Make It For Me- Italian Spy Handbag

I am so excited to be participating in the Make it for Me with ELK Studio (for all the designs check it out here!). This year I have been inspired to create the Italian Spy Handbag as a Free pattern.

This handbag was inspired by a conversation with a friend that happens to be a fashion designer. She was discussing a crochet fabric with me, and I was discussing shapes with her. The further we went along in the discussion, I had a vision of the perfect small handbag I needed for day trips to the city.

Italian Spy Handbag

For me, a day in the city is San Francisco. I always want to travel with only the essentials, as there is a lot of walking….much more then I typically do in an average day.

So, I want a handbag that can carry the essentials, not weigh a lot, and one that I can comfortably keep close. The Italian Spy fits that build.

It is a simple pattern that uses less then one skein, and utilizes a simple tight stitch. But, just because it is worked in single crochet do not under estimate the overall effect of the fabric, or how it can easily show your mistakes. The pattern is worked in one piece, and then folded and seamed. There is an option to stiffen the sides and bottom, and options for the finishing edge.

I hope you give it a try for you prefect day out handbag. Enjoy.

Italian Spy Handbag

Italian Spy Handbag

Finished Size



Hook: F/5/3.75mm

Manos del Uruguay Milo light weight 65% Merino wool, 35% linen yarn, (380yrd/350 m/3.5 oz/100 g) 1 skein, colorway #2607 Boreal

  • 1” Button
  • 24” handle


Gauge 22 sts/ 25 rows=4”


Ch 50

Row 1: sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each ch across, turn. -49sc

Row 2-42: Ch 1, sc in each st across, turn.

Row 43: Ch 1, sc in each st across, ch 42, fasten off.

Sides Worked with Body

Row 44: Join with slip stitch to Row 43 at first st of row (opposite end of end just fastened off), ch 43, turn, sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each ch across, sc in each sc across, and sc in each ch, turn. -133sc

Row 45-55: Ch 1, sc in each st across, turn. Fasten off at the end of Row 55.


Row 56: Skipping 42 sts, join to next st, ch 1, sc in same st, sc in next 48 sts, turn. -49sc

Row 57-100: Ch 1, sc in each st across, turn.


Row 101: DO NOT CH, sc2tog, sc until 2 sts rem, sc2tog over last 2 sts, turn. -47sc, (2) sc2tog

Row 102-120: Rep Row 101. -7sc, (2) sc2tog

Row 121: Buttonhole Row, DO NOT CH, sc2tog, sc in next st, ch 3, sk 3 sts, sc in next st, sc2tog over last 2 sts, turn. –(1) ch-3 sp, 2sc, (2) sc2tog

Row 122-123: Rep row 101. Fasten off at the end of Row 123. -1sc, (2) sc2tog

Optional Insert (to create more stiffness)

Ch 132

Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each ch across, turn. -131sc

Row 2-10: Ch 1, sc in each st across, turn. Fasten off at the end of Row 10.

Optional Assembly of Insert

Lay Insert section over the Sides Worked with Body Portion, Seam the insert to the Sides over Body in any preferred method, such as whip stitch with a needle or slip stitch with a crochet hook. For even more stiffening, you can place a strip of plastic or cardboard that measure 1” x 25”, and place it between the Insert and Side worked with Body


Fold Front and Back toward each other, and Fold Sides toward Front and Back, seam side of Side to Front, and seam side of Side to Back, on each side of the handbag.

Working over seamed edges, and all unfinished edges, work Reverse Single Crochet or Corded Edge Stitch around to finish.

Sew button on Front to align with Button Hole of Flap.

Sew Handles to Sides.

If Flap is curling, use an iron to seam if flat.

Fresh Designs for Fall

I am excited to see that some of my new designs are out in the wild! I have designs released in the last couple of weeks in I Like Crochet Magazine (December 2019 issue), and with Manos del Uruguay Fall 2019 collection.

Yuletide Hat- I Like Crochet, December 2019

You can find my Yuletide Hat in the December 2019 issue of I Like Crochet Magazine, it is actually an embellished version of an earlier design. The Homey Fireplace Hat was released in the same publications October 2017 issue. The embellishment adds a little length, some fabulous yarn and a pom-pom. It is a great update that is perfect for a holiday gift.

Then there is Muntin, a pattern that can be put together more than a one way to create two great designs. It consist of 6 different motifs in 2 different sizes. This allows for a really dynamic display of color, which has no two motifs that are alike. The motifs always seem a bit floral to me, so I always see a bed of flowers in this design, but you may notice something else.

Muntin as a cowl, Manos Del Uruguay Fall 2019 Collection

The two designs created with these motifs, have one being a cowl and the other a wrap, using the same amount of yarn and worked as join as you go so no sewing required. You could easily take this motifs and put them together in other ways to let your own imagination run wild.

