First Things First… What’s A CAL?
A CAL (Crochet-Along) is an online event where a pattern is released in segments over the course of a number of weeks, and a community of crocheters works on it together. The Malia Shoulder Bag CAL will begin on March 13 and last for 3 weeks. For this CAL, I’ll be keeping everything on this page; I’ll just update the page each time a new part of the pattern is released. The schedule is as follows:
Week 1: Base of bag (available below)
Week 2: Body of bag (available below)
Week 3: Seaming, shaping & handles (to be published 3/27/18)
Join my Crochet-Along Facebook Group
Life is better together, right? That’s the heart behind a crochet-along, too! If you’re on Facebook and want to join our private group to ask questions, post progress pics, or just meet new friends while you work through the CAL, request your invite by clicking here.
Prefer a PDF?
This pattern can be completed using the 100% free version right here on this page. However, many people prefer the convenience of a printable, ad-free PDF. Below are three options: my popular All Access Pass, the individual PDF pattern, and a Bag Bonus Bundle (if you love bags, it’s a great deal!). Click the image to learn more about each option.
Choosing Your Yarn
For the Malia Shoulder Bag, you’ll want to look for a sturdy, worsted weight cotton yarn. I used and highly recommend Lion Brand’s 24/7 Cotton (get it on Craftsy or Amazon); it’s durable, washes beautifully, and is very easy to work with. It is mercerized and comes in 24 bright shades, and whatever color(s) you choose, you can be sure it will deliver amazing stitch definition and just the right amount of sheen. (I also used 24/7 Cotton for my Classic Beach Bag, which I’ve been carrying around as a purse every day since August. I’ve spilled orange pop and coffee on it, stuffed it way too full, and let my son teethe on it, and it looks as nice as it did the day I made it.)
While I can’t say I’ve ever come across a perfect substitute for 24/7 Cotton, Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Cotton and Knitpicks’ Dishie might be suitable alternatives. If you know of another sturdy worsted cotton, mention it in the comments below!
Choosing Your Colors
I chose a silvery gray for the body of the bag and a bright white for a nice contrast at the top. When choosing your colors, keep in mind that a solid color will show off the texture more so than a multi-colored yarn. For a modern look, limit yourself to two colors and keep at least one of them neutral (gray, taupe, white, etc). Or, keep it simple and timeless with a single-colored bag!
Everything You Need to Know About Those Rope Handles
The rope handles are my favorite feature of this bag! You can find rope at pretty much any craft store, sold in packages or by-the-yard; just look for the 3/8″ size. The rope I used was found at Joann Fabrics in the trim section and is technically called “twisted cord”. It’s a cotton/polyester blend and has a casing on it that gives it this really pretty sheen that looks sooooo good with the 24/7 Cotton yarn. The really cool thing about it is that (at least at Joann Fabrics) it was available in several colors! I already had white in mind when I designed the bag, but I can absolutely see myself making other bags and incorporating colored handles. So fun!
If you’re wondering what those metallic circles are where the rope attaches to my bag – they’re eyelets. I highly recommend them, but I’ve outlined 3 different options below, and I urge you to read through them to decide which option is best for you:
Option 1: Eyelet (Or Grommet) Kit
I used an eyelet kit for my bag, and I know that “I used an eyelet kit” might be a foreign enough phrase to turn many of you off to the idea, but WAIT! It is NOT hard, and it doesn’t take any expensive equipment. But it will give your bag a durability that is unmatched. Combined with the rope (i.e. not crocheted) handles, your bag will be strong and very stretch-resistant. For our purposes, the only difference between eyelets and grommets is how heavy-duty they are; grommets being the tougher of the two. But, for this project I used eyelets, and they worked just fine. It really just comes down to what you can find.
If you have a Hobby Lobby, you’ll find an eyelet kit in the sewing notions section. You can buy the two-piece setting tool separate for $7.99 and then choose your eyelet color for $2.99 (I picked silver), or you can buy them in a package together but your color options are limited. You’re looking for 15/32″ (12mm) eyelets. Watch for the sale, and you’ll score it all for 50% off. If you go with grommets, I recommend this 1/2″ grommet kit from Amazon, which I used for my Classic Beach Bag.
Option 2: Washer
If you don’t want to mess with an eyelet kit, you can also simply thread the rope through a single washer so that it rests between the knot and the bag, which will give the handles something strong to pull on (taking the pressure off of the crocheted part of the bag). It will work basically the same way as an eyelet, it just won’t look as finished and may move around a bit when gravity is not pulling the bag down.
Option 3: Nothing
Of course, you can simply stick your rope handles through the hole that we create, tie your knots big enough that they won’t come back through the hole, and call it good. Your bag will stretch more, though.
