Monksbelt Flowers on a Shoulder Bag

Remember Joanne Hall’s Swedish Art Weaves workshop that I took a few months ago? With the warp that was left, I explored some of the art weaves in more depth.

Monksbelt (Munkabälte), Dukagång, and Halvkrabba can be seen below the warp.
Monksbelt (Munkabälte), Dukagång, and Halvkrabba can be seen below the warp.

I finished off the linen warp by making a front and back panel for a small shoulder bag. A monksbelt pattern is scattered like flowers on the front. The back has various stripe patterns in weft-faced plain weave. I wove a shoulder strap on my band loom using 6/2 Tuna wool for warp and 12/6 cotton for weft.

Weaving Monksbelt with half heddle sticks.
Half-heddle sticks and batten in front of the back beam, for weaving monksbelt patterns.
Pick up for monksbelt.
Pick-up stick in front of the reed is being used to weave a monksbelt flower “petal.”
Handwoven shoulder bag in progress.
Back panel has varying stripe patterns.
Cutting off.
Cutting off.
Glimakra band loom. Narrow wool band.
Narrow wool band for the bag shoulder strap.

The bag has simple construction, mostly hand-stitched. In one of my remnant bins I found a piece of wool fabric that I wove several years ago. It’s perfect for the sides and bottom of the bag. The lining uses pieces from fabric that went into my latest rag rugs, and has pockets, of course.

Making a handwoven wool bag.
Overhand knots secure the warp ends.
Construction of a wool shoulder bag.
Ready to assemble all the parts.
Constructing a small handwoven wool bag.
Handwoven wool pieces are hand-stitched together.
Handwoven wool bag construction.
Bag construction continues with stitching the back in place.
Magnet closure on a handwoven bag.
Magnet closure is added to the lining before stitching the lining in place. Knots and fringe outline the top of the bag.

This bag with Monksbelt Flowers is for carrying sweet memories, happy moments, and heavenly dreams.

Handwoven shoulder bag.
Inside of handwoven wool bag.
Pockets in the lining.
Monksbelt Flowers handwoven shoulder bag.

Resources: Swedish Art Weaves workshop with Joanne Hall; Heirlooms of Skåne Weaving Techniques, by Gunvor Johansson; Väv Scandinavian Weaving Magazine, 2/2013.

This is the time for my annual pause for the month of July. I appreciate you joining me in this weaving journey!

I look forward to being back with you again Tuesday, August 4. In the meantime, joyfully draw living water from the source, Jesus Christ.

May you carry no more than necessary.

With love,


  • NancyNancy Malcolm says:

    Beautiful! As always.

  • Beth says:

    It’s wonderful! Love the playful flowers.

  • Averyclaire says:

    This is absolutely marvelous! I am a new weaver and am truly impressed with all your projects. So much to learn so little time! Thank you for sharing your lovely work! I can only dream

    • Karen says:

      Hi Averyclaire, Welcome to the delightful world of weaving. No matter how much time we have, thankfully, there will always be more to learn.

      Happy weaving,

  • Elisabeth says:

    What a great way to use a class project! It’s such a happy bag 🙂 I think my favorite details are the asymmetrical flowers and the exposed fringe on top. I admire your creative use of remnants.

    Enjoy your pause!
    Love, Elisabeth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, I wanted to make asymmetrical flowers because that is possible only with the pick-up method, and not possible with standard monksbelt threading. The exposed fringe on top is one of my favorite details, too. It came about because it was simpler than trying to fold the edge under.


  • Nannette says:

    I can’t add to above comments..

    Enjoy your sabbatical!!


  • Maria Slayman says:

    I love how it all came together from your stash! Bet that felt good! Beautiful!

  • Joanne Hall says:

    I love how the light colored centers in your monksbelt flowers jump out and say,”look at me”. This is a great design. And I like how you have the knots and linen ends sticking out. That is very effective.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanne, It was fun to try to make a monksbelt design that would show off the possibilities of this method. This was a fun “playtime” at the loom. The knots and linen ends sticking out was an afterthought, but I liked the idea to show off the light-hearted concept of the scattered flowers.

