It becomes more useful when carried on your back, keeping hands free for riding a bike, wheeling a chair or holding on for dear life on crowded public transport!
Hold little ones' hands as you stroll to the park where they can play and so can you (with your crochet)!
This is how Janet Brani's "WIP Project Bag" pattern changes a simple drawstring bag into a convenient backpack.
Find more information about the drawstring bag in my previous post, "WIP Project Bag: Progress Photos At Last". You are always welcome to comment or ask questions on Lupey Loops, either in the 'comment box' at the end of each post or by email at email@example.com.
Ingrid K. of Funkycrochet (blog) remarked on the style of this bag; that it was quite different to other bags she has seen online.
|Promotional drawstring |
backpack is very flat.
I have seen drawstring backpacks of similar construction used for promotional purposes. They are light and easy to fold and pack in a suitcase, handbag or pocket. They are are great for sports uniforms, shoes and impromptu bike rides to the shop.
|Wearing the backpack.|
Unfortunately, these examples are not the most attractive in materials or looks. The cords get dirty quickly and fray. Once the fabric starts to fray, there is no stopping it from ripping.
That's why I am so delighted
to have a mini crocheted version!
to have a mini crocheted version!
Like the promotional bag, all this crocheted bag needs (to become a backpack) is to loop the cords over the shoulders. This is easily achieved by stitching the ends of the drawstrings to the bottom or sides of the bag to create a loop on each side.
This basic solution gives rise to problems with the lengths of the loops:
- When the drawstrings are pulled tightly to close the bag, the shoulder loops become too long to secure the bag on one's back.
- If the drawn cords are stitched to the bag to secure shorter shoulder straps, they become too short to fully open the bag.
With Janet Brani's pattern, I have been able to create a bag with adjustable straps to fit any sized shoulders.
Materials & Tools
- Wooden beads with large bore
(I used wooden barrel beads sized 17 x 18 mm)
- Matching thread to attach beads to bag
- Remnant or scrap sewing thread or thin yarn
(I used a 4 ply cotton)
- Small wool needle
To successfully convert the drawstring closure into backpack straps, check that the drawstrings are threaded correctly through their casing. When both sides are pulled at the same time, the bag should close.
|Each drawstring is threaded into the casing at the side of the bag, |
worked all the way around and then out again at the same place it went in.
Insert one cord into the right hand side and the other cord into the left.
The promotional bag has eyelets in the bottom of the bag through which the nylon cord is threaded.
|Wooden beads instead of eyelets.|
Which colour should I use?
In the case of the crocheted bag, wooden beads serve the same purpose as eyelets.
Choose beads with a wide bore to accommodate the cords.
I chose red beads because the red matched perfectly and there were only two of them in the packet. This project only needs two. I saved the other coloured beads in case a future project needs more than two beads the same colour.
Mark the bottom corners of the bag where the beads will attach:
|Position the beads and mark the spot with matching thread.|
I used the same variegated yarn as the bag
but selectively cut out the red sections.
Use a wool needle to stitch the beads to the bottom corners of the bag:
|Beads stitched into place.|
Thread Cords Through Beads
|Close-up of bead stitched onto |
corner of bag.
A useful property of stretchy crocheted cords is that they will get thinner as they stretch!
Here is my method for tricky threading.
|Thread a needle with scrap yarn and bring it through the bead from bottom to top, leaving the tail end inside the bead.|
|Continue on with the needle through the ends of the right drawstring |
(crocheted cord), allowing the end of the thread to trail through the bead.
Do not pull the thread all the way through the bead.
The needle has been worked right through the bead,
through the ends of the drawstring and out the other side.
The yarn tail is trailing through the bead as shown.
|Bring the needle and thread back down through the bead from top to bottom, leaving the yarn tail inside the bead.|
|Once the needle has gone through the bead, through the ends of the drawstring and back through the bead: hold the yarn tail with the right hand while pulling the needle with the left hand to bring the yarn and cord through the bead.|
|Steady the bead with one hand while the other holds both ends of the thread |
to pull the drawstring cord through the bead.
|Now that the drawstring ends are threaded through the bead, |
the scrap thread can be removed.
Use the same process to thread the left hand drawstring ends through the bead on the bottom left of the bag.
Now both drawstrings are attached to the bottom sides of the bag to make shoulder straps:
|The drawstrings from both sides of the bag have been threaded through the beads |
at the bottom of the bag and secured with knots.
|The drawstring bag is now configured as a backpack.|
A knot underneath each bead secures each strap at the right length.
The tail ends are tied together in a loose reef knot to keep them tidy.
Finishing the Bag
Janet Brani's WIP Project Bag has floral appliquéd embellishments but the recipient of my bag did not want to have any other details stitched onto it. That was fine with me.
This bag looks great as it is but it needs a lining to be a most useful WIP Project Bag:
- If I leave the bag as it is, there is a good chance that it will stretch out of shape if I try to stuff too much yarn into it or place something heavy inside.
- My very fine steel crochet hooks could also poke their way to the outside and either damage the stitches or fall out and get lost.
Any of these patterned cottons will do.
I will write about the last finishing step–adding a lining to a crocheted bag–in another blog post very soon.
I can't wait to have this bag done and ready to use!
What is your experience with crocheted
(or knitted) bags?
(or knitted) bags?
Do you have any tips to share?
References & Links
Brani, Janet, "WIP Project Bag", crochet pattern, Crochet One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects from Crocheters Around the World, Durant & Eckman, Storey Publishing, USA, 2013.
Durant, Judith & Eckman, Edie [editors], Crochet One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects from Crocheters Around the World, 1st printing, ISBN 978-1-61212-042-3, www.storey.com, Storey Publishing LLC, 210 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247, USA, 2013.
Lupey Loops, "How to Add a Lining to a Bag", blog entry 5 November 2015: https://lupeyloops.blogspot.com.au/2015/11/how-to-add-lining-to-bag.html
Lupey Loops, "WIP Project Bag: Progress Photos At Last", blog entry 17 September 2015: http://lupeyloops.blogspot.com.au/2015/09/wip-project-bag-progress-photos-at-last.html
This post includes links to pattern and project details.
|Janet Brani's pattern in Crochet One-Skein Wonders.|
|My finished product from Janet Brani's pattern.|
The drawstring bag is now a backpack!