Monday, July 23, 2007

23 July: Would you believe - a string bag!

This blog was named for my parents' string bag - not a bag made from string, but a bag containing string.

In those austerity days after WW2, recycling was not a catch-phrase, but "waste not, want not" most certainly was. So there was a bag, made of black-out material (as was the rag bag - remember rag bags?), hanging on the back of the wash-house door. Any pieces of string were carefully unravelled and un-knotted, and popped into the string bag - bits and pieces carefully and tidily hoarded. See?

Anyway, most of the people who visit from G**gle, if they're not looking for Fred Knit*le, are looking for a pattern for making a string bag. So I thought it only my civic duty to make a string bag for them. Here it is -

It is based on a bag called Elisa's Nest Tote, seen at or the purl bee (go there for the original). Naturally, I used different yarn, a slightly different stitch pattern, and then made up the edges and handles as I went along.

If you want to make one yourself (and this will only apply to the enthusiastic knitting section of my 3 readers), I'll tell you what I did.

Using some cotton thread I bought years ago from Texere, and which I dyed last week with procion dyes (and the colour probably isn't fast), and which is 15 w.p.i., I cast on 31 stitches, using a 6 mm. needle; I prefer to use one circular for knitting to and fro, but you can use a pair of straights if you wish, and if you'll pardon the expression.

Rows 1 and 3 are purl; row 2 is K1, *yo, k2 tog*, repeat from * to end; row 4 is *k2 tog tbl, yo*, repeat to last stitch, k1. N.B. you may do ssk instead of k2 tog tbl if you like - I don't.

Repeat these 4 rows until the piece is about 24 inches long, or your yarn runs out, or you are about to die of boredom. I warn you that I was knitting this while watching the Tour de France, and kept doing the wrong lace row, then having to unpick it - you need to concentrate.

When your knitted fabric is long enough, cast off loosely. Using the same thread (or indeed a different one if you've run out), join the sides with a crochet hook, a single crochet into one side, 2 chains, single crochet into the other side, etc to the bottom, and fasten off. Do the other side the same. A row of double crochet round the top, then without fastening off, chain 40 for the first handle, touch down with 3 double crochets into the opposite side of the bag top, chain another 40 for the second handle, and touch down near where you started the first handle, 3 double crochets, then a round of double crochets into the chains to make the handles (do more if you want thicker handles), then fasten off. I am aware that in the USA single and double crochet describe something other than my English version - sort out your own translation.

If I ever make another one, I shall do some shaping to make the bottom more curved - the corners are a bit pointy, and probably rather different handles. But I offer it as your starting point. If anyone actually uses this pattern, even as a jumping off point, I'd be interested to know.

(For other string bags, click on the "string bag" label at the bottom of the post, or in the sidebar. Let me know about your string bags.)

And back in the world of the non-knitter, if you haven't already glazed over and dropped away, at the weekend I bought myself a pair of Red Crocs. Not so much Ruby as Tomato, and probably not the colour I'd have chosen if there had been a choice, but there you are. They are Extremely Comfortable - I commend them to the House.


Murph said...

I confess I had dropped off towards the end but the snappy red crocs woke me up!

Dave said...

'If I ever make another one'

I think you should make one for each of your readers, actually.

Probably Jane said...

Wow - it's much better than the one I tried to make which ended up like a mis-shapen copy of a gentleman's appendage. I will try and summon the courage to try again...

stitchwort said...

murph - not so much snappy as "in yer face"

dave - as it took me 3 days to make, I would have to work hard for very nearly a week.

probably jane - waiting for the photo!

Granny J said...

Oh, my -- that takes me back to my childhood. My California grandfather was a ferocious personage, who did the grocery shopping. He hadn't had a car in years & so he walked down town & back, carrying the groceries in two string bags. If we kids were lucky, he brought lemon drops or a slab of maple sugar candy; if we were unlucky, he brought horehound drops, which he considered a real delicacy.

KAZ said...

Just seen the sign - I'm not scared.
I haven't tried crocs - but I still wear jelly beans. You can walk straight from the prom to the sand to the sea.