I’m finding that as I do more crochet designing its great to be able to have some relaxing projects on the go at the same time and to just follow a pattern from another designer. I enjoy making my own designs and doing the patterns and tutorials, but it is a bit full on at times. Just being able to pick out some yarn to suit the pattern and follow the general idea, or even to follow the pattern to the letter with the same yarn and the same colours, is still really good fun.
In September, the Bagalong with Crafternoon Treats group on Facebook voted to make the Crochet Dreamz bag as their project of the month. I couldn’t wait to make it but I was a bit late starting as I was working up the pattern for the rainbow tote bag that featured in the Stylecraft blog tour at the end of September. So, while the rest of the group had the rainbow bag to tackle in October, I finally caught up and got going. As this was a pattern from a blogger based in the US, I didn’t even try to match the yarn for the bag. Instead I used some Stylecraft Special chunky that I already had in my stash.
Visit the blog post by Crochet Dreamz here to check out the pattern for yourself. Although the link includes the words ‘pattern for sale’ the pdf is absolutely free and you can download it to your computer by following the pdf link.
Squares for the Crochet Dreamz bag
The base colour of my bag was gold and I chose magenta, plum and burgundy for the flowers, all of which had a parchment centre. The squares are quite small, only 10cm (4 in) across and when they were laid out on my table, they looked a bit like jammie dodger biscuits! Maybe that’s just wishful thinking as I’ve been on a bit of a diet recently 🙂
Assembling the bag
The pdf that is available has a hand drawn diagram to show how the bag goes together but I really struggle with things like this. Abstract diagrams with arrows really confuse me and I did struggle as I joined the squares together using double crochet stitches. Once it was done, I saw straight away how it worked and a step-by-step would have really helped.
The 12 squares are joined in a cross – two stripes of four squares with two squares at either side.
You can see that if you fold the cross in half, you get the shape of the bag.
Lining and embellishments
I chose to seam my squares so that the textured side as the front and then I got to work doing some embellishments with mother of pearl beads.
I also chose to line the bag before I crocheted the sides together to form the bag shape. A few weeks ago I bought a satin beaded stole from a charity shop for £1 – it had originally been part of an evening dress. It was just the perfect size and I cut a strip of either end so that my lining was beaded.
I sewed the first strip to the first long cross of the bag, just using hand stitching all the way round. On top of that I added the second rectangle of lining, just handstitching around the top and bottom edges and the sticky-out bits, not the edges in the centre that crossed over the first piece of lining.
That created an open section, which lead from one side to the other. But when the bag was folded up, this cavity forms a sort of shared pocket or compartment.
But now, at last, I was ready for the exciting part and started joining. This was so quick to do (the lining is by far the most time consuming part of the whole bag) and I really love this handbag shape!
Its difficult to show the lining because its quite a dark maroon red, but in this photo you can just see the beads twinkling away…
All that was left to do was to make a chunky handle, which I did using burgundy, crocheting a rectangle of double crochet (UK terms – dc = sc in US terms) and then curling it round on itself and then sewing it up with the tail end to form a short fat tube. I then sewed this into the top corner of the bag and – tadah! My bag was finished!