Get your copy of the pattern and enjoy a fun to make project that results in a really handy item to own. It's on Ravelry or Etsy with 20% off applied automatically at the checkout until midnight 30th November (UK time) or sign up to my mailing list before the end of November 2023 (UK time) to get 50% off with a discount code in this month's newsletter.
This design was inspired by carved soapstone ornaments created in India, I created the block initially for a planter cover. After making it, I decided immediately that it should be a bag and picked muted pink and white shades reminiscent of the block’s inspiration.
The dense waistcoat stitch provides a firm, non-stretchy, secure finish for the bag’s contents and helps it keep shape, while the lace block, worked on a slightly undersized hook, offers an firm feel but airy finish. The stitches in the block are varied and fun to work resulting in an enjoyable project as well as a handy accessory.
This would make a great project bag or packed lunch bag in the suggested yarn. It could also work up as a pretty evening bag in a thinner yarn like DK or sport weight. Just use a hook that gives you a fabric you like (usually this will be the a little smaller than the the yarn band suggestion for the block and a bit bigger for the gusset).
The sample was made with Drops Paris Aran Cotton yarn which is a soft aran/worsted weight cotton yarn and it worked really well for this design, resulting in a sturdy but soft and flexible fabric and it's a great budget option. I bought a lot of Drops yarn that while I took a career break when my children were little and the quality is so impressive for the price.
I know some of you will be substituting yarns to fit your budget, yarn availability in your part of the world, style preferences, health and ethical considerations. Not every yarn will turn out the same way and I want all crafters to feel they can create something they'll love, so I would suggest that going for a non-mercerised cotton or cotton blend in aran/worsted weight and with a low to medium twist should work well. In some parts of the world you might call this dishcloth yarn. I think Rowan Handknit Cotton and Lily's Sugar n Cream both of which work up very sturdy and Lion Brand Pima Cotton, which seems a little more luxurious and soft than the others would be good to substitute. Don't be afraid to hold two thinner yarns together to get the right weight. I actually had to do that for my sample as I ran out of my white yarn! It works very well in this stitch pattern. What didn't work so well with the waistcoat stitch I used in the gusset was when I tried a highly twisted yarn that felt a little stiffer, almost like parcel string. That has caused me to get a blister a few times. Definitely make sure your yarn is soft and flexible!
I think this is a great bag for both casual wear or fancier occasions. I can picture it equally as a packed lunch bag for the office, a pretty accessory for a summer day outfit or for a more formal occasion, like a wedding or fancy evening out.
I loved making this bag on my livestreams on Twitch this year. It was so much fun. The repetition of making multiple blocks and the simple one-line repeat of the gusset meant I could chat with those watching without making a mistake, so perhaps this is a great project to take to craft group or anywhere else that you'll want to craft and chat at the same time. I was also able to make clips from each livestream's recording so you'll find links in the pattern for parts where a visual aid could help.
I've added some customisation tips to the pattern too: for different sizes and shoulder strap options. I love seeing how creative people can be and seeing how different versions of the same pattern turn out to suit the user's style and use preferences is one of the best parts of being a designer. I think this could make a great scrap yarn project perhaps with one main colour and then a combination of those yarns that have been languishing too long in your stash!
I was fortunate to work with two great testers who gave feedback on how the pattern could be improved before being released. Pearledwing tested the US terminology version of the pattern and Tammy tested the UK terminology version. I really love both of their versions and was excited to see their colour choices and adaptations. Both made such helpful and clear suggestions on how I could make the pattern better for you. Here's a gallery of their finished work. Thank you testers; I'm always so grateful for your work! If you are interested in testing one of my patterns in future, just sign up to my mailing list. I offer all my new pattern tests to subscribers first.
A downloadable copy of the Soapstone Mini Tote crochet bag pattern, including US terminology and UK terminology versions in separate files, is available from Sunday 29th October 2023 on on Ravelry or Etsy with 20% off applied automatically at the checkout until midnight 30th November (UK time) or sign up to my mailing list before the end of November 2023 (UK time) to get 50% off with a discount code in this month's newsletter, plus monthly news, updates, behind the scenes info, testing opportunities and exclusive offers just for subscribers.
Do let me know if you make the bag. I'm always excited when I see that someone has used one of my patterns!