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.