Thursday, 1 September 2016

A Bag for my Yoga Mat

Thank you so much for your comments on my holiday post. It was lovely to read how many of you have happy childhood memories - as I do - of similar camping holidays in France. Clearly it's still very popular! 

There is something I should mention: I am delighted (really quite over the moon actually) to have been nominated for an Amara Interior Blog Award again. You may remember that I was nominated and even shortlisted last year. I still don't really know how that happened. I am a hobby blogger with a very non-techy blog and it's just something I do around work and family life because I love the connections, the friendship, the chat, but above all else I really, really love making stuff and blogging gives me a forum to share these things. But you know that by now. If you would like to vote for me then please follow this link. THANK YOU!!

Anyway, yoga.

Every Wednesday, from 7 till 8 pm, I go to a local beginner's yoga class. I have to be honest here and say that the timing is part of the appeal - at 6.30 pm, having rushed from work to home to the local swimming pool, I bring the kids back from their weekly swimming lessons and hand them over to John. I get changed and go out and think about nothing more than my breathing for an hour. He supervises showers and hair washes, gets the children ready for bed, listens to them read and then starts dinner. When I arrive home at around 8.15pm they are tucked up in bed awaiting a good night kiss and dinner is underway. It's amazing.

But of course that's not just why I go. I like yoga very much and have practised it off and on for some years, but never with any real skill or dedication. I don't subscribe to the more spiritual side of yoga, I just like how my head and muscles feel afterwards. Our yoga teacher is as inspiring, warm and encouraging as you could hope for, and at the start of every class tells us to leave our day at the door and just think about why we came, what we want from that hour. I always think the same things: a calm mind and a strong body. I don't need to be able to do the splits or stand on my head - and I find a great deal of it very challenging (especially anything involving balance) - but I do love that hour a week. 

I had been carrying my mat under my arm until now and honestly, since I don't walk to yoga, there is no reason why I couldn't have just carried on doing that, but I wanted to make a bag. I saw lots of patterns on Ravelry but none that really grabbed me so I decided to have a go at my own. 

It was a really easy make and I chose chunky yarn so that it didn't take all summer, and it came out really well. My friend Abigail said that the colours remind her of Neapolitan ice cream, and I guess there is a summery feel about it. There wasn't a single scrap of yarn left over at the end and that was pretty satisfying. I like it when a project uses up all it's intended yarn supply, because otherwise they sit there, and I start thinking about what to do with the leftovers, and then I plan a new project "to use up the leftovers" which of course ends up with be buying ten more balls of yarn....or is that just me?



For this I used three balls of Hooked Ribbon XL yarn, in Ecru, Stone Grey and Sweet Pink, with a 10 mm hook. Here is how I made it for those who are interested. 

I began as though making a bowl, starting from a central point and working out in a spiral, increasing as I went. When the diameter was about the size of my rolled up mat, I stopped increasing and started working round and round in rows of crochet to create the body of the bag.

I needed my bag to be around 70 cm long, to allow for my yoga mat plus space at the top. I stopped counting rows and using a stitch marker at this point, and just crocheted three blocks of colour, each measuring about 23 cm, which was about 21 rows of each colour.

This is the reverse, where you can see the colour changes.

I left around 10 cm of extra crocheted rows at the top so that I could thread a length of the yarn through the top rows and gather it all together, like a drawstring. 

Then, using the very last scraps of yarn, I crocheted two rectangles; a long one for a strap, and a smaller one for a little pocket on the front, just large enough to hold my phone, keys and money.

I sewed the handle on at either end with the ends of the yarn from the piece I had crocheted.

For the pocket, I threaded my tapestry needle with thin cotton yarn and used that instead as I thought it would show less. 

 It worked well and is very secure and almost invisible.

Finally, I bought a cord lock and threaded the yarn through it, to make it easier to undo and do up at the top of the bag.


