Monday, June 17, 2013

Ommm Shanti Shanti Shantiii: An Adventure with Yoga Mat Bags

Greetings readers! It has been far too long since I have written a blog post about crocheting (you know, that thing that I do where I try to supplement my income by selling you handmade stuffs and it often doesn't work out but who cares I love crocheting!)

The school year is almost over (summer school, I will annihilate you), technically I've already graduated and I'm off to university in the fall.

Wow, okay that's terrifying. The terror hasn't quite sunk in yet but I"m sure that at some point halfway through the summer when I'm still hunting for a job it'll hit me like a bus in the street in Mean Girls and then I'll start freaking out.

Till then, let's talk handicrafting! Well, first I"m going to explain my divergence from craft blog to quasi-journalist-ish blog. I spent the year as executive editor (muahahahah) of my school's newspaper, The Papercut. It essentially consisted of me sitting in a chair that squeaked with the slightest movement (I"m fairly certain someone kept saying they'd bring in a can of WD-40 but that never happened. And so the squeaky chairs will become the stuff of legends as they are passed from one generation of Papercut execs to the next!). I also edited articles. You know, I do that sometimes. There was a surprising amount of bad writing coming from a school that is fairly picky about who they admit. One would think that solid writing would be a dealbreaker but NO. IT'S GRADES GRADES GRADES AT MARIANOPOLIS. WELL SAYONARA CEGEP.

I'll miss you.... Just a little bit.

A very little bit...

So the point I'm trying to make is that I didn't really have that much time to do a lot of crafts after the craft fair (I think I forgot to make a post about that...Oh well. Another time) and instead I focused my writing energy on newspaper articles rather than crafty blog posts because I started actually thinking about society and the world and I wanted to write movie and restaurant reviews and talk about the effects of the internet and fandoms on teenage girls and it spun wildly out of control and ohmygodit'shappeningagain-

But now I'm back, calmly sipping tea and enjoying the taste of freedom (it tastes like shortbread cookies and Nasonex). Yes, I'm also very sick. But that's okay! My summer school paper on overdiagnosing boys with ADHD is almost finished (2/3 of the way done woohoo!!) and so, with that, I think I am entitled to a little bit of creative freedom.

Om Shanti Shanti Yoga Mat Bag:

So, my two sisters are very into yoga. So much so that they needed yoga mat bags because they had to shlep their own yoga mats to their classes (apparently despite the fact that they clean yoga mats at gyms it's better to bring your own. Makes a certain amount of sense I suppose...). Being the handicrafter that I am, my elder sister asked me to make her a crocheted bag that looked very sturdy and had a zipper.

It also involved crocheting a base chain of 270+ stitches. Hell naw.

So I found a simpler pattern that was crocheted in the round, made some adjustments, and here we have the Om Shanti Shanti Yoga Mat Bag!

 What's nice about this pattern is that it is 100% customizable from the diameter and circumference of the bag to its height. Just add a couple rounds of increases at the base to make it wider or stop crocheting in the round to make it shorter. The strap was slightly problematic as I made it too long (a. my sister is really tiny so it didn't need to be that long to begin with, and b. it stretched out. 100% cotton does that sometimes). So for the second time around, when my other sister asked for one, it was more colorful, more tightly crocheted, and I worked the strap directly into the body of the bag instead of sewing it on afterwards.

The result? Durability, functionality, and sturdiness. And prettiness. It's really pretty :)


-Crochet hook size 4.5
-A LOT of 100% cotton (I used Bernat Handicrafter Cotton. We had a HUGE skein of the Ombres--the brown stuff and purple stuff-- and the first yoga mat bag used almost all of the brown)---The brown is called "Terra Firma", the purple is um...discontinued or just not on their website. Awkward. The second bag also used a full skein of "French Blue" and the dark green that isn't on their website either...
-Extra 3 meters of cotton yarn
-A Yoga Mat (I suppose you don't technically need one. I make them and I don't own one...)

You can find a simple pattern here at Joyful Abode (this is the pattern I used for the first bag I made. However, I have since written my own pattern so that I can sell my creations).

Abbreviations (still not wondering why that word is so damn long):
-sc: single crochet
-dc: double crochet
-sl st: slip stitch
-ch: chain
-st/sts: stitch or stitches
-fpd: front post double crochet
-bpd: back post double crochet



1. Make a magic loop. See here if you don't know how to make a magic loop.
2. Make 8 dc into the ring. Pull it closed. Sl st to join.
3. Ch 3 (this counts as first dc). 2 dc in each dc. Sl st to join. 16 st.
4. Ch 3 (still your first dc). 2 dc in each dc. Sl st to join. 32 st.
5. Ch 3 (is that in your head yet?) 2 dc in first st, 1 dc in next st. **2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next st. Repeat from **around. Sl st to join. 48 st.
6. Ch 3 (got it?). 2 dc in first st, 1 dc in next 3 sts. **2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 3 sts. Repeat from **around. Sl st to join. 60 st.

Right now your cirlce should be around the same size as your rolled up yoga mat. This is good.

Body of Bag:

7. Ch 1 (woah, we're switching things up a bit). Sc in back loop only around. I did back loop and the loop just underneath for stability. The point of this round is to make a noticeable 90 degree angle and a decorative line around it. Sl st to join. 60 st.
8. Ch 3 (still your first dc). Dc in each sc from previous round. Sl st to join. 60 st.
9. Ch 3 (first dc). Dc in the space between each dc from previous round, so not in the little V the stitch makes, but just to the left of it (between the posts). It creates a bit of a zig zag pattern that I think adds some flair.

Repeat round 9 until your bag is just shorter than your mat. If you're adding colors, crochet over the ends so you don't have to weave them in.

Ribbing and Drawstring:

Ch 3. Alternate fpd and bpd with one of each st in each dc from the previous row for ribbed effect. Repeat for 5 rounds.

See a tutorial for front-post dc and back-post dc here


Double up your yarn. Tightness is key here. Pick a spot one inch away from the bottom of your bag, three dc away from your seam. Work 7 sc across (one in each post of a dc). Turn. 1 sc into each sc from previous row. Continue sc across until your strap is two inches longer than your bag (it will stretch). Work your last row into your bag, below the ribbing. Tie off. 

Finally, chain doubled up length of yarn till it's slightly longer than the circumference of your bag, weave it through the ribbing and voila! A lovely new yoga mat bag perfect for shlepping to the park, to the gym, to your friend's house, downtown after a class, etc... No more boring chafing yoga mat bags :)