Friday, September 14, 2012

Water bottle sling

I was out enjoying the sun this summer and got the idea for this water bottle sling/bag. (Alas, my pictures are not very good, because I am still working with a camera phone!)

I used your basic cotton crochet thread, in a natural color. I had a lot of it, and I was concerned that if I chose a colored yarn that the color would bleed on my sweaty shoulder. Also, if it does get dirty on a outing, I can bleach it. Here are some basic instructions for making one of your own. I am going to assume you already have a passing understanding of crochet, such as what a sc (single crochet) or dc (double crochet) are, and how to join to work in the round, etc. To increase, I worked 2 into one space, and to decrease, I didn't skip a space, but used an "invisible decrease".

NOTEYou will not regret counting your stitches as you go, even when making the base. It is extremely easy to add or subtract a stitch without realizing it, depending on how you begin and end your rows.

Choose your bottle and yarn. 

I have a large CamelBak, and I used a size 20 or 30 crochet thread - it was lightest weight available in the store, and worked up comfortably on a #1 steel crochet hook. But really, you could use any yarn or water bottle or some such, following my general directions.

The base.
I based this design on multiples of 6. I chained 6 and joined to work in the round for added strength, since this is where all the weight will be resting, but you could use a slip knot if that works better for you. (This option my be particularly desirable if you are using a heavier yarn, such as kitchen cotton.) Then, I worked 12 dc into the circle. (If you are using a heavier yarn, you may wish to begin with 6 dc. Do whatever is most comfortable.) I did not work on a spiraling fashion, but joined the end of each row with a slip stitch and chained 3 sts to act as my first dc of each row.

I then increased by 6 dc every row, staggering the increases so that they do not stack on top of each other. (This way, I had more a of regular circle, instead of something with flat sides.) I used my water bottle to determine how large to make the base, stopping just short of the water bottle's actual diameter. (I expect the sling/bag to stretch with use, and it did; so the initial fitting should be snug.) I then worked without increasing for about an inch.

The Body

I had 72 spaces/stitches at this point. The filet (mesh) stitch I used is a multiple of 2, but you could use any stitch you desire that divides evenly into the number of spaces/stitches you have. My filet (mesh) is worked as follows, if you are not entirely familiar with it:

To start row, ch 4. Skip one space, then *dc into the next space, ch 1, repeat from * to end of row. Slip st into top of the ch 4 to end row. 

I worked 30 rows, then began working in solid dc again for about an inch. This brought me to about a half inch from the top of my water bottle's cap, but in retrospect, if I were to make this again I would stop far short of the cap to account for stretching.

Before use, this opening was an inch or so lower. You can also see the sc edging fairly well in this photo.
The straps

I decided against a buckle or anything on my straps and simply made them long enough to be worn crosswise over my body, and about an inch wide so that I could knot them easily if they stretched out too much. You may wish to incorporate a D-ring or something, depending on your tastes.

I worked a kind of inverted V using half the number of stitches/spaces. Since I was still working with 72 spaces/stitches (careful counting of rows as I worked!), my V began 36 sts wide. I started with a decrease at the beginning and end of the row, turned and worked one row even, and then repeated the process over again (decreasing two sts total every other row) until I had about an inch of stitches left. I used a tape measure to determine how long I would want my strap to be according to where I wanted the bottle to rest on my hip. Once again, I am going to stress that fabric stretches, especially with water weight. You may wish to subtract a couple inches from your strap length to take this into account. The second V on other side of the bottle sling/bag should be as long as the first, so be sure to account for that, as well. When you are certain you know how long your strap should be, work it. The second inverted V is simply a reversal of the process: increase at the beginning and end of every other row until you have the same number of sts as you began with (in my case, 36 sts) and then join it to base. 

I joined my second inverted V using sc sts so that I didn't need to break the thread, but you may wish to break it and sew it on. The sc method leaves a small ridge of the inside of the sling/bag, but like I just noted, it means I did not break the thread, and can therefore continue on with the edging without joining thread to the work.

The Edging.

I like a finished-looking piece. To acheive this, I worked a sc edging all the was around the sides of the strap and inverted V's, beginning at the valley where I ended my sc join of the second inverted V to the body of the sling/bag. I did not count sts, but simply placed them at whatever spacing laid well. When I had worked all the way around, I cut the thread and wove it in, then joined it to the other valley and repeated the process. I damped the work a bit, squeezed the water out, then laid it flat to dry so that everything had chance to settle a bit, and I was done.