Bags & Totes

Wheelchair Tote for Grandpa

I recently came across the first pattern I ever designed on my own! It was a wheelchair tote for my Grandpa. Grandpa Walter went to the nursing home after a stroke that severely impaired his balance, and therefore his ability to walk. He had just turned 90 years old, but cognitively he was still extremely sharp (scoring higher than the average 90-year-old who HADN’T had a stroke). The problem was purely physical, and that made it extra hard for him and the family. We kept trying to come up with ways to make things easier for him at the nursing home, so that they physical impairments weren’t as difficult.

Just before Christmas, 2013, I wanted to make a wheel chair tote for him so that he could carry some of his stuff around with him at the nursing home. I searched for a wheelchair tote, and couldn’t find anything online. Determined, I played around with ideas on my own. Thankfully I was smart enough to write down roughly what I did to make this.

Grandpa, Walter Joseph Michaels, passed away in April, 2015, at almost 93 years of age. We just spent the first holiday season without him. His last years of life weren’t great, but he had a good, long life before that. While I don’t wish to ever have to make one of these again for someone I love, maybe it will be useful to someone else who wants to help a family member or friend who is struggling.

 

(Rough) Pattern:

Main pocket:
I crocheted the pocket part in continuous rounds. I started by chaining 35 and single crocheting on both sides using both loops to go around. I single crocheted 3 stitches in each of the ends. After going around twice I did two rounds using the back loop only to help shape the bottom.

Then, I switched to hdc around. On two rounds about 1/4 and 1/2 way up I decreased by one stitch on each side near the middle of the pocket.

Flap:
Once it was the height I wanted, I switched to rows and began single crocheting, decreasing by one stitch at the end of each row (dec, chain one, turn).

Button holes:
When I was down to 11 stitches, I stopped decreasing on each row. I did three-stitch button holes by chaining three and skipping three. I made three button holes, with three rows of sc in between.

Buttons:
I sewed on two buttons so that there were a few ways the flap could be adjusted. This made the tote flexible to fit almost any type of wheel chair! (Depending on the nursing home his chair could switch, and I didn’t have it right in front of me while I was making this anyway.)

Red edging:
Using red, I sc around the edge of the flap starting on the right side and moving up and around. When I got to the front rim of the main pocket I slip stitched on the inside going right, and then turned and sc back going left so that the sc’s were facing out.

Red pockets:
Chain 17, and hdc in rows until desired height. Sc around edges. Using a darning needle I sewed two pockets at the same time (one on the inside and one on the outside).

Initials:
After showing this to my Grandma, she said it needed his name so that it didn’t get lost in the nursing home. So, I surface crocheted his initials. If you haven’t yet learned how to surface crochet, check out this really great Moogly How To Surface Crochet Video!

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