Free pattern: Moroccan tote

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*Ravelry link

I know, it was so long ago when I first shared my Moroccan tote and promised to write a pattern for it. Life has been busy as usual and I have been focusing more on crocheting than designing lately since it was getting a bit too crazy: full-time job, blogging and pattern design weren’t leaving much time for anything else! So I took my time, posted a tutorial for the technique I used and now I can finally share the pattern with you. As usual, it is for free, but please refer back to me if you post it online or sell a finished product, including the chart which I created myself from the picture I used as inspiration.

Royal Design Studio Stencils
Royal Design Studio Stencils

The pattern is for a tote and therefore it doesn’t have a big base for it. If you want it more as a handbag you can adapt the pattern to make the base bigger, just make sure you get a final count of stitches that is a multiple of 12, which is the stitch repeat for the pattern. I added leather handles, fabric lining and a magnetic clasp and I think those finishing touches really made the difference. You can find the handles and clasp I used here. The yarn is Cascade Ultra Pima, it has a beautiful shine to it which I really love and that gold colour is my favourite.

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Before getting to the pattern I wanted to note that tapestry crochet can be tough on the hands. This bag is crocheted using a 2.5mm hook with a DK yarn, which is a lot smaller than what you would use for that yarn weight. If crocheting causes pain in your hands or wrists then please be aware that this pattern may be difficult for you, the stitches are very tight and you have to put more effort to get the yarn through so make sure you use a crochet hook that is comfortable for you. You could go up a hook size, but that will make the fabric a lot less dense and sturdy, which is what makes it good for a bag. It’s up to you, I just thought it would be good to make it clear from the start.

Moroccan tote pattern

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This bag uses tapestry crochet to create a nice dense fabric for a small tote. A small base is crocheted first and then the rest of the bag is worked in a beautiful moroccan pattern. The bag is worked in spirals all the way through, meaning that you don’t join each round which eliminates that sometimes noticeable slip stitch. Leather handles and a fabric lining complete the pattern to create the perfect summer tote.

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The tote measures 36cm x 30cm, with a gauge of 28 stitches and 22 rows in a 10cm square. You don’t have to get exact gauge, I prefer it tight like this since it creates a stiff fabric but see what works for you.

Materials

Cascade Ultra Pima DK, 2 skeins in Gold, 1 skein in Natural.

2.5mm hook

Tote leather handles

Magnetic clasp

Thread to match the colour of your handles

Fabric for lining

Stitch marker or yarn in contrasting colour

Abbreviations

Ch – Chain

St – Stitch(es)

Sl st – Slip stitch

dc – UK double crochet

Instructions

*If you don´t know how to work tapestry crochet you can check my tutorial here.

Base

The base is not worked in tapestry crochet, I find it a bit difficult to carry the other colour inside for these first few rounds but you are welcome to try if you prefer a thicker base.

As I have mentioned before, the hook size and yarn weight for this pattern create a very tight fabric, which makes stitches a bit more difficult to work. I find the easiest way to work a dc when working with a small hook like this is to always work one loop at a time, meaning: insert hook on st, yarn over and pull a loop. Now instead of yarning over and pulling through the two loops in one step you can do the following: yarn over pull through one loop, and now pull that loop through the last loop on your hook.

Ch 79.

Round 1: dc in 2nd ch from hook, place marker in st just made, 76dc, 4dc in last ch, turn and start working on other side of chain, 76 dc, 3dc in same ch where you worked marked st. Don’ turn (160 st)

From here onwards you will work in spirals, meaning that you won´t join the last and first st of each round with a sl st. You will move your marker up each row to know which is the first st of each round. Also, you will never turn your work.

Round 2: 2dc in marked st (remember to move your marker up to the first dc of those two to mark the first st of this row), 76dc, *2dc in next st, repeat from * for next 3 st, 76dc, **2dc in next st, repeat from ** twice (168 st).

Round 3: dc in marked st, move marker up, dc in each st across (168 st).

Body

For the body of the bag you will work using tapestry crochet, meaning that you will always carry the unused colour inside your stitches, even if the round is only one colour (like Rounds 1 and 2). You will also continue to move your marker up to know where your round started and you will ALWAYS work in the back loop only.

Rounds 1 to 77: Follow chart from right to left for each round. Each square is a dc worked in the back loop only, if you don’t know how to change colours in each round check this tutorial. Remember to bring the marker up at the beginning of each round (marked st is St 1 in chart for each round), and to work in spirals without joining each round. I recommend marking the first st of the first round of the body, and using another st marker to move up each round, so that if you forget to move your marker up you can use that first marker to work your way up and know which one is the first stitch (you can tell I am talking by experience here!).

