When I got some money for my birthday from my grandma last autumn I knew that I wanted to spend it on something that I wouldn’t otherwise have bought myself. After a peek through my Pinterest ‘Wish-List’ Board it didn’t take me long to figure out what fulfilled that and which I would both use/wear alot, as you want to with a present from someone special.
Since becoming a mam my handbag collection hasn’t been as used as it once was, and while I’ve been able to use a few as changing bags I liked the idea of a new one. Although, lets face it, I always do.
The Wool and the Gang Carrie-on-Tote had caught my eye from when they had first introduced crochet to their collection. Whilst not a great crocheter, I had not long done my crochet bookends when the collection was launched and the variety of the Crochet collection was great. Another option was one of the footstools or plant pots, but I would have had to share them! So I settled on the bag, made from recycled old t-shirt jersey yarn in lipstick red with black straps, and got my order in.
FYI Key to Wool and the Gang is their actual Gang – their band of knitters who, if you like the look of their products but don’t fancy a go yourself, make them to be sold as ready-mades. This means you still get something that is #madeunique and lovingly handmade, but without the ‘faff’ if it’s not for you.
The excitement when it arrived was noticeable even by Tigger, and the packaging just added to the effect! The packaging itself itself isn’t too faffy and really chimes in with the styling of the brand and their focus on the products and the unique elements you’re going to bring to it when you make it.
Getting started took a few attempts, but this was more because I kept trying to do it while chatting. In order to get the base to the right size and build it I was careful to get it right which took more concentration than my usual ‘crafting-for-me’ gets, but once it was sorted I was away and I could watch Tigger, watch the TV and even hold conversations while doing it! The kit did come with a 6.5mm Crochet hook and I confess that for the base I upped it to an 8mm hook as my crochet has always tended to be on the tighter side and I was struggling to get the required length with the recommended number of stitches. Once I’d done the base and a few rows to build up the sides I changed back to the 6.5mm without and issue and it’s not noticeable.
The bulk of the bag is made up of Single crochet stitches so once you get going you just keep going round and round and round. It’s very simple and very relaxing. For the bits that I did want to check the instructions about how to make the bag and the techniques you need were really clear and well illustrated.
On and off the bag took me a few weeks to do, but this wasn’t an every-night project. The wool was great to work with and has a lovely feel to it and this certainly won’t be the last project I do with the jersey ‘wool’.
So what was it like to use? I love it.
I’ve had lots of compliments on it, and when I say I’ve made it even more come my way! Given it’s size it is easy to over-fill and the straps are only quite thin leather, but I can fit a mini change-kit for Tigger in there, including drink and a snack, along with purse, phone, keys etc. My one problem with it is that the bag is just a shell and having got used to bags with lots of pockets I did often find myself rummaging around in it to find my phone or keys. But this was easily fixed with the addition of a crochet divider which I made up with the left-over wool and attached to one end. It’s not a proper pocket as I didn’t want too much bulk or weight to any side, but it’s big enough for me to slip my purse and phone in and keep it down one end of the bag. If I was to do it again I would actually turn it around 90 degrees and attach it to a longer side as with my purse it does pull slightly but not enough for me to want to undo it.
Bottom line I love this bag – it’s design, it’s style, it’s colour and that I don’t feel mumsy with it. I’ve been lucky enough to be the recipient of one of their big jumpers (Big Bang Sweater) in red too (from my champion knitter mam) and it is one of my cosiest and most worn jumpers too. While the WATG kits aren’t cheap, I do think they’re worth it if you’re going to wear/use them and I’m sure I’ll be using and wearing my WATG duo (although not together) for many years yet.
PS – If you’re tempted as well as looking at the website I would also check out @shareyourknits Instagram feed – they regram lots of people’s makes and the variety is fantastic!