Thursday, January 26, 2023

Not Clothes, Instead Bags

I used to be a serious devotee of the Fringe Association blog. In those posts I saw, I thought, a like-minded knitter. That was a rare event. Early on in my knitting "career" as my friends termed it, I realized that just because someone else knitted, I should not assume that we had anything other traits or thoughts in common. Nonetheless, I bit once again when I found the writings and the products of the now-defunct company. I even purchased a few items from the shop, dealing with the predictable disappointment when I received them. Ah, the internet is that place where things look so pretty but are usually useless. I watched, bemused, as the frenzy for some products grew. I stared, appalled, as other knitters posted walls of products I would never buy. I just couldn't believe they would pay what I considered an unreasonable price for a commonly available item and repeat that same purchase multiple times. But I shrugged it off. That's them, not me.

Then, this fall, I received a message, from beyond the grave as it seemed. The dead blog spoke. I bit. I bought the Field Bag pattern and a swath of painted canvas. That was my Christmas present. I only just opened it last week. Life intervened.
This is my toile, made in duck cloth.  I will make one in the kit fabric later.
However, now I dream of owning a wall of bags, similar to that I saw posted years ago. The only difference is that I will make them for what I hope will be a fraction of the price. Maybe I will actually use and enjoy them. If nothing else, the pattern and a few additional yards of fabric and notions will provide me with entertainment this Spring, when my closet is full, my dance card is empty, and I seek inspiration. Gotta keep the brain cells circulating.

To start, one pattern, with notions, as a kit from Grainline Studios. A bit of fabric. My short acquaintance with canvas. Things I am learning: canvas is different from duck cloth. Canvas is about twice as heavy and stiff. The bag relies on the stiffness of the canvas to stand up. To aid the stiffness of the duck cloth, I am lining it. The wrong side of the printed cloth I chose is not particularly attractive. Lining will hide the wrong side. In addition, I am interfacing the lining with Pellon Decor Bond, a fusible interfacing product. It isn't fusing very well, but the stitching of the pockets, side seams and drawstring casing will hold it in place.

The pockets went in well, even with my one modification; I added a zipper to the grommet pocket and omitted the grommets. I have the grommets in my kit and may add them to another version. However, I am not sure I would use them to separate yarn as I knit. Once threaded through, the yarn would have to be cut to remove the project from the bag. That's not a big problem, but it will create a couple of ends to weave in, possibly in the middle of my project if I am changing what I'm carrying in the bag. Since the grommets will keep yarns straight when I am knitting with two strands, I want to try them at some point to see how I like using them--but not in this bag. This bag will be used immediately to carry my sock-knitting and reading supplies, supplies I want to use during rather long wait times. The zipper will keep my kindle in place without the on/off button being constantly pushed, as is happening in my purse. I realize a kindle isn't a required knitting accessory, but I get tired of knitting and need to read a little during long waits.

The next bag will be plain on the outside, with pockets that are made to better fit the items I want to carry. Once I have used the first one, I will know how to outfit the second one. The third one will likely use the painted canvas and may have grommets. After that, I may be tired of this pattern and have moved on.

The technical details are that this bag used most of 1 yard of printed duck cloth (100% cotton) from Hobby Lobby, a bit of Pellon Decor Bond, and the strap and drawstrings from the Grainline Studios kit. The duck cloth was on sale for $4.79/yd., the Pellon products were $2.39/yd., and the accessories in the kit, including the grommets, can be purchased for $11.00--without the grommets, it might be $7.00. A little dirty math puts the total cost around $12.00. It took about three days for this first bag, an hour or so a day. The next ones should go faster. The zipper isn't included in that, but it is a used zipper. It was 9" and was cut off shorter. If I need another zipper I will buy a 9" zipper and cut it a bit longer than this one. It isn't quite as long as the pocket. The ends are covered by bits of the fabric selvedge, making a neat edge that doesn't have to be topstitched or overcast.

This toile was successful, creating a cute and useful bag. Other than the zipper in place of the grommets, there are no changes to the pattern. It is a small bag, basically 9" x 5". In the bag is a sock project and the tools to finish the remaining sock. It fills the bag. If the project is larger than socks or other accessories, the bag would need to be larger. Since I also have the Stowe bag pattern from Grainline, I see the larger version of that pattern, which makes a bag 14" x 7", might be something to try.