I nearly flipped when I found this super bulky cotton yarn at Tuesday Morning of all places. I didn’t even know they sold yarn. I bought three balls of green and one of hot pink for $3.99 each, less than half the regular retail price of $9. It’s so rare to find bulky cottons. I’m not sure why they appeal to me so much, but they do, they do. This one is Ella Rae’s Melbourne, made in Romania.
I thought I’d use the Melbourne for a spool knitting project, but when I returned from the farmer’s market on Saturday I spotted some giant knitting needles I purchased last winter that were tucked away in a forgotten spot, and I knew just what to do. I’d make a market bag, one with an open knit that my size 19 needles would provide (size 13 to 15 are the suggested needles for Melbourne yarn). These needles are such beauties, aren’t they? I found them at Uncommon Threads in Los Altos. They were made in Japan by Kinki Amibari Mfg Co.
So I cast on 26 stitches and knit in garter stitch until I ran out of one ball of green Melbourne. Then I took another ball of green Melbourne and did the exact same thing with it, casting off each piece so they had the same number of rows. It didn’t look very promising yet.
Then I found a large crochet hook that I’d bought as part of a set from someone who goes by the name “Crochet Dude”. I don’t know what size it is, but it’s pretty big. I used it to join my two bag sides together with my last green ball of Melbourne. I started at one top side edge and used a 1 single crochet, chain 1 pattern down that side edge. Across the bottom, I only used single crochet (no chains in between), but I went back to the 1 single crochet, chain 1 pattern to finish joining the bag together from the bottom of the second side edge to the top. Adding the chain in between the single crochet stitches along the sides allows your bag to stretch towards the ground as you use it. That doesn’t sound like something you would actually desire in a bag, but trust me, it works for this one.
Now I had something that started to look like a bag, but it didn’t really get interesting until I started to finish the top with rounds of single crochet. I started with two rounds in green and decided I’d had enough of that color. So on my third single crochet round I switched to hot pink. My fourth round (hot pink too) was the final round, but rather than stitching it in single crochet in each of the previous row’s stitches, I stitched as before part way around (about 6 stitches from each side seam) and then I broke off and made 46 chains before I started crocheting into the previous round again, 12 to 14 stitches from where I left off. I did this on each side to create my handles. And when I say about and this number to that number, I mean it. I didn’t work out the numbers, I just eyeballed it. Well it’s my bag, after all. You can get particular with your number of stitches if you want to. I was just so excited to finish it that I didn’t care. And it looked right, so …
I have to say I love this bag. I wasn’t sure about the colors at all, but I think it’s pretty smashing with some neutral clothes like a white shirt and jeans. And the weight of it feels so good. You can take it to the market, the pool, the beach. You could crochet the sides together with a contrasting color if you like. Or turn it inside out; it’s completely reversible. I am seeing another one of these bags in a taupey grey main color (sadly Melbourne doesn’t come in this) with a tangerine contrast next. A really fun and quick project too.
Oh I almost forgot to tell you, if you want to complete the bag in one color, you can get away with three balls of Melbourne. If you want to use a contrasting color like I did, you’ll need three balls of your main color and one of your contrasting color; you’ll have leftovers of each. Enjoy!