Tuesday, 17 February 2015

A String Shopping Bag


Thank you so much for your get well mesages. I am almost back to normal now. John (poor bloke) has some antibiotics which should clear up what turned to be an ear infection. Bella is in robust health and Angus, not to be outdone, has a bit of a cough that becomes very dramatic when he has to do something he doesn't want to do, like wash his hands before a meal or eat his vegetables. We battle on!

Anyway, the bag. I think this must be one of the most satisfying crochet projects I've completed in quite some time. Two and a half big balls of parcel string, one 10 mm hook and the whole thing made in under a week.


The pattern is from the excellent book Granny Squares by Susan Pinner which I've used a lot since I bought it a couple of years ago, and most recently to make my blanket. The bag is thirteen granny squares crocheted together using the join as you go method. 




It was fun watching the bag come together and take shape. Once the main section is done you add some double crochet edging and make the handles.


It's surprisingly strong and surprisingly roomy. It stretches when it's full and carried my laptop, slippers and crochet bag when I babysat my nieces for my sister a couple of nights ago.


The only negative thing I can think of to say about this bag is that crocheting with string is not exactly soft on the fingers. And a string bag all on it's own does not make a pretty photo, so I amused myself by buying a baguette and some tulips as props. Ah, tulips. Always pretty. I never go off them.


It wont work as a handbag as things might fall through the holes, but it's already getting lots of use as a kind of hold-all for when I go over to the house and want to take decorating clothes or my camera with me. I thought it might be a good beach bag for towels and wet things, since the material is so hard wearing and the construction allows air to circulate. But I'm mainly going to use it as it was intended, for shopping, even if my purchases wont always be this photogenic.




53 comments:

Amy at love made my home said...

How great is that Gillian! I have that book and have admired this bag too, it is good to know that it makes up so nicely and easily - apart from the hardness of the string of course! I like your styling with the props too. I hope that you are all back to 100% very soon - and that that mysterious cough belonging to your young man goes too! xx

KirstenLN said...

Beautiful! I guess it's posible to add some lining to avoid loosing small bits and pieces - but for bigger grocery shopping this seems ideal! I really love the discrete colour you chose - and the tulips ;-)

Hope you all get bette real soon!

CJ said...

It's lovely, so pretty, but no doubt incredibly hard wearing. I love the natural colour as well. You've done a beautiful job on the crochet, nice work Gillian! CJ xx

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you are feeling better, I do hope John soon feels a lot better too. Ear infections can be so miserable :( The string bag is great, I still haven't decided on a pattern for mine but I am thinking of putting the granny square book on my Birthday list!! As I said on you last post, I do have the yarn but I have yet to get around to making it! I hope the decorating goes well. Sharon x

Plain Jane said...

It's lovely! And I like the idea of using parcel string as it makes it more sturdy - I made one using a lovely soft acrylic DK a couple of years ago but it's just waaaaaay too stretchy! And what a good excuse to buy photogenic shopping - well done! Jane x

Gina said...

Fabulous bag... Very tempted to make one!

The Creative Academic said...

A fantastic bag Gillian. I do love tulips! The Granny Squares book is really good; I have spent lots of time looking at the wonderful pictures...but my crochet skills are not quiet up to the standard required...yet. Practice I guess! Glad you're better and I hope John's on the mend as well. xx

Ladybird Diaries said...

I love this bag Gillian it's fantastic...and your props are perfect! I have this book so I must investigate the pattern and also check if it's possible to get pink parcel string :-)
Marianne x

Leanne Paxton said...

Fab bag! It reminds of the bag my Mum had in the 70s.
Leanne xx

SaraJ said...

What a lovely bag. I've used bag inserts before with crochet bags (the idea of a sewing machine and lining them fills me with dread) - http://www.amazon.co.uk/SAVFY%C2%AE-Ladies-Handbag-Cosmetic-Organiser/dp/B00FQAL9OA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424176475&sr=8-1&keywords=handbag+inserts. Link attached - just incase anyone who has my aversion to sewing might find it useful! Have your hands recovered yet? I made a rug a whils ago with 3 strands of cotton and whilst it looked great, my hands and poor fingers were less impressed! Glad you are all feeling better - wishing you a happy , sunny half term. x

Life With The Crew said...

