Wednesday, May 10, 2006


The knitting, it was getting old. What with a project in time-out, a couple of other projects in "blah" phases, and the knowledge that lots of bloggers were gathering together in Maryland with sheep--and without me--it was no surprise that I went over the edge. I landed near my sewing machine.

I have had a few brief affairs with sewing in the past. I am a self-taught, novice seamstress who tends to measure carelessly and make things up as I go (which means that my affair with quilt blocks was brief and painful). But every so often I see something and think, "Hey, I could make one of those!" And lately it seems that blogland is full of cool handsewn bags.

And so it begins.

A few months ago I bought this book, and every so often I've been picking it up and leafing through it. Just...thinking. So it was not a big surprise when I finally raided the fabric stash (what--you're surprised? You thought I only had knitting and fiber stashes?) and made this little bag. This was the one I threw together without a real pattern because I just had to see how the whole process worked. I had made unlined bags before, but I just couldn't envision how you could sew the lining and the front of the bag together, and pin the handles in there somehow too, and pull one piece through another and have it result in anything other than a mess. It's a bit similar to turning the heel of a sock, in that until I had done it, I couldn't quite wrap my mind around it. But--like magic!--everything worked, just like the book said it would. This bag is about eight inches tall, just the right size for one of my girls to carry around with a few special toys.

Emboldened by my initial success, I moved on to making a lined bag with a gusset and a reinforced bottom, and I was just crazy enough to choose a striped fabric. The stripes look a little crooked in this picture, but they are actually pretty straight (and vertical!) in real life. I also added two lined pockets (one with a velcro closure) and a magnetic clasp at the top. I'm very pleased with the end result, except that I wish the bag was just a little bigger. It's about ten inches tall and tucks under my arm rather nicely, but doesn't quite hold enough for a day out on the town. Also, this bag took me about a zillion hours to make, since I was being Very Very Careful (measure twice, cut once, yada yada). If my family's survival depended on me being able to make and sell these bags, we would be in dire straits indeed.

But! I do see some larger totes and knitting bags in my future.

And maybe even some knitting.