This week I finished my new project bag. A roomy granny box bag made from Stylecraft chunky in lots of bright retro colours. When I posted a pic on Facebook this week I was amazed at the response! It almost went viral 🙂 Well, for me getting a post that reaches 15,000 people plus is a major event.
Definitely my happy moment of the week.
An overview tutorial follows in this blog and here are some quick links for detailed photo tutorials for the different parts.
- The free pdf pattern for the retro granny square motif
- The overview blog post tutorial for the retro granny stash bag
- The more detailed tutorial for joining the motifs to make the box for the bag
- Photo tutorial on adding handles to the bag
The chunky retro granny stash bag Ta Dah!
I’m working on a detailed free tutorial for the square design, which is my own. I know its a granny square but I didn’t copy any other pattern and just went with the flow.
First though, this post is an overview of the bag, which took me a week to make, working on it in the evenings and at the weekend. The hardest part for me was sewing the lining. If you are a sewing whizz, this part will be a doddle.
The chunky granny square
This is very much a basic granny square but I have adapted the standard pattern and used Stylecraft Chunky yarn in retro inspired colours.
Granny square patternDownload a pdf version of the granny square pattern in USA crochet terms
The Stylecraft chunky colours used for this square are (from the middle outwards) gold, camel, spice, walnut, cream, gold, walnut, spice, cream, camel. UK terms are used.
To convert to USA terms: a treble is a double crochet, a half treble is a half double crochet.
Round 1: Using Gold, make 4 chains. Join with a slip stitch to make a ring. Make three chains then make 11 trebles into the chain ring. Join with a slip stitch to the third chain of the first stitch. You should have 12 stitches. Fasten off and weave in the ends.
Round 2: Using camel join through both loops of any treble in the previous round. Make three chains. Make one treble into the same stitch. Then make two trebles into the remaining trebles in the previous round, going through both loops each time. Join to the third chain of the first stitch with a slip stitch. Fasten off and weave in the ends. This round should have 24 stitches.
Round 3: Using spice, join the new yarn through any of the spaces between the sets of two trebles in the previous round. Make three chains. Make two trebles into the same space. Then make three trebles into the remaining spaces between the treble pairs all the way round. Join to the third chain of the first stitch with a slip stitch. Fasten off and weave in the ends. You should have 36 stitches – 12 clusters of three trebles.
Note: so far you have made a circle. In the next round, you will add corners to turn this into a square.
Round 4: Using walnut join the new yarn into any space between the treble clusters. Make three chains. Make two trebles into the same space. In the next space of the previous round, make three trebles. In the next space make two trebles, two chains and two trebles. This is your first corner. *In the next two spaces, make three trebles. Then in the next space, make the second corner by doing two trebles, two chains and two trebles.* Repeat from * to * twice more. Join with the third chain of the first stitch using a slip stitch. You should have four corners with two treble clusters between each one. 48 stitches in total (40 trebles plus the 8 chains for the corners). Fasten off and weave in the ends.
Note: your square will not be a perfect square yet. The sides will bulge out. We will correct this in the next round, which includes half trebles as well as trebles.
Round 5: Using cream join the new yarn into any space between the treble clusters on the side of your square. A space between two treble clusters just after a corner is best. Make two chains. Then make two half treble stitches into the same space. In the next two spaces between the treble clusters on the side of the square make three half treble stitches. These are shorter, so will reduce the width of the sides of your square, making the shape a more precise square. *When you get to the corner, make two trebles into the space created by the two chain stitches. Then make two chains and two more trebles. On the next side, make three half treble stitches into each space.* Repeat from * to * until you have gone all round the square. Join to the second chain of the first stitch with a slip stitch and fasten off and weave in the ends.
Round 6. We are back to all trebles for this round and the rest of the square. Using gold, join the yarn in a space between the double crochet clusters of the previous round. Make three chains. Make two trebles into the same space. Continue around the square making three trebles into the space between each cluster. At each corner, make two trebles into the space created by the two chains, then make two chains and two more trebles. Join with a slip stitch and fasten off the ends.
Round 7: Using walnut repeat round 6.
Round 8: Using spice, repeat round 6.
