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I often ask myself “Do I need another reusable Market Bag?”. I always end up answering myself “Yes.” I love receiving them from foreign friends and they are a great thing to send away in return….but I crochet mine. They are a snap to craft and take just a few hours to complete. I like to add inner pockets, trick bottoms (so that the bag is self-containing) and special considerations for different kinds of groceries. For me, the Market Bag is a great go-to gift because it’s quick and easy to make, usually only takes one ball, requires no special care for the recipient to worry about, and it does any kind of person on your gift list (note: this is an excellent thing to give someone you don’t know very well. It’s also great for someone you do know, but don’t really like). Everyone is always glad to get a bag, and one more in the bottom of your purse can’t do you any harm either.
This summer The Loop is running a new workshop for Crocheters. In one session we will make a class full of greener than green bags for our summer marketing (or we will at least cover all the bases and get most of the project crocheted).
The crochet pattern for this workshop is a classic. The format for the pattern has been in use here for over 100 years. You may come across Victorian versions on the internet, or spot a lookalike on Road to Avonlea reruns*.

The pattern is designed to use a certain amount of cotton (keeping the materials at one ball) but additions such as wider straps and an attached change purse will be covered in the class.

The bag pictured (my “Posh Nosh Fennel Carrier”) used one ball of Rowan Purelife Organic Cotton DK, which has about 120m to the ball. Each colour in this line is plant dyed. This pretty blue was achieved with indigo. Indigo is the Pluto of the Colour Spectrum, poor little guy.

[From The Loop Website]Mesh shopping bags–called “filoches” in French–are a chic, practical, and environmentally friendly way to carry your produce home from the market. They’re also a great introduction to crocheting in rounds. In this workshop, you’ll learn how crochet can be used to make both firm, stable fabrics and open, stretchy ones–while making a market bag of your own.

Instructor: Morgan Forrester

2 hours

Tuesday, July 12th, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Thank you Chives & Ciboulette for the photo props. I was very glad to use the fennel; very posh nosh.

*Aunt Olivia crochets throughout the series, and uses a white version of these bags to carry groceries for the Dale homestead back from Lawson’s. This was obviously my inspiration as are the Dales; Yorkshire and Jasper.

Last summer we were tagged by mystery yarn bombers. We loved it!
Your new Challenge: Get us this summer with a romantic clue to your identity.

Are these our Bombers?

This fall we’re showing two new Bulky yarns.  Unfortunately, both ‘Bulky’ and ‘Chunky’ can seem like subjective terms.  I thought I would write a little about our new yarns, Burley Spun, and Grande to explain how chunky chunky is.

The Craft Yarn Council tops out their Weight System with their 5th and 6th categories; Bulky and Super Bulky.

The Bulky category comes after Medium (worsted and aran yarns) and includes Chunky, Craft, and Rug Yarns.  Their gauges over 4″ of stockinette stitch should work out to 12-15 stitches.  For most knitters these yarns require needles from 5.5mm to 8mm.  Crocheters are advised to use a 6.5mm to a 9mm hook.

Super Bulky is the heaviest category and comes after Bulky.  This whimsical title is applied to Roving, but also to Bulky yarn. ?!?!?!  Confusing or what?  Best to focus on gauges.  The CYC describes Super Bulky as having a gauge of 6-11 stitches (in 4″ worked in stockinette stitch).  These yarns should be worked with needles larger than 8mm (15mm is the biggest needle in most shops.  The Loop carries these sizes and does get in circular Addi needles in sizes over 15mm.  We can always special order these for you!)  Crocheters should use a hook size greater than a 9mm.  I would advise using the biggest hook you feel comfortable with.

Our first new Bulky yarn comes from Schulana.  Grande comes in brightly coloured 50g balls.  It provides 9 stitches over 4 inches, using 12.75mm needles.  Bouncy, soft, and fun to work with, Grande looks great in textured stitches and cables.  It’s 2 plies also make it look accomplished in plain knitting.
The Loop is thrilled to provide free patterns with the purchase of a 50g ball.  Thrilled, because Schulana has put together a free booklet of four smashing hat patterns.  Just take a look!  Each hat takes just one ball.  You can find a growing gallery of these projects at Ravelry.
Visit the Grande Hat Gallery Here:
Brown Sheep yarns are a firm favourite with knitters, and a new addition to The Loop.  Our first yarn from this company is their heaviest offering, Burley Spun.  In skeins of 226g, Burley Spun’s single ply looks a bit wild and untamed.  It also looks like good fun, and I can’t wait to make an oversized winter cowl in one of the super saturated colours.  We will also be receiving Burley Spun in Handpainted colourways which will look stunning in plain knitting; perfect for beginners and for Holiday knitting.

This yarn is also considered Super Bulky, its gauge at 10 stitches over 4″.  The good people at Brown Sheep would like knitters to try a 9mm needle, but in my books bigger is better.
Learn more about Burley Spun at Ravelry

When it’s a worm.

If you’ve already had a look at the Ecology Action Centre’s ‘species wish list‘ for the Stitchin’ Fish display, you might have noticed an interesting phenomenon: the description of odd, mysterious deep-sea creatures by naming them after more familiar things. Examples include the glass sponge, bubblegum coral, and the barndoor skate.

The sea mouse isn’t on the wish list, but I remembered it as an organism that I found intriguing back in my days as an undergraduate biology student. Even though it is cute like a furry mouse (right?), it’s a segmented worm in the class known as a polychaetes (also called bristle worms). It does have a lovely Latin name though: Aphrodite aculeata, inspired by the ancient Greek goddess of love.

The underside of a sea mouse gives more of a clue to its true identity:

Apparently sea mice have been found in North Atlantic waters off of Newfoundand, so it’s quite possible that they could exist here on the Scotian Shelf too. That was enough for us to decide to include one in our seafloor recreation. Morgan saw the images and pounced like a cat on the opportunity to crochet a sea mouse.

I think she did a fantastic job … even the belly looks like the real thing.

Not only did Morgan whip this up in the course of the evening, she also wrote up the pattern when she was finished. Thanks Morgan!

Sea Mouse: a crochet pattern


Eyelash-style yarn for the back

Smooth worsted weight yarn in a contrasting colour

5mm/H crochet hook

Polyfill for stuffing


With underbelly yarn, ch16.

1 dc in 4th chain from hook; 2 dc in each ch to end, working 3 dc in last ch; ch 3.

Beginning second side, work 2 dc in each ch to end; ch3, turn.

Working second side again, work 2 dc in each dc to end. Finish off.

Working with two strands of eyelash yarn held together, join to end of underbelly and ch 3.

2 dc tog in each dc to end.

1 dc into sides of end sts and end of fdn ch, turning corners to work second side.

Repeat on second side.

Work one more dec row on first side and finish, leaving a long tail.

Sew up spine with yarn tail, stuffing sea mouse with polyfill.

Cathy is merriment
Mimi is starlings
Morgan is pomoboho
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