We have successfully completed moving all of our bits and bobs to our new house! For the last month or so I have been downsizing, packing and repacking in preparation for moving. I was ecstatic to hand the keys to the condo back to my landlord. Walking up and down two flights of stairs, through 3 doors and around a condo complex to load up a car (or three) was tedious, to say the least. I am now in the throes of unpacking. And let me tell you, I am having a hell of a time. I absolutely adore cleaning and organizing. There is something so incredibly satisfying about restoring an old, battered house to some semblance of shiny and clean. I’m pretty sure I’ve vacuumed every room at least three times now and I am planning for a fourth here soon. Even better than cleaning is organizing. Even better than organizing is organizing a house that you have poured yourself into cleaning. Oh, goddess, I’m flustered just thinking about it. This new house is a giant puzzle to figure out and I cannot wait to get started.
Conveniently, this little bag is the perfect organizational accessory. I currently have about 10 throughout my new house. Some hanging on doorknobs, some sitting on counters and others acting as miscellaneous storage. All adorable and all functional. This little bag was inspired by the first ever drawstring bag I made. I can distinctly recall the fierce pride and excitement I felt running up to my mom to display my first drawstring bag way back when. It was such a rewarding moment; one that helped foster a sense of success and pushed me to continue crocheting. Prior to completing my little bag, I only had success in finishing single crochet scarves and let’s be honest, it wasn’t all that exciting. I still have the original pattern that I followed – perhaps if I can find it amongst my moving chaos I will share it with you next week. But our focus for this week lies elsewhere. The bag I am going to introduce is much like my premier patter, the Dillon Beanie, as it is designed with customization in mind. Just about every aspect of this pattern can be tailored to your preference: the size, the shape, the colors, the accent row, you name it and you can change it.
I was considering naming this bad girl “The Cluster Fuck Bag” because it features an adorable row of the classic cluster stitch and I love a good pun. I then immediately reconsidered this name because while I enjoy a nice vulgar pun I understand many would not and I do not want someone to miss out on this bag simply because of the name. So instead I wracked my brain trying to create an equally punny title sans vulgarity. It was a tedious process, probably because I quite liked my original name and every other possibility seemed lacking. In the end, I went with a title that hints at how charming this bag is. Without further ado, I now proudly introduce to you: A Clusterful Drawstring Bag.
This pattern is what I would classify as a beginner going on easy skill level. In its essence, it is a few single crochets, mixed with a few half double crochets and then an easy-peasy cluster stitch thrown in just for a bit of a challenge. Though the cluster stitch is a simple stitch to master, you could totally replace it with a row of simple double crochets if you aren’t feeling overly adventurous. With that said, I highly encourage you to give the cluster stitch a shot as it’s a perfect stitch to try if you are novice crocheter looking to expand their stitch repertoire. A Clusterful Drawstring Bag also has enough variation to intrigue a seasoned crocheter; who could enjoy whipping one of these babies up in a little over an hour without suffering boredom. Yay for quick projects!
I have a few ideas for each skill level on how to make this bag perfect for your crochet abilities. If you are newer to the crochet game, I recommend sticking to one color. Trying to change colors while also learning a new stitch can sometimes be a bear so for your first go-round, pick a color and stick with it. Also, as I mentioned, you can replace the cluster stitch with something you are more comfortable with. If you are going to replace the cluster row here are your conversions for standard stitches:
- 1 row of the cluster stitch = about three rows of single crochets
- 1 row of the cluster stitch = about two rows of half double crochets
- 1 row of the cluster stitch = about one row of double crochets
For those who need an extra challenge, try working the first few rounds of your circle in your accent color then switching to your main color. Or, perhaps work the half double crochet rows as front or back post half double crochets to add some additional texture. To all my master crocheters out there, try working your circle base with an accent star to add an extra bit of pizzazz. Maybe you don’t feel like adding a star but you could certainly try working the cluster row in a lighter weight to add an extra dimension. I don’t joke around when I say my patterns are easy to customize. I strive to give you patterns that foster the same sense of accomplishment I felt when I made my first drawstring bag.
An added bonus of this bag is it puts all of your various leftover yarn balls to use. I don’t know about you but I am notorious for having yarn balls strewn throughout my house. I don’t mean to leave them in every nook and cranny…they just happen to end up there. I’m convinced Duncan the cat goes into my crochet bag and removes whatever yarn ball he’s currently fancying! Though that doesn’t quite add up – it’s my story and I’m sticking to it. This little bag was created because, despite my numerous attempts throughout the years to try and utilize yarn balls for blankets, I cannot recreate the magic others have managed. Have you seen some of those gorgeous blankets people magically create with leftovers? If you haven’t here are a few that I find particularly striking:
- Eye Catching Scraps Afghan by Athlyn Green
- Scraptical Magic by Crochet Coach
- Yo Yo Lapghan by Chris Simon
Inevitably, my blanket ends up an unattractive, unfinished, hodge-podge. It is a sad truth I have come to live with. So I couldn’t create gorgeous blankets but I still had plenty (and boy do I mean p-l-e-n-t-y, plenty) of yarn balls which left me with two ideas: baskets and bags! I am sure I will come up with other yarn ball projects as there are an endless amount of ways they can be used but as I have moving fever, baskets, boxes, and bags are pretty much all I think about. Please share your favorite ways to use up yarn balls! I can only make so many bags and baskets before I run out of things to put in them…and wouldn’t that be tragic? To have such cuteness and not be able to use it – yep, truly tragic.
Well, friends, that’s all I have for you this week. I truly hope that this little bags brings you as much joy as it has brought me. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you find any issues within the pattern, are having difficulties and need some assistance, or just want to share your version of A Clusterful Drawstring Bag! I cannot wait to see what you create and until next week…