Pinterest continues to be a wonderful source of ideas for crochet projects. In this instance, it’s the Granny Square Striped Bag, a free crochet pattern featured on the Japanese website, Gosyo.
I figured I’d make it at some point, but wasn’t sure when. Then I visited my local yarn store, Aloha Yarn a month or so later and discovered that the owner, Nanea, had made two of the bags. Except, instead of using different colored yarn to create the stripes, she used a variegated yarn for one of the bags, which I thought was brilliant. No constant color changes or ends to weave in.
I immediately thought of a yarn in my stash that would be perfect for the bag – a variegated yarn called Pink Camo. It’s a Red Heart Super Saver yarn that a fellow crafter gave me a few months earlier. Fortunately, I had more than enough to create my version of the Granny Square Stripe Bag. All I needed was a matching solid color yarn to complete the granny square, and I easily found it at Ben Franklin Crafts in Kailua, HI. It’s Café Latté and perfectly matches the brown in the Pink Camo.
The Granny Square
I can’t tell you how easy it was to make this bag. It’s basically one big granny square that is gathered on the sides and top to create the unique shape.
My goal was to duplicate the dimensions of the bag in the pattern as closely as possible, but my substitute yarn was a bit thicker than the yarn used in the pattern. The granny square in the pattern turned out to be 23.6” on all four sides once I converted the centimeters into inches. I rounded up to 24” to make life easier.
So instead of crocheting a granny square with 30 rounds, as called for in the pattern, my granny square ended up being 25 rounds, the last five of which are crocheted in Café Latté.
The hardest part for me was adding the lining, and that wasn’t as difficult as I’d first imagined.
For some odd reason, the pattern calls for adding the lining AFTER you’ve crocheted the sides and top. That didn’t make sense to me because of the difficulty of attaching the lining to the gathered sides and top of the bag. It made more sense to add the lining to the flat granny square. Right?
I purchased a yard of a nice cotton fabric in a complementary brown shade and cut the fabric with pinking shears so that the sides measured 24”. Next, I folded the sides under an inch and pinned the fabric to the granny square. The fabric edges lined up with the bottom of the second round of the granny square from the top. Since I didn’t have a sewing machine, I had to hand-sew the lining to granny square and used a simple overhand or whip stitch. Pretty simple.
The Sides and Top
Here’s where things got a little confusing for me until I figured out how to read the pattern’s symbol chart. For the sides, which are single-crocheted, you are reducing the number of stitches (i.e., double crochet and chain stitches) in half. That meant I needed to go from 100 stitches to 51.
To create each side of the bag, you begin at the corner chain-2 space with the right side of the granny square facing you.
- Add a single crochet in the chain-2 space and in the second or middle double crochet stitch of each 3-double-crochet group and chain-1 space across the side.
- End with a single crochet in the chain-2 corner at the other end (which gave me 50 + 1 stitches).
- Then add however many single crochet rows you need to equal 1”.
The pattern instructions call for sides that are 2” long which are then folded over and sewn to the first single crochet row. But I decided not to do this after looking at Nanea’s bags because my yarn was so thick, and I thought folding over the sides would make them too bulky.
To create the tops of the bag where the handles are inserted, you are reducing the stitches on the top of the granny square to 1/4th of the original stitch count (25 in my case). But you also need to crochet across the edges of the sides you just created.
My sides contained four rows of single crochet, so my total stitch count for the tops of the bag was 33 stitches – 8 stitches across the edge of the 8 rows plus 25 granny square stitches. To create each bag top:
- Single crochet one stitch in the side edge of each row.
- Then add a single crochet stitch in the ch-2 corner space and in each ch-1 space across the granny square;
- End with a single crochet stitch in the corner chain-2 space and in the side edge of each side row.
- Finally, add however many rows you need to add to create tops that are 2” long.
You’ll need those two inches so that you can fold the top you’ve just created over the bag handles or straps. I added a final row of single crochet around the outer edge of the tops and sides.
I couldn’t find any nice handles for my bag at the craft store so I created crocheted straps based on Nanea’s instructions. And that was to single crochet on four stitches in the round until the strap was as long as I wanted it to be, in my case 32”.
To stabilize the straps and keep them from stretching, Nanea said to add a length of grosgrain ribbon inside the interior of the strap, sew the ends of the ribbon together, and then sew the ends of the straps together to enclose the ribbon. I pinned a big safety pin to one end of the ribbon and then used the pin to slide the ribbon through the strap and out the other end.
To complete the bag, you fold the tops over the handles or straps and sew the last single crochet row of the top to the first row.
Create Your Own Unique Granny Square Bag
The great thing about this pattern is how easy it is to adapt to create any size or color bag. You simply:
- Make a granny square the size you want it to be, using a worsted-weight yarn in the color(s) of your choice.
- Line the granny square.
- Create the sides and top as instructed.
- Add your favorite handle.
Here’s another bag Nanea created, this time using a worsted-weight cotton yarn.
Her linings are made using two pieces of fabric which are sewn together, wrong sides facing, and leaving several inches open in order to pull the fabric to the right side. The inside of the bag has fabric in a contrasting color/pattern and the outside of the bag shows fabric that matches the solid granny square color.
I’d love to hear about your experience creating this versatile granny square bag in the comment section below. And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Happy crocheting!