By November 20, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

Beginner, Crochet String Bag

triple crochet bag feature_edited-1 I thought this Provence Summer String Bag designed by Kathy North would be good project for learning how to read a crochet pattern. Kathy has written complete, easy to follow row by row instructions as well as included a diagram pattern. The instructions and pattern are available on line. Kathy recommends using Classic Elite mercerized cotton yarn. I was not sure if I could actually crochet the bag without making a million mistakes, so I used a less expensive Sugar’n Cream cotton yarn by Lily. However, the bag was not very hard to crochet and it turned out lovely. So, it might have been worth the extra expense to use a mercerized cotton. I’m sure it would wear better, be more colorfast, and not shrink as much.

Yarn bowl

Before I get started talking about the string bag, I want to mention my yarn ball holder. I explained to Richard that I needed a heavy bowl to place my yarn ball in to keep it from rolling around while crocheting. He bought me an ugly ceramic bowl at the thrift shop. Well, just by coincidence, the bowl fit perfectly into the coiled clothesline basket that I had made. Now I have an attractive, functional yarn holder.

Bag bottom base

The bag is crocheted from the bottom up. The bottom base is a rectangle of several rows of single crochet. For a review, I took a quick look at Beth’s Back to Basics video on single crochet. The sides are created by crocheting continuous rows around the perimeter of the base rectangle. This is called crocheting in the round. Tamara Kelly has a great video demonstrating how the bag bottom is constructed.


Bag sc start of side_edited-1

My first round of single crochet went smoothly. As instructed, I made 56 single crochet stitches on the long sides and 9 on the short sides. I used safety pins to mark my first stitch, and the corner stitches. This was to ensure that I ended up with the required 130 stitches when the round was finished. Round 2 was not as simple. The instructions did not say if the first chain counted as a stitch. I spent quite a bit of time hunting for a video that showed where my first stitch was supposed to be placed. Finally, I found a video that explained, when crocheting in the round, your first single crochet goes into the same first stitch that you slip stitched into. By doing this, I ended up with 56 stitches to the first corner safety pin so I felt I was on the right track.

double crochet corner

Rounds 3 and 4 of double crochet were easier because the instructions state that the chain stitches are to count as a double crochet stitch. By using the safety pin, I could see exactly where the two starting chain stitches began at the corners of the double crochet rows. I moved my safety pins out into the corners of the new rounds as I crocheted. I also counted my total stitches after each round. This took a little extra effort on my part but I really wanted to keep track of my 130  stitches in each round.  Although it was not stated in the instructions, I slip stitched rounds 3 and 4 together at the end of each round.

bag bottom and V stitch

Once the bottom base is formed the bag is very easy to crochet. It starts with a row of what Kathy refers to as “V stitches”. This is a simple pattern of double crochet and chain stitches.

Bauble pattern

The “V stitch” rounds alternate with rounds of 5 triple crochets stitched into each V.

What I really liked about Kathy’s instructions was that she included a diagram of the stitches. This gave me a chance to start learning how to read pattern diagrams. I watched the Crochet Crowd video series on How to Read Patterns and set up a Pinterest board on how to read crochet patterns. Click on the “Lisa Ault – Corn Maiden” to link to the Pinterest board and video series.

Follow Lisa Ault ~ Corn Maiden’s board Crochet ~ Reading Patterns on Pinterest.

diagram2After watching the videos I was able to crochet the rest of the bag following the pattern diagram. It was actually much easier than reading the instructions. Once you know the symbols, you just work from right to left, round by round. The color change indicates the start of a new round. 

slip stitchThe top handle section of the bag is simple rounds of single crochet. Connecting the rounds was a bit confusing. I had to take my time and really look to see where to place the connecting slip stitch.

connect with slip stitch_edited-1

The slip stich is pulled thru the first starting single crochet stitch.

chain and single crochet_edited-1

Then the next round is started with a chain stitch made right back into the same hole as your slip stitch.

Here’s a couple other videos that I found helpful when making my bag. They demonstrate how to fasten off and how to add a new ball of yarn.

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I’m truly pleased with my string bag. Not only with the bag itself, but also with the fact that I was able to crochet it without any major hang ups. With each of my crochet projects I’m gaining confidence in my abilities. If you are learning how to crochet along with me, then I’m sure your skills are progressing also. I’m not sure what I will be crocheting next, but I’m looking forward to posting it soon.

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