Awesome Gillian! You always come up with such great creative crafty ideas, but I think this one - one made with such simple materials - your hands and string - is one of the best!

Joanne Wilson said...

What a great item to make, it looks very professional xx

Lise said...

Lovely bag, although I can imagine it being very hard on the hands! You could line it with fabric, if you wanted a handbag.

Hope you are all better soon!

Jennifer said...

I think that bag could even make a pack of toilet paper look good. :) It came out great. I look at this project all the time in her book and it's nice to see one "in the wild." I hope it works well for your shopping.

Katie said...

oooh lovely to see another finished project :) ingenious use of parcel string, I love having it in for wrapping cakes/flowers with brown paper when I'm giving them as gifts, but you have been far more creative! x

Sandra said...

Your string bag is just lovely. Well done!

michelle smith said...

It looks lovely Gillian,and i love the pattern,these were all the rage in th 70,s as i used to use my nans to get her shopping xx

michelle smith said...

It looks lovely Gillian,and i love the pattern,these were all the rage in th 70,s as i used to use my nans to get her shopping xx

galant said...

Love the string bag. They were everywhere when I was a child in the early 1950s (not just in the 1970s). Mind you, we didn't consider them chic then, merely essential as when you bought goods from shops all you had to carry them home in was a brown paper carrier bag with two little string handles which either cut into your fingers or ripped through the paper depositing your goods on the pavement before you reached home! You often saw this happen, spuds and sprouts rolling all over the place in the process. But now a string bag like this is the ultimate chic accessory, and with the tulips and baguette in it, it would hardly be recognised by great aunts the country over. How lovely it is to see such things returning to usage and what a great crochet pattern for the bag. Well done!
Margaret P

Ingrid Orens said...

That is a great bag !! I really want to make one as well - it's just the idea of crocheting with string that doesn't really appeal to me (fingers are already suffering enough with the cold weather...). But the result really looks worth the effort !

Jane said...

It looks great Gillian and sounds like it will be really useful - the Susan Pinner book is great isn't it. I quite like the idea of making a bag and then going out to buy some photogenic objects to put in it :o) Have a great week. Jxx

Penny said...

I love this! I don't have the book you mentioned , but may have to put it on my wish list. Yours looks so pretty with the bread and tulips in it! Glad to hear you are all feeling better now. These winter lurgies are no fun atall. X

Wainwright and Wright.Co said...

It looks great - I've always wanted to knit/crochet an item with string. Ideal for toting a french stick, tulips and a bottle of red wine?
Hope you soon feel better
Caz xx

Lisa said...

Lovely and you did buy the perfect accessories. Will be very handy for those sunny summer jaunts to the beach, fingers crossed!
Lisa x

SandyShoes Cornwall said...

It's a winner, set off beautifully by your props! I've just started to crochet after a friend kindly offered to teach me and it's coming along slowly. I'll be amazed if I manage to make anything practical but good to have your inspiration, Antonia x

VeggieMummy said...

What a great idea to use parcel string - I love it in the original colour but I suppose you could dye it if you wanted a brighter look. Glad the lurgy is disappearing at last. x

Cheryl mylittlepieceofengland said...

Loving the bag, and of course the Tulips xx

Catherine said...

I love the photo styling- the soft natural string colour against the vibrant tulips. Great idea for a quick gift too.

A little happy place said...

It's lovely and amazing how strong it is! I bet that bread tasted lovely...my weekness although it's not at all good for me!! xo

Julie said...

Love the bag and how you've styled it - so chic. I'd be hopeless with all those holes though - an adult Gretel leaving a trail of breadcrumbs and possessions behind me! x

Gillian said...

