Perk up your luggage with this jazzy little number–a pineapple luggage tag made from leather and personalized with your initials. Inside is a card for your name and contact information in case the dreaded loss-of-luggage occurs.
I am so excited to share this project with you. It’s simple, takes less than an hour to make and has a clean, polished look. I’m going to be gifting these every chance I get–birthdays, tied around a bottle of wine for a hostess gift and atop wedding presents.
• Pineapple and card pattern (laminate card)
• Two 4 x 6.5″ pieces of leather, 1.3-1.9mm thickness (Etsy has a great selection of leather scraps)
• 15″ of leather cord
• Sewing machine with leather needle
• Hole punch
• Leather paint (I used Angelus Leather Paint in Antique Gold)
• Darning needle
1. Print card, cut, fill in contact information and laminate. Cut laminating to about 1/8 inch from card edge.
2. Trace two pineapples onto wrong side of leather. Cut along tracing.
3. Place pineapples wrong sides together. Do not pin. Pins will leave holes in the leather.
4. Stitch pineapples together from A to B and C to D. Stitch as close to edge as possible. For most of the stitching (especially the leaves), I walked the needle rather than using the machine’s pedal. Take your time and go slow for best results.
5. Paint monogram.
6. Punch a hole in the laminated card.
7. Fold the leather cord in half, thread it through the punched hole and pull both ends of the leather cord through the loop. Pull tight.
8. Thread both ends of the leather cord through darning needle. Insert the needle from the bottom of the pineapple through the top of the pineapple.
9. Tie onto luggage and hit the road. Happy travels!
June 21 marked the official beginning of summer time and that means it’s time to travel! I don’t know about you, but even though I love to travel any time of the year, there’s something special about doing it in the summer. Maybe it’s because as a grown up, you feel like you still get that little summer vacation. Or maybe it’s just because it’s nice out. Nothing screams “ROAD TRIP!” like a gorgeous sunny day.
In the spirit of our craft excursions in Moab and Santa Cruz, we decided to head somewhere a little more south. Perhaps a major city on the Mississippi? How about New Orleans, y’all? Between all those crawfish feeds and jazz concerts, it turns out there is plenty of craftiness to behold, along with gorgeous art and of course, pastries.
Almost everyone who hears about New Orleans thinks of the French Quarter, so let’s start there, shall we? The flea market is probably one of the most fun things to wander through. From handmade journals to used books to knock off designer sunglasses to leather wallets to wildly decorated masks (it’s Mardis Gras in someone’s mind!), there are all sorts of treasures here.
One thing that caught my eye was a shea butter vendor, who offered essential oils and other fragrance that you could combine to create a personalized skin ritual. You could get as fancy or stay as plain as you’d like. DIY skin cream? Yes please!
You could also find loads of cool jewelry there for a crazy good deal. My friend said that some of her friends will just buy the pieces to take apart and create their own stuff. Of course, a lot of it is gorgeous enough that you could take it home, no assembly required.
By this point I was feeling a little parched. Maybe even a bit peckish. Was I in for a treat! Just a few paces away from the flea market is Cafe Du Monde. If you’re like me and hadn’t heard of it, this could be the reason you come to New Orleans. If you only stopped here, it would be worth it. And since they’re open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, you’ll never miss out on beignets.
For those of us who aren’t French, here’s how you say that: “Been-yay.” Or, as I prefer to say, “Delicious.”
Look at all that sugar! Holy hannah, I know you’re going to order more. We did. Sugar high commenced! On with the excursion!
A bit further into the French Quarter is a lovely little store that most any writer (or anyone who has an affinity for nice pens and fancy stationery) would love. Papier Plume is full of gorgeous leather bound journals and ink of all colors, among other things.
One of my favorite things in the store were the wax seals, which I desperately wanted to take home for my own letters. How cool would that be to write, seal and send correspondence across the sea with my own personal seal, complete with different colored waxes for different occasions?
While Bourbon Street and the French Quarter may be loads of fun to a lot of people, it can get a little overwhelming, so we headed to Magazine Street, which is full of wonderful shops, cute restaurants and of course, gorgeous homes, all with amazing front porches.
