Needles and Thread

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Over the past several years, as my kids have gotten older, I’ve started to find a few pockets of extra free time here and there. The kids are definitely still busy, but over the winter things tend to slow down a little bit. I think that’s one reason why I tend to dig out my sewing machine in the wintertime. Especially since it’s cold and snowy out, so I have little incentive to leave the house.

I currently keep my sewing machine downstairs in a ‘catch-all’ room in the basement. I’ve had the machine for over 20 years, so it’s not the fanciest. But it is a good basic sewing machine that does what I need it to most of the time.

I really hadn’t done much sewing at all until a couple of years ago. My mom sewed and made a lot of my clothes when I was a kid. She taught me, but I’ve forgotten most of how to make a garment. I thought about trying to sew dresses for the girls when they were little, but never had the time. Now that I have more time, the kids definitely aren’t interested in handmade clothing.

What’s been catching my interest, is sewing bags. Probably at least in part because I’m a knitter, and knitters love having fun bags to keep projects in. There are many Etsy sellers who make project bags, but as long as I have the time and ability, I thought it would be fun to try my hand at making my own.

I started with a style that I already know I like to use – a basic box bag. I’ve made three of them, trying out varying sizes to see what works best. I like this size and shape of bag to hold sock projects – I tend to knit my socks two-at-a-time, so the rectangular box bag works great to hold two small balls of yarn and a sock project.

A few weeks ago, I signed up for a class through a local sewing store to make a cute drawstring bag, called the weebrawbag, a pattern by Laura Zuckerkuss. I took the class in part because I’m essentially self taught when it comes to making bags, so I wanted to see if I’m doing things correctly. I also know that I’m very introverted, so this was a way to force myself to get out and meet some new people with a common interest. Plus, I got a chance to sew on a very cool (very expensive) sewing machine. And yes, I’m drooling. But that’s ok. My machine still does a good enough job, at least for now.

It was a lot of fun to not only try the fancy new machine, but to make this cute bag. It’s kind of addicting, in fact. Since the class, I’ve made several more. And have plans for even more of them. Do I need this many bags, even for knitting projects? No, not really. And Ron thinks I’m crazy to be making bags, when I already have a bunch. But it’s a really good project that doesn’t take a lot of brain power, but allows for a ton of creativity in putting fabrics together. And sewing is very relaxing.

The bag uses up to 4 different, coordinating fabrics, and it’s so much fun to see how they turn out. My first bag used the cute owl print with the pink and teal accents and turned out well. I really like the spring-themed one I made though, with the woodland creatures. This winter is dragging on and on, and it’s like a breath of spring every time I look at the cute trees and animals on that bag.

Last weekend I tried yet a different style – a zippered bag with boxed bottom corners. It’s a bit bigger than the ‘wee’ drawstring style, so good for larger knitting projects like shawls or a baby sweater. There’s really no limit to what you can put together with different shapes, sizes and styles. And I’m having a great time with it.