Is there such a thing as too many handbags, pocketbooks, tote bags, and purses? Of course not. Naturally, my favorite handbags are made from handwoven fabric. Linings made from remnants, handwoven bands used for shoulder straps, hidden zippers, and, of course pockets–these are the details that other people will seldom notice. Yet these are the details that make me smile every time I use one of these bags.
…You know that box of handwoven bits and pieces? Those weavings from the end of the warp, and the “scraps” from various projects? Hmm… looks like I might need to make another handbag or two.
Here is my collection of handwoven handbags, divided into a few categories. Plus, a short video just for the fun of it!
A closer sett(30 epi instead of 24 epi) would have produced a firmer fabric, more suitable for bag-making. But, as Steve would say,
It is what it is.
I did make one very pretty bag, lined with blue satin. But because of the airy weave, I was not enthused about making three more bags. The fabric itself is stunning; it’s just not bag fabric. When things do not turn out the way we envision, it feels confusing and unsettling.
I invested much time, attention, and resources into this unique iridescent cloth that has little glass beads woven into it (click HERE to see it on the loom)… Now what? In my unsettled thoughts I struggled to find a good solution.
And then…In a playful moment, I threw the cloth over my shoulders and looked in the mirror. Ahhh, pretty! Then I wrapped it around my neck like a scarf. Ohhh, nice! Being 100% linen, it is a little stiff, but putting it through the gentle cycle of the washer has softened it. Wearing it will soften it even more.
In times of uncertainty, we may think we missed the creator’s plan. Be on the lookout, though, for his nearness. The part of the plan that we do not see until we are smack dab in the middle of it is the part where his nearness is revealed.
May you find solutions to your biggest challenges.
In choosing a fabric to line these linen bags I am making, I find that the color of the lining makes a difference in the outcome. Different lining colors change how the linen looks. I decided on a blue satin lining that is similar in shade to the blue of the linen warp. Other colors seem to compete with the iridescence of the handwoven cloth. Once again, what is on the inside matters, and influences what is seen on the outside. The same can be said for people, right?
Faith in the master weaver is the lining that shows through the fabric of one’s life. A stance of faith creates an inner calm that carries you through every storm and every celebration. It is the color that shines through.
Whenever I cut new cloth off the loom I am reminded of how much I have. I feel extremely fortunate to get to do what I enjoy–weave! At the same time, I know there are many people in great need. Is it possible to establish a rhythm of giving? I want to be aware of the needs around me, caring enough to make a difference.
What if…, every time I come to the end of a warp, I intentionally help someone in a tangible way? Since I weave one warp after another, this could be a routine reminder to put kindness into action.
I did that today. This linen warp came to an end, and I took my cello to play for Sam, a precious elderly gentleman who doesn’t have much to look forward to in the here-and-now. I wish I could tell you I planned the visit to coincide with the weaving, but I didn’t. The warp happened to be at the end, and I had already made plans for the cello visit. But it did make me think…
What ideas do you have for establishing a rhythm of providing for others in need?
It is obvious where I changed the weft color, leaving a distinct line from one color to the next. I am intrigued, though, by the subtle color differences that appear within a single weft color section. It is amazing to see how different the color looks just by changing my angle of view. Blue, with a touch of pink? Or, deep red-purple? You would think I am describing two different cloths. When we view each other’s ideas with understanding, it helps us show mutual respect, even when we see things differently.
Sadly, it is easy to put down or belittle others. I, like many, have strong viewpoints about right and wrong; but if I use words as weapons, I destroy the very fabric I want to protect.
An understanding mindset gives you the willingness to listen to another viewpoint, and it helps you hold your tongue. It doesn’t mean we always have to agree. As hard as I try, I may never be able to see the colors you describe in your cloth. I may even try to convince you to see it my way. But hopefully, we will both seek to understand each other.
May you have an opportunity to practice understanding.