This puffy spike stitch crochet tote bag pattern is the perfect bag for all your needs. It’s the perfect size for carrying your crochet projects, books, as a market tote, or for anything you normally take along in a purse.
The stitch pattern gives you a pretty leaf design, that looks beautiful in fall colors! But Christmas is also a pretty season, so working this up in a red and white, a green and white, or even in all three colors would look great!
How Do You Crochet a Tote Bag?
The method is very easy. But this stitch pattern is at the intermediate level. So basically the bag is started at the bottom and worked to the top in one piece using two different colors. The handles are worked separate, but you can always work them in one piece as well using this method.
The Bottom of the Bag
The bottom is started with 28 chains. Then you crochet into the chains, first on one side and then the other side to begin a rectangle. This tutorial shows how to crochet along both sides of the starting chains.
Another thing that helps with the bottom is to keep the seam from taking up too much space. My way of solving that is to join each round with a tight slip stitch.
Each round is increased by eight stitches with an increase of two stitches in each corner.
The Puffy Spike Stitch On The Side Of Bag
The puffy spike stitch is worked over five stitches going down one, two, and three rows below. Think of it is a normal puff stitch, but each leg is picked up from a different stitch in the rounds below.
After all the spikes have been made, you pull the yarn though all the loops on the hook. Then secure the stitch with a chain one.
Next, you skip a stitch and then single crochet into the next stitch. This part is tricky, because after the puff stitch is made, it’s hard to see which stitch to skip and which stitch to crochet into. To solve that, I like to place a marker in the next stitch that I’ll be working into after making the puffy spike stitch. See the Puffy Spike Stitch Crochet Tutorial.
I changed colors in the first round of working the puff stitches. This way the pretty spikes are brought out nicely. I worked with two colors, but you could easily work this with more colors as well.
Keeping the Seam Straight
The bag is a bit problematic because, in crochet, the seam naturally spirals. But for this pattern you don’t want it to spiral. You want to keep the seam as straight as possible in order for the spikes to align above each other.
Joining each round with a tight slip stitch helped me to keep the seam straight. I had a very slight spiral, but not enough to throw me off too much.
With that said, if yours spirals, it’s no problem as your bag will still come out beautiful! Below is the image from one of my testers. She went with the spiral, and I think it looks great!
A few other tips from my testers for keeping a straight seam:
One tester did not single crochet into first stitch; instead she counted her chain 1 as her first stitch. And I swear her bag came out looking straighter than mine. So this is definitely worth a try.
And another tester suggested not to make the chain 1 and just single crochet into the first stitch. To be honest, I didn’t think this could be done, but it does work. It’s a bit awkward at first, but it totally eliminates the bulk of the chain-1.
And if none of the above work, my only other suggestion would be to discard the written pattern in regards to when to work the spike stitch and let the previous spikes guide you. Just make sure that you end up with the same amount of stitches in between each spiked stitch,
I’ve included a photo tutorial below on how to make the handles. I worked them with the puff stitch as well. I found them a bit tedious to make, but I love how they turned out once complete!
If you want a simpler way to make them, you can follow this tutorial on How to Make Crochet Bag Handles
Lining Your New Bag
This bag is fairly sturdy as it’s worked in single crochets. But as with any other crocheted bag, if you want to preserve the beauty, you’ll want to line it with a sturdy fabric. Here is a tutorial on how to line a crochet bag. The tutorial also shows how to make pockets in the liner as well as how to insert a zipper.
Can you crochet a bag with acrylic yarn? Absolutely! The only thing is that it will stretch out a lot, so you always want to line the bag to prevent that from happening.
I used Red Heart Comfort, but any other worsted weight yarn that gives you the gauge will work as well. Cotton yarn is very durable and ideal for crochet bags.
Other Crochet Bag Patterns to Check Out
- Moss Stitch Beginner Crochet Bag
- Blossom Crochet Beach Bag Pattern
- Crochet Bag Pattern – Lacy Textures
- Bouncy Bubbly Crochet Tote
- Single Crochet Bag
Puffy Spike Stitch Crochet Tote Bag
- Yarn: Red Heart Comfort #4 medium weight – 2 colors. Choose any worsted weight, including a cotton yarn.
- Crochet Hook: H/8-5.00mm
- Other: Measuring Tape, Scissors, Yarn Needle.
- Gauge: 3" across 10 sc sts and over 12 rows.
- Finished Size: When laying flat it measures 15" across and 13" from top to bottom.
Special Stitch Instructions
- The puffy spike stitch (pss) is made by pulling up 5 loops from the rows below. It is worked like a puff stitch where all the loops remain on the hook until the last step.
- Although the pss is worked over several stitches in the rounds below, it only takes up the space of one stitch. Since the stitch is not worked into the current round, you need to skip a stitch after making each pss. Sounds easy, BUT, after making the pss, it is difficult to see which stitch to skip and which stitch to work into. To solve that, I like to mark the next stitch that I need to crochet into before starting the pss. So, I skip a stitch and place the marker in the next stitch. Then work the pss and then crochet into the marked stitch.