That's a really great bag. It's good that it stretches a bit though you wouldn't want it to be too stretchy. We have to pay for bags here (10p for even the flimsiest plastic bag and 20p for a 'bag for life'). I carry a shopping bag in my handbag so I don't have to buy any!

Chickpea said...

Absolutely love this! I must put it on my to do list :)

Annie Cholewa said...

If you need props then pretty ones should always be the order of the day! But the bag really does look good enough on it's own. Nicely done m'dear :)

Ali Whale said...

Love your styling on this one. Reminds me of holidays in France..... Now I could just eat a croissant.

Emily said...

You have such a lovely eye for photography! The tulips and baguette are such a lovely touch. I'm not sure I would have such creativity. Your photos look like ones from a magazine or catalogue. With all that said...I love the bag!!!!! I want to learn to crochet just so I can make one.

Emily said...

You have such a lovely eye for photography! The tulips and baguette are such a lovely touch. I'm not sure I would have such creativity. Your photos look like ones from a magazine or catalogue. With all that said...I love the bag!!!!! I want to learn to crochet just so I can make one.

Mereknits said...

What could be better than a beautiful crochet bag with gorgeous tulips poking out of it? Hope you are all better soon,
Meredith

Jacqueline said...

Is this virus leaving no one alone? It seems to be lurking in every corner of the country. Hope you can properly shake it off soon. Love the bag!

Jan Doling said...

I love your bag. I have just received Susan Pinner's book from Amazon, it certainly has some lovely designs in it. The string bag could well be on my list of "to make". What gorgeous tulips, I love Spring flowers most of all, so cheering after a grey winter. xx

Col | Hello Olive Designs said...

Wow, it's fantastic! I love it! x

Marion Ogden said...

I love it! I think it looks lovely even without the props. I'm thinking of making one too...x

Pati from London said...

It's a great project, with a vintage feel to it.... i crocheted a small basket with cord two months ago and loved it but i also found that the lack of elasticity of the cord was a bit hard for my fingers to manage.... Glad to hear you are all on the mend....pati xx

Chalimi Fithratu said...

I want one ^^

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∞ chalwoo ∞

Lisa from @intotheglade said...

The bag is lovely. Your comment about Angus 'Not to be outdone' made me laugh out loud! X

Jo said...

How did I miss that gorgeous bag! It is a stunner. Love Jo x

Alison said...

What a great bag, I love it. I imagine it was hard on your hands to work up though. xx

mags said...

It's lovely Gillian. I like how substantial it is compare to the usual string bags, much less falling through, but it's also so pretty! Xxx

Sue Pinner said...

Hi only just seen this post...it was one of my favourite too made several love your pictures of my pattern thanks for sharing it xx

Sue Pinner said...

Hi Gillian hope you don't mind i was so impressed with your bag and pictures I've done a blog post about it on The 8th Gem thanks again xx

Laura Bennett said...

Please can I ask re the 10mm hook I am fairly new to crocheting but I can't seem to be able to use it, it seems too large for the string. Thank you for your advice. I adore the bag and would love to be able to master it. Laura xx

Gillian said...

Hi Laura,

It might be that you're using a different kind of string to the type I used. I crocheted mine with normal household string which, while it's not that thick, is very tight to work with and hard to bend. It's not as soft and flexible as yarn. I do know what you mean though, and I felt that the hook seemed really big to begin with but you soon get used to it. I think if the hook was much smaller, you'd have a nightmare crocheting it as it would be so hard on the fingers, and the bag would be so tight that it wouldn't stretch when in was full of shopping.

Hope that helps a bit!
Gillian x

Laura wilson said...

Hi Gillian please could I pick your brains on joining the squares. I have joined using the join as you go method but how do you close to seal the bags I am flummoxed 🙁.

Thank you so much
Laura

Gillian Roe said...

Just follow the pattern in the book - it looks like it doesn't make sense but when you lay the bag out on the floor you'll see which squares you need to join.