My Version of the Granny Square Striped Bag

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.

Granny Square Bag made with a beautiful Noro yarn
Nanea’s granny square bag made with a beautiful, self-striping Noro yarn

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.

One big granny square is all you need to create this bag.
One big granny square is all you need to create this bag.

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 Lining

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?

The lining is added BEFORE the sides and top.
The lining is added BEFORE the sides and top.

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.

Tops and sides are added to lined granny square.
Tops and sides are added to lined granny square.

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.

The Straps

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”.

Grosgrain ribbon is inserted inside the straps to stabilize them.
Grosgrain ribbon is inserted inside the straps to stabilize them.

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 granny square bag is finished!
The granny square bag is finished!
The interior of my granny square bag.
The interior of my 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.

This granny square bag is made with worsted-weight cotton.
This granny square bag is made with worsted-weight cotton.
Love the contrasting lining!
Love the contrasting lining on the inside of the bag!

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!

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.

26 comments On My Version of the Granny Square Striped Bag

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  • Thank you so much for this tutorial– beautiful! I do have one question: I have four granny squares that I at first intended to make into a different bag, but then after seeing this decided to make one this way. Would it turn out okay if I stitched the squares (which are 10 rounds each) together and then add the sides and tops as you instructed? Thanks!

    • You’re welcome, Christa. Glad you found the tutorial helpful. As for your bag, as long as the sides of square that results from the four granny squares sewn together are the same length (and they should be) and the same # of stitches, your bag should be fine. It will create an interesting effect. If you post photos of the finished bag somewhere, come back here and post a link. I’d love to see it. Good luck! And let me know if you have other questions.

  • Okay, great! That’s a relief 😉 Yes, I’d love to post pictures of it when it’s finished, but unfortunately I’ll probably not get around to it. But I’ll definitely try to visit back here and let you know how it turns out. Thanks again, Patrice!

  • My bag is coming along nicely! I’m almost finished, just have to make and add my handles (I couldn’t find any at the craft store that would work). I’m pleased with how it looks so far.

  • My bag is finished!! It turned out beautifully! I showed it off to some of my friends today 🙂 I actually ended up buying bamboo handles on Etsy, and they are perfect! I’ll let you know if I post a picture of it somewhere. Thank you so much, again, for this instructional!

    • Christa, I’m so happy to hear your bag turned out well! I have to start thinking of Etsy when I need accessories like handles because they are hard to come by here. Yes, please share a photo. Looking forward to seeing it. And I’m glad you found the post helpful.

  • Thanks for the blog post. I found you because I was planning on lining my bag before I gather it as well and I was wondering how it panned out for other people. I was also a little confused on the charts for the sides of the bag as well. Your method makes a lot of sense.. Does the reduction of stitches on the sides help naturally gather the bag? Did that question make sense? LOL.

    Anyhoo. I’ll be adding a blog post when I finish the bag. May I link this post? I think my readers would find it as useful as I did.

    • Hey Nadia, you’re welcome. Yes, it made sense to me to line the granny square first before gathering the sides. Don’t know why they do it the other way in the pattern. And yes, your question makes sense – reducing the stitches on the sides is what naturally gathers them. I really enjoyed making it because it was so easy once I understood the chart. I gave the one I made to my daughter’s grandmother for Christmas last year. And yes, by all means link your blog post to this one. And let me know what the url is to yours so I can see your bag. Glad I could help!

  • FINALLY finished.. I think I must’ve made 5 different styles of straps for the darn thing before I settled.. Here’s the link http://dougthewookie.blogspot.ca/2013/06/my-granny-square-bag.html

    • Hey Nadia, the bag looks great. Love the colors. And that’s a cool strap. Very creative! Thanks so much for sharing your bag. And thanks for the link back to my blog. Appreciate it :-).

  • Appreciate the post. But did you use two strands or one?

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  • I am happy that I found your website. Couldn’t figure out the japanese chart, until you explained it. Thank you! Love your bag and how you lined it. Thanks for sharing.

  • This is really cute! Thank you, Patrice, for posting it. I’m going to try to make it… Kate

  • Nice bag,happy holiday season

  • Thank you for your tutorial. You clarified some things for me. Keep up the good work!

  • Hello Patrice, I would love to make this bag and when I tried to copy and paste the pattern so I could save it, it wouldn’t copy the photo’s. This is how I always copy patterns and tried it several times. Is there a problem or am I missing something to do? Thanks and I’d appreciate an answer soon. Barbara

    • Hi Barbara, the best way to “copy” a web page is to use the Print Friendly extension for your browswer. The version you get will be based on the browser you use (e.g., Chrome, Firefox, iPad). If you google “Print Friendly extension” there will be several results for the extension based on the browser you use. Just follow the instructions. It’s pretty simple.

      Also, here’s the link for the Print Friendly website where you can enter the url of the page from my blog and get a PDF – http://www.printfriendly.com/. You can print the page, turn it into a PDF and download it, or email it. If you still need help, email me at patrice@yarnoverpullthrough.com.

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