In the Facebook group Bagalong with Crafternoon Treats this month we are making The Cottage Bag using the pattern by Phil at The Twisted Yarn. Its a bit of a challenge project this one but I’m happy to have made a start! My first task has been to get to trips with brick stitch.
I’ve made half of the panel for the back of the bag so far. This is the first time that I’ve done brick stitch and looking at a few of the comments in the group I can see that many crocheters are a bit daunted, maybe thinking this is a project too far. Well, fear not. Phil is on hand in the group to help out with questions and I’m going to do a few reports as I go along with some (hopefully) helpful tips that should encourage you to have a go.
Alternative colour choices
The Scheepes yarn used in the original bag looks fantastic with its subtle colour tones and it has some cotton in it which will make the bag more sturdy. But its quite a price when you add up what you need for the bag – about £30. So, if you are keen to try to bag but feel unsure about spending that amount of pennies in case you have trouble making it, I’ve decided to make mine in a different yarn. Stylecraft Special DK is great value and you may already have some of the colours in your stash.
I’ve chosen Stone for the mortar (so yarn M in the pattern) and Sandstone for the bricks (B in the pattern). I’ve done half of the brick stitch panel for the back of the bag so far and here is how its looking:
The sandstone is one of the Stylecraft Special DK marl colours and I’ve chosen another one, charcoal for the roof. I’m doing the window frames in duck egg blue and the door in storm blue, with grey for inside the windows. The decorative parts will be bits and pieces of embroidery thread I think as I have no 4-ply yarn. I did consider mocha as the mortar, which would have been a nice option but with less contrast so I opted for stone.
I’m not sure how much yarn it will use yet – but I’ve got 2 balls of stone, 2 balls of sandstone and one ball of charcoal. The rest is from my stash. So, my layout in money terms will be £8.75 (I got mine at Black Sheep Wools when I was there this week).
Getting the hang of brick stitch
Brick stitch is easy once you get going and Phil has a tutorial on her blog that should help. If you are not too confident, I’ve included some step-by-step photos below to show you how I did it. I used exactly the same technique as Phil method and I’ve included more description to try and help…
Starting off is easy – follow the pattern so that you have two rows of brick (yarn B). For the back of the back, this will be row 4. When you get to do row 5, you need to put in the vertical stitches to make the mortar between the sides of the bricks. I did find this tricky at first so take it slowly.
On row 5 and all subsequent rows when you need to work the long dc (UK treble) down to two rows below, start by working 3 single crochet (US); double crochet (UK) into each stitch of the previous row.
The only tricksy part is doing the next stitch. It goes into the stitch in yarn M that is two rows below – so below the two rows you’ve just done in yarn B:
To work the stitch, insert your hook through both loops but work at the front of your work, inserting the hook through the stitch from the back to the front.
Once the hook is inserted into the stitch, rearrange your hands so that everything is in a more comfortable position to work the dc (UK treble) as normal. I sort of moved my work sideways to get a better grip. Then you can complete the dc (UK treble) as you would in any other circumstances. Yarn over hook, pull through leaving 3 loops on the hook.
Yarn over the hook again and pull through two loops, yarn over and pull through the final two loops.
A note about the edge
As you make the brick stitch panel you are working with two different colours of yarn and these need to be carried up the side of your work to avoid constantly breaking the yarn and weaving in ends.
- To avoid a long loop at the side of each pair of rows, this is how I changed colour:
- Work the turning chain by pulling through the next colour.
- When you make the first sc (UK dc) stitch, crochet over the yarn of the previous colour, just for this one stitch.
- Carry on to finish the next two rows.
- When you reach the edge again, make sure the next colour yarn is pulled taut (not TIGHT) just so that it fits snugly against the side of the work.
This is how mine is looking so far. Not bad!
To remind you (and me!) what we are aiming for, here again is Phil’s lovely bag, which you can read more about here.