Round 9 Using cream, repeat round 6.
Round 10 Using camel, repeat round 6.
You should end up with a square that is even, with four corners equally spaced by 8 treble clusters on each side.
The actual size of your square will vary according to your tension. Mine measures 12 inches across. If you want it bigger or smaller, do more or fewer rounds.
Bagalong note: My smaller project bag was done with just 7 rounds. My big stash bag had 12 rounds, all done with a 5mm hook rather than a 6mm hook to give a denser crochet fabric.
Retro colour combos for the other squares
To make the chunky retro granny stash bag, you need five squares, one for the base and one for each side.
These are my other squares:
For the square top right I used plum, parchment, pomegranate, fondant, parchment, raspberry, fondant, plum, pomegranate and raspberry.
For the square bottom right I used pomegranate, camel, gold, pomegranate, spice, copper, camel, spice, pomegranate, copper
For the square bottom left I used: meadow, midnight, parchment, aster, meadow, cream, midnight, parchment, cream, aster
For the middle square I used: camel, plum, magenta, parchment, emperor, magenta, camel, plum, parchment, midnight
Joining the squares
Lay out the squares in the configuration shown in the picture above. These squares are wrong side up. The orange and brown square is the base of the bag, the other squares are the sides.
A quick overview on joining the squares
Step 1: Join the bottom edges of each side square to the four edges of the base using a contrasting but toning colour. I chose plum. Using double crochet, join stitch for stitch with the squares held wrong side to wrong side. Stitch over your yarn tails so that they will be as secure as possible.
When you have the base joined to all four squares…
When you have joined the base, do not break off your yarn. At the corner, continue to join the first two sides, do a double crochet border across the top of that side square, then join downwards until you reach the base again. Fasten off. Resume joining and going around the top of the square until all four side squares are joined to make a box. You will have two squares with no top border. Add each of those separately.
When I had joined three sides, I put the bag over an actual box to show how it comes together:
When its joined, the bag is floppy and it has a lot of holes. It would be fine to use like this with handles if you wanted just to keep yarn balls in it. But to give it some shape and make it more useful, it needs a lining.
I am no sewing expert, and there are probably better ways to do this, but I used a lime green slubbed lining fabric (bought as a remnant for £1), stiffened it with heavy iron-on interfacing and made a square base, a tube for the sides, and sewed them together to produce a fabric box.
To attach this to the bag, I made holes 8 mm apart along the top hemmed edge with an awl, then used plum coloured embroidery thread, used with all 6 strands, to make blanket stitch all around the edge. I then used Stylecraft Special DK in plum to add a single round of double crochet.
On the crochet bag, I continued to add two rounds of plum border using chunky yarn and doing UK double crochets.
On the third round, I put the lining inside the bag and crocheted from the outside, joining each stitch with the corresponding stitch on the lining. There was a bit of fudging here, but if you pin the lining to the bag at the corners, you can get the join pretty even. Then I went round and added one more round of double crochet to give the bag a deep top edge.
Then a final round to make the base for the handles. On the side square of the bag, in my case the pink and plum square, I put a stitch marker three stitches from each end. When i got to the stitch marker, instead of carrying on around the top of the bag, I made 50 chain stitches before rejoining and continuing around the bag ends. I did the same at the other side.
The bag handles
I used camel chunky yarn for these and a 0.7mm diameter cord.
Holding the cord parallel to the top edge of the bag, I did another round of edging in parchment, crocheting over the cord to hold it in place.
When I got to the chain for the handle, I crocheted over the cord and chain, using enough stitches to cover the cord completely but not too many to cause the handle to warp and buckle.
At the end, I cut the cord to exactly the right length and wound some white yarn around the cord ends to hold them in place. I finished the round of camel to cover the join.
The final round of the back edging was again using camel. I made a double crochet into each double crochet, putting a chain in between to give a slightly picot edge.
I then did one row of double crochet around the top of the bag between the handles, continuing with a row of plain double crochet on the inside of each handle.
I’d love to see any bags you make
If you do make a bag like this, drop by with a comment on upload a photo to my facebook page so that I can share 🙂