      Thanks for your encouragement,

  • LJ Arndt says:

    I love the view thru the loom of seeing the weaving that you did at the workshop thru the loom and then the newest weaving still showing on top of the warp.

    • Karen says:

      Hi LJ, That’s my favorite view. There is something intriguing about looking through the warp to the previously-woven fabric.

      Thanks for chiming in,

  • Lyna says:

    “May you carry no more than necessary.” A great reminder to cast our cares on Him!
    Have a blessed July!

  • Cynthia says:

    Hey Karen. Lovely. I have gobs of scrap quilt fabric. Too bad we don’t live closer, you could be going through my scraps for linings to your things.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cynthia, It’s fun to find ways to use scraps. It’s probably good that I don’t have access to your quilt fabric scraps. I have plenty of my own to use up. 🙂

      All the best,

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Quiet Friday: Custom Lining for a Handwoven Bag

Every good bag deserves a good lining, with pockets inside and a zipper on top. This handwoven rag rug bag is no exception. The lining fabric is some of the same fabric that is woven in the bag. The polka dot pocket fabric is a cheery piece from a visit to The Philippines. The completed zippered tote is a perfect fit for my small tapestry frame, and goes with me when I travel. Quiet Friday: Weave a Bag with Handles shows how I made the bag.

How to add zippered lining to a bag.

How to Add a Custom Zippered Lining to a Bag


  • Sewing machine
  • Zipper foot
  • Walking foot (recommended, but not required)
  • Steam iron
  • Straight pins
  • Tool for pushing out corners
  • Needle and sewing thread
  • Disappearing ink fabric marker
  • Fabric scissors


  • Fabric for lining. Lay bag on top of folded lining fabric, with bottom of bag aligned with the fold of the lining fabric. Cut the folded fabric a generous 1 1/2″ wider and 1 1/2″ taller than the bag.
  • Fabric for pocket. Mark two pieces of fabric (or use a folded piece of fabric) the desired pocket size. Add 1/4″ seam allowance. Cut along the marked lines. Stitch, right sides together, leaving an opening for turning. Turn right side out, pushing out corners. Press. Topstitch all four sides.
  • Fabric for zipper insert pieces. Cut two pieces of fabric 4 1/2″ wide by the length of the zipper plus 1″.
  • Tabs for ends of zipper tape. Cut from handwoven band or piece of fabric with sides folded under.
  • Zipper. Regular, non-separating zipper, as long as, or longer than, bag opening


  1. Sew bottom three sides of pocket onto lining fabric. Stitch a dividing line on pocket.Adding pocket to lining for bag.
  2. Stitch sides of lining, right sides together. Fold and stitch box corners.Box corners on lining for a bag.
  3. With lining seated in bag, fold down top edge of lining, so that folded edge fits just inside top edge of bag. Pin folded edge of lining and remove from bag. Set aside. Fitting lining for a handwoven bag.
  4. Bar tack top ends of zipper tape together. Bar tack over end of desired zipper length. Cut off excess. Cut a tab from a woven band, or from fabric with sides folded in, to fold over each end of zipper tape. Use zipper foot to stitch tabs over zipper tape ends. Preparing zipper to add to bag.
    Handwoven tabs for ends of zipper tape.
  5. For zipper insert, cut two pieces of complementary fabric 4 1/2″ wide by the length of the zipper, plus 1″. Making zipper insert for top of bag. Tutorial with pics.
  6. Fold each zipper insert piece lengthwise in half, right sides together. Draw stitching line that matches length of zipper. Zipper insert for top of bag. Tutorial.
  7. Stitch both short ends of zipper insert pieces. Clip corners and trim seams. Making zipper insert for top of bag.
  8. Turn zipper insert pieces right side out. Push corners out. Press. Making zipper insert for top of bag.
  9. Pin folded edge of zipper insert fabric to right side of zipper tape, centered lengthwise, 1/8″ away from zipper teeth. Open zipper partway. With zipper foot, starting at top end of zipper, topstitch close to folded edge. After stitching a third of the way, with needle down, close zipper, and then continue topstitching to bottom of zipper. Repeat for other side of zipper insert. Press. Making zippered lining for handwoven bag. Tutorial.
    Adding zippered top to handwoven bag.
  10. With zipper opened, and zipper tab down (picture shows zipper tab up, after having pinned both sides), center and pin one side of zipper insert under one side of folded top edge of lining, so that lining overlaps insert 1/2″. Repeat with other side of zipper insert and lining. Making zippered lining for handwoven bag. How to pics.
  11. Insert lining into bag, matching side seams and mid points on bag and lining, with top folded edge of lining 1/4″ below top edge of bag. (Edge of zipper insert is sandwiched between lining fold and bag.) Make sure bag handles are up and out of the way of stitching. From inside of bag, use walking foot to stitch 1/8″ from lining fold, all the way around top of lining, keeping zipper insert up and out of the way of stitching. (Walking foot helps ensure even feed of fabric layers.) Adding zippered lining to handwoven bag. Instructions.
    Pinning lining into handmade bag. Instructions.
    Sewing lining into Handmade bag. How to.
  12. Fold zipper inserts down into bag. Press. Stitch across zipper inserts 1/2″ below top of lining on inside of bag. Press again.Last step of tutorial for inserting lining in bag.

