Flashback: Free pattern for Mrs. Claus' Date Night Handbag Ornament

Doing a good bit of Christmas gift stitching these days and I can't post photos of what I'm working on until my items are in my loved ones' hot little hands. I know other bloggers must find this time of year challenging for this reason, too!

So instead, at the bottom of this post, I've included my simple knitting pattern for my Mrs. Claus' Date Night Handbag Ornament. They are easy, quick and fun to make, so there is still time to get them on your tree!

I made these bags in earnest last year. My life could not be more different now than it was at this time a year ago. After being married for many years, I now live on my own (for the first time in my life) in a sunny, brightly colored apartment. I have many new people in my life, including a foxy new squeeze. The present is filled with art, stitching, music, friends, hiking, red wine and my current baking obsession. The future is enormous, wide opened... terrifying and exciting at the same time.

This year Christmas feels shadowy and distant. It's as though I'm looking at it through the milky film stuck to the sides of glass, after I drank the milk. I'm aware that it is happening, but I am not immersed in it, beyond stitching a few gifts.

But that's OK. Time is mercurial, as is life. And my eyes and heart are wide opened and ready for adventure.

And I take another step forward...

Pattern for Mrs. Claus' Date Night Handbag (adapted from my Ornamental Joy - Tiny Handbags pattern that was published in the String Thing Theory pattern book back in 2009.)

Approximately 30 to 40 yards of any type of feltable yarn. In order to felt, your yarn must be animal fiber: cottons and acrylics will not felt. 
Set of 5 dpns in the appropriate size for your yarn.
Gauge is irrelevant!
Body of bag: 
Cast on 11 stitches 
Knit garter stitch for 6-7 rows to form a little rectangle. This will become the base/bottom of the bag. At this point you’ll switch to knitting in the round.
Pick up and knit 3 stitches along the first short side of the rectangle base. 
Pick up and knit 11 stitches along the other long side of the rectangle base. 
Pick up and knit the remaining 3 stitches on the second short side of the rectangle base.
Place marker to indicate beginning of round.
At this point you’ll knit in the round (in a rectangle shape) by knitting all rolls until the bag is about 3 inches, or as tall as you want it to be before felting, ending on a short side of the rectangle. You’ll now do one decrease row.
Long Side one, K2tog, K until the last 2 stitches from the end of that side, K2tog. 9 stitches remaining.
Short Side one, K2tog, K. 2 stitches remaining on that side.
Long Side two, K2tog, K until the last 2 stitches from the end of that side, K2tog. 9 stitches remaining.
Short Side two, K2tog, K. 2 stitches remaining on that side.
Knit one more round.
Bind off all stitches. 
Weave in ends.
Felt the bag: 
To felt, place the bag in a lingerie pouch and run through the washing machine cycle on the highest heat and agitation available for your machine. Include a towel or pair of jeans with the wash so that the bag is agitated as much as possible. 
Decorating your bag: 
Use any fluffy white novelty yarn as the faux fur; simply sew around the top of the felted bag. I make my bag handles out of pearl beads strung on florist wire. Simple string beads onto 3 or 4 inches of florist wire, twist of the ends, and using a clear thread, sew into the inside of your bag. 
Just play!
Copyright Olisa Corcoran 2011 

Beware: Pixie Messenger Bags found in the woods

Pixies have been leaving their little messenger bags in the woods behind my house!

This is the bag that every stylish Pixie grabs before she sets out on one of her troublemaking adventures!  Inside is an official Pixie Journal where the little trickster plots her fiendish schemes.

A little secret... I am totally obsessed with my own version of pixies, which I call O’Pixies.  I have an entire fictional world constructed (in my mind and in my notebooks) about the O’Pixies Universe, including details for each of the six tribes that I created.  The little people are complicated and at times dark…

The O’Pixies take up such a large place in my imagination that it is almost hard to sort out all of the projects, stories and items that I want to create for them. It is actually overwhelming!  I will write more about the O’Pixies as the project continues, but for now, here are some of their tiny bags.

The Pixie Messenger Bags are a version of the my Ornamental Joy - Tiny Handbags pattern, the same pattern that I've used to make Mrs. Claus' Date Night Handbag and many other types of little wool purses.  I knit them and then felt them in the washing machine. 

I’ve made dozens of Ornamental Joy bags in various versions over the years. I've sold most of them at Center Fest in Durham or at my OJ Designs partner Juline’s Arts Education conferences.  They are a quick, fun way to use of scraps of yarn and other embellishments like beads and buttons.  Some people use them as Christmas ornaments, but I keep them around all through the year.

For these Pixie Messenger Bags, I embroidered little wool/rayon felt cloud faces and used a pastel pencil to give them rosy cheeks.  I embroidered around the handles in silver DMC floss.

I especially like the little snouty nose on this cloud’s face.

A proper tutorial is in the works for my blog.  The pattern was originally published in String Thing Theory, which my fiber arts group String Thing published on lulu.com, but if anyone wants a copy of the pattern, please just let me know and I'm happy to send it. It is super simple.

But, be very careful with O’Pixies. They have a dangerous streak. Next to the little bags I found piles of tiny bones, some hair that looked suspiciously like Rico's and at least one tooth that was decidedly human. That is all I’m going to say.

Mrs. Claus’ Date Night Handbag Ornaments

Making ornaments is one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season.  I’m calling these "Mrs. Claus’ Date Night Handbag."   It is a very simple pattern that I wrote up 2 years ago that I call Ornamental Joy Tiny Handbags.  I’ve made this pattern in all types of yarns and with all types of embellishments.  (I’ll post photos of the various versions over the next few days.)  Mrs. Claus doesn't always want to be a frump.  But she is a hard working woman, so she never ventures forth without her "Naughty or Nice" notebook.

Fortunately for those of us who are on the wild side, Mrs. Claus enjoys drinking rich, red, Italian wines (vino nobile di Montepulciano is her favorite) and, despite her ample frame, is a bit of a lightweight.  She is a happy drunk and after the first glass and a half, she simply adores every person she sees and we all get our names scrawled into the “Nice” side of her notebook.  

Forgive me for this hopping around among the holidays, but back to Halloween… Rico and I carved these faces into our pumpkins and presented them to my parents.  Mine is the friendly face on the left. (Looks like one of my creatures!) Rico’s is the deranged face on the right.

Today we roasted the seeds and OH MY, I’d forgotten how yummy freshly roasted pumpkin seeds are! We soaked the seeds overnight in salt water, let them dry for a day and then roasted them for 45 minutes at 300 degrees in a mixture of butter, salt and garlic.  Shazam!!