As indicated in chart, repeat Rounds 3 to 18 a total of four times and follow the top chart for Rounds 67 to 77. When finished, sl st to first st of last round.

To create a lining I always follow this tutorial by Futuregirl, just omit the zipper part of the tutorial. Sew on the handles before sewing on the lining to hide the stitches, and use a strong thread for the handles. Finally, sew in the magnetic clasp.

And your tote is finished! Let me know if you have any questions,

Enjoy!

x

Sol

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Healing

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Hello everyone, I know I have been missing in action this week and have not posted much but I will not apologise this time because I really needed some time away. It all started last weekend with a headache that lasted for three days and continued on and off during the week, alongside with my stomach acting up and just feeling very tired. The cause of my headaches and stomach issues is 99% of the time due to anxiety and stress and I don’t think it was any differently this time, have been very busy at work with loads of deadlines and not a minute to take a breath so I guess it was bound to happen.

So I decided I needed a break from the blog and everything else that might get in the way of the healing process I knew I needed to start. No computer time at home unless I really wanted to check something out or reply to messages/comments, no pattern writing, early nights, yoga every day if I was feeling up for it and loads of happy crocheting without a deadline or worry.

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I also went to the library and got some great yarn and crochet books to keep me relaxed and entertained. The book called “Knitting Yarns, Writers on Knitting” has been my go-to book before bedtime and has been a pleasure to get little knitting stories before bed, each one very different to the next but all sharing how knitting came into their lives and the significance of creating something with your hands. Ever since I started listening to Woolful I have been very intrigued about natural dyeing so got a few books on that as well. It is very interesting and would love to try it one day when I have a proper place to do it.

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My crochet time has been divided between my Doris Chan top and my Moroccan tote. The top is coming along, maybe a bit smaller than I thought but I won’t really know how it will look until I finish and block it so we will see. I am working on both sleeves at the same time as recommended by the designer and it has been a great idea.

My Moroccan bag has been coming along as well, the crocheting is actually done! I LOVE the pattern and colours of this bag. I have to say it is a bit on the smaller side for a tote and this was intentional since I thought I was going to be so bored by the middle of this project but I do regret it now cause I would have liked to keep going. Not sure why I didn’t get bored of the same pattern the whole time but I really enjoyed crocheting it.

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Yesterday I went to John Lewis and got some fabric to line it and I received my leather handles through the mail this week so all ready for the finishing (but oh so very important) details. I plan on cutting and pining today to start sewing on the train next week.

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I have also been working on samples for my first ever tunisian crochet workshop! I am so excited to share this amazing technique at Ginger Twist Studio in March. The first workshop is fully booked but there is another date in May so if you are in the Edinburgh area and would like to learn tunisian crochet please visit Jess’s website for more details. I have been planning like crazy, I know you can’t plan every single minute for these things but can’t help it, I am working on samples and creating class handouts and I really can’t wait to share all my excitement.

And that is what I have been up to, posts may be less often next week as I get back to my blogging rhythm. I have patterns to write and tutorials to put together but first of all I need to feel well enough to do all those things so please bare with me, I am still here, still loving crochet and still wanting to share my patterns and projects with you lovely people.

Have a great weekend!

x

Sol

Train WIPs February

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I used to be a monogamous crocheter but at some point I found myself having 2 or 3 projects at the same time. Lately I have one project for home, usually something either big or a bit more complicated, and then a couple for my commute, which have to be easy to work and small enough to carry.

My home project at the moment is the Kolika top I mentioned in my last post, since it is a garment it requires my attention and the ability to try it on as I go, which would be a bit tricky to do while I commute (and even more weird than just crocheting on a train). For the train I have been working on two new designs: my moroccan tote and a pair of tunisian fingerless gloves with some leftover yarn from my Uva shawl.

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I finished one mitt but I have to say the moroccan bag is getting all the spotlight lately, I just love how it is turning out. I have done quite a bit more since I took this picture, I am more than halfway through what will be a tote size bag. I will take some more pictures this weekend to show you how it is coming along.

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I am browsing for some brown leather handles for it, very exciting 🙂

What is on your hook right now? Let me know in the comments, would love to hear what you guys are working on!

That is it for me today, I have to set some time aside to take pictures for another tunisian pattern, hope I get time to do that this weekend. I also want to tell you more about how those resolutions are coming along so expect another post on that soon. I am off now to do some yoga (told you the resolutions were doing well!), have a great weekend everyone!

x

Sol