I really had no idea what the end results would be when I started the project, but here it is. I decided to make Aunt Donna a homemade birthday gift, and I’ve often seen her using reusable shopping bags, so I thought maybe a big bag would be something she would like.
I read through a few patterns before starting just to get some idea of how to crochet a bag. I went through some of my yarn and found one that I thought I had enough of and then I began. After crocheting the bottom of the bag I was getting bored doing the same stitch over and over, so I began to experiment with some new stitches. On the sides I changed stitches every two or three rows. When I got to the handles I decided to crochet with two strands held together in order to make the handles stronger. Since I only had one skein of the color I was using I needed to add a second color. I’m not sure why I chose yellow, but by this time my husband had noticed what I was doing and he thought that adding more color was a great idea.
After I finished off the handles and the bag was basically complete I realized I needed to add something to hold down the flapping circles, near the top, that were a result of one of the new stitches that I tried. In order to add more color and hold down the circles I decided to make flowers and attach them to the bag. Since I was crocheting in the evening while we were enjoying a fire in the fireplace and listening to music, I decided to join my husband for a drink. When I finished crocheting the second flower I realized that I had crocheted it backwards. It still looked like a flower but did not match the first one I made.
At this point I thought, “not all flowers look alike,” so it made much more sense if all the flowers were different than if they were all the same. I poured another drink and continued making flowers. Even though I didn’t finish them all that night, and the rest were finished while I was not under the influence, I continued to make them all different.
After I finished attaching the flowers, I knew that the bag needed a lining. I pulled out a piece of fabric that I thought would work, and since sewing is definitely not one of my strong points and pattern design is something I know nothing about, I let it sit on the table for nearly a week. Two days before Aunt Donna’s birthday party I knew I had to bite the bullet and finish the bag. So I took some measurements and drew out a pattern on freezer paper. I cut it out and pinned it to the fabric. Then I cut out the fabric pieces and sewed them together. I can’t say how well the lining actually fits inside the bag because, being inside, it was difficult to see. It seemed to work though. I hand stitched the lining around the top edge of the bag. These stitches were far from perfect but they seemed to hold the lining in place well.
After it was completely finished (or so I thought) my husband suggested and I agreed that the handles needed to be reinforced. I selected a heavy weight yarn in a gold color to crochet around and reinforce the handles. The end result is a Ruth Ciani original. It is definitely one of a kind, and I can assured you that it won’t be duplicated, because not even I could do it if I tried.
I did have a lot of fun making it, and I hope Aunt Donna will have as much fun (as I said to my daughters) embracing her eccentricity and carrying this bag.