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DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

Stylish crochet! The Raita Bag // Crochet Crush by Molla Mills

I’ve never been a huge crocheter. I occasionally pick up the hobby when I’m really inspired by a project like the raffia bag I made a few years ago (free pattern here!) but otherwise I’m usually Team Knit! I guess I still associate a lot of crocheting with granny squares and that’s never been my thing!

Cue Crochet Crush by Molla Mills and boom! My crochet inspiration is back full force!

This book seems to be heavily promoted at the mo as it keeps popping my on my Instagram ads and as you know I’m a sucker for an insta-ad! Written by Finnish designer Molla Mills and published by Laine Magazine, I was instantly hooked (get the pun? 😂😅) on her graphic colourwork and retro designs. I loved so many of the projects that I bought the hardback copy of the book and not the ebook! That’s an investment right there! 😂

The book contains 23 patterns for bags, homewares and accessories all with her signature graphic style. I’d never done colourwork in crochet before so I felt intrigued by something new!

In essence her designs are super simple – lots of single crochet stitches and only a few designs with anything more complicated. Her strength lies in a great eye for how to achieve beautiful bold patterns which is not a skill to scoff at. I know if I tried it myself I’d end up having to make so many samples to get proportions just right that.

My first project to try was the Raita bag – simple small handbag design made with interchanging coloured yarn. I loved the graphic nature of the sample bag so ended up using the same colours of black and natural!

The pattern was pretty simple. Essentially it’s one long piece that makes up the body of the bag with two identical side pieces that would get sewn together. The rows alternate colours and uses single crochet stitches throughout. There’s some hardware needed at the end – a metal clasp, some D rings and a bag strap – which I think gives it a really lovely finish.

The recommended yarns are pretty much all from Finland and not the easiest or cheapest to get hold of. I decided to just get some basic cotton twine to use instead to see if it would work. I ended up getting some 2mm cotton macrame twine from eBay which I then tested with different hooks. It came out with a slightly bigger swatch than the intended yarn but I decided to just go with it and alter the pattern slightly to use a shorter starting chain to compensate.

I think it worked well enough though my crochet tension is always something I’ve never been very sure about.

I added a lining to the bag which enclosed a zip pocket too. I always like to have added safety features in bags to hold any important bits if needed! I hand sewed the lining to the main bag piece before sewing in the side pieces.

It’s a really cute style and is a great size for going out – big enough for a phone, wallet, sunglasses and a few make up bits and bobs! It was also really really quick to make up and only took a couple of evening to finish!

What I have noticed with some use is that the bag has stretched and changed shape slightly! It’s probably something only I can see since I’ve looked at it more than anyone. I wonder if this is to do with the yarn I’ve used being “bouncier” than the high twist yarns that the book recommends or if I should have just used a smaller crochet hook. Definitely something to consider for my next crochet project!

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  1. You’re right that both a firmer twist in the yarn and a denser texture from a smaller hook would help prevent deforming. But it looks beautiful all the same 🤩. And it’s indeed good to have a lining. To preserve your wallet of course, but also because crochet always ends up letting objects like pens or crochets escape.
    Just curious, did that great rafia one hold up well for you?

    1. Thank you!
      To be honest I don’t use the raffia one so much anymore – it has lost a bit of stiffness over the years so it’s a bit too open at the top for my liking. It’s great for a hand held bag still but less as a crossbody one!

    1. Thank you! I think the hardware can make or break a item like this – it’s all about the finish! Hope you enjoy the book as much as I have!

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