My Grandmother requested 'one of my bags' for Christmas and after a bit of a confusing conversation (she is visually impaired, lives 350 miles away and has only heard me talk about things I have made in our weekly phone conversations) I decided the safest plan was to come up with something new - just for her. It had to be tactile (she won't be able to see it at all - so the feel is very important) and needed to fit her needs - something 'not too heavy' that she can wear safely over her shoulder and will fit her keys, a hanky and a shopping bag (just in case!). I love the way the design turned out and as everyone else who has seen it has been pretty keen, I think I am on to a winner!
The pattern really couldn't be any simpler and as it is all worked in plain knit stitch on big needles I think it would work well even for a beginner knitter. I thought I would share the pattern here with you, just in case you have any last minute Christmas gifts to make or you fancy a quick and simple bag to make yourself for an evening out (in a fancy yarn, with a bit of glitter, I think this would make a perfect bag for all those Christmas party's)
You need two 100g balls of Chunky Yarn in the colours of your choice (you can vary the texture/ colour of the bag however you like - I used a smooth chocolate brown yarn and a bumpy variegated yarn in different shades of brown)
Some size 8mm (US 11) needles
A bead or button as a fastener
A crochet hook or large eyed needle to assemble the bag.
Cast on 20 stitches using two strands of wool (ie a strand from each ball) and continue knitting every row until your piece is approximately 18" (46 cm) long. Bind off.
Using the same two yarns cast on 7 stitches to the same needles. Knit every row until the knitting is approximately 7" (18cm) long. On the next row drop one of your pieces of yarn (you can cut it off from the ball at this stage but leave enough of a tail to sew in at the end) and continue knitting every row until you have knitted 52"(132cm) from the cast on edge (this will be the shoulder strap). Re-join your other yarn and knit with both until the length of this thicker piece matches the one you knitted at the other end of your strap (approx 7"/ 18cm). Bind off to finish.
Now you just have to make it into a bag!
Lay the first oblong you knitted flat on a table and with the shorter edge towards you fold about 7"(18cm) from the bottom up towards the top edge. Take your strap piece and pin the thicker section at each end to the main body of the bag. It should fit along the fold you just made and create the sides of the bag. Make sure you haven't twisted your strap at this stage and that everything looks how you want it before beginning to sew or crochet the edges together. I simply used some of my leftover yarn to do a single crochet all around the seams, this created a good strong edge and gave the bag some stability . Don't worry, if you can't crochet at all, a blanket stitch around the edge would have much the same effect.
To finish I made a loop of chain stitch and attatched a large bead as an easy way to keep the flap closed. You could try any button, bead or toggle and a piece of ribbon in place of the chain stitch would work just as well. If all of that sounds too complicated just make your initial bag piece a bit bigger and you will end up with a larger flap which will stay closed without needing a fixing!
I hope that is all clear - I didn't start this project with the idea of doing a tutorial so I don't have any pictures of the in between bits - if you are confused in any way, just email me and I will do my best to explain any queries you have.