National Crochet Month 2017

For me, it seems, every month is crochet month, but one of the things that makes March so special is that it is “National Crochet Month” and craft stores tend to run sales each and every one of the thirty-one days that comprise March.

So this morning, when I woke to the reality of already having lost hour — one that I desperately needed that I won’t get back until early November — it seemed a particular shame that the hour had been taken from the month dedicated to crochet.

But  I had a lot to do, so there was no time for tears or recriminations. With the arrival of the year’s only 23-hour day, I found myself having to hit the ground running.

After brewing the day’s first pot of coffee, I assembled the pieces of the a future granny square bag:

granny square purse puzzle
The pieces of a granny square purse puzzle

Yesterday, in my pursuit of a solution as to how to attach the handles, I had gotten a grommet kit at a local hardware store.

Using the tools and following the directions included with the grommets, I was able to successfully insert one into a trial granny square and through one thickness of fabric:

granny square grommet
A granny square and one layer of fabric with a grommet through it

With the problem of “how to attach the straps” solved, I moved onto the next problem: how to make the straps.

One challenge when crocheting straps is that they tend to stretch, growing longer over time.

I occurred to me that having a strap that could be shortened if it stretched would a good feature, but had no clear idea how to accomplish this goal. Then, after looking at a bazillion bags on line, it seemed that a braided strap could be the solution I was seeking.

My first effort, while a bit anemic, was a perfectly serviceable three plait braid:

three plait braid
A three plait braid

But I wanted something that had a bit more pizzazz than “perfectly serviceable” as the bag has four elements: A front, a back, and the two straps. So I went to Youtube and watched videos on “how to braid” with various numbers of strands.

Given the constraints of the grommet (the strap has to fit through a 3/8″ hole), I decided that the best option was a four plait braid made with multiple strands of yarn and ribbon with the hope that the ribbon (which has less give) will prevent the strap from stretching as much.

So I cut a selection of yarns an ribbon in two-foot lengths and got to work:

four plait braid preparations
Preparations for a four plait braid

Let me start by saying that when you watch someone braid in an Youtube video, they do not struggle as I did.

They know what they are doing and have practiced, and they use at most four strands. After a good half-hour on the struggle bus, I finally managed a four-plait braid that gives me a sense of how it will look when I learn to make a more secure and neater four plait braid:

A four plait braid
A four plait braid

My braiding practice for the day complete, I turned to the lining for the finished bag.

Tucked in a corner of a closet in my crochet empire is a bin overflowing with fabric. Determined not to buy anymore yardage, I sorted though every piece of fabric in the bin until I found that would work.

After measuring at least twice, I cut the yardage to fit the future granny square purse and got the edges sewn.

Then, I once again assembled the pieces and reviewed the day’s work:

future granny square purse
The pieces of the granny square purse ready for assembly

After looking it over, I’m not sure that the missing hour would have been enough to finish this project today, but tomorrow is a new day, and with all of the pieces together in one place, all that’s left is to is to put them together.

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