Have you ever been so thrilled about a finished project that you just wanted to jump up and dance? I have! That’s exactly how I felt and exactly what I did when I finished up my Thea Bag! I had actually been putting off the final details for far too long because I was a little worried that I might not be able to make those be as fabulous as the rest of the bag. But when I finally had the courage to finish her up, I literally jumped for joy with how gorgeous she is!
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I have to confess, when granny squares became trendy again, I wasn’t not immediately ready to jump on board. Once I decided to try a granny square design, with a little push from my local yarn shop owner – thank you Sara – I knew that I wanted to do something different. As I started looking at vintage granny square designs I absolutely fell in love with the African flower motif! Because I’m a girl who likes options, I also knew that I wanted my bag to be very customizable!
I started by mastering the African flower granny square. After I made my first one I changed up some of the stitches and stitch counts. Then I worked it in several variations and with several hooks and weights of yarn before I finally had a square I absolutely loved. Little changes really can make all the difference!
Next I decided maybe a traditional granny square wasn’t so bad, I just whipped one of those up and thought we’d be all set with squares! Except, for the fact that my traditional granny square did not end up the same size as my African Flower square! It turns out it takes a lot more maneuvering to come up with squares that worked up to be the same size AND have the same number of stitches on each side. While I maybe could have been ok with squares that didn’t have exactly the same number of stitches on each side, I wanted to be sure seaming the squares together was as simple as possible.
Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I decided that I also needed a solid square. Nothing makes a bag less functional than things falling out of the bottom of it! So I went to work on making the most sleek and functional solid granny square that I could. Of course, it also needed to end up the same size as my other two squares and have the same number as stitches on each side! Thankfully, after all of the challenges of getting my first two squares to match, this final square was slightly easier!
After I had all of my squares worked up, I needed to decide on the shape and style of my bag. Originally I was leaning towards a very simple Rectangle bag with the squares seamed together in a simple grid. Then I came across a really uniquely constructed fabric bag on Pinterest and knew that I wanted to recreate that in crochet! Turns out the unique construction is one of my most favorite parts of the bag! I’m so glad I branched out into something a little different!
Customize Your Bag
I love customizing and adjusting patterns, but I know not everyone finds making those adjustments easy. To help you have the freedom to make adjustments as easily as possible I’ve included several extras in this pattern.
First, I’m giving you all the tips on choosing yarn. This is an important first step to making a really great bag! You’ll find the specific information about the yarn I used below, I loved working with it and highly recommend it. While you don’t have to use the same yarn I used to have a beautiful bag, I do have some tips for making the best choice.
Next, I’m sharing tips for ways that you can customize your Thea Bag! The biggest way you can make adjustments is by choosing a different combination of squares than I did. If you want to make your bag exactly like mine, I’ve given you all the yardage, arrangement and seaming instructions to do that, BUT you can also totally mix it up. I’ve listed yardage estimates for every round of every square as well as seaming yardage so you can figure out how much yarn you need for any combination of colors or squares your heart desires!
The last and maybe my favorite customization is your handles. When I originally started the Thea Bag my plan was for crocheted handles and my brain was stuck there. But then a wise friend suggested sewing on handles and I’m so glad she did! When I started searching for leather and wooden handles my excitement grew! There are so many amazing options. The pattern includes suggestions for buying leather or wooden handles. If you’d like to purchase the leather handles I used you’ll find them here. I also purchased some beautiful wooden handles that came in a 3 pack – such a good deal – that would have been a perfect fit too! You can check out the wooden handles here! I’ve also included some thoughts on working crocheted handles if you’d like to give that a try.
Also included in the pattern are tips and tricks for each style of square, full blocking and seaming instructions as well as so, so many photo and video tutorials. I was thrilled by how quickly and easily my testers worked through the pattern. I know you’ll fly through it too!
I know that when people think crocheted bags they think cotton yarn. A couple of my testers used cotton yarn so you certainly can. I however have been leaning more and more towards wool yarn. I find it to be much easier on my hands given that it stretches and rebounds nicely, It also blocks up so well and holds it’s shape.
As I searched my LYS for the perfect yarn, I found myself going back to a classic yarn that I had worked with way back when I first started knitting, Cascade 220. This is a classic, moderately priced, workhorse yarn that strikes a great balance between affordability and beauty. I only chose 5 – aren’t you proud of my self control – but it comes in so many great colors! Cascade 220 is 100% superwash wool with 220 yards (that’s where it gets it’s name) for every 100 grams. Produced by Cascade Yarns its available at many local yarn shops and several retailers online.
There are, of course, so many gorgeous yarns out there and you are welcome to substitute any you like. A bag can be a pretty easy pattern to make a yarn substitution for since exact fit isn’t a concern. If you’d like to learn more about substituting yarn, I have a whole post you can read here! The squares of the Thea Bag do need to be blocked so be sure you have when you need to block your squares. Always be sure to block your projects in the appropriate manner for the fiber content of your yarn.
The rest of the supply list is pretty small. The only other things you really need are a US H 5.0 mm hook, a tapestry needle (these are my favorites) and scissors (aren’t these beautiful?). I always recommend you check your hook carefully and look for the millimeters rather than a letter label. While US H hooks are pretty standard, there can be some discrepancies between companies as to how they label their hook sizes.
I fell in love with and always recommend Furls crochet hooks. Their Alpha Series is my absolute favorite hook line. It’s stunning and fits so well in my smaller hands. It is one of their pricier hooks, but well worth the splurge. If you’re looking to dip your toes into Furls hooks, I love their wooden Streamline hooks too. Because of their more affordable price, I have a lot of these hooks and use them regularly. They fit nicely in my hands too, are so comfortable to work with, and glide nicely through yarn! I have a couple Odyssey hooks too and, while they are a heavier hook, the pair really well with cotton yarn!
During the summer I was taking my yarn on the go a lot more than I do now that the boys are back in school. I’m a bit nervous about taking my wooden hooks to the park so I ordered a set of metal hooks at the beginning of the summer to take on the go. I’ve really been enjoying my Tulip hook set. They’re super smooth, with a really comfortable grip. I usually work with wooden hooks, but find that metal hooks glide really nicely through cotton and other plant fiber yarns. I bought a whole set of Tulip hooks and am a bit surprised that I’ve used almost all of them. Initially I worried the more narrow handle might cause hand pain, but they glide so easily through the yarn, they’ve been very comfortable to use!
The Thea Bag pattern is available on Ravelry and Etsy (coming soon) for purchase. If you’re reading this between October 7th, 2022 and October 12th, 2022 you can use the code 20THEA to save 20% on Ravelry or Etsy. If you’d like to get the best discounts on all my new patterns, join my email list here!
The Thea Bag is a tier 3 pattern. Tier 3 patterns are designed to let your skills shine through patterns with a mix of intermediate stitches! These patterns include a variety of sized projects that combine intermediate stitches and design elements to the new stitches or skills learned in a Tier 1 and 2 patterns. These patterns will help you show off your skills.
Check out the Tier 1 and 2 patterns for the stitches used in the Thea Bag below.
Read more about my tiered pattern system here!
A HUGE ***thank you*** to my amazing testers! They all did such beautiful work! Each and every Thea Bag is unique and gorgeous! This pattern was tested and tech edited to be as clear as possible. Pattern testers are an important part of the publishing process. I appreciate the time and attention they give! Thank you to my wonderful tech editor Michelle Muskett of Tales of Knots whose attention to detail makes every pattern better!
All of these links connect to my Ravelry shop, but if you prefer Etsy, you can find a link to my Etsy shop here!
Read more about my tiered pattern system here!