Strapped? Handle It!

So many choices – so little time! Not counting the myriad examples available for purchase, there are numerous crocheted options, too. For a quick look at my strap and handle adventures, I’ll start at the beginning. Long ago, in a far off land, Guatemalan tapestry crocheted bags with woven straps introduced me to the craft.

Guatemalan Bags
These bags from Guatemala date to the late 1970’s.

In the early 1980’s I appropriated the flat rectangular format, designed my own motif, and crocheted the strap. Most of my early bags followed the same formula. To this day I still I crochet a long chain (that is still attached to the purse), reattach it, then crochet around it and the rim (much stronger than crocheting back and forth across the width – and no sewing required).

My Rectangular Shoulder Bag** with a detail of the crocheted strap.

Large bags usually require the support of more than one handle.

Big Bag
This felted Zig-Zag Big Bag* is the largest purse I ever tapestry crocheted. A detail of the handle (before felting) shows the stitches.

I’ve had a lot of fun over the years with straps and handles. Putting it or them . . .

Kitty Bag
. . . to one side – like on this Kitty Bag . . .

Bead Tapestry Crochet Bag
. . . across the middle – like on this
bead tapestry crochet
Rasta Bag . . .

Bead Tapestry Crochet Cat Purse
. . . crisscrossed – like on this Tapestry Crochet Purse.

My mother was very concerned that an open purse would encourage pickpockets, so I crocheted hers with a flap – my very first one. Necessity was not only the mother of invention, but in this case, the mother of the inventor/designer.

Eventually, I began to demand more of my straps and handles. Why couldn’t they multi-task? I realized that with a little coaxing, they could not only support the bag, but could also help protect the contents – no flap required!

My first attempt involved sliding the strap through a slot in the rim. Several of my purses feature this unique closure.

Tapestry Crochet Purses
Cat’s Meow Purses** and strap detail.

Then I designed a handle that slid through two slots for a different look. This is my favorite solution – at least for now.

Squares Bag
Squares Bag* with a detail of the strap before felting.

For even more Purse-in-all security . . .

Awareness Purse
This multi-tasker, the Awareness Purse*, carries a message, and supports and secures, with style!

Still strapped – or can you handle it now?  (Sorry, but I inherited the “corny” gene from my Dad.)

My next post will focus on motif inspiration and design.

*project and instructions in Bead & Felted Tapestry Crochet
**project and instructions in More Tapestry Crochet

6 Responses to “Strapped? Handle It!”

  1. Judy Grivas says:

    Great entry, Carol. Thanks so much for the great pictures!

  2. planetjune says:

    Carol, I’m really enjoying reading your blog. Your posts are so informative and I love seeing all your beautiful work. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I’ve been itching to share this information with a wide audience! Thanks so much for your positive responses!

  4. Sharon Pinckney says:

    Wow! Great information! It is fun & interesting to see how you have developed your handles. How you have built on what you’ve done previously. And of course, I have seen many of your patterns around.
    I am adding the crisscrossed handles to the purse I am making now.

  5. Pam says:

    Dear Carol,
    I enjoy your method and I haven’t even tried it yet! I am waiting for the video to download now. I will love this method for purses. Most knitted and crochet purses & totes are much to flimsy. Thank you so much for your generosity!

  6. i am in love with both strap situations involving the straps sliding through the opposite sides of the bag! pure genius. as soon as my guatemalan taperstry crocheted shoulder bag wears out, i’m contacting you asap for a new one!

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