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Hogwarts Tote Bag

AI have blogged before about a trip I took to LeakyCon back in 2013.  It was epic, and one of the very best weekends of my life, thanks to the awesome friends I got to hang out with and the great times we had!  During that trip, one of my pals had brought a beautiful Hogwarts bag that she had crocheted.  It was gorgeous, and I have admired it ever since.  I really wanted to make one, but it got pushed down my queue by other things (this year, mostly Christmas knitting and SOCKS!).

Recently though, Jen (aforementioned pal), hosted a CAL for the Hogwarts bag and I decided that now was as good a time as any!  In fact, now is the ONLY time, but I'll save my timey-whimy, wibbly-wobbly philosophical discussions for some other time.  ;)   I went out and bought the yarn, which was super inexpensive (thanks, Red Heart!), and ordered the patches online.  At the time, Amazon had a pretty sparse selection for patches, and because of that, the prices were sky high.  Thankfully I found a good set on Ebay that was more decently priced, and they shipped pretty fast, too!

Going back to the yarn for a second, I chose Red Heart because I wanted a super durable bag that wouldn't stretch too much.  With four kids, things HAVE to be durable, or else they won't last long around here!  I used Jen's pattern, which can be found here:  Basic Tote (for use with charted designs)

I still can feel pretty insecure about my crocheting abilities, which is silly.  I'm no master, but I need to stop worrying about "not doing things right"!  Just like with knitting (and any craft or skill, for that matter), you learn as you go and get better with time.  So you might as well enjoy the ride!

Having said that, this was my first "real" crochet project using color work.  Jen posted an excellent tutorial that helped me to understand color changes as they relate to crochet.  Check it out at the bottom of this post!  :)

And, voila!  Here is what the tote looked like once I'd finished the color work:


And the back of the bag:

Next, I had to glue on the patches.  (Note:  I purchased these patches on Ebay.  Amazon often has them too, though at the time I wanted to purchase them, they only had a few and the prices were ludicrous.  I found this set on Ebay and was very happy with them!) 

The fabric glue ended up taking a LOT longer to dry than I thought.  I placed the bag on a flat surface, on a folded old towel.  I covered a hardback book (that fit the bag well) with nonstick aluminum foil, and placed it inside the bag (for any glue leakage, to prevent the bag from being glued together... this was a tip from Jen, and thank goodness, because I am SO the type of person who would glue her bag together, lol!).  I then placed some heavy weights (over another sheet of foil on top of the badges) and left it there.  The weights were needed because the badges did not really want to lie flat on their own, and I wanted them to adhere evenly.

I did this Friday evening, and checked them Saturday afternoon.  They were still not done drying.  I waited another day, and by Sunday evening, they were dried.  During the waiting time, I crocheted the handle.  This is what the bag looked like once the patches had dried, prior to attaching the handle and sewing in the bag lining:

I then sewed the handle on at the two corners of the bag.  And finally, the most stressful step of all (for me!) was sewing in the bag's fabric lining!

I chose a purple, solid-colored fabric.  I had a lot of cute, witchy fabrics, but they weren't Harry Potter specific, and I was worried I would tire of them.  I liked the purple because it was plain enough that I wouldn't get bored with it, and also it brought out the purple colors on the front of the bag.

Another little sidebar here:  several years ago I knit a large and impressive Molly Weasley bag.  It took me 3 years to finish (I was still kind of a new knitter), and I LOVED it!  When it came time to sew in the fabric lining, though, I messed it up.  BIGTIME.  The lining stopped about three to four inches short of the knitted bag bottom, and it was just a disaster.  I was pretty sure seam-ripping knitted fabric would result in a shredded mess, so I left it as was.  I still used the bag on occasion, and even won a 2nd place ribbon for it in that year's fair, but it was a bit of a disappointment.

Because of that, and my rudimentary sewing skills, I was a bit freaked out about the lining.  I even entertained skipping it altogether, but I am SO glad I didn't!  It really is simpler than it sounds, and who knows what happened with that Molly Weasley bag all those years ago but oh well!  This one was super simple, I measured, cut, and sewed it in.  It worked perfectly and looks fabulous!  I think I will even be MORE adventurous with the next one, and sew a pocket into the lining first.... woohoo!

And finally, at long last, here is the pictures of the totally finished product, complete with badges, fabric lining, and handle:




I absolutely LOVE it!  I really wanted to finish it before the Thanksgiving holiday so I could wear it proudly and show it off to my relatives.  And guess what?  Now my kids all want one... haha!  I guess I know what I'll be doing for the next few weeks!  ;)

And, as promised, here is the color change tutorial:

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A very big THANK YOU to all of my wonderful and extremely generous prize sponsors, donors, and patrons!  I appreciate you all SO MUCH!

If you are interested in helping the podcast, you can donate through the donation button on this page (on the right hand side) or if you would like to become a patron of the podcast, feel free to check out my Patreon account which can be found at:  http://www.patreon.com/veganjilly

Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don't miss any episodes!

Also check out the Ravelry group for all the latest KCALs, Fandom Alongs, Giveaways, and delightful conversation!



Other places to find me online at Ravelry, Ello, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, Periscope, Peach, etc. as @veganjilly ; find me on Facebook at  The Knitting Broomstick Facebook Page

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