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Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer Granny Square Purse 4 - It's finished!

Sometimes you just have to take the plunge.

I actually finished this purse a little over 2 weeks ago. I even used it. The problem is, I wasn't crazy about the handles I made. Let me rephrase. I LOVE the way the handled looked. I didn't like how they were attached or how much they pulled when I loaded up my purse. Let's face it, I'm a loader. That's why I carry such a large bag. Too much stuff!

So I removed the handles (and cried b/c they really are pretty) and contemplated. I tried pre-fab handles. I liked the bamboo handles, but the span was too small and they looked really silly on my big tote. I definitely needed yarn handles. But what kind?

Since I didn't want anything sewn on, I decided I wanted something more like the handles I made on my Mom's & Sister's purses. They went around & around and were completely attached to the bag with no additional sewing.
Mom's purse with white handles.
Since the granny squares were outlined in white, I figured I would do the same as my Mom's purse and work the top and handles in white. The trouble is, I didn't have a lot of white left. Certainly not enough to complete the longer handles I wanted. I tried every yarn in my stash and none matched. Finally I came upon the green yarn, which I love!

I wasn't sure if I would like the handles in green, but I gave it a shot b/c I was sick of this unfinished purse sitting on my dining room chair NOT. BEING. USED. I wanted to use the purse so bad!! So on went the green yarn and you know what? I LOVE IT!! It's different without being overly dramatic. Not too overwhelming.

So, how do I make these handles?

The handles are pretty easy to do. Mark where you want each handle to begin & end. The space in between will be the handle opening and will not be worked when crocheting around. Join the yarn before the mark and crochet up to the first marker. Now crochet a chain to make the handle. It can be the same number of skipped stitches (as Mom's purse above) or you can chain more stitches to make a bigger opening. If you crochet the same number, the handle will lay flatter and almost look like a clutch. If you make it longer, it will look like a shoulder bag. For my purse, I crocheted a chain that was longer than the number of skipped stitches.

Now, depending on how you want to complete the purse, you can crochet around & around until the handle is as thick as you would like it. For Mom's I made two more rounds after the initial handle chain. As you crochet around, you will naturally work into the handle chain. With this method, the sides of the purse will have more rows than the front opening. This looks great if you're going for a clutch look and/or only making a few rounds. This is also a good method if you haven't yet lined the bag b/c you can make your lining taller to cover up the first row or two of the handle round.

Remember, my purse was already completed once. So the lining was in and was made based on the dimensions of the completed purse with sewn on handles. Therefore, I didn't want to build up the purse too much more because the lining would look too small. In addition, I wanted a nice, thick, handle so I knew I would need more than just 3 rows of single crochet (sc.) So, instead of the method above, I worked the handle in rows.

After making the chain and attaching it to the corresponding marked stitch, I turned my work & crocheted back along the handle. When I got to the end, I slip stitched (ss) into the next stitch. This attached the handle, but did not build up the row. I did this 5 times so I would end up on the opposite side of the purse. This allowed me to crochet to the next stitch marker and make the next handles. I repeated the steps above to make a same-size handle. Since the handles were crafted in rows, I now had a thick handle, but only one additional row on each side of the purse. After I finished off, I went back and weaved a bit more yarn into the handle seams on the wrong side of the purse. Since I used the green yarn, the additional stitches are undetectable and I feel confident loading up this purse.

I made the handles longer by crocheting more chains than the number of skipped stitches. 
So I have a granny square purse of many colors, with Truffula tree fabric lining and green handles. My new every day purse!

Happy crafting!

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