::: UPDATE :::
The CAL is officially DONE! But don’t worry, the pattern will remain on my blog for free. If you would like to purchase an inexpensive, ad-free, concise PDF version (American Standard Version only), you can find it on Ravelry or Etsy!
(Original post below)
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HEY! Guess what? I’m about to start the very first Little Monkeys Crochet CAL! For those of you who are newer to the crochet world, CAL is short for Crochet-Along. It basically means that a pattern is released in sections over a period of time, and we all follow along together to make it. This CAL will produce a pretty adorable bag I’m calling the Wildflower Shoulder Bag! Using the recommended yarn, its base will measure about 15″ across.
The Wildflower Shoulder Bag pattern will include clearly-written instructions, helpful photos, and a video tutorial that I’ve been working really hard on over the last few weeks. So whether you work best from a pattern or you’re a more visual learner, you’ll be able to follow along with this easy-level pattern. The schedule for the CAL is as follows:
Here’s what you can do now to get the most out of the CAL experience:
1. Join the CAL Facebook group (optional)
2. Join the Little Monkeys Crochet mailing list (via the aqua-colored form at the top of the blog) so you don’t miss anything (also optional)
3. Share this blog post in your favorite crochet groups on Facebook (again, optional)
4. Read through the FAQs at the bottom of this post
5. Start gathering your materials
Here’s what you’ll need for this CAL:
Cotton-Ease Yarn (4 skeins) – This worsted weight yarn from Lion Brand is a blend of cotton and acrylic, and it’s very easy to work with. I made the bag in the photos with the color Stone, which is a lighter medium gray. (You can substitute with 800 yards of a different worsted weight yarn.)
5.0mm (H) Hook – Gauge is generally unimportant, as this pattern will work with any yarn and appropriately-sized hook. To achieve the size of the bag in the photo (shown on a petite model), which is 15″ wide x 12″ tall (strap not included), use this gauge:
4 rows of 6 HDC = 1.5″ square
Button (1″ or 1-1/8″)
Plastic Canvas – This can be found at craft stores for less than a dollar. It’s a sheet of plastic mesh that is sold in various sizes. I used a sheet of 13.5″x10.5″. You won’t need this until Week 3 of the CAL.
(2) 32mm Split Rings – Like what holds your keys on your keychain.
Needle & Thread – For sewing on your button(s).
Crochet Basics – Tapestry Needle, Scissors, and a Stitch Marker – I use a bobby pin as a stitch marker.
6 Buttons – If you want to add buttons to the center of your flower squares. These buttons should match the button from the list above, which will be used as a closure.
Leather Purse Strap – If you want to give your shoulder bag a bit fancier of a look.
2 Rings With Clasps – If you would like your strap to be removable, you can crochet it to these. Then you can switch between the crocheted (casual) look and the leather (chic) look. I also happen to love the look of the extra hardware, so I chose to include these in my bag.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Do I have to join the Facebook group? Is the CAL free?
A. The CAL is 100% free and you are not required to join/sign up anywhere to participate. You only need access to my blog, which is free. The Facebook group is just a fun way to stay connected and help each other out. Joining my blog e-mail list will ensure that you receive an email when each new part of the CAL is published. These things are all optional.
Q. Can I use [insert name of a different yarn] instead?
A. This pattern will work fine with any yarn and appropriately-sized hook. You should consider whether the yarn you wish to use will hold up as a bag. Also, the dimensions of the bag using Cotton-Ease and an H hook will be approximately 15″ wide, so keep that in mind if you choose a thinner or thicker yarn. The width will change.
Q. What are the details of Cotton-Ease so that I can find something comparable in my home country?
A. Cotton-Ease, by Lion Brand, is a 50/50 cotton/acrylic blend. It’s a #4 worsted weight yarn and is machine washable and dryable. The skeins come in 3.5oz (100g), 207 yds (188m).
Q. Is the pattern on Ravelry?
A. Yes! View on Ravelry.
Q. What is the plastic canvas for, and can I use [insert a different material here] instead?
A. The plastic canvas will be used as a base liner (for stability) and will be hidden in between two crocheted pieces. So if you have another material in mind, you can use it instead. Just make sure it’s washable!
Q. Will the CAL include instructions for lining the bag?
A. Unfortunately, no… unless you consider “give your bag to your friend who knows how to sew and ask her to line it for you” to be complete instructions. 😉 This bag would benefit from a lining and zipper, though, so if you know how to do it, your bag will be all the better for it. Here is an awesome tutorial that is very similar to the style of this bag.
Q. Is the CAL going to be available in [insert your native language here]?
A. The pattern is currently available in American Standard Terms, UK Terms, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Danish, French and Spanish. Everything except the original (American Standard) exists because of kind-hearted translators who simply wanted to help. These versions have very limited support (because I don’t speak the languages), but you can access them all here.
Q. Will the patterns be printable?
A. You can purchase an ad-free PDF of the American Standard version in my Etsy shop!
See you next week!