I have a lot of yarn in my stash, but a lot of it was not purchased with a lot of thought. What do I mean? I mean that in my early knitting days, I picked up single skeins of fun yarns without any idea what I wanted to use them for. This means that I have a lot of single skeins that are only useful for small projects. Whenever I am tempted to do a larger project I have to go buy more yarn. This is a cycle that leads to my stash growing and not using up some of my older yarns. (I still can't just part with them!)
I have three skeins of Patons Kroy Socks FXin my stash. I think I bought them back in 2008, back before ChemKnits even existed! The colors are stunning, but since I only have one ball of each I don't have enough to make a pair of socks. What should I use them for? I started searching for a simple, mindless crochet project but I didn't want to make another baby hat for my stash. Then it hit me... a market bag! If the first one goes well then this would be the perfect gift to give people this Christmas PLUS being stashbusting. Sock yarn (wool/nylon blend) might not be as ideal as cotton, but it is still going to be super strong. Let's see how big of a bag I can make out of a single skein of yarn.
With a ball of Kroy Sock FX in "clover colors" (45 g, ~150 yards) and a size E (3.5 mm) crochet hook I downloaded the free Crochet Grocery Bag pattern and started hooking. (You will have to check out to download the pattern, but no payment is due since the cost is $0.00)
The pattern calls for a DK weight yarn, which is thicker than the fingering weight sock yarn I've selected. I'm using a slightly smaller hook, but I think that this still should be able to make a decent sized grocery bag. If not, maybe it will become a toy grocery bag for my son's play kitchen.
Since I want the bag to be strong, I started with a Ch4 ring (as written in the pattern) rather than the magic circle that I usually use to start in the round crochet projects. I didn't join at the end of the round because the pattern didn't say to do that. Sometimes for simple projects I can follow along on the computer, but for this project I recommend printing out a copy so you can mark it as you finish certain rows.
This crochet pattern is very forgiving. I found that sometimes I would make a Ch4 loop instead of a ch5 because I was counting the SC as one of the parts of the chain. I didn't go back to fix the errors but tried to make an effort to always do a 1 AND 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 count.
This bag stayed flat for a long time. I'm not expecting it to be bag shaped until the decreases at the end start. Right before the decrease rounds, the bag is just starting to curl up. Without any stretching, it is 14" in diameter (flat). It can be stretched to 16" deep when folded in half like a bag. 18 g of yarn remain at this point. 16 g remain after one extra round. A second extra round might be cutting it close yardage wise, but I think I'm going to give it a shot.
The first handle went on without a hitch, but I hit a snag (not literally) when trying to do the second handle. I kept twisting the foundation chain, I messed up the spacing... finally I got the second handle on!
Cute bag right? but I'm concerned that she might be a little small. Unstretched this bag measures about 12" long (including handles) x 12" wide.
It doesn't look like it would hold much, but look at all of the space with just a bunch of bananas.
Next I tried to hold 6 cans/jars of food or even a gallon of milk! The bag easily stretches to be the size of a plastic grocery bag, but it has the added benefit of being much cuter.
5 g remain at the end of this project. I could have knit 2 more rows before starting to decrease. However I'm not sure how useful this extra length will be. I suppose it will be less deep if you fit more items in it, the stretch could happen width-wise just as easily as length if you had something wide that fit in the bag.
There is no question that this could be useful as a market bag. I'm not sure if you would want to use it for really heavy stuff, but it could be a useful holiday gift. Maybe I'll end up making some more before the year is over!