Before you dive into the depths of an intarsia project it might be worth trying out the technique on a small but useful project such as the Hove Purse.
Having designed the Hove Beach Bag (available for £3.50 on Ravelry) as part of the wider KIHICI bag range I wanted to create a simple intarsia project so that people could test their skills before they go headlong down the intarsia crochet rabbit hole.
The first crochet intarsia project that I tried was mind boggling. I hadn't tried the technique before and there were too many bobbins of yarn at the back for my liking. I didn't even finish the first row of the cushion before the whole project was put in a bag and left on the naughty step.
I had bought specific yarn for that project and really I wish I had tried a smaller intarsia project first. Had I done that, I would have understood what I needed to do and cracked on with the project. Instead, the yarn has been in my stash for over a year!
The idea of this purse is that it only uses three colours and because of the way I have designed it, you only need three strands of yarn on the go.
It's worked in rows, allowing you to get to grips with working your yarn colour changes on both the wrong and the right side of your work.
In reality what you are doing is creating a tension square that you can use to check your stitch and row count ready for making the Hove Beach Bag. The difference is that you can sew this up, add a zip and hey presto you actually have a handy little purse for your credit card and key.
If you are making the bag and the purse, you will have more than enough yarn to do both projects with 200g of the main colour yarn and 100g each of the contrast colours.
Erika Knight Gossypium Cotton 50g/ 100m:
Main Colour (MC) - 10g Mouse (502)
Contrast Colour 1 (CC1) - 10g Iced Gem (504)
Contrast Colour 2 (CC2) - 10g Pretty (507)
3mm hook (US C/2 or D/3)
Sewing needle and thread
Time to make:
About 1.5 hours to make the flat crocheted fabric and a further 30 minutes to sew in the zip and sew up the sides.
There are three key things to remember when using the intarsia crochet technique in rows:
1 – To change colour, you start the process on the stitch before the change. The final yarn round hook (yrh) of the previous stitch is always done with the new colour. This is essential.
2 – You are working in rows, which means that your fabric/work will have a wrong side (WS) and a right side (RS). When changing colours on a RS, you only have to remember point 1 above.
When you are working a WS, as well as point 1, you need to remember to get your yarn on the correct side at the correct point in the stitch. Here is what you do:
- Complete the first stage of your dc, but before you yrh in the new colour, you need to bring your old colour working yarn to the front of your work. This brings it to the WS ready to be used in the next row.
- Then take your new colour from the front of your work and place it at the back, yrh in the new colour to finish off the dc stitch and continue as per the pattern.
These two steps are essential if you are working on the WS of your work/fabric.
3 – Sometimes when changing colour, there will be a diagonal strand of yarn (this only ever shows on the WS if you have followed point 2 properly). This can obscure the stitch in which you are meant to create the next dc. I like to secure this diagonal strand by placing it on my hook before my hook goes into the stitch below to make the dc. This acts as a reminder that the stitch above is the one that I need to go into next and I also think that it evens out that stitch which can appear a little different because you have done a colour changeover. Trapping the diagonal strand isn’t essential but it does make your work neater.
Some folk are visual learners, so I have also pulled together a YouTube tutorial on how to mak ethe purse, focusing in on the three main points above.
How to do a starting dc:
1 - At the end of a row take the hook out and place it back through the loop from the opposite side.
2 - Turn your work around.
3 - Draw the loop up a little to extend it. You will soon get a feel for how much extra loop you draw up.
4 - Continue in pattern by doing a dc in the first st of the new row.
Stitches & abbreviations
ch – chain cm – centimetres CC1 – contrast colour 1 CC2 – contrast colour 2 dc(s) – double crochet(s) g – grams m – metres MC – main colour rep – repeat RS – right side ss – slip stitch st(s) – stitch(es) WS – wrong side yrh – yarn round hook
( ) – used for explanatory text and stitch count at the end of a round
Using CC1, ch10 and then ch13 more in CC2 (22 + 1 for turning ch)
Row 1: 1dc in 2nd ch from hook, 1dc in next 10 ch changing back to CC1 on final yrh (11th dc in CC2), 1dc in next 11 ch (all in CC1), turn. (22 sts)
At this point you have the choice to do the standard ch1 as your turning chain or to use a starting dc instead. The pattern instructs you to do a starting dc at the beginning of each row from Row 2 onwards because I think it gives a neater edge for sewing together. See 'how to' note on starting dc.
Row 2: Starting dc in 1st st, 1dc in next 10 sts changing to CC2 in last yrh, 1dc in next 11 sts, turn. (22 sts)
Rows 3–33: Continue in pattern, working from the Hove Intarsia Crochet Chart. and adding in the MC yarn in Row 6. (22 sts)
Hove Intarsia Crochet Chart
Hand or machine sew a zip onto the top of the purse.
With WS facing, slip stitch down the sides of the purse, using the corresponding yarn colour. Make sure that the zip is open so that you can turn the purse out the right way when you have woven in all the ends.