Thursday, 17 September 2015

WIP Project Bag: Progress Photos At Last!

Way back in January, I started work on a little bag.
A ball of multicoloured sock yarn (red and yellow mix) with a crochet hook stuck between the label and the yarn.  Attached to the ball of yarn is the beginnings of a striped bag.  All are resting on a photocopied page of the pattern instructions which shows a photo of the finished product.
I chose a variegated sock yarn from my stash
to highlight the stitch pattern.

The pattern, designed by Janet Brani, is "WIP Project Bag". It features in the book Crochet One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects from Crocheters Around the World (Durant & Eckman, 2013).

The book "Crocheted One-skein Wonders" is open to the page of the pattern which displays a photograph of the finished item. A skein of multicoloured sock yarn is resting on top, holding the book open.
I love Janet Brani's clever way of turning
a simple drawstring bag into a mini backpack.

As the title suggests, this little bag is just the right size to contain a take-along crochet project (a WIP*) with room enough for one large skein or multiple smaller ones. In fact, this bag is a great portable project in itself!

(What a witty title for this pattern with its double entendre!)

The crocheted bag is laying flat and held against the blocking board with pins.
The bag is on the blocking board.
The grid markings are at
one-inch intervals.
The taller stitches near the top
create a casing for drawstrings.

The pattern uses a 'split stitch' which gives a slightly different pattern and texture in comparison to plain double crochet 
(dc, UK/Aus*) stitches worked in the round. 

A plain double crochet stitch is worked by inserting the hook from front to back under the two top horizontal loops of a stitch.

The 'split stitch' is so named because the hook is inserted from front to back between the two vertical strands of a stitch, thus 'splitting' the stitch below.

This technique removes some of the diagonal bias that occurs with regular crochet stitches worked in the round, resulting in a squarer, knitted or tricot look.

A close-up of the bag (left) and straps (right) showing stitch and french knitting details.
A knitted look done with crochet!
Two lengths of 'French knitting' are threaded through taller stitches (casing) to make a drawstring closure.

French knitting dolly and skein of yarn resting on top of the flattened striped bag.  A thread from the skein is attached to the pegs on the top of the knitting dolly. French knitted cord is coming out of the bottom of the knitting dolly and is coiled around itself in a bunch.
Janet Brani suggests using shoelaces for backpack straps.  They are sturdy and do not stretch but I thought they might 'dig into' or chafe the shoulders when carrying the backpack for any length of time.

Instead, I used my French knitting dolly (right), also known as a 'knitting Nancy', to make 2 straps to the recommended length 152 cm (60").  

Be careful with this option because the straps are very stretchy but their softness and extra width seem more comfortable to me.

Any kind of knitted I-cord or crocheted slip stitch cord could be used as a drawstring. To prevent the cords from stretching, sew some woven ribbon to the back of them.

Once your cord is threaded through the casing at the top of the bag, you are done!

Voilà! A drawstring bag: 

The bag is laying flat on a green crocheted background.  The straps have been threaded through the casing at the top. The bag is open.
"WIP Project Bag" open.

The striped bag is laying on a crocheted green background.  The drawstrings have been pulled which closes the bag by cinching it in at the top.
"WIP Project Bag" closed.
Simply pull the cords!

When the bag is closed, the drawstrings become long enough to make straps for a backpack. 

Striped bag laying flat on a crocheted green backdrop. The straps have been arranged so their ends touch the bottom corners of the bag.
Can you imagine from this arrangement how the drawstrings might do double duty as straps for a backpack?

Janet Brani has a clever method of changing this drawstring bag into a backpack with adjustable straps.  I will show you my results in the next post about this project.

Don't leave home without a bag:
a WIP Project Bag.

To be continued …

Use the comment box below to ask any questions 
or to tell me what you think.

* Glossary

double crochet (dc) Australia/UK = single crochet (sc) USA.
WIP = Work(s) In Progress 

Project Details

Pattern: "WIP Project Bag"
Designer: Janet Brani (Ravelry Designer page):

Yarn: Moda Vera 'Noir'  sock yarn, 75% Wool 25% nylon, 400 m / 100 grams
Weight: 4 ply (Aus), fingering (USA)
Colour: 02 yellow red mix
Lot no.: S3950

Hook: 3.5 mm


Links & References

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,, Storey Publishing LLC, 210 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247, USA, 2013.

Lupey Loops, blog, related posts:


  1. That is such a great stitch- I love the knitted look you get with it (not being much of a knitter myself) and also the way you have used sock yarn to get that stunning variegated look. You've also reminded me of my childhood making those lovely long cords with a French knitting dolly! Beautiful bag Jodie xx

    1. Thanks, Alison, for your positive feedback. Have you had a try of the split stitch? It would be interesting to see your results in other colours etc.

      I am not much of a knitter either - I can do simple knitting and could learn more but I enjoy crochet so much more - the more implements in hand, the more clumsy I can be! One hook in one hand with one stitch in the other is much simpler than two needles with the potential to lose more stitches at a time than just one!

