Thursday, 18 August 2011

Experiments in crochet

On a recent night out a thought hit me; that I have no appropriate handbags to wear with vintage styled pieces. The only one that comes close is a tiny plain black article with a ribbon bow, that is sadly only large enough to contain a mobile phone and a lipstick. And possibly some loose cash thrown in the bottom. While this may be all some girls get away with taking out, i am certainly not one of them.  I risk coming home in a tangled mass of frizz if I don't take a hairbrush, habitually carry a camera, and like a bag that can potentially hold a couple of nappies for occasions involving the little one.

So began the web browsing  for ideas on patterns or styles for something I could make, and I came across some interesting crocheted bag patterns from the 1940s, including this free pattern:

 Shell-pattern crochet bag, worked in rounds then folded into the semi-circular finished shape

A little more research shows this to be a Jack Frost pattern dating from 1945, and the whole pattern booklet can be bought from The Vintage Knitting Lady in PDF format, which includes soem beautiful designs including these two (also sold as individual patterns):

At this point, I had a slight issue- I've never crocheted in my life! But not to fear, I have my secret weapon:

 Dating from 1981, this book came to me from my nanna and is a whacking great 500 page craft bible!

Photos, diagrams and written instructions for everything from basic stitches to fancy lacework

I rummaged out some knitting wool and a hook and sat down for an afternoon. After half an hour's playing I had mastered the basic stitches I would need for the free pattern above, which is mostly made up in simple double crochet, as well as learning treble crochet for good measure. The action seems to come quite naturally, probably a result of so many evenings spent watching my mum working away with a hook and yarn! I tested out the first few rows of the bag pattern  to get a feel for how it comes together, and a fairly short stint gave me this:

A little uneven on the tension still, but I could see the improvement with each row. I shall keep practicing while I wait for my cotton yarns to arrive. The next (and probably most difficult) step will be finding some suitable handles.

Final not to self: Counting stitches is impossible while a one-year-old pushes toys in your lap!

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