Dao Lam’s hobo bag

This morning I began my crochet day with the Little Boy Blue blanket at hand, and I added the smaller border squares to the edge in between loads of laundry, dog walks, and other household chores.

Here is a photo (this time in daylight) of my continued progress:

I make a bit more progress on the border for the Little Boy Blue blanket
I make a bit more progress on the border for the Little Boy Blue blanket

By lunch, however, I was a bit weary of blue and found myself looking for something that could bring me both practically instant gratification and generate some much needed finishing mojo.

In the poem, “Locksley Hall,” by Alfred Lord Tennyson the poet notes: In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.

It might be just as valid to say this: In the Spring a woman’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of a new bag for the things she carries.

This was certainly true of me yesterday when I went to the store to get a few items for dinner. I could not help but notice that the woman directly ahead of me in line had a bag on her shoulder that I recognized as Dao Lam’s ever popular Crochet Hobo Bag. The body of the bag had been crocheted with Red Heart Super Saver cherry red and lined with an eye-catching (well, it certainly caught my eye) black and white print fabric, which I soon learned had been purchased at Michael’s.

Based on a crocheted bag Ms. Lam had seen at Nordstrom’s and could not forget, she used yarn that she had on hand to recreate the bag, and at last count, 952 fellow ravelers had used Ms. Lam’s pattern to make their own hobo bags. This number does not take into account the many people who have made (but not documented at their projects page) multiple bags, people who did not link to the pattern when adding it to their projects page, people who don’t bother with the projects page, and people who don’t frequent Ravelry, but who have made this awesome bag.

It also doesn’t include me.


The question facing me after lunch today was this: could I make this bag and, at the same time, do some spring cleaning, capturing another aspect of the esprit of Ms. Lam’s orignial creation: using materials at hand.

Because this purse requires a lining, I decided that is where I would start in my hunt for materials. I quickly settled on this shirt that was once a favorite of mine:

A much beloved shirt
A much beloved shirt

From there, I went to the yarn annex (an area separate from my crochet empire that holds much of the vast stores of yarn I have accumulated) and searched for a yarn that would coordinate with the future lining of my hobo bag.

To my delight I found this skein of baby pink Kolor Match yarn, a vintage yarn that is a shrink resistant, permanently mothproof Orlon® and Dacron® blend originally sold at Kmart, but which I acquired through a purchase from my son’s trumpet teacher:

A vintage pink yarn from Kmart
A vintage pink yarn from Kmart

To my delight, when I got the yarn and lining of the future bag into sunlight, they were still a good match:

The materials for my future hobo bag
The materials for my future hobo bag

With the yarn and the lining selected, I hopped on over to the page at Dao Lam’s blog, Just One More Line, where the directions for this magnificent bag are available (unlike the Nordstrom’s bag it was based on) at no charge.

As I was using a single strand of a worsted weight yarn rather than the chunky weight used in Ms. Lam’s rendition of this bag, I spent the first hour trying the pattern with various sizes of hook. Eventually, I settled on a 5.5 mm, 5.0 mm, and a 4.5 mm rather than the K, J, and H used in the original with the chunkier yarn.

Once I settled on a hook size, the project progressed quickly, and just as my son got off the school bus, I had gotten this far:

The first eleven rows of Dao Lam's hobo bag
The first eleven rows of Dao Lam’s hobo bag

(Note to the reader: while I describe the above as the first 11 rows, Ms. Lam counts the foundation chain as a row, so for the purposes of her directions, the above shows the first 12 rows)

After this row, a decrease of sorts began with two rounds of 3dc shells rather than the 4dc shells of the first 11 rounds. From there, the two increasingly smaller hooks were used for three of the four single crochet rounds.

Before I knew it, I had gotten this far:

The body of my crochet hobo bag to-be
The body of my crochet hobo bag to-be

Worked in the round, there are a couple of ingenious little design features that I think contribute to the popularity of this bag, not the least of which is how easy it is to do, and how functional and elegant the result.

While I still have to line the bag and find both a suitable handle and ribbon (or strip of fabric) to finish this project, this has been, so far, an immensely gratifying project, and I can hardly wait to finish it and list is as the 953rd such project at Ravelry.

4 thoughts on “Dao Lam’s hobo bag

  1. I’d suggest a strip of fabric from your lining shirt so that the “ribbon” and the lining match.

Comments are closed.