I seem to have a surplus of Granny Squares hanging about my work room. I’m not really sure where they all come from. So, I have started turning them into bags of various sizes and styles. They make great gifts! Especially the little ones turned into little bags for kiddos.
I was recently asked to review a book of Granny Squares, so I thought I would take the opportunity to show you one method I use to turn some Grannies into bags.
For this method, you need 3 squares of the same size. I used patterns from Tracey Lord’s Big Book of Granny Squares: Waterlily on page 330, Isabell on page 335, and Sweet Granny on page 361. In order to put the squares together as I have, they will all need a final round of single crochet. For the middle square, you will wait to make that round, but you can go ahead and make the final round on the other 2 right away. Make sure that they have the same number of stitches. For my squares, the final round consisted of 31 sc on each side, and a ch-2 on each corner.
Once you have your squares, you may need to block them. Mine were made with Berroco Vintage yarn, which blocks very nicely. Plus my blocks were not quite the same size, so they were in need of blocking!
Here you can see the before and after images of my blocking for two of the squares. It looks like I took the bottom before image before put the border on that squares, but you get the idea. You can see that square got stretched a bit. It really was a little smaller than it should have been, but I made it work!
Now it is time to join the 3 squares! To do this you are going to make the final single crochet round on the middle square, and join it to the other 2 squares using the single crochet join~as~you~go method. You can also just do the final round on all 3 squares from the beginning, and then sew them together, but I like the join~as~you~go method.
Now you are going to find the center stitch on the side of your center square, and slip stitch into that stitch with the yarn you want to use to join your bag.
Fold the bag in half.
Now single crochet through both layers up the side of the bag. Than chain as many as you need for your desired strap length. For me it was 150 chains, you do need to count and remember (write down) the number! Now sc down the other side of the bag.
Weave in your ends, it’s starting to look like a bag!!
You can leave the single chain as your strap, but I find that is a bit thin and boring for a bag of this size. So what I did was attach 2 more colors to one end where the strap started and chained 150 (did you write down your number?) with each color. I then braided them with the existing strap. I know the existing strap is connected on both ends, but I promise you can still braid it as long as the other strands are only attached on one end. (Actually only one needs to have a free end, but it is easier if 2 have a free end.) Once they are braided together, use the tails of the two new chains to attach them to the other side of the bag, and weave in the ends.
Now it is time for a lining. I used an old tank top that didn’t fit anymore and had a stain so it was not suitable for donation. I very rarely throw out clothing. If we do not need it anymore for whatever reason, and it is suitable for hand me downs or donation, then I go that route. If it is not suitable, such as it has holes or stains, I keep it for reusing in some manner. Tee shirts and tank tops make wonderful bag linings!! I used the bottom of the tank as the top of the bag, because it has a nice hem, and just cut it to be the right size for the bag lining. I ran mine through a serger first, but if you don’t have a serger, you will be fine. I then sewed it with a small zig zag. I always recommend sewing stretch fabric with a small zig zag. You want the side to side of the zig zag to be small, just like 1/16 of an inch, but the stitch length should be normal. This way your stitches will not pop as the bag is stretched.
Now slip your lining into your bag and hand sew the top in with a whip stitch. I looked at my bag and realized it was so very 70’s retro awesome that it needed tassels. So I added them to the bottom. When I attached them, I also sewed the bottom corners of the lining to the bottom corners of the bag, just for a little neatness.
And there you have it! A wonderful, fun shoulder bag!
Now go raid your Granny Square stash and make some holiday gifts!
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