Having started the Crafternoon Treats Bagalong at the beginning of June, sort of by accident, I expected it to be a project that everyone got bored with… How wrong could I be? You are all just as obsessed with crochet bags as I have become. And long may it continue.
The Bagalong group on Facebook now has over 1000 members. They are very active and extremely friendly, posting their latest makes and introducing new patterns and bag styles for the rest of us to drool over. The group has become permanent by popular demand and now has a younger sister group, The Crafternooners. This second group is also growing and is for more wide-ranging discussion of crochet projects beyond bags.
I rather scared myself when I did an Instagram post at the end of June, showing my own Bagalong creations. I made all but one of these bags (the original retro granny stash bag) last month…
It all began with the Attic24 Jolly Chunky bag, which I had made at the end of May for a local Marie Curie fundraising event that raised £269. I’d done it using the Stylecraft Chunky I had left over from my chunky hexagon blanket.
This is such a great bag to make and putting the final touches to it with the handles and flowers really got me thinking about the bags of my own design that I’d made earlier in the year.
When I posted these pics of the finished bag, I mentioned that it might be cool to have a bag-a-long… so then were were off because everyone was sooooo enthusiastic.
One thing that has really struck me is the variety that you can achieve with the same design of bag but with your own colour scheme and choice of yarn. My Attic24 Jolly Chunky bag is quite similar to the original but look at these beauties by Donna Blissett (on the left) and Hege Dammyr (on the right) from the Bagalong group. Both gorgeous and practical but so different to each other and to the original!
Retro granny stash bag fever
The main event of the June Bagalong was my original retro granny stash bag, made back in February this year. I decided to make two new bags, a hefty monster seaside stash bag to take on holiday with me to the coast, and a much more petite project bag that I could carry around my ‘tools’ and smaller projects.
I loved doing both and learned such a lot – about crochet and about sewing. I am getting better at using fabric, needle and thread and the sewing machine and I find I’m actually enjoying it now, whereas before it was just a means to an end.
A lot of people in the Bagalong group were struggling with the linings too, so I actually also did two tutorials on different lining methods. The lining individual squares technique is fab and I love it. Its really easy and it works well but for the big seaside bag, I made a more tricky padded box lining. Never again!!!! (I say that but…)
For both of these bags I used a different and much improved handle technique – rope handles. You can make these long, medium or short and they look and feel fantastic. They seem to be wearing well too and I am keen to replace the handles on my original stash bag one of these evenings…
New bags inspired by the Bagalong group
The great thing about being in a Facebook group that is so well focused is that everyone is really keen on exactly the same things. Bag addiction seems to be very catching! I may have started the group off but now its great that the members there are inspiring each other – and inspiring me back too.
As a result of postings in the group I’ve made two smaller bags, a tiny envelope granny clutch and a cross body bag to carry my iPad around in. That was just an experiment for me but I was quite pleased with how it turned out.
I also nearly forgot – while I was actually on holiday I made yet another bag, the festival bag with the gorgeous Studio Chunky yarn that Deramores had very kindly given me to play with. Its very bright and bold and my 21-year old daughter said it would be perfect for taking to Leeds Fest – so it was duly named. (Remember if you want to use Studio Chunky order it through one of my links and enter the discount code TREATS at checkout to get 20% off.)
Bagalong in July
I’ll be writing about this in more detail later this week, but for July one of the bags we are going to be making as a group in the Bagalong will be the fat bottomed bag featured by Wink on her blog A creative being. Very sadly Wink, who was experiencing severe depression, took her own life at the end of June.
Many of us followed her blog and loved her writing and her designs – she seemed such a happy person. That she was suffering so much was never really apparent except for a few hints in her posts this year. Our hearts go out to her family – her parents and sibings, boyfriend and friends who must be utterly devastated.
As a group we’ve decided to make the bag as a tribute to Wink and her creativity and to raise some money for mental health charities around the world. When I post about the fat bottomed bag, I’ll provide a list of options for donations that the group have suggested.
I’ll also be featuring a small gallery of some of the bags that the group have made this month – so much wonderful crochet has been happening – AND I’ll be updating the links in the bagalong menu, something that is rather overdue. I’m sorry, but I’ve been making bags (hangs head in shame…)