I made a bag!
Bags are not my strong point. I find them fiddly and annoying, and I'm not really kean on patchworky, crafty looking bags either.
But, when I saw Leesa Chandler's bags at the Australian Quilt Market, I thought, "I could do that."
This bag is her Sashiko Tote which I have changed to my Kantha Tote. As she said, this is a bag you can make your own by putting something you do in the front panel. I'm not really a sashiko stitcher. I love it, have done a little, but it's a little too structured for and requires a bit too much preparation for my sensibility. I'm more into Kantha stitching, which I build up, spontaneously just by eye without any marking on the piece.
My bag is made from black Kyoto Cloth (Moda's bamboo cotton broad cloth) with a Basic Dots black/beige dot lining and purchased handles. The bag wadding I used is fantastic, giving the bag heaps of body, as well as being fusible and easy to sew through by machine.
I'm going to run through the Kantha stitching step-by-step:
I used hessian coloured Handky Linen (absolutely beautiful to sew) with iron-on light weft, a soft stabilizer, on the wrong side; ecru sashiko thread (though I often use Perle 8 - just happened to have the sashiko thread handy); and a sashiko needle.
Start with a knot on the back, then do a back stitch and start stitching. Use the needle to measure by eye each stitch about 1/4 inch long. They can be smaller, but the aim is to get the stitches and spaces between even in size. Slide the needle through several stitches at once
Use the needle to measure by eye each stitch about 1/4 inch long. They can be smaller, but the aim is to get the stitches and spaces between even in size. Slide the needle through several stitches at once. Build up the design by stitching rows 1/4 inch apart. Use the previous row to guide the next row.
Change colours when you want to. You can see the fusible stabilizer on the back here, also the tails of the knots. When using this stitch to quilt, the knots may be embedded in the wadding between the quilt layers.
Try not to put too much tension in the stitching, or you will end up with distortion and puckering. The aim is to get a rippling effect, but not a buckled effect. It can be hard to avoid a bit of buckling.
You can see how the spirals created small mountains in the surface, but because i didn't apply too much tension, it was easy enough to iron them out for a flat effect on the bag panel.
Then I cut the panel down to size and used it in the bag! Easy!
So, if bag making is not your thing like me, here's one to try thats actually quite fun and doesn't look like a craft project.