October 29, 2006
Just Do It!
My felted messenger handbag has progressed from inspiration, to work in progress, to working purse -- and can I tell you, I love it! This project was fun from start to finish. To be honest, what I'm most proud of is the way this project stretched my comfort zone. My sewing and crocheting skills are fairly rudimentary, yet I was able to successfully use these skills to sew the lining and to crochet the embellishment circles. The lesson for the day, attentive reader, is sometimes you have to just do it, even it you're not sure you can.
|Started:||October 17, 2006|
|Finished:||October 26, 2006|
|Yarn:||Cascade 220 for the bag and Jamieson's Spindrift 2-ply for the circles|
October 26, 2006
7:00am -- showered, dressed, breakfast cooked, and laundry started. What's in the laundry you ask? Napkins, towels, and crochet circles. This unexpected early morning enthusiasm is driven by my curiosity to see how the crochet circles will felt. If all goes well, I'll be using them to embellish my felted messenger bag.
I wonder how these crochet circles will felt?
12:30pm -- My felted circles are drying under the weight of a wooden cutting board and a heavy pot. nona wants her circles to be flat -- got that, flat!
Go on -- I know you're curious -- take a look under the pot.
October 24, 2006
The year I was a sophomore in college, the nona-mom gave her 3 oldest daughters sewing machines for their birthdays. At the time I was far from domesticated, but appreciated the practicality of this "durable" item. In the ensuing years, I have been thankful time and time again -- think quilts and Halloween costumes, but please don't mention the maternity dress -- for my basic and reliable Bernina.
Yesterday -- in my quest to sew the lining for my felted messenger handbag -- I pulled out my trusty Bernina. A little worn and yellowed from the years, but heck aren't we all. Out too came my rotary cutter and mat -- my quilting roots insist on a prerequisite amount of slicing and piecing of fabric.
|Slicing, dicing, and sewing
We have 2 cafe-style dining tables, allowing one to be monopolized by craft projects, laptops, and/or miscellaneous stuff and the other to accommodate actual eating.
|A hint of stability
The inside lining is constructed from simple rectangles -- one for the base, two for the side panels and two for the front/back. I added fusible, light-weight interfacing for a hint of stability.
|A peek inside
This inner lining slips right into the bag and will be hand-sewn to the felt along the top edge only. I wanted to use the aqua fabric at the bottom for visibility.
|Fabric, fabric everywhere
I also lined the inside of the messenger bag's flap and added fabric to the strap. It might be fun to have the fabric side of the strap turned outwards.
Before the lining can be sewn in place, I need to add the flap embellishments and some buttons for the straps. Off to my LYS for supplies...
October 23, 2006
In between spurts of crocheting, sock knitting, and an awe inspiring visit to the De Young Museum, I've been quietly turning my messenger handbag inspiration into a reality. To create a handbag that was sleek yet structured, I used only 1 strand of Cascade 220 knit loosely on US 11 needles and opted for side seams instead of knitting the bag in the round. In short, I knit the sides and base as one long strip, picked up stitches from the base to knit the front and back, and crocheted the side seams to construct the bag. The flap is simply an extension of the back with i-cord edging and bind-off thrown in for good measure.
|A mass of knitting, resembling an octopus more than a messenger bag!||Luckily, the shape of the messenger bag emerges once the seaming is done.|
The messenger bag felted fairly close to my estimates, leaving me with the right shape. The next step is to line the bag and to felt the embellishment circles -- I think a little crochet may be in order!
|I felted the bag in my front-loader, throwing it in the "heavy-duty" cycle and letting fate determine the outcome.||The felted bag with the fabrics I'm going to use for the lining. Time to pick the colors for the circle embellishments -- fun!|
October 11, 2006
Felted Bag Inspiration
The nona-sisters -- all 5 of us -- are not particularly skilled with the blow dryer, tend to interrupt in conversation, and have ugly feet. We do, however, have a knack for finding great bags. Not fancy purses mind you, no, our style tends toward fun, hip, practical, and big enough to store a hand craft or two. nona-sister-the-youngest recently scored big time with the Nina Messenger bag from 2modern.com. Don't you think a felted version is called for? ... nona does ...
March 15, 2006
nona tends to knit along traditional lines -- what can I say, I'm an embellishment virgin. I've never knit a leaf, never knit a flower, never knit a do-da. Well friends, I'm going for it thanks to Nicki Epstein's new book, Fabulous Felted Bags. This book has a felted bag for everyone -- some of the bags are funky, some are classic, and some are -- well -- over the top. I'm making the Abbondanza bag, which has embellishments galore. Here's a sampling:
I'm MCSing over my two-color leaves!
You know what? These embellishments are fun and easy to knit. Can you say "instant gratification"? My LYS is selling yarn packs for all the bags and is hosting an in-store knit along -- an excellent excuse to hang out Wednesday afternoons and knit!
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