To Market….To Market….

As you have by now gathered, most of my projects are knitted items. I do like to crochet as it’s faster than knitting but I’m not as good at reading crochet patterns as I am at reading a knitting pattern. For a while now I’ve been wanting to crochet a traditional looking eco market string bag; I’ve searched the internet for patterns, printed off a few but once I start reading them all the instructions just start swimming in front of my eyes and I give up!

A while ago I attempted this crocheted market bag called the Everyday Market Bag. The reason why I thought I’d give it a go was because it said it was easy! The instructions were very detailed to the point they were confusing. Here’s a direct link to them. What do you think?

I had completed about six inches when I gave up as I was so confused. I checked on Ravelry and obviously I wasn’t the only one. The general consensus was that the pattern was very poorly written. One Raveller even rewrote the pattern in easier pattern language but that still didn’t give me enough incentive to keep going so I put it aside.

So last week the latest copy of Australian Creative Knitting Magazine arrives in my letter box and lo and behold there’s a crocheted market bag pattern in it..

Creative Knitting 02

I read the pattern and actually thought I’d be able to make it!!! So I gathered some of that rather coarse wool that I wound into lots of balls a while ago.

Cone Wool 03

It’s the perfect wool for a market bag as it looks just like jute….very rustic. So I sat down a few days ago with the wool, my crochet hook and the pattern and this is what I produced…

Large left Small right 01

Yup that’s right….I actually crocheted two bags. The smaller one on the right was my first one. I used a size 5 hook for the body and size 4 for the handles. I also misinterpreted how to finish off the handles and just made up my own version which works well. The larger bag on the left was crocheted using only a size 5 hook and including one extra repeat. This time I read the pattern instruction for the final row of the handles over and over again until it sank in. In fact, I read it out loud a few times….my neighbours must think I’m losing the plot!

They look great and I’m really pleased with them but how about adding some leaves…

Leaves 01

and maybe some flowers….

Flowers 01

The pattern for the leaves is from the book The Complete Photo Guide to Knitting by Margaret Hubert. I borrowed it from the local library. The pattern for the flowers is from the Pansy Motif by Carol Schoenfelder and can be found free on Ravelry. Needless to say, I can now make the leaves and flowers in my sleep after knitting 16 leaves and crocheting eight flowers!! But I think it was worth the effort don’t you?

Large Bag 03

Oh and of course there’s a button in the middle of each flower.

Large Bag 04

I just can’t stop looking at them as I’m so pleased with the result.

Large Bag 05

This will definitely be my ‘go to’ pattern for a crocheted market bag.

Two Bags 04

The flowers and leaves really make the bags ‘pop’. The yarn I used for the flowers is just a cheap acrylic from Lincraft called Double Knitting and it’s an 8ply yarn. I bought it ages ago as I was quite taken with the colours (so glad I did). The yarn used for the leaves is Sullivans Coton-A which is a 60% cotton / 40% acrylic yarn. It’s a 5ply / sport weight and the recommended needle size is 5 but I used a 3.25mm for the leaves to try and make them quite dense.

Lincraft Double Knitting

Sullivans Cotton-A Green 03

Now for a few close up pics of the flowers and leaves.

Finished leaves flowers 01

Finished leaves flowers 05

Finished leaves flowers 06

And one more. I’m feeling quite chuffed and proud of myself 🙂

Finished leaves flowers 07

I love it when a project works out beyond my expectations especially when I’m using a craft that is not my number one craft.

Two Bags 06

So that’s how I spent the couple of days before Christmas and part of Christmas Day…crocheting two market bags from the perfect yarn! And of course, I made lunch and spent it with my favourite (and only) son!

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas Day spent with either family or friends and I hope you also managed to fit in a bit of knitting or crocheting too.

Until next time…

Melanie

A Bright Red Market Bag

As well as going crazy over knitting the last two years, I have crazy phases about what I knit. It’s either all vests, all baby hats and now it’s all market bags. Remember those bags years ago we’d take to the shop to put our groceries in? They were quite small and easy to transport and yet could stretch to hold an incredible number of items. Well I’ve just finished my first one.

Although not as large as one of the old fashioned market bags, it’ll be perfect for me to take to my weekly scrabble game with the girls as I’ll use it to carry my keys, wallet and mobile phone rather than putting them in my knitting caddy. My bag is also a bit denser so there’s less likelihood of anything falling through the holes.

As per usual, I found this free knitting pattern on Ravelry and it’s called the Ilene Bag. The pattern calls for Louet Euroflax which is a 5ply 100% linen. As I didn’t have this yarn, I substituted it for this bright red Patons Bluebell which is also a 5 ply yarn and has a lovely crepe texture. I bought a bundle of this Bluebell about a year ago on Ebay. One thing I like about Bluebell is it stretches so easily so is ideal for this little bag.

Patons Bluebell Red 01

I used 5 dpns (4mm) when picking up the stitches on either side of the rectangular stockinette stitch base and until I had completed a few of the pattern rows and then I changed to 4mm (40cm) circulars needles.

Ilene Bag 01

Here is the finished Ilene Bag…

Ilene Bag 02

I have put a small paperback book in the bottom of the bag to show the stretch in the handle. You need to make sure you don’t knit the handle too long as it will stretch with any weight in the bag.

Ilene Bag 05

A 300g hank of fingering yarn.

Ilene Bag 04

The base is nice and thick so nothing can poke through.

Ilene Bag 03

An empty bag…

Ilene Bag 11

Oh my goodness, I’ve just had a quick look on Ravelry to find some more market bag patterns and there are sooo many available that I don’t know which one to pick! Here’s just a few:

Lacy Knit Market Bag

Hexagonal Market Bag

Let’s Go Shopping Market Bag

The String Bag

Looks like I’m going to have a nice selection of bags to tote around!

I’ve just bought some Lily Sugar ‘n Cream 10ply cotton from Bubs 2 Grubs Knitting in Western Australian. This is an American cotton and is difficult to source in Australia. I’ve seen so many patterns for dishcloths that use this cotton so I look forward to receiving my 16 balls next week. Four balls of four different colours.

Until next time…

Melanie