Give your new bag a special purpose.

Handwoven bag with custom lining. Karen Isenhower

May your lining on the inside be as attractive as your handbag on the outside.

Happy Creating,

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Quiet Friday: Rag Rug Bag

Think of this as an experiment. A first try. A specimen with which to work out procedures and details. I like the bag, and I will certainly use it; however, there are a few things that I will do differently when I make the next one. And I do intend to make another one, or two, or three. Experiments are like that. One idea leads to another. This warp was all about double binding rag rugs. As always, though, it is delightful to have some warp left at the end for play.

Weaving bag handles into the rag rug bag.

Length of 1-inch/2.5 cm black cotton webbing is woven in. The webbing that extends beyond both selvedges will form the bag handle. Rag weaving continues for a few inches before placing the webbing ends back into the shed.

Placing bag strap ends in the shed.

Both ends of the webbing strap are tapered, and then overlapped in the shed before beating them in.

Temple maintains the weaving width.

Temple maintains the weaving width as the rag weave continues past the woven-in handle straps.

Securing warp ends of rag rug.

Warp ends are secured, as usual. First, square knots, and then cut off to 1/2 inch/1 cm.

Stitching up a rag rug bag.

Sewing the sides of the bag, right sides together. I am using the four rows of woven rug warp at the beginning of the woven hem as my stitching line.

Creating lining for rag rug bag.

After turning the bag right-side out, and pressing the seams open, I created a simple flat lining, with added pocket, to fit inside the bag.

Pinning lining into the rag rug bag.

Lining is pinned into the bag, matching seams and mid-points at front and back.

Lining is inserted into the rag rug bag.

Lining is stitched into place with narrow topstitching.

Rag rug bag, with handle woven in. Karen Isenhower


Finished rag rug tote bag! Karen Isenhower

Fun tote bag to carry to and fro.

Next time… Find a strap that is not as stiff, so it will beat in better. Weave in a strap that is the same color as the warp. Make the strap longer. Find a way to secure the cut ends of the strap (this is the biggest issue). Possibly use a band woven on my inkle or band loom for the strap.

What would you use for the strap? Can you think of a good way to secure the ends of the strap together? What other suggestions or thoughts do you have to improve a bag like this? I would love to hear your ideas.

May your experiments lead to fresh ideas.

Always trying new things,


  • Mary Linden says:

    Tape used to bind hooked rugs is softer and can be dyed. Your weaving is inspiring. My loom has been empty too long.

  • Love the idea of weaving the band directly into the warp! Instead of sewing a band on your woven product afterwards.

    Each time I am excited to receive a post from you!
    Kind regards,
    The Netherlands

    • Karen says:

      It is very nice to hear from you, Tjitske! Yes, if we can make it work to weave the band into the warp, it will be fun to make more bags!

