Vanda’s bag making workshop concluded

It was very interesting to see everyones stitching starting to take shape and by the end of the second day I had my relief work finished and was ready to start assembling and stitching my bag first thing on Sunday morning. 

Vanda's red bag and Chris's blue/grey bag in progress

I really liked the way we learnt how to use a type of herringbone stitch to join the back edges of the seams together (remember the seams are very thick, ten layers of wool!) and then used a different stitch to join the front edges, this should have been almost invisible but I think that I need a little more practice if not a lot!  Surprisingly I enjoyed this part of the sewing quite a bit, probably because I could really see my bag coming together and I have to say I was liking the result!!!  Once all the pieces were stitched together it was time to sew a fancy border around the top edge before making/attaching a cord or in my case leather handles.  I found the stitch for the top edge really impossible to get even and it was not doing anything for the bag so Vanda suggested making a cord instead (twisting threads together and allowing them to wrap back on themselves) which I did in a silvery grey and black wool.  Once this was in place all that remained was to add my leather handles, these were a GREAT find in Rhinebeck, more about my favourite suppliers from there in the next post!  All that remains now is to say a big thank you to Carmen for organising such a wonderful workshop, I will be back!!!

The finished bag!

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Felted tote, name of book I got the pattern from

A couple of days ago I promised to let you know which pattern I used as the basis for my autumnal felted tote.  The book is ‘How we Felt’ by Carol Huber Cypher (I ordered my copy from Amazon) and the bag is the ‘Ulonga-Bora Tote Bag’ on page 75.  Felt tote This is a great book to buy if you have a little previous wet felting experience.  In addition to some helpful felting tips there are 19 projects to create, each one a signature piece from an internationally recognised fibre artist.  You get a good feel for the individual artist’s work practice, the reason that it is not for the total beginner is that the steps involved in each project are discussed but not documented in quite the same way as in the majority of books.

Nuno felted tote

Felted tote bag with detatchable corsage
Felted tote bag with detatchable corsage

I am really exhausted this evening as I have had another training session for my tourism course and have been trying to tidy my house in preparation for tomorrow morning’s workshop, obviously it is the tidying up that has worn me out!!  The weather has been really unsettled as well making it difficult to take photos so I thought that I would share my recently made tote bag as I hope the reciepient has recieved it in the post by now.  This bag is the one that I made as part of an exchange organised through Ravelry, a great forum for meeting other fibre minded friends.  I knew the type of bag that my swap buddy would like and also some of her favourite colours.  She also said that she was a casual kind of person but could be persuaded to be funky, hence the felt corsage!  I followed a pattern from one of my books (can’t think of the name at the moment but will add it later) cutting out a resist and a silk lining then laying 6 really fine layers of merino on top of the silk encased plastic.  The surface was then decorated with loads of cut/torn pieces of silk chiffon and I also used quite a bit of gold mulberry silk to add some depth.  With this method there was about 35% shrinkage so you can imagine that I started out with a pretty big package.  I LOVED the result, so much so that I would actually like to have kept the bag for myself if I hadn’t already designed it for my buddy!!  The nuno felted corsage adds a fun touch (I think) and I definitely will make a few of these again and put them up on my Etsy shop.