Another Lunch Bag from Pink Penguin

Bento box 2

I admit it – I’m cheap. I refuse to trade in my money for junk that are neither practical nor useful.

Gifts are the worst. It’s a death trap for our wallet because we’re usually confused and often pressed for time when selecting them. If we’re not very careful, we’ll end up throwing away our precious money on stupid tchotchkes that are usually overpriced, cheaply made, and overall lame. I know this because I was once a victim of it all. I would make a mad dash into a store on the way to a party and pay a pretty penny just so that I don’t show up empty handed. The gifts usually screamed out “I put absolutely no thought into your want or need” inside a colorful tissue paper. Where’s the spirit of gift giving in that?

Now, I make stuff. Sure, it takes more time and effort, but it’s more personal.  And it saves me money. And since I’m a cheapo, that’s what matters. And it satisfies my crafting addiction so it’s a triple-win. So no, no store-bought gift for you!

bento box 5

This is Pink Penguin’s Lunch Bag I made for a lovely three-year-old on her birthday (I’ve made the same bag before, here). Her mother and I often discuss that we want our daughters to grow up smart and sassy, so I purposely avoided bubblegum pink and used two bold colors in orange and turquoise. I love these two color combinations.

Project Note Logo 3

Project: Lunch Bag
Pattern: Pink Penguin’s Lunch Bag
Recipient: Scarlet for her 3rd birthday
All fabrics purchased at

(Click to view the fabrics used on the project)

Bento box 3

Knit Cable Bag

cable bag

One of the main reasons why I’m now a knitter is because I fell in love with Michael’s Fashion Cable Bag I saw on display, while on a non-knitting errand at the local craft store years ago. It was knit in white wool, with round bamboo handles, and had a brown ribbon around it. I had to have it but it was not on sale, so I picked up a pair of knitting needles instead and taught myself to knit. My first attempt was such an epic failure that I never went back to the pattern again (to my defense, the pattern is written very poorly) but my love for cable bags never faded.

Fast forward several years and I finally have my very own knit cable bag!

Many of the patterns I found online were beautiful but too intricate for my taste, so I made an original, super easy version. I made the bag panel using a pattern from The Yarn Girls Cables in Chamoix (see my previous post about the sweater here). The cable bag is virtually a sweater front folded in half, with handles on top.

Project Note Logo 3


Pattern: Inspired by The Yarn Girls’ Cables in Chamoix
Yarn: Cascade 220 in Pacific (I knit with two strands to add durability. It’s sturdy without being bulky.)
Lining: Amy Butler in Belle French Wallpaper Spruce
Handles: 10” full ring bamboo handles, in natural color


I’m currently contemplating if I should put a little embellishment, like a fabric flower or a bow, on the bag! I’m in love with the bag!

Handmade Patchwork Bag

I love the look of patchwork.  You can tell when you look at the finished product that someone put lots of love and time into making the special piece – from fabric selections to the actual patching of pieces together.  It’s a thing of beauty.

But, boy, it’s hard work!  Maybe I lack the attention to detail, but I often find myself sewing these little pieces together, only to find out that I miscalculated the measurement and the pieces come out way off.  There’s nothing more disappointing than realizing that two patchwork panels that you were supposed to put together for a bag, for instance, don’t fit perfectly on top of each other!

I have so much respect for quilters and other crafters, who have the patience and the skillful hands to put together amazing masterpieces.

Runners put on running shoes and hit the pavement to train.  I, the patchwork rookie, got out a rotary cutter and a ruler to hone my cutting and sewing skills.  I wasn’t ready to take on a complicated project (I have to work up to that) so I decided to make a simple, nine-square patchwork bag over the weekend.  My goal was to take my time and cut each piece precisely, and sew it together with love and care, with an extra dose of patience.

I didn’t use a pattern for this bag but it was inspired by Pink Penguin’s Patchwork Drawstring Bag tutorial. (By the way, Ayumi’s new book called “Patchwork, Please!” will be released on April 2013!  OMG, I cannot wait to get my hands on her amazing patterns!)

Instead of using 16 pieces (a total of 32 for both panels), I used nine on each side, with each piece measuring 3-1/2 inches x 3-1/2 inches (for ¼ inch sewing allowance).

I used Echino‘s polka dots fabrics — the same ones that I used for the Lunch Bag I made a while back.

I was incredibly happy when I saw that these edges aligned perfectly! What a feeling!

Here’s the finished project! I put a cotton batting in between for a softer feel. Instead of a drawstring, I put a little magnetic closure inside, and turned the strap adjustable.