      Your alpaca weaving in your Etsy shop is beautiful!
      Happy Weaving,

  • Sara Jeanne says:

    I’ve been enjoying your weaving blog since we met at Vavstuga.
    Some things that I’ve observed when making ‘rug’ bags:
    Use the overlay technique for the strap rather than a single weft shot.
    Use a 1/2″ webbing for the strap.
    When laying in the returning strap, pull the ends up through the warp and hand stitch down the ends with carpet thread.
    Weave a wide heading at each end of the piece to allow for hemming, and to assist in making a box bottom on the bag.
    Really like your colors and the introspection your weaving brings to the process.

    • Karen says:

      Sara, what a great help you are! I’m taking notes…

      – I am not sure what you mean “Use the overlay technique for the strap rather than a single weft shot.” Could you explain that a little more?

      – I have not found 1/2″ webbing. Do you know a source for that?

      – Hand-stitching the ends together is a good idea. I had considered that, but was too lazy to actually do it. It wouldn’t be hard, though.

      – The wide hem is a great idea, too. I had thought about a box bottom, too, but decided to make this one quick and simple. (Lazy again.) In the future, I’ll probably do a box bottom. That’s not hard, either.

      I really appreciate you chiming in! It’s great to get your perspective and a piece of your expertise.

      Happy Weaving,

      • Anonymous says:

        Hi Karen,
        Glad to offer some tips!
        For overlay, throw your rag shot, and with the same shed open, lay your strap on top of the rag shot. You may have to add another strip of rag to that particular shot so that the strap and rag shot are the same size. The strap lays better with equal sizes.
        As for the 1/2″ strapping, try The Shaker Workshops. They have a web site. I’ve been lucky enough to find quite a bit of 1/2″ cotton strap at my local Goodwill store.
        Hope this helps.
        Sara Jeanne
        PS you are many things Karen and lazy is certainly not one of them!

  • Joanna says:

    Ooh, a bandwoven strap, for sure. How about a strap with tubular weaving sections for where the hand would grip? How about a bandwoven strap with narrower ‘bits’ woven by cramming warp ends? You could use those sections where they act as war, rather than strap.

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Joanna,

      Great ideas!! I can see what you’re talking about… Yes, that would make a wonderful handle for a handwoven bag.
      This gives me another idea! What if… Instead of cramming warp ends (since there is no reed on the band loom, the best I can do is pull the weft tighter), what if I bandweave the tubular handle, and flat sides of the handle, and leave a length of unwoven warp before and after? The unwoven band warp could be the weft in the rag weave. And the band-warp weft could be woven in two consecutive sheds, making a very secure connection for the handle. I’m getting excited about this idea!

      Thank you!

  • linda says:

    Opinion: a hand woven band would really make a statement, especially if the bag is a suttle tone on tone. The stitching of the strap ends is a great idea….
    Question: is everyone a Quilter too? I noticed the symbols next to each name is a quilting square. love, eace,joy, linda

    • Karen says:

      Linda, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I like the idea of a subtle tone on tone bag. A handwoven band would certainly be the best choice for that!

      (The little quilt icons are generated by the website. I had just a few options for what type of icon to use. Quilt blocks seemed the most appropriate for this space. Better than little aliens or something like that. :))

  • Laurie Mrvos says:

    I love how your mind works, Karen. I think you’re on to something here. As always, I certainly reading your posts. Be well.

  • Anne says:

    I have been weaving “raggedy bags”…basically rag rugs that I turn into tote bags. I weave the bags horizontally and extend 2-5 rags on both sides for the first handle. I will weave more of the bag and when I get to the handle on the other side I braid the rags I left extended and weave in the ends. Weaving width-wise also allows the carpet headers to be the seams of the bag. It is much easier to sew the carpet warp headers than the rags.

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Choose Your Lining

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?

Creating bags with handwoven linen, with beads woven in.

Linen fabric with beads woven in, ready to be made into satin-lined bags. Small striped sample from the end of the warp will be made into a small clutch purse.

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.

May you calmly face your next challenge.

Peace to you,

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