Muntin as a wrap, Manos del Uruguay Fall 2019 Collection

December! Time to enjoy my Craftvent CAL

So if you have been fortunate enough to receive a limited edition crochet Jimmy Beans Wool Craftvent for 2018, I thought I would share some tips and insight behind the design. Note: This kit sold out and is no longer available on their website, but it doesn’t hurt to call and see if one may be hiding in the back. (If you were unsuccessful obtaining one, read to the end and I will share some insights to making your own).

To begin with the shawl starts at a point and increase on one side until it becomes a large triangle. The first couple of rows might be the most challenging, especially since it is small and there is not much to hang on to.

The first row, essentially becomes a “V”, ensuring that all odd number rows will be worked in a “V st” pattern. The even number rows are simply double crochet stitches worked into all the stitches and spaces across.

To help you keep an accurate row count, the number of “V”’s will increase by 1 every time you work this row, while the double crochet row will always increase by 3 stitches. So if you had 3 “V” stitches in row 5, you will have 6 “V” stitches in Row 7, while if you had 10 double crochets in Row 6, then you will have 13 double crochet stitches in Row 8.

Also the increase are worked on the same side as the color changes, keeping all the pattern differences on one side of the work.

While this “V” stitch/double crochet row repeat makes up a vast portion of the design, the smaller rows of back loop single crochet stitches are always worked in pairs, and there are no increase worked in these rows. This little stitch pattern adds a great contrast in the fabric, not only visually but texturally too.

This entire kit is based upon the redesign of my Quest Shawl pattern, so if you were not able to get a Craftvent the closet to offer is the Quest Shawl pattern. The main difference in these designs is actually the color blocking. Quest has only 2 colors, while Craftvent features 8. If you want to purchase these yarns and thus make your own color blocking from the Quest Shawl, here are the yarns:

You can order a skein of each from Jimmy Beans Wool and create your own color blocking effect.

I will admit, I was so excited about this project that I purchased a kit myself, and am reworking the shawl again day by day in the calendar! You can follow along with my progress at my Facebook Page or Instagram.

Hope you enjoy this process as much as I am!

Camac- My New Favorite Design

Crochet and time have interesting effects for me. I have spoken before about how crochet traps memories and such (you can read that here), but designing can also be a bit of a time travel. I can be commissioned to create a design for a yarn company or magazine and after it is finished I have to wait months to see how everything finally comes out.

After waiting what seems like forever, I am finally able to share the Camac! This is a long cardigan or coat, depending on your leaning, that really lends itself to style and comfort. It is mid-thigh length and worked in as seamless as possible, needing only seam the shoulders and sleeves, the body is worked as one piece.

The simple stitch pattern really allows the yarn to make some dazzling affects as it shines as the hero. This design is created in Manos del Uruguay Gloria, a soft superwash Merino medium weight yarn, which is a dream to work with. It has nice stitch definition and has a great variety of colors (my sample is in colorway Malaquita)

There is a simple turned edge boarding this entire coat that is actually the same stitch pattern as the rest of the fabric but uses a much larger hook to create a contrast in the fabric. The change in the hook size causes a tension between the two fabrics and this causes the edge to curl. I think it adds a simple yet endearing quality to this design.

Honestly I love the mid-thigh length, it offers a wrap yourself up in it kind of feel, that warms my heart has well as keeps me warm. I tend to find that sweaters designed to hit the waist area makes me look a bit shorter while a longer length helps elongate my appearance, so I tend to lean this way a bit in my designing. If for some reason you want to make this design shorter for your liking, simply finish the row rep for the Body section a few rows early.

It is nice to finally see the end product of your work, it is usually always worth the wait (you can check it out here).

Photos courtesy of Fairmount Fibers.

Pechin is a New Classic- A Great Shawl

There are a couple of stitches that always seem to make their way into my work. I find that I create multiple projects using them, and still I never tire of working them. My latest design from Manos del Uruguay and Fairmount Fibers, Pechin, falls into this category.

This shawl is worked from the center of the neck outward, utilizing a simple chain and single crochet combination. I find that this stitch allows that yarn to really be the feature. It creates a light, airy fabric that embodies the yarn to go as far as it can. By this I mean that you can go a long way with just one skein. As an example, Pechin is only a 2 skein shawl (using Manos del Uruguay Milo), and a really good sized shawl at that.

For Pechin, I broke up the chain stitch pattern with bands of shells. This creates a visual break as well as a bit of dimension. The bands gradually space further apart in this design to help keep the flow balanced, and I feel it helps give a really classic look.

I have to admit, I could work this shawl over and over again. The stitch pattern has a nice rhythm, and just enough details, at just the right time, to keep it from getting boring. I also feel that it really has a beautiful balance between the design and the yarn, they feel at harmony with one another as neither over powers the other.

Okay, that might seem a bit wordy or dramatic, but what I mean is that it is a pattern/design in which you can appreciate both the yarn and the design at the same time. I have spoken in the past about how you select a yarn or pattern to bet let one or the other be a highlight, like not using a variegated yarn in a design that is heavily textured, as the yarn will win over the design (read more here). Pechin however, has a balance that allows the yarn to shine as well as the design, and this is true even if the yarn is variegated.