edited to add - rag bag progress photos here
Here we go with the instructions for a simple crochet bag... and I do mean simple! I've tried to explain every step carefully, post a comment at the bottom if there is any confusion and I will do my best to clear it up for you.
Don't be frightened by the number of photos. This is not complicated! I just wanted the beginners to be able to follow every little step along the way. If you would like to enlarge any of the pictures, just click on them to go to my flickr account where you will be able to view them in a larger size.
Start by choosing your yarn... I'm going to work with three strands held together... the pink is a wool, the multi-coloured is an acrylic, and I have no idea what the blue one is! They are all an 8ply/DK weight.
Don't be frightened to mix yarn types... there are NO RULES here. Just select whatever you want.
Doesn't even need to be yarn... could be plarn or rags or jute or string... absolutely anything.
Give your yarns a little twist, just to get an idea of how they will look when worked together.
I'm happy with this blend!
Choose a hook. If in doubt about the size... always go a little smaller. A smaller hook will give you a firmer crochet fabric and a more sturdy finished product.
Here I'm choosing to use a 6.5mm hook
Now for that rectangle!
The base of the bag will be rectangular. Have a think about the size you would like your bag to be.
I've folded a pamphlet in half to use as a template. It will help you visualise what we are doing here.
Start by working a row of chain stitches the length of the short end of your rectangle. Here I have worked only 5ch.
ch 1, sc into 2nd ch from hook, sc to end... (I have worked 5sc)
ch 1, turn work, sc into top of each stitch (again I have worked 5sc)
Keep repeating this row, until you have completed your rectangle. I worked 20 rows in total.
This is the base of the bag completed. Now to start on the sides.
Do not turn your work. Make another sc in the same spot as your last one.
You are now working a row of sc down the length of your rectangle, do this by placing a sc in the end of each of the previous rows.
When you reach the end, work 2sc into the 'corner stitch'.
Work a row of sc into the other end of your rectangle.
Then 2sc into the next corner, and work along the final side of the rectangle.
You have just completed the first 'round' of the bag.
Don't worry about joining the rounds, just work in spirals.
Don't bother with marking the end of each round either.
Keep working in sc.
You are NO LONGER working 2sc into the corner stitches.
Just work one sc into each stitch.
After a few rounds you should see your bag beginning to take shape.
Continue until you are happy with the 'height' of the bag... I worked approximately 15 rounds. Work a slip stitch into the next stitch, cut yarn and fasten off. I try to finish off in a 'corner' rather than in the middle of the bag.
Lay the bag flat. Choose a yarn for the trim. If you want a subtle look, you could use one of the three yarns you used for the body of the bag. Or contrast with a completely new colour.
I have chosen some light pink beads and buttons to add to the bag, so I am going to use a light pink contrasting trim colour.
I'm going to work a small picot edge using a single strand of yarn and a 3.0mm hook. Starting at one end of the bag, work (sc, ch2, sc) into each stitch.
Continue this picot pattern for a full round. Join and fasten off. Weave in all ends.
I'm going to add two twisted cord handles... click here for my tutorial
A tiny bit of maths here...
- work out the length you want each strap to be
- add a little extra to attach to bag
- multiply this by 2 because we are going to make a cord long enough for both straps
- then multiply this by 3 because you will lose some length in the twisting and folding process
- this is the length of each piece of yarn needed
- I used 12 strands in total, four of each colour
Once your cord is complete, we need to cut it into two.
Fold in half and tie some yarn very firmly on each side of where you plan to cut. I am a bit obsessive about this. I wind and tie the yarn about ten times, just to be sure it is totally secure.
Repeat the process so you can remove the large knot at the end. It is too bulky for the inside of your bag.
Leave the folded end as is.
Position one handle.
Ensure it is centred properly. Then attach to the inside of your bag.
I prefer to use a needle and regular thread when attaching the handles. You can use wool if you like, but I find that the thread adds less bulk.
The best way of securing is to stitch up and down the handle (the section marked in the photo between my finger and thumb) Be sure and work right the way through the handle and the full thickness of the bag. Keep your stitches small on the outside of the bag, and they will disappear into your work.
You might need to click on this photo and enlarge it to get a better view here. You should be able to see some of my stitches in the dark pink thread, attaching the handle to the bag. I have worked my way up and down that section 3 or 4 times... although most of the stitches are not visible.
Repeat with the other handle. The inside doesn't need to look pretty, as the lining will hide a multitude of sins!
Add any embellishments you fancy. Then you are ready for the lining.
Click here to see my simple lining tutorial.