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Laura J. Gardner | The Journal Gazette

Crochet tote to carry groceries from market

It's farmers market time, and what better way to carry off your farm-fresh goodies than in a crocheted reusable tote you made yourself?

What you'll need:

•Cotton yarn (I used Lily Sugar and Cream)

•Crochet hook of choice, I used a J

•Scissors

•Yarn needle

What you do:

Chain 4 and join to form circle

Round 1: Chain 3 (counts as first double crochet throughout). 6 double crochet (DC) in the circle (total of 7 stitches); join with slipstitch to the chain three.

Round 2: Chain 3, DC in same space. Two DC (also known as an increase) in each stitch around (14 stitches); join;

Round 3: Chain 3, DC in same space. Two DC in each stitch around (28 stitches); join;

Round 4: Chain 3, DC in same space. Two DC in each stitch around (56 stitches); join;

Round 5: Chain 3, DC in each stitch around (56 stitches); join.

Round 6: Chain 3, DC in same space, 1 DC in next 7 stitches. *Two DC in next stitch, 1 DC in next 7 stitches; repeat from * (63 stitches); join

Round 7: Chain 3, DC in same space, 1 DC in next 8 stitches. *Two DC in next stitch, 1 DC in next 8 stitches; repeat from * (70 stitches); join

Round 8: Chain 3, DC in same space, 1 DC in next 9 stitches. *Two DC in next stitch, 1 DC in next 9 stitches; repeat from * (77 stitches); join;

Note: You continue in this pattern for as large as you want your bag as long as the number of stitches is divisible by three (3). Increase the number of stitches between each increase, I went with 105 stitches total so the next rounds I went 10, 11, 12 and 13 stitches between increases. We'll be decreasing using the same formula later but in reverse.

Once you've joined after your last round, you're ready to begin your Y-stitch pattern.

Round 1: Chain 1, skip 2 stitches, triple crochet (TC) in next stitch, chain 1 (you'll be crocheting into this space on the next round), DC around triple crochet stitch (this is what forms your Y, it becomes easier to see in the next row). Repeat this around skipping 2 stitches followed by the TC, Ch. 1, DC until you get back to where you started, then join with a slipstitch into that first chain 1;

Round 2: Chain 1, TC in the chain 1 space of the Y-stitch on the row below. Repeat around joining to that first chain 1.

Repeat round 2 for as many rounds as you would like. I did a total of nine for my bag. After the 9th round, join and chain 3 (counts as first DC), then DC in each stitch around, including the chain 1 spaces (105 stitches total); join.

Now you're ready to decrease. Chain 3, DC in the same number of stitches as you did between increases on your last row. For example, I worked 13 stitches then decreased by double crocheting the next two stitches together. Follow that pattern, subtracting one stitch from the number of stitches between decreases until you're back to 77 (or however far you want to go).

After that, work one more round even (DC in each stitch around) and join.

For the strap: Chain 3 (does not count as first DC for the strap) and turn the bag (you'll be working back and forth now instead of in the round), DC in 10 stitches across, chain 3 and turn. This is for one side of the handle. Make it however long you wish, I did 15 rows. Once you've finished this side finish off and cut yarn.

Count 28 stitches from one side of the strap and reattach your yarn, Chain 3 (this chain 3, only this one, counts as the first DC) and DC in nine more stitches. Repeat this side of the strap for the same number of rows as the other and when you are finished, join the two sides together with either a whipstitch or a slipstitch. Weave in ends and go shopping.

Joyce McCartney is not a craft expert. She is, however, interested in crafting of all types. She shares her experiences and those of area crafters. To reach her, call 461-8364 or email craftyliving@jg.net. Also, go to her blog at www.journalgazette.net/craftyliving. There, you will also find the weekly knitting podcast Math4Knitters.

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