You can forget the cards and flowers, nothing says “I love you” like a custom made bag. Such is the depth of my affection (or is that “affliction”?) that this not just any old custom made laptop bag but a handwoven custom made laptop bag. It’s had a week’s user testing being packed in backpacks and slung on aircraft so I can say that the new closure I came up with as an act of desperation is fit for purpose. This is fabric that I wove last March, at the time I planned it I intended it for a bag and so I wove a cutting line into the centre. I found some suitably coloured cotton fabric in the quilting stash, added a strip of that to the centre (with batting behind to make it the same thickness) and lined it with the same cotton. At some point the stash will run out of leftover quilt batting but I think I’m a long way from there yet. When I was buying it in the early 1990s it wasn’t exactly cheap and I kept every scrap that I trimmed off the edges of quilts. Now that I need little bits for handles, small stripes and linings that seems like a really forward thinking idea although for a long time I thought I was just hoarding useless scraps.
I learned my lesson from the last laptop bag that I made and simply added the stripe all the way along the piece of fabric. The challenge I ran into this time was that because I hadn’t shaped the flap it wouldn’t sit flat on the face of the bag. Two widths of fabric make the front, the back and two side gussets which means that one width of fabric is two half gussets wider than the front of the bag. It’s not a lot but enough to mean that the edges of the flap will stick up, bend about and get mangled when you stick the laptop in another bag. This was not the look I was aiming for. What I came up with was based on a clasp that I didn’t put on my blue cardigan. That catches the black round elastic that is fastened to the corners of the flap and the elastic wraps around the bottom corners of the bag. The result is a closure that stays closed, won’t snag the fabric and forces the edges of the flap to wrap snugly to the sides of the bag. It’s simple and works like a dream.
While I had the red cotton on the sewing machine I sewed up one of the lengths of fabric that had auditioned for the laptop bag but failed because of being more pink than red. I wove this last year, there’s enough length to make another three bags like this but I’ve only lined one so far. My stash of quilting fabric is giving up pieces that are enough to line a single bag and I need to trawl deeper to find some more that are both suitable and big enough. At some point I’ll have to start weaving fabric to match the cottons I have or (shock, horror) buy some fabric for linings. I don’t want to start buying fabric because then there’s no reason not to make them all the same, at the moment I couldn’t make two identical ones if I tried because I don’t have enough yardage of any one fabric.
This is another so called sock yarn warp, surprise, surprise, also in red. Some of this is handspun alpaca and silk, there’s a bit of Wendy Happy in there and some that actually is sock yarn. I’m not feeling the deep and abiding love for this pattern any more, this is the fourth scarf I’ve made with it and I’m getting a bit bored now. I fancy something a bit more eight-shafty with twiddly bits. Until I come up with something suitable and rethread the dummy warp then I’ll be plodding along with these, they are eating into the bag of leftover sock yarn and that’s a good thing. I have five feet of weaving in which come up with a new idea or admit defeat and wind another warp from the sock bag.
Also plodding along is the edging for the two piece junior sweater. I have a few ends to sew in, three buttons to find, several miles of edging to knit (hopefully not forgetting the buttonholes this time) but then it’s done. If I promise to show it next time that should make me buckle down and finish the edging, or at least that’s the theory.