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When I was a young girl, my mom taught my and my two sisters how to knit and crochet. We sewed our own outfits, and we even delved into hand embroidery. It’s sad to say, but I am the only one of us girls that continued down that artsy path, and who still enjoys these crafts to this day.

So imagine my surprise when I met my husband, nearly 20 years ago, and found that his mother, and many other ladies in his family, embraced these old fashioned arts as well. I was in heaven! My husband’s mother is actually the person who introduced me to my first Leisure Arts craft book. It was for holiday plastic canvas creations. I still have it and use it to make gifts to send out to friends.

I know what you’re thinking. How could it take me so long to get my first craft book?? I’ll be honest, the only patterns my mother and I ever followed were sewing patterns. Past that, if we were crocheting, knitting, or embroidering something, we created our own pattern, or went off old patterns that were written down by my grandmother.

Over the years, I have come to collect my fair share of craft books. And after having just looked them over, 97% of them are Leisure Arts books. That has to say something, right? I am picky when it comes to paying for something that is teaching me how to create something. I like books in color, clear photos, easy instructions, and where the patterns are explained clearly.

I was beyond thrilled to be offered some craft books from Leisure Arts to create some amazing items and share with you my thoughts on the book and patterns. In fact, I recall being so elated when the package showed up with my books, that I literally squealed when I opened the box! That’s how excited I was!

I chose All About Cotton to get me started. I loved the Spring colors on the cover, and I loved the patterns to choose from.

When I came across the Bottle Carrier, I knew I had to make one! We just came off a long weekend in Orlando visiting Sea World and Disney World for our daughter’s fifth birthday, and everyone had their own reusable water bottle. However, there was only one bag that carried them, and that was mine. The thought of making these cute carriers so everyone could carry their own was just a magical thought to me!

This pattern is labeled as easy, and it honestly is. After you get done with the first few rounds of double crochet, the pattern bounces between picots and chains to build up the sides of the carrier. While I had never done a picot stitch before, it was not difficult. The stitch guide explained the stitch easily, leaving no questions.

Before I knew it, I was done with the carrier itself, and moving on to the strap. The one thing I must mention about this pattern is that you must read it carefully when you get to the end of round three’s instructions, and the beginning of round four’s instructions. I was a wee bit tired when starting this one, and I caught myself dropping a single crochet, which threw off the next round. Whoopsies!

When all was said and done, the carrier turned out beautifully! Even more importantly, it fit our reusable water bottles perfectly. And even better than that, the strap is long enough that when you use it for a child, it can be worn across the body. For an adult, it’s only long enough to be worn as a shoulder strap. But having that crossbody option for our daughter was absolute perfection, and she just loves it!

Then I saw the Oval Baskets! What an adorable trio of baskets that can be used for any number of things! I loved the three different sizes, and I loved the different ways to put borders on the tops of each basket.

If possible, I loved this pattern even more than the one for the Bottle Carrier, solely because the entire pattern is done with single crochet stitches! Once you have the base created, completing the sides was pretty much automatic. Using two strands instead of one, the baskets hold their shape and stand tall much easier. I will admit that holding onto two strands, and keeping them even tired my arthritic hands by the time I got to the third, and largest, basket. But I also decided to knock out all the baskets at once, too.

While the pattern does not say which trim you need to use for which basket, I did keep the fringe on the largest, but swapped the trims they had done for the small and medium baskets. My medium and large baskets are also a few rows shorter than they should be due to my running out of yarn, and not being able to find the same colors at my local craft stores. I couldn’t believe that happened!! I thought I was going to get lucky, but, no. No I wasn’t.

Even though the medium and large baskets are a little shorter than they should be, the pattern moved quickly, and was so incredibly easy. And I honestly don’t mind the shorter large basket. I think it works well for my decorative hole punches.

These two projects were amongst nine options in this book. It was a tough choice deciding which patterns to make, and had my family not come down with a cold this past week, I would have had a third one done to share with you.

Overall, I am very pleased with this pattern book. The projects are easy, quick, and turn out absolutely beautiful. I’m already planning on making more for gifts this year!

A special note about the yarn:

The book is called All About Cotton. So it’s no surprise that cotton yarn is what should be used for the projects in this book. Lily Sugar ‘n Cream, Peaches & Creme, and Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn, are a few of the cotton yarns that I have used.

Yarn used for the projects I created

Bottle Carrier:

Peaches & Creme – Ocean Coral, 1 skein (for bottom three double crochet rounds, and border around strap)

Peaches & Creme – Sandstone Stripes, 1 skein (for sides)

Oval Basket Trio:

Peaches & Creme – Ocean Coral, 4 skeins (for small and large baskets, and trim on medium basket)

Peaches & Creme – Lotus Blossum, 2 skeins (for medium basket, and trim on small basket)

Peaches & Creme – Sandstone Stripes, 1 skein (for fringe trim on large basket)

Total time to create projects

Bottle Carrier – 1 1/2 hours

Oval Basket Trio – 6 hours (I’m not gonna lie, cutting the fringe trim for the large basket was time consuming. But it turned out so cute!)