so I've postponed my fence pole cutting project till the weather's more inviting. Instead, I decided to make my young neighbor who is expecting pretty soon a baby blanket gift. Well, as I was looking through my knitting stitch collection for a particular stitch, this year's garden came into my mind, and wouldn't you know it, along with the knitting stitch pattern I was looking for, I found the crochet pattern I created for a re-useable farmers market bag. And, before I search my yarn bin for some yarn to knit the baby's blanket, here is, for free, my crocheted Farmers Market Bag pattern for you. It is a simple, sturdy bag, and good for all sorts of carrying. I like it because it expands and you can put a whole lot of farmers market goodies in it. Feel free to use this pattern if you like; a note to where you found it is appreciated but not necessary.

Swamp Creek Farm's Farmers Market Bag

Size 6 crochet hook; Size 10 crochet thread

Row 1: Chain 300, join with slip stitch in 1st chain. Attach marker and carry up each row. Do not turn.

Row 2: Chain 3, double crochet in each chain around, join with slip stitch in top of chain 3.

Row 3: Repeat Row 2.

Row 4: Chain 9, wrap thread around hook 7 times, insert hook in top of next stitch and bring up loop; w/r/h and draw thread through 2 loops on hook 8 times. Repeat across row. Join.

Row 5: Repeat Row 2.

Row 6: Repeat Row 2.

Row 7: *Chain 10, skip next 4 stitches, sincle crochet in next stitch. Repeat from * around, join.

Row 8: Slip stitch in next 5 chain of chain loop; *chain 10 s/c in next chain loop.
Repeat from * around, join.

Repeat Row 8, 35 times or till bag is desired size.

Next Row (Gathering): Chain 1, *draw up a loop in each of next 5 chain loops holding loops on needle, wrap thread over hook and draw through all six loops on hook, chain 1. Repeat from * around, join.

Repeat gathering row twice more. Don't sweat it if you don't wind up with 5 chain loops to crochet together. Fold bag in half and crochet remaining bag loops together. Bind off.

Straps: (Make two)

Row 1: Chain 11. Double crochet in 4th chain from hook; D/C in each chain; chain 3, turn.

Row 2: Double crochet in each stitch across for 30" (or desired length if you are a "shorty"). Bind off.

Finishing: Weave each strap through slits created in Row 3. Sew ends of each strap together. You should be able to open and close the bag as you would a drawstring bag.

Recommended care: Using size 10 bedspread cotton, machine or handwash cold, dry flat.

(If this pattern seems backward, maybe it is -- I'm left-handed).

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everybody! New Year's always makes me think of beginnings and endings so I thought I would post a picture of my Great-grandparents, Matias and Anna, and all their children, circa 1906. I find looking at old "pioneer" pictures inspiring. I mean, can you see people TODAY having the grit to carve out a life in the wilderness with only hand tools? Whenever I feel like giving up on something, all I have to do is think of these people, and dead or not, I don't want to let them down by being a quitter.

Do you have your resolutions firmly in mind? My usual resolution of losing weight is what I'm thinking of; I stepped on the scale this morning to see my "starting" weight and thought I was gonna have a heart attack right there! Needless to say I am definitely dropping some big poundage this year. I know my big failing is portion size so I get out a measuring cup at each meal now and there is no more snacking or eating after 7:00 p.m. Salt is bad for me -- I can start swelling just looking at it -- but I do love it so. But, no more salt. And I need to quit the java, too. I know what I have to do (my Nordic Track is calling me) and now I have to do it. You know, I think losing weight is like quitting smoking. Overeating is a habit you have to be psychologically ready to break. It took me 5 tries to quit smoking nearly 15 years ago already but I finally quit when I decided to do it "cold turkey". I quit because I finally really wanted to quit. Now I need to lose 80 pounds. I actually have lost this much before after I had my last child. It was not easy then, and I know it will be much harder now because my metabolism is much slower. But, I will do it. Astrologically, Pluto is moving into Capricorn for, I think, 84 years. The moon's north node in my natal chart is in Capricorn so it will be interesting for me to see how I am affected by this energy. I cannot help but think that the "Transformer" Pluto will help me find the inner strength to persevere in losing weight and transmute my body into something other than a science fiction blob.

I am sorry to see the holidays end. We really did have a nice Christmas. Our Sarah came home, it was a "white" Christmas, the food was great, everyone was healthy and all seemed to like their Christmas gifts. Our tree was beautiful. Then, New Year's my Dad came over for dinner and had a nice visit. We always have ham for New Year's Day and this year my cornbread stuffing was perfect. Tom made the ham nice and juicy, and we had cheese potatoes, mashed winter squash instead of sweet potatoes, black-eyed peas, gravy, and pineapple upside down cake for dessert. It was great. I can't believe Sarah graduates from Southern Illinois University this May already. Where did the time go?

For Christmas Tom gave me a gift certificate to Amazon so I finally bought a digital camera. It is a Nikon Coolpix L11. I got a 2gb memory card and a case to go with it. I just finished reading the manual. I can't believe all the things this tiny camera can do. I expect most newfangled gadgets today can be hooked together to exchange information. I actually am almost afraid to play around with it, but I really want to be able to use digital pictures for this blog and for the farm records.

Did you get a census form from the Government for the Agriculture Census? You HAVE to fill it out and send it in. What a crock!

I cleaned up the basement today and got the seed starting area ready. Tom wants to get a regular seedling stand for his seeds so I told him he could put his plant stand next to the wall by the pump where it would be close to an electrical outlet. I went through my seeds and will start the left-overs from last year first. I want to get the herb garden going, too. I never got to it last year. I have a feeling this year will see more rain than last year, which will be good for all seedlings. I think I will make a couple of raised beds for the root crops just in case there is a lot of rain. I know the Farmers Almanac says it will be dry again this summer, but I'm not so sure.

I got the Raising Earthworms for Profit book that I was waiting for today, so now I will have to get some worms. I would like to get European nightcrawlers, but everything I read says that they are hard to raise. I want worms I can put in my garden though. I think that increasing worms in my garden is the best way to increase my soil fertility. We'll see how it goes.

I'm getting tired so I'll leave off for now. Talk to you soon!