Our first stop was (of course) Garden District Needlework Shop, which is tucked in the cutest shopping “mall.” There are many different shops, but they’re all in one building without anything separating them. Walk a few feet from the antique jewlery and check out some art for sale. Turn the corner and peruse vintage furniture. Walk up the stairs and jackpot! Yarn.
There was also tons of embroidery thread and beautifully dyed sock yarn. And in true New Orleans fashion, the staff was so laid back, we could wander through the whole store without anyone being too bothered. If we needed help, all we had to do was ask.
Feeling inspired, we headed to The Bead Shop. Because this is New Orleans, I couldn’t help but think of Mardis Gras beads, which I have been told are made from glass if they’re properly done. Naturally there was far more than that. The shop is filled with light and wonderful treats for creating lovely jewelry.
If there was one thing I heard about New Orleans before I went, it was that the food was spectacular, particularly the sweet treats. Far be it from me to take any one’s word though. I had to try them out for real. One of the locals recommended Maple Street Patisserie for some of the best petit fours, among other things.
Can you say heavenly? Since we can’t eat things through a computer screen yet, you’ll have to take my word for it that those were some of the best treats I have had in my life. Or you could head down to NOLA for a taste of your own. And if I could recommend dinner, it would have to be Jacques Imo’s Cafe. Cornbread, gumbo and fried tomatoes, oh my! It’s also got the New Orleans attitude down pat.
We’re almost done with our crafty tour of New Orleans, but I’ve saved the best for last. Considering the city is home to Mardis Gras and hosts some of the most outrageous parties and lavish balls, one must be impeccably dressed.
Costumes and party fashion are, without a doubt, second-to-none here. And most of them are handmade. Where do the seamstresses go? A store that’s been supplying them for 45 years: Promenade Fine Fabrics. There you will find a family team that will knock your socks off. Father and son Herbert and Cole Halpern talk about fabrics and ribbons with a love most people reserve for children or pets. Cole’s mother designs the fantastic displays.
One of the last retailers of couture fabric in the South, Promenade holds more special and beautiful fabric than I have seen in my lifetime. From Chanel amd Missoni to Ralph Lauren and Armani, they have it all. And when it comes to vintage and rare fabrics, Cole jumps at the chance to show it off.
See that blue? It’s called Tiffany Blue. Herbert found it in a warehouse in Europe. Fifty-year-old fabric so soft and light, you would never guess its wool. Apparently Jackie O wore it religiously. And then there is the vintage ribbon. The shop has the biggest collection of buttons and ribbon in the south.
I’d love to show you my loot from this trip, but I had to exercise restraint for a very exciting reason: I’m moving to Germany and moving more yarn and crafty bits just isn’t gonna happen. But rest assured, there will be plenty more crafty excursions coming your way from Europe!
Have you been to New Orleans? What crafty spots did you like? Do you have a crafty place you’d love to show off? Feeling inspired? Do your own craft tour and we’ll post it on our blog. Email or leave your info in the comments, and we’ll make it happen!
If you read our blog, you know that in addition to loving all things fiber and fashion, we’ve also got a bit of a thing for travel. That’s why when Kathryn Vercillo of the blog Crochet Concupiscence offered to guest blog about traveling with yarn, we couldn’t resist.
She also opens up her bag for another edition of What’s In Your Bag? Read on? We think so:
Knitting and crochet projects are an excellent diversion for any plane ride. The repetition of stitching is soothing and relaxing, which is exactly what most of us are looking for on our vacations. The stressful part of it all can be figuring out what projects and craft tools you are allowed to take on the plane, how to pack them properly and how to work on them in those crowded little seats. This guide will help you figure that all out so that you can travel smoothly with your craft.
What Can I Take on the Plane?
The first question on everyone’s mind is, “What will I be allowed to take on the plane?” After all, with all of the tightened security rules that the airlines have these days you never know what they might take away before you get to the gate. Here are some of the basic rules to follow based on current TSA guidelines.
Crochet hooks are almost always okay. These are not considered sharp or dangerous so you should have no problem getting them on the plane.
