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What sort of handle is most comfortable on your basket or bag?

 
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I brought up this topic in this thread: https://permies.com/t/234518/kind-weaving-technique
Both the samples that a member was interested in, had round carrying handles. Round handles may look pretty, but my joints don't like them. I figured that there had to be more info on the web about what makes a practical, comfortable, "real life" handle. Alas, there doesn't seem to be much out there. So I figured I'd come to my number 1 resource, and ask all my friendly permies!

Things we all need to consider.
1. Our own body size and needs will affect what size and shape of handles are comfortable for us. I am rarely the "all" that one size fits!

2. The purpose of the bag the handle's attached to. A basket I'm going to use daily, and which may be heavy, needs more care in handle building than something I'll use once a year for light duty.

3. The degree of accessibility. A handle on a basket I'm picking apples into while on a ladder has different needs than a bag I will fill at a shop and then carry home without opening it again to add or remove items.

An article I found with interesting information in it about this topic:
https://mpatkin.org/ergonomics/handle_checklist.htm

So what do all you permies look for in a comfortable handle for carrying?
 
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HI Jay, thanks for the link! The checklist is very extensive and informative.

As a short person with small hands, I am dealing with containers I can't grip comfirmly or jar lids I,m able to open a lot. As for bag or basket handles, the length or height is important so I can carry it without lifting my forearm. Adequate and comfortable contact surface helps too.

I will take some pictures of both good and bad examples later. Here I'd like to share a simple technique of attaching both long and short handles easily to a tote bag (not self made). Both handles on one side are out of one long loop of webbing. The webbing is folded to creat a longer and shorter sections and attached to the body of the bag while the hem is stitched down at the same time.
20231127_075740.jpg
Tote bag handles
Tote bag handles
 
Jay Angler
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May Lotito wrote:... Adequate and comfortable contact surface helps too.

I was given some *very* dated fabric and decided to make some shopping bags from it because I'm pretty unimpressed by the cheap artificial bags the shops sell or give away as adverts.

The body fabric seemed too wimpy for the handles, but at the same time another friend had given me a heavy cotton hoody which had been stained and damaged, but still had some good fabric in places. I used that fabric to make the handles.


These have become Hubby's favorite ones and his main reason is that the handles are comfortable even if the bag is heavy. The handles are likely a little wider than the typical ones, but also *much* thicker. They still lack a semi-solid grip zone, which I would prefer, but we're usually not using these long distances, so they do the job.

I only have one bag that has the double strap system May's pictured above, but I do appreciate that I can put it on my shoulder for a longer carry.
 
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May’s double-handled bag is a great design! I have found that when carrying a heavy bag a long distance, it’s easier to carry it in hand by a short handle, arm hanging loose by my side. But for lighter loads, or to free up hands for other tasks, a shoulder strap is useful.
 
May Lotito
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Knit fabric scraps makes great handle filling for cushioning. Just roll it up in a tube and use the edge stitch/ zipper foot to tuck it inside the handle. Here is a quick and dirty sample.
20231127_133415.jpg
Rolled knit fabric for handle cushioning
Rolled knit fabric for handle cushioning
 
May Lotito
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Here are three backpacks with different shoulder strap designs.

Left one is the cheapest with straight straps
Middle one has curved straps
The right one is a hiking backpack. The straps are padded, shaped and adjustable. There are also hip straps to distribute the weight.

Most packback sewing patterns come with the straight design but it's easy to alter that and make the backpack more comfortable to use.
20231128_163301.jpg
Backpack shoulder strap design
Backpack shoulder strap design
 
Jay Angler
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The pack on the right in May's picture, also has a chest strap. I'm a narrow build, and the chest strap makes a big difference in comfort if I'm carrying a heavy load a long distance.
 
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