Monday, January 2, 2012

Granny, New York style


How do you like this bag?  It’s a little bit Granny, a little bit New York, don’t you think?  The story began on Thursday, when the strap broke on my favorite shoulder bag.  Everyone said, “Awwww, that’s too bad.  Hey, now you can make that granny square satchel you’ve been longing for!”  They were right, too, I was not a bit sad to see the old one go. 


I began with this pattern but made some modifications, mostly to allow for yarn differences.  I used Debbie Bliss Chunky Merino, which is the least lofty yarn I have ever met in my life.  Honestly, I think if you knit that yarn at a tight enough gauge, you could make a bulletproof vest.  It is hearty.  It is substantial.  It makes you feel like you have got some yarn, sister.  I made a sweater from it a few years ago, wore it a few times, realized it was so heavy it made my shoulders ache, and unraveled the whole thing.  So it’s been sitting in the cupboard ever since, being slowly carved up into hats and mittens (for which it is perfect) and now, happily, this bag, for which it is also perfect. 


Essentially, you crochet a big granny square—the pattern calls for 30 rounds, but I only did 22, after which I didn’t have enough yarn of any one color to make it all the way around again.  Which was okay, because I think it’s big enough at 22 rounds.  Then I made two straps out of 3 rows single crochet and stitched the ends together.  I folded the giant square, stitched up the sides about 2/3 of the way, folded the top edges over and whipstitched them down over the straps. 

At this point, you have a big weird trapezoid.  The bag has two huge pointed corners, which I didn’t like, so I just folded the corners up and tacked them at the point on the sides where the “mouth” opens.  All of a sudden, it’s the right shape and I like it. 


I lined the bag with a plaid cotton I had in the cupboard.  I thought making this lining was going to be insanely tricky and almost didn’t bother, but I just cut it to size, turned the top edges under 1/2”, stuffed the lining into the bag, and stitched it down at the top edge.  Somehow, it worked.

Literally the entire time I was working on this, I was thinking, This will never work.  This is gray with mustard yellow!  This yarn is like a steel cable!  How will the lining ever go in right?  How is a big granny square the size of a lap rug ever going to be a stylish bag of any kind? 

Friends, it just worked.  I don’t know how.  Perhaps it is not for me to question these things.