This week I want to share with you a project that I am very proud of. For the longest time I have wanted to try a planned pooling project and this has been very challenging for me! At first just finding a wool that would pool was hard enough, and I actually ended up with Lily Sugar and Cream moondance cotton from hobbycraft (which I have since found out is harder to pool with than acrylic!)
The amount of times I started and tore apart my work as I tried desperately to pool this cotton I don't know, I lost count! I watched videos, used the planned pooling website, and also facebook groups. I searched for everyone who had successfully pooled this cotton and saved photos, made notes of what they did and continued to try.
My first successful pool wasn't the argyl I really wanted to achieve, but did produce some nice stripes. The panel is 30 single crochet stitches wide and 43 rows long (basically one ball) and was made on a 4mm hook. I turned it into a make up bag, just used some purple cotton (also by Lily Sugar and Cream) to crochet the sides together, then I crocheted in a zip and cotton lining. I added a crochet flower in Hobbycraft's Womens Institute Blue Cotton and added a purple flower button as decoration in the centre of the bag. I also made a smaller flower with a smaller button as a pull cord for the zip.
After a bit more practice the planned pooling argyl effect eventually began to make sense and gradually I made the argyl effect. After doing one panel the second was much easier to use. What is slightly frustrating is the fact that (for this cotton at least) the sections of colour are all dyed to slightly different lengths, and this can also be different across different balls. It definitely makes it more challenging to achieve, but once I knew what I was doing it got a lot easier.
The argyl panels are 31 single crochet stitches wide and 47 rows long (again 1 ball each) made with a 4mm hook. I used them as the main portion of a handbag. After making these panels I made several more to make it into a bag. There are two purple panels each 31 single crochets wide and 10 rows long. One of each of these panels is single crocheted to the argyl panel. I left the ridge created from doing this face up as I kind of like the ridged look which divides the panels.
Next I made 2 smaller purple panels, each 10 single crochets wide and 10 rows tall. Plus 4 smaller turquoise panels each 10 single crochets wide and 10 rows tall. These panels are single crocheted together (ridge up) so you have a turquoise panel either side of the purple one. This strip is attached to the other short side of the argyl panel.
The side panels are made one in purple and one in turquoise. They are both 31 stitches wide and 16 rows long and are single crocheted to the front and back panels created above to create your rectangle bag. The bottom panel is 51 single crochets wide and 16 rows tall and is also single crochets to the bottom of the bag with the ridge up.
Next I cut out some cotton fabric as a lining for the bag. I sewed it inside out to create the rectangle shape and also used some to create slip pockets inside the bag. I sewed a hem around the top of the bag and turned it so the patterned side of the lining was facing inwards. I then put this inside the bag and I single crocheted through the stitching on the hem of the lining and the bag edge to attach the lining into the bag.
To add the zip, I used a simple straight stitch to sew around the edge of the zip. I then single crocheted through the sewed loops all the way around the edge to create a single crochet round with the zip in the middle. I used single crochet, chain 1, single crochet in each corner. I then added 3 more rows in the purple increasing by 1 in each corner and then 4 more rows in turquoise until I had the right amount of rows to fit the zip panel at the top of the bag. As it is longer than wider, I added an additional 4 rows in turquoise either end of the panel. The zip panel was then single crocheted ridge side up to the rest of the bag.
The handles are made with Romanian point lace cord, I held 2 strands of the turquoise cotton together and used a 6mm hook. Each end was then single crocheted to ridge around the top of the bag at the edge of each argyl pattern. Mine are 22inches long now, but it is worth noting that the cord stretches, so make it a little bit shorter than needed.
To decorate the bag I added flower buttons on the smaller patches and crocheted flowers on the larger panels. The flower, with a button sewn in was also attached to the zip as a zip pull. The pattern for my exact flower is as follows;
- ch 4 and sl st to form a round
- (sc, ch 2 2 trc, ch 2 , sc) rep 5 times to form 5 petals and sl st to end round and ch 1,
- (sc and hdc in ch2 gap, dc, ch2, dc in between trc, hdc and sc in ch 2 gap, sl st in sc) rep 5 times to finish 5 petals, sl st to finish.
The larger flower a centre sewn on which is 5 single crochets in a magic circle and then sewn in the centre.
I love my bag, not only is it 100% homemade and completely washable (I have already tested this) but I love the fact that I finally achieved the planned pooling argyl patterns and this is displayed in my bag, which is unique to me!
I would definitely recommend trying planned pooling if you haven't, but be prepared for a lot of hard work and trial and error. I want to try some more as Christmas decorations, so watch out for more on it later this year.
See you next week,