A year ago, a friend of ours was returning from Russia and made the mistake of asking whether I’d like something from there. Well obviously, I asked for yarn. After seeking advice online, I asked for cotton and wool yarn in sweater quantities. He more than delivered on his assignment. Since then I’ve tried to do several things with the cotton yarn, but unfortunately, it is not a glossy kind and my usual demon of Garment-Fear® kept me from actually using the yarn for its stated purpose.

A few weeks ago, however, someone on one of my mailing lists sent a link for a new free pattern at NaturallyCaron.com which looked innocuous enough, but was quietly screaming my name!!! I hastened to add it to my Ravelry queue and found it had me so mesmerised that I was upset there was no photo to represent it. Well, there was no answer for it but to make it myself. The world had to know the pattern existed.

Here it is, the Chakra bag.

Chakra bag

And since you’d like to know, here are the details.

Yarn: Kamteks Khlopok from Russia (Khlopok = cotton), about one-and-a-half skeins. (Each skein had 250m yarn).

Hook: Size 3.00mm

Pattern: Chakra Bag from NaturallyCaron.com (and here’s the Ravelry pattern page, and my project page).

Time: 3 days from start to finish. Seriously quick.

Size: 11″ x 7″ x 2″

Extra #1 As I said, it was screaming to me :p

#2 I love the textured stitch, and the pattern it forms. The shape of the finished bag is also interesting, only my poor finishing makes it not stand out. Next time, I will not take any shortcuts, but I shall sew a proper lining (the story of my experiences with lining a bag will follow later).

#3 The said lining is cut from a length of Vietnamese silk my father brought back for me in December 2006. I still have enough left to line another bag perhaps. I was hoarding it for something special, but decided enough was enough. Here’s a glimpse of the inside (not much more, because my finishing is really sad).

Chakra bag

#4 There is a slight error in the strap instructions, which have you start off with Ch 10 and then begin the first row with Ch 2 and hdc (US) across to give 8hdc, but obviously, either you ch 8 to begin, or you omit the ch 2 at the beginning of Row 1.

#5 I drastically shortened the length of the strap because I know it would stretch anyway. I took it out into the wilds of Bangalore last weekend, and I’m gratified to report the stretching was minimal (or not noticeable enough for discomfort at any rate). Perhaps it was because of the rigidity given by the reverse sc edging. On the other hand, the width of the strap and the cotton yarn made it one of the most comfortable bag handles I’ve ever misused. I was carrying my camera, my cell phone, the iPod, extra camera batteries, a packet of wet tissues (which despite being touted as containing aloe vera and having no alcohol still left my face dry), pen, address book, small diary, wallet and sundry other necessities for a weekend away.

However, next time, I’d prefer to make the strap width wise rather than lengthwise, because I read on one of the Ravelry forums (fora?) that that would reduce the stretching. Which seems logical enough, wouldn’t you say? It would also have the added (and much required) benefit of making it easier to sew the edges to the sides, because we could then do one joining stitch in each stitch of the strap. Row-wise, I can *never* pick up the same number of stitches on both sides of something, so this one has lopsided er, sides. Also, the strap has an odd slant, which puzzles me. Perhaps the nature of the hdc makes it bias?

#6 The pattern would have you use needle and yarn to sew the pieces together, but I relied on my trusty hook instead, and have no complaints. I also loved the definition given to the edges by the reverse sc.

#7 My poor bag has no fastening yet. I’ve been saved by the overlapping flap, but I need to find (a) a good fastening (b) a purselet for small things inside. I tried looking for magnetic buttons in Bangalore, but the fellow, despite me talking to him in Telugu which he knew, would have me buy a packet of 100 magnetic buttons for Rs 1,200. That would see me giving out magnetic buttons as hostess gifts for the rest of my active life.

#8 The original yarn appears to have a sheen, which mine doesn’t but that’s ok. Hey!!!!! That reminds me of the sparkly stuff I picked up in B’lore. It’s meant for a bag anyway, so why not use it with this pattern? Huh, huh? Brilliant! Cindy, isn’t that a brilliant idea?

I enjoyed making this bag. Apparently it’s been added to 28 queues on Ravelry, but no one else has begun making it yet. Why not??? Go get your hooks!