Earlier this year I wrote about the remarkable Doortjie Gersbach, South Africa’s travelling quilting teacher, and the inspiring workshop she gave in Grahamstown on how to make star quilt blocks. Well, she also produced from her bag of tricks (travelling shop) a range of beautiful yarns and the pattern for the Sophie’s Garden crochet square. I pounced on it as I have long wanted to crochet a Sophie’s Garden. It was quite a challenge, but very satisfying to decipher and produce the fairly complicated pattern. I made two squares and incorporated these into a bag.
This bag came about because of a chain (pun!) of serendipitous happenings: first the Sophie’s garden pattern, then the finding of a book on crochet on the shelves of bookstore in London, and the discovery of the Stylecraft website. Patterns from all three went into the making of the bag. The front and back are the Sophie’s Garden square, the gusset comes from that book I had to buy and the construction method from the Stylecraft website.
The book is by Leonie Morgan and is called Beautiful Blankets, Afghans and Throws (published by Search Press, 2017, and available in America as 40 Colorful Afghans to Crochet.) It contains a treasure trove of blocks and stitch patterns and has so inspired me that I can’t stop crocheting. Apart from being a clear and useful guide to different crochet patterns, it is also lovely to look at. There is an easy to understand glossary of terms, with clear how-to diagrams. My favourite part may well be the ideas for different and quirky edgings at the end of the book. 72 people have reviewed it on Amazon, with most of them giving it five stars. So, I am not the only one who is enthusing about this book.
To make the gusset of the bag, I crocheted onto the existing Sophie’s Garden squares, but without increasing at the corners, using the pattern for bobble rows from one of Leonie Morgan’s squares. I decided to crochet from both sides towards the middle and hope you can’t spot the row where I joined the two sections.
There was another intervening serendipitous event. The bag is quite big – about 60 x 40 cm – and looked like a big, colourful deflated balloon once the gusset was in place. A cardboard box that was used to pack the week’s supply of fruit and vegetables was the exact size of the bag. I taped it closed, opened up the side of the box, and slipped it into the bag where it fits like a glove.
Finding the (free) pattern for Frida’s Flowers Project Bag on the Stylecraft website (https://www.stylecraft-yarns.co.uk) was the last bit of luck that went into the making of the bag. I used Frida’s directions for the top edge and the handles of the bag and will also use the pattern for the lining. The Stylecraft website is a real find. There are other mouthwatering patterns nestling behind the crochet tab at the top of the website’s home screen. The site also has exciting knitting patterns.
He-who-shall-not-be-named was heard to say “What, another bag?” but had the good sense not to add “What are you going to use it for?” But, unlike some of the other fabric bags I have made just for the pleasure of the project’s process, this bag does have a designated use. It will store my stash of wools and yarns (which is not very big). I keep reminding myself that I am actually a quilter.
Now that the Sophie’s Garden Yarn Stash Bag is finished, the leftovers of the balls of yarn are calling to be used. There are also those other lovely patterns in Beautiful Blankets, Afghans and Throws waiting to be tried out. I made this small bag for my cellphone. I plan to make a few more, for the fun of it and for sale at the Christmas Market at Hogsback.
There is a Wikipedia site on crochet that is full of interesting information and history on crocheting. But I have gone on for long enough. Perhaps on another day I will write a bit more about the joys of crochet. Meanwhile I remind myself again that I am actually a quilter. Here’s my latest small quilt, finished last weekend when we went away and I only took my sewing bag with me. It’s called Tree on Velvet and is entirely hand stitched.