Making a new project bag for me part 2


Last time I posted, I wrote about the new project bag that I made for myself. As I said in my previous post about my bag, it had several positive features (eg sturdy sides, a zip around 3 sides, places for my notions like hooks, thread etc) but was lacking a little in terms of the capacity for carrying my projects. To provide a short term fix for the capacity problem, I decided that the easiest thing to do would be to attach 4 big buttons to one side of the bag and then to create a second bag with buttonholes on 4 corners that could be attached to the first bag to extend its capacity. That way, there was the possibility that I could create a series of project bags to attach to the main bag and each could contain a different project, thus allowing me to quickly choose which project to take when I went out somewhere. 

Making the bag

When deciding what sort of pattern to do for the bag I was inspired by a couple of native plants that remind me of my childhood - harakeke (a native flax, Phormium tenax) and toetoe (a native tall grass from the genus Austroderia) shown in the photo below. The flax is the one with the thick long leaves and tall flowers while the toetoe is the one with the creamy coloured flower head. The idea was to do green at the bottom for grass, harakeke and toetoe leaves and then add in some red to represent flax flowers and creamy yellow for the toetoe flowers and then to have some sky and a few clouds above it.

I started to write up the pattern as I went. However, it didn't quite look like harakeke and toetoe so I stopped writing up after a while and just continued freestyling until I got to a height that I liked. The photos below show my initial attempt at making harakeke with red flowers in full bloom and toetoe in flower. I learned a lot while doing this so next time I attempt to make this pattern I have a few ideas on how I can modify it to make it have the look I was going for. I kept the ends of the bag rather plain because I thought I might add on an extra side pocket or two at a later date.

 As with my previous bag, I added rings at the top to attach the strap to. These also doubled as key holders (sadly, I underestimated now many stitches I needed to hold the D-ring in place as you will see in the photo and it makes the strap a bit longer as you can see than if it had sat in the right place).

I lined the bag with some more strawberry patterned fabric, though a different strawberry design to the last bag. I did a box base on the lining so that it fit the shape of the crocheted bag base.

I also added a zip at the top. Unfortunately, the zip that I purchased was not quite as long as the bag turned out (I had guessed on the size needed while in my local craft store before making the bag based on my first bag's size) but it still fit well enough for my liking. 

The buttonhole idea for attaching to my first bag worked quite well although, when using both bags together I need to be careful not to overfill the smaller harakeke and toetoe bag or it sags a bit.

Overall, I'm fairly pleased with how it all worked out. I now have 3 working project bags (including the lovely Malia bag from my bag swap person) so I can have more than one project on the go and select the bag of choice on any given day. I have been using the harakeke/toetoe bag as a handbag/shoulder bag (I accidentally made the strap too long so have to carry it across my body) if I'm off somewhere and just need my wallet and phone without the rest of my crochet projects. I'm going to spend the next few months or more using these three bags and writing down what I love about each one so that I can figure out what to do for making an even better, more useful bag for my crafts. I'll also be working on some new ideas for making crochet designs that can be used to make bags, possibly expanding on my kowhai pattern ideas and some of those I used to make this bag. I also made some other improvements to the design already (with ideas on how to make those ideas better) but I think I'll keep those ideas to myself until I have a full bag design idea all sorted. Hopefully, that will result in a new pattern or patterns for release at some stage.

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