Thursday, August 28, 2008

anatomy of a rag bag

Want to see how the easy peasy crochet bag works up in rags???


I've cut my fabric into half inch strips using this method, and used an 8mm crochet hook. Because the fabric does not 'give' in the same way which yarns do, there is a tendency to work with too much tension... which results in painful wrists. My recommendation is that you focus on keeping your tension loose. Relax your grip. Perhaps even change your technique a little. For example, I would usually grip the hook in a 'pen-like' manner... but when working with rags I switch to a 'knife-like' grip. You just need to experiment a little to find what works for you.

This will be a multi-coloured bag, to use up some of my oddments of rags. When changing colours you can use this method to join in the next 'yarn'.


I'm starting with this assortment of rags. I have 10 different prints here.


Here's the 5 starting chain, plus a turning chain for luck!


Now the 5 sc... and another turning chain


20 rows of sc and the base is complete


Starting round of sc along the sides of the rectangle


Keep spiralling around in sc.


15 rounds of sc and the body is complete


Time to choose a colour for the trim. I like to pick one of the colours in the bag to accentuate. In this case I would choose either the green, blue or red. The green will be too gaudy for my taste... a little in the bag is fine, but I don't want to make it more of a feature. Blue is not a bad choice, but a bit too subdued. I'm liking the red.


Picot trim in red using a 4.0mm hook and thick cotton.

Choosing a colour for the handles. Nothing too bright, I'm going to go with navy.


3 starting chain, plus a turning chain for luck...

3sc plus another turning chain... repeat until desired length

then make another exactly the same


Add some colour.


Attach handles to bag.


Pop in the lining... tutorial here


I've added an old clip-on earring as a removable embellishment, and the job is done!


Cats-Rockin-Crochet said...

At the bag body and picot stage, the bag is looking quite ordinary, but once you complete the other steps, the beauty of the bag is revealed. Well done, another fine bag.

laughing purple goldfish said...

thanks cat - I agree, it really is the finishing touches which make or break a project

Wendy said...

Great tutorial. And I agree that the trims you have added - accenting colours etc- make it a very attractive bag.

laughing purple goldfish said...

thanks wendy - I think the 'decorating' at the end is the fun part

Anonymous said...

Sharon, yet another gorgeous bag. I loved the tute. I love all your tutes !!

laughing purple goldfish said...

thanks cristina :)

Unknown said...

I love your site!!!! I especially love that you recycle so many items. I've shared your site with my sister in Florida, and we are both totally addicted. So many projects..... so little time! Thank you! Sandra

laughing purple goldfish said...

you're welcome... thanks for stoppin to comment

Crafty Lady said...

I love your bag. I wanted to make one with strips of plastic grocery bags, because they will be charging for them soon. I knew what I wanted, but couldn't seem to start. Your tutorial was perfect. I sat down and have my "recycled grocery bag" about half finished. Great website and tutorials!

Anonymous said...

Bellissima borsa molto originale, il tutorial è fatto molto bene ed è facile anche per me che parlo poco inglese- GRAZIE MILLE
Patrizia 58

Unknown said...

Oh what a BEAUTIFUL bag!!! I just started following your blog and have to say this bag is what done it for me!! LOVE YOUR WORK!! This is definitely on top of my must have pile!! A friend of mine bought a bag like this and paid WAAAAY TO MUCH FOR IT and it's not nearly this nice! Great job!!


I am going to need to buy some material to make a bag. About how many yards would you estimate would be needed to make this bag?

Anonymous said...

Wish me luch on making this. This is the first time I have ever crocheted using material. So wish me luck, Also I am using scrap material, but making the bottom in black and the sides in different color scrap material. Everyone wish me luck.

Anonymous said...

Ok problem would appreciate anyone's help in this. First don't have a size 8 crochet needle. Has anyone used a diiferent size to make this pattern like a I, J, K. My husband suggested that I finish cutting the material, than so to the store and get an size 8 tomorrow and start it tomorrow. Also how do you tie the material together. Do you do it the same way as yarn. Would appreciate any help anyone can give. Please and thank you.

laughing purple goldfish said...

PLP... good luck with the bag!!!

you can use a smaller hook if you like, just be sure to keep a loose tension... the fabric doesn't have the same stretch as yarn, and you will make life very hard for yourself if you work too tightly

also, if using a smaller hook, you could try narrower strips of fabric

three options for joining... either tie a simple knot (gives a shaggy/scrappy look) or just start using the new strand and work over your ends... or join using this easy method

Anonymous said...

Hi I have just finished the base of one bag and well impressed - now trying to decide how to do the handles.

Anonymous said...

Everyone I did get the right size needle after all. My husband surprised me. Also a piece of advice don't use cotton material to make the bag because it becomes stringy on the sides and it comes unruffled, but once you get past that it looks great. Also I am getting ready to make another one. Just don't know what kind of material I will use. Someone suggested Polyester or Nylon (not sure about the nylon) because I want to be able to wash it. So if anyone has any suggestions please share. Also I did my straps in black material.

laughing purple goldfish said...

hey Paula PLP...

sounds like you had fun with the bag!

it can be really messy work, but once it is finished, the rags have already done most of their shedding - so you shouldn't have any further issues with that

the bag will have a shaggy look to it - but that's part of the charm, in my opinion!

I've made these bags in all sorts of materials... from VHS tape to plastic strips, rags, jute, etc... so you should definitely experiment with nylon and polyester

oceanlover said...

How clever. I have made the crotched rugs and love those. Your purseis awesome. I am heading to my sewiing area to find a hook.

Unknown said...

I have a question. Do you have to use tee shirts or pillowcases

Irit M said...

Thanks for the instructions for this bag. The only thing I am worried about, is that it will be to heavy bag. no?
Your bag looks lovely and I love the style.