Not just grannies

I spent yesterday teaching a lovely group of ladies how to crochet – a day of hooks, granny squares, tea and cake. My own blanket for Sixty Million Trebles grew a bit during the day and I started several more small squares, which will all eventually become a second blanket for SMT.

The day was a delight in its own right, but it also acted as a catalyst for me to complete a long unfinished project… something I wanted to show new crocheters to demonstrate that crochet is so much more than granny squares.

Many moons ago I knitted some socks for Mr Stitch (whose work also featured in last week’s Three Things Thursday) in exchange for him making me a leather strap and base for a bag. My intention was to make a felt bag that would hold an A4 folder or two and that I could use when I was teaching. It took me ages to get round to doing the felting, and I really wasn’t satisfied with my creation, so I put it all to one side and pondered how to make the thing that I envisaged. And I pondered and pondered and then I gave up academic teaching and no longer wanted ‘that’ bag. Eventually, I settled on crocheting the bag rather than felting it and decided to use up  lots of scraps of natural-coloured pure wool. I loved doing the crochet and was very happy with the end result, but once more the project stalled; this time because of my lack of enthusiasm for sewing. Finally I got hold of some Buckram to stiffen it (given to me by someone who had it going spare) and made a lining out of some strong cotton fabric scraps… then I decided that the way I had constructed the lining wasn’t ideal… and once more I ground to a halt. After I while I converted the first attempt at the lining into a useful drawstring bag in which to keep my passata maker, and then I awaited inspiration. This eventually struck – I could suddenly see the best structure. I cut out the fabric (more scrap heavy duty cotton). The final hand stitching took hours and hours – attaching the leather pieces required much patience as I had to line up the external and internal pieces on either side of the crochet and liner and stitch through all the layers. The leather had already been punched, but it was still a fiddly and difficult job. And it took me several weeks to complete, finally finished on Saturday afternoon, just in time to be able to show it off to my learners on Sunday. So, here it is… hopefully built to last!

All the components except the leather pieces were scraps and even the little metal feet on the base of the bag were reclaimed.

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  1. Though I tried my hand at many things, hand sewing is about the only thing I was ever good at 🙂 Well done!

  2. Ann Owen

     /  October 31, 2016

    Really nice! You’re inspiring me to go and have a look up the attic to see if the mice have left me any of my leather scraps, especially as I don’t seem able to find “the right bag” (well I do but I’m not gonna spend hundreds of £ on it) and I’m getting really fed up with the cheap ones that I keep getting falling apart withing six months!

  3. That is one handsome and durable-looking bag. So it took a while to gestate, but the end result is worth the wait, I feel. I have two bags on my To Do list, one to hold our camping crockery and cutlery, with pockets and straps, and the other to be a new handbag, as the Gerbera bag has given up the ghost after much hard use. I have the fabric already, just not the design worked out. I hope inspiration strikes soon!

    • I’m sure you will be inspired very soon. I have learned something making this bag and that is to decide on the shape and make the lining first because it is much easier (for me) to make the crochet fit the sewing than the sewing fit the crochet… I’ll know for next time!

  4. Good things come from prolonged pondering………….. That is a very good looking bag Jan, and may I say how admiring I am of your ability to play and ponder, play and ponder! I just completed a painting in my art journal and wrote ‘Never, never, ever give up’ on it after it went through something like eight incarnations to get to ‘finished’ stage. Life is a process!!

  5. Oh, a PS is required – I forgot to say that I imagine all those new crocheters had a wonderful time with you learning to ply their hooks. That’s a wonderful thing to do!!

  6. Love the bag, and i’m glad you had such a good time teaching 🙂

  7. Wowsers! My idea for a felt bag turned into placemats. Yours is fabulous. I bet the ladies had a great day.

  8. That was worth the wait! Sometimes one needs to ponder these things for a good long time . . .

  9. I used to crochet as a hobby but I was never this good. Your bags looks marvelous and strong as well, good job.


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