Getting a handle on handles

Next to the yarn, one of the largest expenditures for making a bag can be the handles.

I have found that “cheap” handles, when compared to the cost of “cheap” bag, can still be relatively pricy. As a result, many times I end up crocheting straps to use as handles. What follows are some of the solutions I have used myself.

There is, of course, the tried and true i-cord which can be made with a cute device like this which I picked up at a Hobby Lobby in Birmingham, Alabama:

I-cord bee tool
I-cord bee

I haven’t actually made i-cord with this, but it was too cute to pass up.

I did use the principle of the i-cord when I made the straps for this purse:

felted crochet purse
Felted Granny Square Bag

For this project, I crocheted two long tubes (six single crochet stitches in circumference), ran each tube through the fabric of the bag before felting, knotted the ends, and then tacked down any unruly stitches with matching yarn.

Here is what the joining looks like after felting:

felted crochet strap join
Strap joining after felting

What I like about joining a strap in this manner when felting is that the placement is much easier to get right, and if you want additional reinforcement of the hole in the fabric of the purse, it is easy to do.

More recently (this past Tuesday to be exact), I learned how to make what is described in my Mon Tricot Knitting Dictionary (which also contains some information about crochet) as a caterpillar braid:

caterpillar braid romanian point lace
Caterpillar braid

Here is how I attached it to my African Flower Power Bag:

How I attached the caterpillar braid

And here it is after I finished threading the braid through different points of the bag and joined the ends of the braid:

crochet hexagon crochet purse
African flower power crochet purse

I will be using this bag in the next few days to see if the strap and joining method I used are effective. If it doesn’t work as I hope it will, I’ll try something else.