Well, I finally finished my Attic24-style bag, and I feel like a weight has been lifted. Phew!
What started out as some CSI time crocheting managed to turn into a bit of an ordeal, but I probably only have myself to blame.
Just to recap, this bag is made with cotton DK that I bought from John Lewis (their own Jonelle brand) some time in the 80s. It's been knitted and pulled out and reknitted nearly ad infinitum so it was only right to do something else with it :¬) The natural and icy blue are Jonelle colourways, and the red was an evolution of Dylon dyes which I talked about here.
I admit I wanted it to be a big bag but somehow it grew and grew, and then (fortunately) I ran out of the natural coloured cotton. I'd wanted to do a couple of rows of decrease before I stopped but because I ran out of yarn so suddenly (aka not paying attention, ahem) that didn't happen.
I haven't measured it, but I reckon it's about 20" across laid out flat. Well, it will certainly be a high capacity bag!
I decided to use a webbing strap rather than a crochet one as I don't think they're very robust, and with previous (much smaller) bags I've made, I find they stretch. I also wanted to machine stitch the strap on in a strap/bag/reinforcing piece of calico sandwich, but I couldn't get all that thickness under my presser foot, so I hand sewed it on.
The front looks passable, just don't ask to see the back! When I am rich and famous, and have a swanky new sewing machine, I'll sew them on properly... (yeah like, in my dreams...)
Big bags are great for carrying lots in, but they're also great at losing small things like purses and phones, so I added a couple of inside pockets.
I crocheted the big pocket as a separate piece and sewed it on, and the smaller phone pocket, which you can see a bit of under the right side of the strap, was done by sewing a line of chain stitches on the inside of the bag, then picking them up with the crochet hook and crocheting up from there. There didn't seem to be much difference in the result or the neatness, so I think future pockets like these will be done separately - being attached to the bag as I crocheted made the phone pocket a bit of a fiddle, although nothing too dramatic.
Because the bag was so big (which made for a rather gaping opening), I decided to put a cord through the top row of crochet to make it a bit more close-able. I tried a kind of crochet i-cord but although it looked nice, it was too lumpy to pull smoothly through the crochet. Then I tried to knit an i-cord (my first attempt) and found that I couldn't get a tight enough tension on the first stitch of each row, so one side looked fine, and the other side looked like a miniature pair of laddered tights! Having never tried to knit i-cord before, it might have been my technique, but I also suspect that i-cords work better with a yarn that has a bit of stretch to it, like wool; this Jonelle yarn doesn't have any stretch at all.
So then I tried inventing a kind of flat crocheted ribbon using single crochet and crocheting back into each previous stitch, and that finally worked out. I wanted to use flowers as cord stops, to stop the cord accidentally being pulled out, so I made these two using a pattern from Lacy Crochet, a book which I bought a couple of months ago and have been meaning to do a few things from so that I can do a First Impressions post. They crocheted up really quickly which I was eating my lunch today, so it would be easy to make more and stitch them onto the bag Attic24-style.
I wouldn't say that anything was particularly difficult, but the process seemed to drag on, and get more and more unwieldy, but as I said, I should have planned and paid better attention, and then perhaps things would have turned out a bit more positively.
So, that's the bag. Right now, I feel completely drained by it. And you can probably tell; this is not the perkiest of posts, is it? But I'm hoping that now it's done and I can walk away from it for a while, it will grow on me.
And to take my mind off it, I have some lovely Rowan Wool Cotton which I have been waiting ages for, to continue a blanket I started in February or somewhen ages ago.
I already feel jollier just telling you about them! The blue is shade 941, the pale green is 901 and the grassy green is 946. I only got one ball each to start off and see how the blanket turns out (I also haven't decided how big I want it to be yet) but I can already tell you that grassy green is going to be a prominent feature - I really love it, it has a bouncy optimism to it.
I'll do a bit tonight hopefully and show you in a day or two. Woolly green cheerfulness, here I come...