- To Make the Puffy Spike Stitch (PSS): Yo, insert hk 2 sts to the right and 1 row down, yo and pull through (3 lps on hk); yo, insert hk 1 st to the right and 2 rows down, yo and pull through; yo, insert hk in st below and 3 rows down, yo and pull through; yo, insert hk 1 st to the left and 2 rows down, yo and pull through, yo, insert hk 2 sts to the left and 1 row down, yo and pull through; (11 lps on hk) yo and pull through all 11 lps, ch 1 to close the st.
- Keep the seam as straight as possible. I join my rounds with a tight slip stitch, which helps to keep it straighter.
- Instructions at beginning of rounds are to chain 1, then single crochet into the same stitch as join. However; one tester said she single crochets into next stitch and counts the chain 1 as her first stitch. That helped her to keep the seam straight. Another tester said to maybe go without the chain 1 at the start of the row. My advice is to do a few rounds and see what works for you.
- Another option is to just cheat. Simply single crochet until you get up to the puffy spike stitch and then work the next spike right above. Just make sure that you end up with the same amount of stitches in between each spike.
- Rnd 1: With first color, ch 28, sc in 2nd ch from hk and in next 25 chs, 3 sc in last ch. Working on opposite side of starting chs, sc in free lps of next 25 chs, 2 sc in last ch; join with sl st to first sc. (56 sts)
- Rnd 2: Ch 1, 3 sc in same st as join, *sc in next 25 sts, 3 sc in next st, sc in next st*, 3 sc in next st; rep from * to * once; join with sl st to first sc. (64 sts)
- Rnd 3: Ch 1, sc in same st as join, *3 sc in next st, sc in next 27 sts, 3 sc in next st*, sc in next 3 sts; rep from * to * once, then sc in last 2 sts; join with sl st to first sc. (72 sts)
- Rnd 4: Ch 1, sc in same st as join and in next st, *3 sc in next st, sc in next 29 sts, 3 sc in next st*, sc in next 5 sts; rep from * to * once, then sc in last 3 sts; join with sl st to first sc. (80 sts)
- Rnd 5: Ch 1, sc in same st as join and in next 2 sts, *3 sc in next st, sc in next 31 sts, 3 sc in next st*, sc in next 7 sts; rep from * to * once, then sc in last 4 sts; join with sl st to first sc. (88 sts)
- Rnd 6: Ch 1, sc in same st as join and in next 3 sts, *3 sc in next st, sc in next 33 sts, 3 sc in next st*, sc in next 9 sts; rep from * to * once, then sc in last 5 sts; join with sl st to first sc. (96 sts)
- Rnds 7-12: Ch 1, sc into first st and into each st around.
- See Special Stitch Instructions above on how to mark your stitches before making the puffy spike stitch.
- Rnd 13: Join next color, ch 1, sc in same st as join and in next 4 sts, *[pss, sc in marked st and in next 7 sts] 4 times, pss, sc in marked st**, sc in next 10 sts; rep from * to ** once, then sc in last 5 sts; join with sl st to first sc. (96 sts – 10 pss sts and 86 sc sts)
- Note: When you get to the pss sts you will see 2 sps on top into which you can work into. Work into only one of those sps in order to maintain the correct amount of sts.
- Rnds 14-17: Ch 1, sc in same st as join and in each st around; join with sl st to first sc. (96 sts)
- Continue with rnds 13 to 17 until you have reached a desired height. FO.
- I absolutely love these handles, but if you'd like to do something simpler, you might enjoy this quick and easy way to add bag handles.
Step-by-Step Instructions for the Handles
- Lay the bag flat and mark off the second pss in from both sides. Mark off the 7 sts above the pss so that you have 1 extra stitch on each side of the pss as pictured below.
- Here is a close-up:
- Row 1 (RS): With RS of bag facing, join the next color in marked/first st to the right. Ch 1, sc in same st as join and in next 2 sts, work pss, sc in next 3 sts. (7 sts) Turn. (see images below)
- First 3 single crochet stitches are complete. Then skip the next stitch and place your stitch marker into the next stitch.
- Then work your puff stitch as shown below.
- Rows 2-5: Ch 1, sc in each st across. (7 sts) Turn. FO at last row.
- Rows 6-25: Rep rows 1-5 making sure to join each new color with the RS facing. This leaves a lot of loose ends. To avoid this, you could turn and single crochet your way back instead of Fastening Off at row 5. Another option is to carry the yarn back along one of the rows and then up at the side.
- Row 26: Rep row 1.
- Row 27: Ch 1, sc in each st across. FO.
- Repeat the above steps on the other marked pss on same side of bag but Do Not Fasten Off.
- Second strap is complete.
- Ch 1, join the two handle ends by slip stitching across. FO. Do not worry about which sides are facing because the seam will be covered with the seam covers later.
- The 2 ends joined together.
- Repeat the above on the other side of the bag.
Handle Seam Covers (Make Two)
- Using the same color you finished off with on the handles (in my case it was beige for one bag and black on the other), ch 8
- Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hk and in each ch across. Turn. (7 sts)
- Rows 2-4: Ch 1, sc in each st across. (7 sts) FO leaving a long tail for sewing the handles.
- If you are going to line the bag and handles, now is the time to do it. Otherwise, you can go ahead and attach the handle seam covers to the handles.
- To attach the covers place them over the seam on right side of handle. Fold the layers so the wrong sides are facing. Sew the two ends making sure to catch the bag handle edges as well. That way the cover stays on securely.
- When you're done, you have two bow-like handles.