Tuesday, 16 September 2014

It’s Awl Out Of The Bag!

52 projects

This project got started last summer when I was on holiday – and all through the winter has languished, unfinished in a carrier bag. But now everything has come together and at last I can reveal the finished article.

It began when I kept seeing these gorgeous woven straw “French Market Bags” everywhere, particularly in North Norfolk, round places like Holt and Burnham Market. That’s where some rather wealthy folks have their holiday homes, and the shops charge an arm and a leg for the most basic things. Bags like this…

french bag

I considered the options – buy one in Norfolk [the cheapest I saw in BM was £28] or zip over to France and pick one up there [but the trip will cost more than £28] or make one. Then I saw this bag on the “Quilt While You’re Ahead” blog – it is crocheted in twine! The pattern is available on the blog [thank you so much, Monica!]QWYA bag

wilko twineMonica used Nutscene Twine in order to get the pretty colours. I went into Dereham Wilko’s and my friend Ann [she was in Girls’ Brigade with me in the 60’s] served me with a couple of large spools of plain Wilko Jute. I set to and made a bag – trying to follow the pattern.

DSCF5004The first attempt came up in a shape I was not too happy with [must get back to Hookery for some more crochet lessons] but #2 was fine. I wanted to put strap handles on, so I just left four neat buttonholes near the top, rather than making handles in crochet like QWYA. Bob suggested using the leftover red leather from the chair. At this point the project stalled.

land girl bag

Then this summer, back in Burnham Market, Bob spotted this calico Land Girl’'s Bag. The strap was one continuous loop of leather. I liked that.

Bob cut me 4 strips of the red leather and I sewed them [with our new awl]to make a loop 10 feet long!

But what about the lining? I wanted some heavy cotton twill type cloth.


My cousin Gill gave me this lovely Marmite tea-towel a few Christmases back – and I have never been able to bring myself to use it. But it is such a lovely heavy piece of twill cotton – and was exactly the right size to line my bag. Just the deep red edge shows when the bag is loaded, and goes well with the leather.

Here’s the finished article…


The straps thread through the holes and are stitched at the top for extra support. I am really pleased with it – the cost of the twine came to less than £5. And nobody else has one quite like mine.

So next time I am in Holt, if I do bump into Camilla when she is popping into Byfords, I shall feel very chic.[My SIL tells me that the Duchess of Cornwall is quite fond of dining there]


  1. Love it, Angela. I had one these bags when were all the rage with my group of friends as school bags back in the day.

  2. That is amazing, Ang - well done indeed. Your bag is up there with the trendy ones, in fact, I think yours is better!

  3. It looks as good as any of the expensive ones....and they haven't got Marmite inside!

  4. That looks brilliant! I think I am creative when I make a patchwork tote but you take it to a whole new level!

  5. Oh i like this, not just because it looks so good, it's fantastic but, because it cost very little to make, was handmade,and you recycled somethings to create the perfect imitation!
    Camilla might want one, have you any red leather left? :-)

  6. That is one very cool bag! I love it. How clever you are.

  7. Chi-chi and chic!
    I think Camilla may ask you to make one for her.
    Jane x

  8. You are amazing! I think you can make ANYTHING!

  9. It's beautiful, how clever you are - and it's so eco friendly too!

  10. Great job. Love the way you did the handles. Was the twine hard on your hands. I crocheted a basket with some but it nearly tore my hands to ribbons! Love the lining of your bag too. You're a very clever lady. ;-)

    1. The jute wasn't too hard on my hands- but it did shed little bits all over my black jeans!

  11. I like the idea of one long loop for the handles. Much easier than attaching two handles separately.

    1. It has worked really well, and is very comfortable to carry over my shoulder. The fact that the loop goes under the bag in two places is an added support too.

  12. I love the bag. and a great idea to take the handles underneath. How about making some crochet flowers to decorate it?

  13. Wow, it's really beautiful! The red leather handles are the perfect finishing touch - and the continuous loop gives a very organic feel. Great use of the tea towel too.

  14. This really is beautiful!!! You were so clever to make this! I must pass this link onto my mum. She made me a scourer out of jute string!


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