Well, here goes, I have decided to try something new. I have always enjoyed knitting but thought I would have a go at crochet. Crochet is something I tried when I was about 12 or 13 (quite a long time ago), but never really got a feel for it, so I am giving it a 2nd chance. I have got myself a copy of the Hooked Knitting and Crochet book which we sell here on this site. I am going to attempt to crochet a beach bag which at first sight looks quite complicated but I may as well make something I would like to use, I have chosen 5 different colours of the Hooked Milano, going for the Eco Barbante range which is 85% recycled cotton and I am ready to begin.
The bag pattern is from the Hoooked pattern book and is created with crocheted blocks which are known as Granny Squares, which to me conjures up an image of 70’s style blankets. The truth of the matter is that Granny Squares are used very effectively in many crochet projects. Apparently, Granny Squares are quick to make and also easy for a beginner like me to get started and learn the basic stitches and method of working “in the round”.
The first thing I need to do is to make a 3-D frilled flower, wow I thought this was supposed to be easy and here I am straight in at the deep end doing something completely alien to myself. Starting with a chain of 12 closed to form a ring, I need to work 3 trebles into the ring, turn the piece over so that the wrong side is facing and do the same thing again and repeat so that there are 3 rows of 3 stitches. This is where the 3-D effect is created, do another chain of 3 and take it behind the work and start again working 3 trebles into the ring. Hey presto, taking the chain from the top of the “petal” down to begin again in the ring pulls it into a raised shape. This forms the first of 8 petals and now need to cast off before beginning the next step. I am beginning to enjoy the creative feeling and can’t wait to continue with my Granny Square!
The next step is to start the formation of a square, which proves to be really easy, start on the chain that was done to form the petal and do 3 tr (trebles) into the chain then chain 2 to the next petal chain which will be the 1st of the corners. With this one, I need to do 2 lots of clusters into this chain and chain 3 between them, this is how the corner is formed. Now all I need to do is repeat to the end, cast off and start another row. This is repeated for 5 rows, changing colour each time until the last which is a repeat of the previous colour.
I have created my first ever Granny Square, I am impressed with myself, just need to do 12 more now.
Several days later and my pile of granny squares has grown from the 1 you see above to 7 and a bit, more than halfway there!
The squares are easy to do and once I had completed a couple I found I could do one start to finish in about an hour (remember, I am new to this).
The Hooked Pattern book provided a chart so that as I gave my five colours of yarn a letter, I could follow the chart to complete the 13 squares required without repeating the colour sequence in any two squares. What a clever idea.
The book doesn’t mention it but looking at their picture, I can see that the bag has a fabric lining. I have decided that this would be a good idea and I am going to look for a waterproof fabric for this purpose since I do want to use the finished bag as a beach bag If we ever get to go on holiday again.
I have purchased 1 meter of white fabric which is probably more than I will need so now I need to stitch the Granny Squares together and attach the lining fabric. The 13 squares are all numbered and the book has an illustration of how to join the numbered squares together to form one large panel.
When I had done this, I used the large panel as a template to cut the same shape in the lining fabric, which I then folded to the shape of the finished bag before attaching it to the inside.
As you can see from the illustration above, the book shows the bag with handles attached which are a long handbag style, I have chosen different handles and used circular bamboo handles instead. This is simply just a personal choice, once these have been attached the bag is complete and ready for my next beach holiday.
I can honestly say that I have thoroughly enjoyed my first crochet project and the finished beach bag has exceeded all expectations. The Hoooked yarn has been wonderful to work with and once completed the bag is a substantial size and the quality feels excellent, I am certain I will enjoy many admiring glances once this item hits the beaches. Roll on summer.