Are You As Behind in Your 2012 Christmas Gift-Making as I Am?

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I typically start thinking about the Christmas gifts I’m going to crochet in October, but, I don’t know what happened this year. It wasn’t until the first week of November when it finally dawned on me that I need to get cracking and start crocheting this year’s gifts. And then I got the flu, which put me behind even more (sigh).

Since I didn’t have much time to work with, I decided to make gifts that I could whip up fairly quickly. Combine that with the trend toward “green living” and crochet market bags emerged as the perfect gift for my female friends and family members (still working on gift ideas for men – always a challenge!).

I found two really nice patterns, one on Pinterest and the other after doing a web search for free crochet market bag patterns (hover over the name of the bag for a link to the pattern).

Hexagon-Stitch Market Bag

Crochet a market bag using the “hexagon” stitch.It took me about three evenings in front of the TV to crochet this simple market bag. I used a little under two skeins of Dk-weight Saucy Sport 100% mercerized cotton yarn (123 yards each) that was left over from a crochet skirt I made for my daughter a couple of years ago, and an E (3.50 mm/4) crochet hook. Knit Picks has a nice selection of sport-weight cotton yarn that would work well with this bag. And they’re all machine-washable.

The hexagon stitch is an easy one to master, consisting of a series of chains and double crochets. The construction technique is simple as well. All you have to do is:

•    Crochet a rectangle of hexagon stitches
•    Fold in half and single crochet the side seams together
•    Add a top with a “key-hole” handle that’s crocheted in the round.

The bag may look small but the hexagon stitch is very flexible, allowing the body to expand to hold a sizeable load of whatever you decide to put in it.

Tuck Away Tote

The bag body “tucks away” inside the pouch formed at the base of the bag.

The Tuck Away Tote in all its glory

I love the fact that the bottom of this crochet market bag serves as a pouch that the bag body can be stored in.  The construction technique used in this bag design is another simple one that can be executed in a few days.

For this project, I used two skeins of fingering-weight hemp, given to me some time ago, and an E hook. The yarn was a bit frayed in a spot or two but it held up well and made a nice yarn for the project. I’m pretty sure its some brand of AllHemp3  (approx. 165 yards per skein).  I might have had a little more than 330 yards total because one skein was a bit larger than the other.

Here’s how this bag is constructed.

•    After crocheting one of the two circular motifs that make up the base, you work the sides in the round, using a simple filet crochet stitch. And because it’s crocheted in the round, there are no side seams to sew.
•    Then, like the other bag, add the upper edging and straps. I made my straps a little wider than the pattern called for.
•    Finally, crochet the second circular motif, and create the pouch by sewing it to the bottom of the first one, leaving an opening to stuff the bag into.

I did both motifs first, then single crocheted them together (leaving an opening to create the pouch) and then did the bag body, so I wouldn’t have to come back later and sew the second motif on to the bottom of the bag.

Crochet designer and Hawaii neighbor, MK Carroll, has created a really nice adaptation of the “market bag with a pouch” design in her #418 Crochet Market Bag. I really like the tapered sides, as well as the “V-Stitch” filet pattern she uses for the bag body.

Design Your Own Market Bag with These Simple Construction Techniques

You can easily adapt both of these construction techniques to create multiple, but unique market bags to give as gifts this Christmas. All you need is:

•    A good crochet stitch dictionary,
•    Some durable fingering-, sport- or DK-weight yarn (from approximately 250 to 400 yards, depending on the yarn weight and size of your bag).
•    A D/3.25 mm, E/3.5 mm or other small hook to match your chosen yarn.
•    A simple construction design technique: in this case, a bag that has a bottom, a body, and a top edging with straps.

The bottom of the Hexagon Stitch Market Bag is created when you fold the bag in half to sew up the side seams. Substitute a different filet or lace pattern for the bag body and/or change the edging and straps.

The same applies to the Tuck Away Tote. Use a different circular motif pattern for the bag bottom, or again, substitute another lace or filet stitch for the body, and change up the edging and straps. The number of adaptations you can create from these two simple crochet construction techniques is only limited by your imagination.

Which bag pattern will you use to make some crochet market bags this year? And what are you crocheting for the men on your gift list?

I’ve been crocheting for over 40 years and blogging since 2004 – two of my favorite things in the world to do besides walking the beaches of windward Oahu, Hawaii.

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