Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Colorful!

I've finished my Hexie Bag. All I have to do now is give it a light steam and sew in the perfect little magnetic snap that my Fairview Knitter friend, Molly gave me. I really like the happy colors of this bag. It should be quite a pick-up for my drab summer wardrobe.
I had the beginnings of a multi-color grannyghan sitting on the couch. I was wondering if I should just keep crocheting grannies and joining them as I go for a large blanket, or turn these squares into something else. Last week at the WeHo SnB, Beth remarked on the clever bag that she'd seen Ana carry awhile back. I can't find a photo of Ana's bag on her blog, but it was a felted cover for one of those cylindrical Trader Joe's reusable grocery bags. Ana turned the printed side of the T.Joe's bag inside out and covered the plain side. The bag was fantastic! I'm so glad that Beth reminded me about it. I decided to use the granny squares I'd made to cover my own T.Joe's bag! I crocheted a circular bottom for the bag out of black acrylic yarn, then continued up the sides in the round, with black and a few stripes. I like the result!

Gale asked that I offer a tutorial on how to cover your own reusable grocery bags. I'll try to be clear, but I usually do these things on the fly.

1. My T. Joe's bag is round on the bottom, so I used my basic hat pattern to crochet a bottom for my cover. I used worsted weight acrylic yarn and a size "I" crochet hook.

2. Once the disc was the size of the bottom of the bag, I crocheted a row of single crochet decreasing evenly, one stitch about every 5 stitches around the edge. If it's not exactly even, it doesn't really matter.

3. I continued in basic double crochet stitches up the side of the bag, switching colors to make some stripes.

4. I could have eliminated the stripes and attached more granny squares, but I wasn't feeling like making more squares and I wanted a few stripes for variety.

5. My granny squares usually measure one inch per round, so if I want a 5-inch square, I crochet 5 rounds. I needed 8 squares @ 5-inches each to go around the circumfrence of the bag. I'd already joined all the squares, using this method. I merely joined the piece into a cylinder using a single crochet stitch.

6. At this point, I attached the granny portion of the cover to the grocery bag with some binder clips

7. I held up the striped bottom portion of the bag to the granny portion to see if I had enough stripes to fit. It seemed a bit big, but I recklessly joined the striped portion to the granny portion, also using a single crochet stitch.

8. I unclipped the top portion of the bag and, using the black yarn, did a single crochet border around the top of the cover. On the second row of single crochet, I essentially made a button hole around the bottom of each handle portion. This is done by crocheting around the top of the piece and when you get to the handle, chain out about 6 stitches, around the handle, then come back to your previous row of single crochet where you have skipped 5 stitches and continue crocheting around until you reach the next handle bottom. You will do this four times, creating this window for the handle to slip through while the top of the cover is attached to the grocery bag.

9. I used a plain ol' needle and thread to sew the granny cover to the top of the grocery bag. That's another reason I used black yarn for the top border...the top of the T. Joe's bag has a thin black plastic edge and black handles. I wanted everything to be matchy matchy.

My cover is slightly longer than the actual T. Joe's bag, but it doesn't show and you only realize it when you set it down. I'll measure more carefully next time! I'm thinking that this custom bag cover would make an excellent gift! I'm also thinking that I could fill the bag with some faboo T. Joe's groceries for the recipient!

I hope my creation doesn't end up here!


Granny squares are the building blocks to fashion.

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17 Comments:

At 3:13 PM PDT, Blogger susanc said...

Ellen - you rock! You are so talented. I love the hexie purse and the granny-squared Trader's bag - that is so very clever! Thanks for sharing.

 
At 3:54 PM PDT, Blogger Kath said...

The hexi bag turned out great! I bet you'll use that a lot over the spring and summer. I wanna know how many people stop you and ask where you bought it!

 
At 4:47 PM PDT, Blogger Annette said...

I love the colors of your hexie bag! It's so bright and cheerful. It looks great. Covering the TJ bag is very creative. I think you should also make a blanket with the same colors as your hexie bag.

 
At 6:00 PM PDT, Blogger Rebecca said...

love love both! sadly, no trader joe's in my area... the hexbag is bee-u-ti-ful!!

 
At 7:01 PM PDT, Blogger Lisa R-R said...

The power of the granny square!
They are inspiring.

I seem to end up with a lot of free bags, which have free advertising on them. These are not an all-over design, but a panel of a film festival logo etc. Some have really nice long handles, a cup holder, a zip pocket etc.
I was thinking to have a local tailor sew panels of batik fabric over that side of the bag, giving them a new life free of advertising.
Still haven't got around to that yet (but I had him replace a frayed edging on another bag, I hope extending its life by a few years).

 
At 10:29 PM PDT, Blogger gale (she shoots sheep shots) said...

Thanks Ellen,you are just brilliant with these bags!

 
At 10:44 PM PDT, Blogger betty said...

Love the bags! I especially like the Trader Joe's bag -- it should make grocery shopping more fun.

 
At 9:03 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it!!

Judy (from rubin postaer)

 
At 10:38 AM PDT, Anonymous Suzette said...

Both bags are so cute and cheerful. You are brilliant (and a fast worker)!
Suzette

 
At 3:31 PM PDT, Blogger Boo said...

I Love all the granny square projects and beautiful products!!!
And I love love love your quote "Granny squares are the building blocks of fashion." I'm quoting you on that one!

 
At 5:27 PM PDT, Blogger MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

Okay, wicked cute bags, but "my drab summer wardrobe"?! REALLY, Ellen?! I don't think there is one thing about you that could/would ever be considered drab!!

 
At 5:44 PM PDT, Blogger Madge said...

Let's hear it for the power of the hexie grannie!

P.S. Speaking of grannies...Wild Fiber has been successfully raided for Babette.

 
At 1:03 PM PDT, OpenID eightfoldrabbit said...

Oh gosh Ellen the granny bag is fantastic!! I love it. So bright and colorful and the hexies are nifty!

Thank you also for the tutorial - I forsee fantastic TJ's bags in my future.

 
At 7:48 AM PDT, Blogger mj said...

Love the hexie bag, love the TJ bag. You are amazing. I am so happy bright colors are back in fashion. I was getting soooooo sick of beige!

 
At 3:55 PM PDT, Blogger Ana Petrova said...

Ellen, I love those colors! My bag I made looks like a horse feeding bag compared to your colorful festive shopping bag!

Maybe the next one with my new Granny Square Obsession!

 
At 7:20 AM PST, Anonymous online training said...

Wow! they are very cute! :D I like it a lot. Thanks for this online training.

 
At 8:07 AM PST, Blogger Renee' said...

Ellen! Thats IT! Thank you :)

 

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