      I thought a variegated yarn would look good because the hook is inserted lower down into the stitch, (like half a spike stitch where the hook is inserted under the top two loops of the stitch two rows below) and I wanted to see how it would juxtapose the different colours.

      I remember doing French knitting as a child too! French knitting is something many of us associate with childhood as an activity to keep us busy and quiet for a while but the cords that result can be very useful as bag handles, cords, or stitched to make mats or used for surface embellishments. What other ways can we think of to use French knitting? Tell me more about what you did with your French knitting. :-)

      I will write more about the split stitch in a general comment below. Have fun trying this new technique. Thanks again, Alison xx

  2. Fantastic, I love the effect of the split stitch! xx

    1. Hi Sharon,

      I know you were intrigued by this stitch so I am very glad to be able to show it to you. It really is so simple, especially to those who are experienced with tricot* techniques. It catches people's attention because they are fascinated about whether it is knitting or crochet. Many people have been surprised when I tell them it is crocheted, I will write more about this stitch in a general comment below.

      I am sorry you had to wait so long before I could manage to collate these photos and publish a blog entry. Thank you for being patient with me. I have two more instalments to come.

      Will you be trying out the split stitch for yourself? If so, you might find an in-line hook easier but that might depend on your yarn. My yarn was quite splitty. Let me know how you go. I am glad you like the effect. Have fun! xx

    2. * P.S. I nearly forgot: 'tricot' is a term used in Australia for 'Tunisian' crochet.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Michelle.

      I thought these colours were happy and bright while being less likely to show any dirt than a plain colour scheme. Let's face it, bags get quite a bit of wear and tear which is part of the reason for choosing sock yarn. It has nylon in it to strengthen it - excellent for heels, toes and gloves and bags too! :-)

      I thought a variegated yarn would show the stitch to its best advantage. It has been a goal of mine to avoid purchasing more yarn and to use up the stash I have; so when a variegated yarn was required, the best ones were sock yarns and the 'red yellow mix' had the best supply for this project.

      What do you love about these colours and what is your favourite colour, Michelle?
      Enjoy! :-)

  4. More thoughts on the split stitch …

    According to the designer, this stitch "creates a denser fabric" because the hook is inserted into the middle of the stitch below instead of in the top - the rows of stitches overlap.

    While the split stitch removes a lot of the bias effect of plain stitches in the round, there is still a slight skew between the rows of stitches but this is easily rectified at the blocking stage.

    If you get to play around with split stitches, I would love to see your results. It is always interesting and fascinating to compare results of the same stitch with different colours and tensions. You could leave a link here or send an email or post in the Google+ Lupey Loops 'Community'.

    I imagine that the split stitch has probably been presented elsewhere with other names. If you come across it, please share! It will help everyone know which search terms to use when seeking other examples of it.

    Wishing you happy crochet times. Now I have to split … (wink! Corny joke?) Keep smiling! :-)

  5. Replies
    1. I've quite taken to it - young miss might not get it back!

  6. Hi Jodie,

    What an interesting project, quite different from all the bags I see on my pinterest feed. And that stitch looks very interesting! Love how the yarn comes out.
    Enjoy your weekend,
    Love, ingrid xx

    1. Hi Ingrid,
      I'm surprised that there hasn't been such a bag on pinterest. We have had bags of similar design here but they are mainly for merchandising and promotions and not as beautiful as Janet Brani's creations. You have given me the idea to post a photo of these other sort on one of the next 2 instalments about this bag.
      I am having a good weekend - nice weather and the body is behaving. Not much crochet being done but there will be time for that when the energy levels inevitably subside.
      How are you recovering from your knee surgery? I hope you are able to regain more mobility every day with less pain.
      Get well wishes xx

  7. very cute! Is that little spool for making the I-cord? It is cute too!

    1. Yes, Mary-Anne, that little spool is my "knitting dolly". It is a glorified wooden cotton reel with 4 nails in the top. The little white point you can see sticking up is the mini knitting pin which is used to cast the stitches on and off the nails (and just shoved into the top so I won't lose it in between sessions).
      I have always known the tubular knitted cord as 'French' knitting. 'I-cord' is a relatively new term to me, having first read it about 7 years ago. There is now an 'automatic' French knitter that creates the cord just by the turn of a handle–great if you want cord in a hurry but no handmade charm! I saw one at an exhibition once and thought it could be handy, but didn't feel the need to buy.
      The repetition of the manual spool was very relaxing as I made the cords for this bag.
      I hope you are feeling well and relaxed yourself! :-)

  8. I love the bag and that stitch is really nice.

    1. Me too! I'm keen to see how that stitch works up in other yarns and colours. Do you think you will give it a try yourself? Take care and have fun! :-)

  9. Love the little bag and your choice of yarn is gorgeous.

    1. Hi Amalia! I hope the colours of the bag are as pleasing as the pretty pictures you take and the colourful crafts you make! Thank you for your compliments and for taking time to say hello today. It is so nice to see you here. Have a happy day :-)