  1. That's gorgeous! I made a similar one from a pattern in Simply Crochet and it's just so useful - before that it was some elastic straps which fell off every time I walked back to the car! I love my yoga class too and those precious moments of calm. x

  2. How cool is that? My yoga mat is in a really minging old bag that could really do with an update. Love the cheerful colours and the clever little pocket you made. I think I have yoga bag envy actually. I am just getting back into yoga after a four year gap, we have a yoga class at work and I am going back to my old class soon, too.

  3. It's really gorgeous, I love the colours.
    Marianne x

  4. I have an unused yoga mat somewhere. Actually that's a lie as it has been used once or twice. I'm sure it would look much better in a crochet bag .I've popped over and voted, the best of luck x

  5. A gorgeous bag, I love, love, love the colours. I sometimes find myself craving pink in this boy world of mine. Your Wednesday evening sounds utterly blissful, and is no doubt very well deserved! CJ xx

  6. I love your bag! It's really beautiful.Irune

  7. Your bag came out really nicely, Gillian. I think it will be nice to have for your mat. How nice to have started a yoga class. I would enjoy that myself. I do some yoga and pilates with a DVD now and then. I don't really have a chance to attend a class right now but it sounds heavenly to me.

  8. My yoga mat is feeling very envious right now! My yoga sessions have fallen by the wayside since E went on study leave - I really must get back into it before I seize up. Happy downward dogging! xx

  9. Such a pretty bag and so practical too. That's what I call civilised, an hour of calming yoga, bathed children in bed and other half cooking the dinner - enjoy!

  10. You description of Yoga calm is similar to how I feel in swimming an hour of back and forth in the peaceful, balanced, and stronger :) Thanks for the Yoga Bag tutorial. I love the colors and features you chose. You have my vote! xx

  11. Lovely colours, I like grey very much anyway, and paired with pale pink it looks so elegant and summery at the same time. As for reminding of ice cream - I have never seen grey ice cream ;-)
    Some of my friends have been doing Yoga for years, and keep telling me how good it is. I am more of a runner than a stretcher, although I do some stretching and bending exercise as well, helping me keep my mobility and flexibility probably a little above the average 48-year-old. It is always good and so rewarding doing something for yourself after a long day of work and household stuff, isn't it! I can also imagine that your husband and kids like their Wednesday evenings, too.

  12. Do you take commissions?! It's fab. I, too, carry my mat under my arm and I also view my yoga sessions the same way. Having that time just for you with no distractions whatsoever is amazing. A calm, healthy, strong mind and body is my aim also and yoga is the way to achieve it (if only I were more disciplined between classes to do it daily..!). Sam x

  13. just lovely. x I do like making things sometimes that I don't really Need to make, just want to x

  14. I could definitely see the Neopolitan ice cream resemblance! I'm about to start a yoga class once small daughter is back at school - I've tried videos and You Tube but there's no incentive to keep me at it consistently like going to a class. I can give it a go, anyway! :-) xx

  15. Awesome...I may have a go at that myself for my yoga your colors and thanks for the inspiration!

  16. Looks great! I go to a monday evening yoga class every week. On that night I put Dean to bed, because he goes to sleep so quickly - unlike Gianna, which allows me to make it to the 8pm class. When I return home Gianna is usually asleep and I get to catch up on some knitting and watch a show. It's one of my favorite parts of the week too. If I'm really in a working out phase, I go to the saturday morning yoga class as well. I love sneaking out of the house when everyone else is still sleeping.

  17. Hey Gillian,
    Obviously your Neapolitan yoga bag I'd fab. I no longer go to yoga; all that bending and stretching would prompt the odd breaking of wind. I was so humiliated, I never returned :)
    Leanne xx

  18. A brilliant idea and I love those ice cream colours too!
    best Ashley x

  19. What a beautiful colour combination - yummy ice cream colours x

  20. A brilliant make! When (if) i do yoga again I really must remember this. You must look oh so stylish at your yoga class!

  21. Great job!! I love it!! I have a common yoga bag (black fabric) and I always take a look at the crochet patterns and don´t like them at all. Yours is gorgeous!! and I´ll try it anytime! Thanks for sharing the pattern.
    Lots of love from Brazil


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