Posted by: mamas2hands | February 3, 2012

My Big Black Bag

Everytime I go to a conference or needlearts show I am trying to find a good bag to carry along.  I have a long list of requirements for the best bag to bring and I’ve tried a number of different adaptations.  Since September 2008 I have been to 6 different crochet or fiber-arts type shows.  But I may have finally created the right bag.

It started out as a plain black commercially made bag of a decent size, it had been in my stash for awhile and I’m not certain where I originally purchased it. Unfortunately it was solid black inside. Which is what I what I refer to as “black hole bags”.  For some reason the commercial bag making business seems to think that nearly all bags should have black interiors. 

Light-sucking black means anything going in there may never be found again. Not the end of the world when you are having ordinary daily adventures, but a bit of a drag if you are trying to find your business card case whilst talking with an interested editor. 

The first order of business then was to line the bag with lighter colored fabric.  Though I am a very good seamstress, I decided to have my friend Val sew up the lining for me.  I gave her fabric and measurements and she created the padded pocketed loveliness you see on the interior. 

Once I looked at the lining I knew the bag would need a zipper closure so I could put it thru the airport security machines without everything falling out.  I created the zipper plackets, which would fold down neatly inside the bag when I wanted to use it as a tote.

I wasn’t happy with the plain black exterior, and needed an outside pocket (a great place for the elusive business cards and my phone).  After a bit of digging in my stash of fabric I came up with some black denim that would work.  I decided, since I would be carrying the bag everywhere at the TNNA show, I wanted something that would reflect my artistic style.

I sat down with wool yarns in my favorite blues and purples, plus some black to tie in with the bag itself and began crocheting a free-form piece that I would felt later in the washing machine.  In 2 evening’s work I had finished a wonderful square of felt to decorate my exterior pocket.  When I began sewing it to the bag and the exterior pocket lining I wanted a bit more excitement to it and added beads.  Many of the stitches holding on the beads also anchored the felt in place on the bag.

It was a great bag for the TNNA show and I think I will be taking it to many more shows in the future. Though I had so much fun creating the decorative felt piece for the front, I may have to make some more of those as well.


Responses

  1. What is the process for “felting” something?

    • Felting = Animal Fibers + Heat + Agitation

      In the case of my piece for this bag, I first crocheted it with wool, then put it in the washing machine with a bit of liquid dish soap and some old blue jeans. I ran the machine thru a hot wash cycle then checked my progress. I wanted the felting a bit more dense so ran it a 2nd time.

      There are some great books out there on felting. One of my faves is the “Not Your Mama’s Felting” book.

  2. This is a wonderful “re-purposing” of a standard old “conference bag.” I can see where this is now so much more handy and useful to have with you. I think adding the extra material length to the zipper was genius, I didn’t think about that by doing so, it would allow you to push the zipper out of the way.

    Ummmm, btw, I happen to have the same exact black bag (I think you brought it back for me at some point), and I think this would be just right to do for my bag–but using it for my crochet projects. All I have to do is find a sewing machine to make the innards.

  3. Oh, yeah, I forgot this: did you add the snap also to the bag?

    • Nope, the bag came with the snap in place already. I think this is a different bag from the one I gave you, though you could do something similar with your bag.

      I bet one of our PJ Jam gang has a sewing machine and could help you out with creating innards.


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