These are crazy hand-painted project bags I’ve made especially to carry certain types of projects. One is set up for journaling, with watercolors, markers, drawing pencils, a blank book, etc. Another is just about writing, especially poetry. Another is for embroidery and crazy quilting. They have just the right pockets, and they open in just the right way. At least, I think so since I made them just for me. But, wouldn’t they be great gifts for the creative people in YOUR life, if you made them just for them?
They’re so completely easy to do!! First I paint canvas rectangles (lots of sizes) in a crazy, impressionistic way using whatever colors tickle me at that moment. This isn’t great art, just great fun! Next, I sew on pockets EVERYWHERE and sew on any fancy trims. Then I have a ball figuring out how to make the gussets and straps. Each of the bags pictured has different finishing elements. The big journaling bag opens completely, so it has silk-ribbon mesh gussets (right, above). The strap is kumi-himo (left, below) using Sari ribbons, Ozark Handspun and a few funky yarns with flags and other wild stuff.
On the right, above, is a half-knit, half-crocheted strap that met in the middle. The crocheted part came off the side that I crocheted together (on the left, below) and the knit side of the strap came from the knit gusset on the other side. I didn’t just sew the gussets in. I first made rows of stitching, by hand, along the edge of the canvas. (To keep these stitches uniform, you can first sew long stitches on a sewing machine with an empty needle.) Then I “cast on” into these stitches. The only trick is to make your stitches long enough to accommodate your knitting needle or crochet hook.
The bag on the right, above, has crocheted gussets. The strap is a strong, yet ethereal ribbon with woven butterflies that begins at the bottom of one side and attaches to the bottom of the other side. I made little buttonhole bars at the top of each side to keep the ribbon in place.
It’s hard to have a creative block when your supplies are all together, in a colorful, custom bag!