- 1. Rules on knitting needles vary. Here’s what the TSA currently says: “Items needed to pursue a needlepoint project are permitted in your carry-on baggage or checked baggage with the exception of circular thread cutters or any cutter with a blade contained inside which cannot go through the checkpoint and must go in your checked baggage.”
- 2. Scissors must be small. The rule is that metal scissors with pointed tips must have blades no longer than four inches. Alternatively you can bring blunt-tip scissors.
- 3. Sewing tools. Sewing needles and pins are allowed on planes so you can pack them if you’ll need them for your project.
Note: Keep in mind that that these rules are subject to change and may vary depending upon where you are traveling. Always check the TSA site and your own airline’s guidelines before you pack if you want to be sure.
What Should I Take on The Plane
Just because you’re allowed to take your tools on the plane doesn’t mean that you should. Here are some tips for the best yarn tools on planes:
- Choose plastic or bamboo hooks and needles. They look less threatening and therefore are more likely to easily make it through security than aluminum or steel tools.
- 1. Choose smaller size tools when possible. A long, pointy knitting needle looks more dangerous than a smaller, rounded needle. Most airplane security people won’t care either way but if you want to get through security smoothly then this is something to keep in mind.
- 2. Circular knitting needles. Many knitters recommend this option because if you drop a straight needle on the plane it will be a lot more likely to roll away and get lost. Note that it is commonly recommended that circular needles be smaller than 31” in length.
- 3. Kids’ scissors. You may want to bring kids’ craft scissors since these will cut yarn just fine and aren’t considered a safety risk.
- 4. Stitch markers. You may have to stop in the middle of your project so make sure that you have a way to mark your place.
Best Projects for Airplanes
Once you’ve got your tools settled, you need to decide what project is going to be best for the airplane. Here are some tips:
- 1. Choose a project without too many color changes. If you pick a project that includes twenty different yarn colors with color changes at every row then you need to pack twenty skeins of yarn in your carry-on luggage and that’s a hassle. Choose a project with one or two colors of yarn instead.
- 2. Consider yarn weights. Your yarn will require less space in your carry-on if you choose fingering weight over bulky. Think about that since you can only bring a small carry-on on board.
- 3. Select a mid-sized project. You don’t want to bring along an afghan worked continuously because the project needs to fit in that small seat with you. However you also don’t want to make zillions of little blocks or tiny amigurumi pieces because you risk losing some of them on the way. Choose mid-sized projects like a cowl, shrug or 12” blocks for a blanket.
How to Pack and Organize
Once you have the right tools and the right project, it’s time to pack it all into your carry-on to use on the plane. The two important things here will be to choose the right carry-on bag and to organize everything for ease of use during the trip.
First, you want to make sure that you choose a good carry-on bag. Although you can take large carry-ons onto most planes, you may want to go with a smaller bag to ensure that even if the plane is fully packed your bag won’t get moved to the plane’s underbelly. You want to choose a bag that has lots of pockets and separate spaces. This allows you to easily separate your yarn project from other important things like medication, electronic gadgets and snacks. The Rio and The Satchel by Jordana Paige are great choices because they are large enough to carry many items but small enough to fit nicely on a plane. Plus they have lots of pockets to keep everything you bring well organized.
Even if you do pack a reasonably small carry-on bag, you will want to pack a smaller bag inside of it that contains the project that you want on the plane. This way, you can easily pull out your project and keep it under the seat in front of you in case your bag does get checked or gets placed somewhere far away from you on the plane. Your smaller bag should include just the most necessary items:
- 1. The portion of the project that you are currently working on.
- 2. The yarn you need to complete that portion of the project.
- 3. The hook or needles needed for that part of the project.
- 4. Stitch markers in case you need to stop in the middle of your project.
Everything else can stay in your larger carry-on bag. You may want to keep your tools safely organized in one place by putting them together in a carrying case such as the Crafter’s Tool Butler.
This guest post was written by Kathryn Vercillo of the blog Crochet Concupiscence. Kathryn’s work has been published around the web on sites like Crochetvolution, SF Indie Fashion, Whip Up, Handmadeology. Her newest book, Crochet Saved My Life, will be out in August 2012.
We’re always looking for creative and adventurous stories of yarn, travel and handbags on our blog. If you’re interested, please let us know in the comments or email us!