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Up Up and Away

Floral Felted Bag

Last night marked the launch of The Great Felted Bag Adventure. I've never before done a sewing project like this, with fiddly construction and steps that must be planned in a logical order - when I do sit down at the machine, it's usually accompanied by swearing when I realize I should have attached the zipper before sewing the cushion in, or throwing the whole thing down in disgust when the thread somehow gets tangled around the presser, or insisting on complete silence as I meditate on the nature of the adjustment knobs and the mysterious forces they control behind a veil I cannot seem to penetrate.

Point? Oh, yes - I suck at sewing, but I really want the bag to be beautiful and functional, and am therefore dubbing this A Learning Experience. The construction and little mechanical details are proving to be sort of fascinating - everything flows in a logical progression, and you're forced to think about exactly what you're doing, and what comes next. I thought I could finish the interior of the bag and slap on handles later - but no, I'll want to do that before putting the lining in to mask the handle stitches - etc. etc. etc.

Unfortunately, I don't know how to do that cool extended-entry thing, and so am forced to subject y'all to witnessing the trainwreck/success story that lies ahead in The Great Felted Bag Adventure. Advice is freely and eagerly welcomed at all times.

(By the way - thank you so much for 1) the sweet comments about the bag, and 2) the excellent suggestions for notion sources. I'm actually going to head up to Baltimore this weekend to the Tandy store up there, for some discussion and possible decision-making)

So last night, I picked up some nubbly, rich shantung for lining,

with only a little bit of agony in the store. There was some cute pink pinstriped cotton, too, that would have made a witty little juxtaposition with the fuzzy jacquard, but would have instantly made the bag a very casual item - this (manmade) shantung has the right kind of heavy richness to go with the "parlor carpet" feeling we seem to have going.

I also backed the piece with some heavy-duty interfacing (seriously, this stuff feels like posterboard), hand-sewn in place and then ironed.

Once I got the hang of only picking up half the thickness of the felt, it was a breeze (though I started to wish I owned a thimble). The lining will look quite pretty, I think:

I've started to give some serious thought to handle attachment. What do you guys think of straps that run all the way around the body of the purse, buckled at the top to the handles?

It would obscure some of the flowers, but I think it might give it a tailored luggage sort of look.

Hardware and leather scouting are on the schedule for today - stay tuned!

Print O' The Wave Scarf

I'd almost forgotten about this project! To refresh all our memories, I'd intended a scarf out of some ocean-colored cobweb weight in a print o' the wave pattern. I had a hell of a time trying to find the lace chart - it is, supposedly, one of the oldest Shetland lace patterns, but it doesn't seem to have found its way into stitch dictionaries or the like. I could have purchased any number of patterns that encorporate the motif, but my stubborn streak reared its muley head - why should I pay $9.95 for a shawl pattern that leaves me cold, when this stitch was, in theory, handed down through generations without a chart? I could totally figure it out.

And holy crap, I did. I puzzled over different representations of the pattern, made the straightforward and unchanging YO zigzags my starting point, and went to town.

It worked! I can't believe it worked! There's some wonky stuff going on along the edges, where the stitch count seems to change every other row, but that's probably easily fixed. The fingers, too, could easily be made wider, I think.

I really don't know how lace designers do it. Charting this simple, ancient motif was pretty much blood squeezed from the stone that is me.


Oh, that lining is divine! Very luxe! I do like your handle idea (straps all the way around) - it looks classic, and I think it would also reduce the amount of potential sagging at the point of handle attachment.

I like that luggage-look idea. And the pink and brown combo is one of my favorites right now. I have a pair of shoes that will match your bag. Can I borrow it when you're done? ;)

i think the handles will look fab going all around the bag!

as for the stitch pattern...i believe it's similar to this one (http://www.knitting-and.com/homework/perfection-leaf-lace.htm). sorry i didn't give you that link earlier...i don't think i was reading your blog back then :(

btw if you haven't seen this site it's great for old lace patterns. one warning though, she charts the wrong side rows how you'd knit them. meaning, if you are knitting a wrong side row as all purls it will be charted as purls. so, if you're knitting it in the round you'd have to change the chart. a bit confusing but once you know it it's not so bad.

I love, love, love the lining with the bag. When this is finished, can I beg for the pattern, because I really want one of these! I like the idea of the handles - very cute, but I think it makes the bag a bit more casual. Sewing handles in is pretty easy if you want to go that route. You sew the handles upside down to the lining with about a 1/2 seam and backstitch the heck out of them, then put the handles between the lining and the bag when you sew the pieces together. When you turn the bag you pull the handles out. I have a pattern at home that explains it better. If you want to consider that option, let me know and I'll provide better instruction. Good luck on the hardware search.

oooo, that lining is beautiful. And I vote for handles that don't go around the bag. I think the flowers are too pretty to cover up, plus, they will be way more fiddly and a pain in your ass.

Nice work figuring out that lace chart. That would hurt my brain.

And if you really want my advice, or at least how I deal with these sorts of sewing issues. Well, get your mom to do it.

That is going to be adorable! I really like the idea of the straps on the outside of the bag...I think it will give it a nice vintage look. I can't wait to see how it comes out!

Applause from this end of the auditorium. And since I am several days behind in reading, I wanted to let you know this phrase of yours gets my guffaw of the week award: "sashimi-related natural disaster (also known as "dinner""

Congratulations on figuring out the lace pattern! Your swatch looks great. As for the bag handles - go for it! Why not? Those look great :).


ooops sorry had to wipe the drool off the keyboard- good thing I got the extended warranty- that bag calls for a CAUTION tape-----need an envy-drool warning- gorgeous- and Leather handles---- buckles...oh yeah. gotta be--- it's perfect!

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