Pattern: based on the Knitty French Market Bag
Yarn: Brown Sheep Company Lambs Pride Worsted in Raspberry (base) Victorian Pink (top) and Khaki (stripes)
Needles: 7mm Addi Turbos (60 and 80 cm)
I have a bag at last. After months of carrying around a calico grocery bag as an excuse for a handbag I have actually have something that is not only not embarrassing but I actually like and I made it myself. Woohoo to that.
Crocheting on the edge turned out to be pretty easy, I just made a chain and then a double crochet in every cast off stitch (and every second row of the handles) and that was it.
I was running out of yarn after doing the loop around the tops of the handles and the big gaps in between so for the holes inside of the handles I had to just crochet along the pink and stop at the Raspberry part of the handle. This turned out to be a good thing as crocheting into only every second row was too different in tension to the knitting and the edge of the handle that did get crochet felted down tighter than the rest of the bag which is a tiny flaw that I swear I will soon forget - but I won’t do it again. Also the join actually looks better on the inside of the handles where I stopped just after the start of the Raspberry, so there you go.
The felting took much longer than usual with this bag, partly because I was worried about colour running and did it at 70 degrees Celsius instead of 80 and partly I think because the Raspberry and Victorian Pink felt at different speeds. This actually caused a bit of drama (euphemistic for full scale panic) as the base looked very odd after the first round through the washer (and the second too). I was so convinced that I had some how miss aligned the handles that I spent a long time gazing at this photo which clearly shows I had not. As you can see the handle is directly centered above the bottom seam, which looks kind of like a crease here.
I then remembered being told that different colour yarns can felt differently so I stopped panicking and put it back in for another full cycle. When it came out the Victorian Pink section was exactly the same size as it had been after the previous cycle but the Raspberry was now smaller and they matched! Yippee. It has been so rainy and humid here that I risked giving it a gentle spin which worked so well that I will do it again next time. And then of course I got out a plastic bag, our DVD collection and I blocked it.
I have really trouble blocking these bags just right, they always seem to come out of the felting process twisted and somehow no matter how hard I try by the time I have got the top of the bag looking right I have pulled the base off centre and I rarely notice this until it is dry. This time was no exception. But you know what, no one but me will ever know. Except you of course…
Speaking of the base, I chopped up another flexible chopping board from IKEA to make an insert for this bag and sometime this week I will buy myself some fabric to cover it with. Have a look below, on the left is the bag with the base and quite a lot of weight in it, on the right is the bag with no base and only keys, purse and phone to weigh it down.
If you are going to make this bag get yourself to IKEA and buy some felxible chopping boards. They come in two packs, cost about $4 and I have made three bases out of the pair I bought with enough left for at least one more bag.
This will be the last French Market Bag I make for a while, but it’s a great bag and I can see myself whipping another one up as a gift someday.