The cute little metal piece on the top of the bag, which on any other bag might show off the purse company’s logo, is actually from the scrapbooking section at Hobby Lobby! (I saw the same ones at Joann Fabrics.) It came in a package of 12, each with a different cutesy phrase. I chose “Live In the Moment” for my bag.
Malia Shoulder Bag
Finished Size: 15.5″ width x 12″ height x 6″ depth
Hook: E – 3.5mm (I absolutely love my Clover Amour 3.5mm Hook)
Yarn: Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton in 2 colors. 24/7 Cotton is a worsted-weight, mercerized yarn. You will need 675 yards / 4 skeins of COLOR A (I used “Silver”) and 100 yards / 1 skein of COLOR B (I used “White”). If using one color, you’ll need 775 yards total.
Gauge: 10 rows of 10 SC = 2″ square
You’ll also need:
- Yarn needle
- Two 36″ lengths of 3/8″ twisted rope for handles (I found mine at Joann Fabrics)
- Optional but recommended: Either a size 4 (1/2″ diameter) grommet kit (like this one) or a size 15/32″ (12mm) eyelet kit. I thoroughly explain what to look for, how they’re used, and what the difference is between grommets and eyelets in the tutorial video and in the blog post above. You don’t have to add these but they will make your bag much more durable and stretch-resistant.
SL ST (slip stitch)
SC (single crochet)
HDC (half double crochet)
LBS (large bean stitch – see “Special Stitches”)
BLO (back loop only)
3rd LOOP (work stitch into 3rd loop only – see “Special Stitches”)
Large Bean Stitch (LBS)
Insert hook into stitch, yarn over and pull through (2 loops on hook). Yarn over, insert hook into same stitch, yarn over and pull through (4 loops on hook). Yarn over, insert hook into same stitch, yarn over and pull through (6 loops on hook). Yarn over, insert hook into same stitch, yarn over and pull through (8 loops on hook). Yarn over and pull through all 8 loops. Chain 1 to close the stitch. (Because this stitch creates two sets of loops – one when creating the bean, and one when closing the stitch – each completed Large Bean Stitch will count for two stitches in the row or round’s final stitch count.)
3rd Loop Only
Half double crochet stitches have a 3rd loop that we utilize in this pattern. When working in turned rows, as in this pattern, the 3rd loop can be found just below the front loop on the side of the work that is facing you. When instructed to work in “3rd loop only”, insert your hook into this special loop. This creates a delicate braided look on the opposite side of the pattern.
(1) This pattern is written in American Standard Terms.
(2) CH1 at the beginning of rounds does not count as a stitch.
(3) Tutorial videos will be embedded at the bottom of the pattern. (Click here for a direct link to Part 1, and click here for Part 2.) The video tutorials are very helpful – especially the video for Part 2!
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To begin: With COLOR A, CH157.
Round 1: SC in 2nd CH from hook and in each remaining CH. Place a stitch marker in the final stitch, then join with a SL ST to the top of the first SC, being careful not to twist the round. (156)
Round 2: CH1. SC in first ST. Place a stitch marker in that stitch. SC in each remaining ST around. Do not join. (156)
Note: We are now transitioning to a seamless round. Once you SC in the final stitch for Round 2, which we marked with a stitch marker, you can remove the stitch marker – you don’t need it for now. When you move on to Round 3, instead of chaining up, simply put your first SC right into the first stitch of the previous round (also marked with a stitch marker). Continue on seamlessly, moving that stitch marker up with each round to keep track of the first stitch of the round so that you don’t lose your place.
Rounds 3-24: SC in each ST around. (156)
At the completion of Round 24, join to the first ST of the round with a SL ST.
[Beginning of Part 2]
Round 25: CH1. HDC in each ST around. Join to the first ST of the round with a SL ST. (156)
Round 26: CH1, turn. SC in 3rd loops of each ST around. Join to the first ST of the round with a SL ST. (156)
Round 27: CH1, turn. SC in each ST across. Join to the first ST of the round with a SL ST. (156)
Round 28: CH1, turn. SK first ST, LBS in next ST. (SK next ST, LBS in next ST) across. Join to the first ST of the round with a SL ST. (156)
Round 29: CH1, turn. HDC in each ST around. Join to the first ST of the round with a SL ST. (156)
Round 30: CH1, turn. SC in 3rd loops of each ST around. Join to the first ST of the round with a SL ST. (156)
Rounds 31-62, or until bag measures between 12-13″ high: Repeat Rounds 27-30. (156)
THE 3RD AND FINAL PART OF THIS PATTERN WILL BE PUBLISHED ON MARCH 27, 2018!
Video Tutorials: Parts 1+2