Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Crochet Laptop Bag


Yes, I really did crochet myself a laptop bag. Thing is, the laptop is teeny tiny - about A5 size - and so no normal laptop case was going to cut it. I made it while sat in hospital waiting for Al's Gran to recover after her op went horribly wrong (thankfully she's on the road to recovery now) and it helped to keep me busy and gave me something else to think about that wasn't too taxing. The pattern is based on one from this fantastic old book called "Louisa Calder's Creative Crochet", which is full of loads of garish designs - just the sort of thing I love.

She's obviously a true English eccentric, and the ghostwriter is at pains to point out that she comes from an artistic environment and that her husband, Alexander Calder, was "one of the greatest sculpters of all time". Quite what he had to do with it is a mystery to me, but this was published back in 1979, so maybe including your husband's bio in your own book was less strange back then.

One of the best things about this book is the inclusion of some truly awful designs, that even I, with my love of all things bright and woolly, can't bring myself to admire. There's a whole section on creating woollen ties for men to wear with their suits, and since the designs are very similar to this bag above, you can get a fair idea of just how horrified any man would be to be handed one of these as a gift.

And along with some remarkable revolting neckties, there are a a few designs that appear to have been knocked up by the artist's small, academically inept, relative. Probably around the 6 year's old mark. But no, we discover that Louisa herself is responsible for stitching the red bag together on the outside with black wool and uneven stitches, because imperfections should be left if it "enhances the final result". Certainly, the designs that quite clearly drop and regain stitches liberally throughout for no apparent reason are "enhanced" by the look, but whether that's a good thing in this case is something I'd be willing to dispute.

But despite much guffawing at some of the things our Louisa felt happy to include, she gets full credit for giving me some great ideas of things you can do with simple double crochet (US sc). Specifically, the colour changing is a real eye opener. Usually you're told to pull through the new colour as the final loop in a stitch, but these designs start a new stitch with a new colour, giving a little "bird in flight" dot effect that works really nicely. She does it the whole way through, and while I don't like it when changing rows (I'm too anal for such sloppiness), used to add little colour flecks, or bands of colour, it works really well.

The only downside to creating a bag like this all in Double Crochet is that I find it really hard to work up any pace and so it takes a lot longer than making Granny Squares, for example. There aren't actually any patterns in the book, you get general written instructions on how to do it and what to chain, etc, but after that you just have to work it out from the pictures. I should have put in a row of trebles for the pull ties, but I didn't read the instructions properly.

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