Making do

When I first wrote about my adventures in felting with my friend, Andrea, I fully expected my mother to tell me she wanted a bag like the one in the picture, but I was on a quest to not buy any yarn for awhile, I didn’t know if I had what I needed to make it, but I was determined that if I did, I would make it by making do with what I had.

Red Heart Yarns Rose Garden Tote
Red Heart Yarns Rose Garden Tote

My mother’s birthday was nearing, and I was certain she would identify the Rose Garden Tote as her present of choice. To my astonishment, she said almost nothing other than to comment that it was a very nice bag.

Inspired by the results my friend Andrea had achieved using yarn that she had available, and undaunted by my mother’s uncharacteristic muted response to anything with flowers, I moved forward.

I wanted to make the bag, but I also wanted to experiment with yarn whispering and using only materials that I already had. With a huge selection from which to choose, I settled on vintage wool from the late 1960s and early 1970s that I had purchased from my son’s trumpet teacher:

vintage wool yarn
Vintage wool yarn in three shades of turquoise

vintage wool yarn
Red and pink vintage wool yarn

vintage wool yarn
Gold and orange vintage wool yarn

and supplemented with scrap yarns from previous purchases and projects.

The first day, I worked on the tote I got off to a good start and was seduced into thinking it would go much more quickly than it did:

start of a crochet tote
I pick a skein of turqouise vintage wool and start crocheting

From there, things slowed considerably as I drove my son to his various lessons and practices, did my best to keep up with my houseguests, and worked on other projects so that I would have something to blog about.

As I closed in on finishing the body of the bag, I awoke one morning to find the cat, in flagrante, delicto. working on the project:

a cat crochets
I interrupt the cat at work

I was eventually able to wrest the project from her and finish the body of the bag:

body of a crochet tote
The body of the rose garden crochet tote

By sunset yesterday I had also finished two straps,

crochet straps
Two crochet straps

three large roses,

wool crochet roses
Three large crochet roses

four small roses,

wool crochet roses
Four small crochet roses

five curliques,

crochet curlicues
Five crochet curlicues

and seven leaves:

wool crochet leaves
Seven crochet leaves

Before I sat down with my Clover chibi and all of pieces that needed attaching, I laid it all out to get some idea of how it would look:

rose festooned crochet tote
The crochet tote with the pieces ready to be assembled

After one episode each of The Office, Parks and Recreation, and Thirty Rock, the pieces were attached and the bag was ready to felt:

crochet tote ready to felt
The crochet tote ready for felting

One late night and one early morning later, the bag was felted (if not entirely dry) and ready to give to my mother:

The finished felted crochet tote I made by making do
The finished felted crochet tote I made by making do

A large part of what made this tote fun for me was that the yarn that had languished for so many decades was finally transformed into an object that could be used as something other than moth snacks or insulation. And maybe (just maybe) the tote holds some vestige of the original purchaser’s hopes and ideals.

This project was totally worthwhile, and I have every intention of making another just as soon as I find out what yarns I have that are ready for and in need of a transformation.


6 thoughts on “Making do

  1. It’s lovely, and I’m sure your mother will be thrilled with her gift.

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